Leaving Survival Mode

… ‘course I don’t really need another kid, but Dottie says these-here are gettin’ too big to cuddle.  Raising Arizona

I always say that its a good thing Dave and I didn’t meet until we were nearing the age of  “too old” to have babies. Had we been five years younger when we married, we’d be raising a herd by now, giving the Duggars a run for their money. Okay, no. No we wouldn’t…that whole situation is just borderline freaky.

For awhile there, we never planned on having any at all. We were going to be those city-dwelling professionals who worked, dined and traveled sans sticky, loud and smelly tiny humans. Then one day my biological clock, the same one that had very nicely kept it’s tictocs to itself, began sounding the alarm. You’re 33 years old, WAKE UP! 33 years old, WAKE UP! I realized that it was now or never. 40 seemed so far, yet so dangerously close. So Dave and I got busy. In all senses of the word.

10 months later we were the proud parents of a handsome baby boy. 24 months after that, we were the proud parents of a handsome toddler and a beautiful baby girl. 24 months after that, we were the proud parents of a handsome pre-schooler, a beautiful toddler and another beautiful baby girl.  For me, the pain of pregnancy’s 9th month provided the perfect mix of clarity and decisiveness, both of which are latent traits under normal conditions. I knew I was getting a c-section so took the opportunity to get ‘fixed’ at the same time. That’s right, tubal ligation.Why? Because I knew that sometime approximately 18 months after the birth of that baby, I’d start saying “Oh, she’s getting so big” and, “I miss having a tiny little baby in the house, one that I can carry around like a perfect warm, sleeping angel sent from heaven above.”

Let me provide an analogy… Think of me as a person who loves puppies and kittens, so keeps acquiring puppies and kittens. Eventually they get big and I begin longing for more puppies and kittens thus creating a vicious cycle of animal hoarding. I’ll leave the baby hoarding to Natalie Suleman. The bottom line is, I knew that my inert baby-hoarding tendency had to be nipped in the bud, so I ordered that tubal and  assured my OB at each and every visit that “NO, I will most certainly not be changing my mind!”

If I had my druthers during the 8th month of my last pregnancy, I would have video-taped myself to deliver a message to my future self…the current me. You follow? Past me would deeply empathize with current me, saying, “Yes, I know you love babies, so do I,  but just look at us.” I’d stand and pointedly exhibit my wide pregnancy ass to the camera. I’d tell myself how very tired I am and encourage future/current me to try and remember the last two weeks before birth because they suck. The tape would cut out and pick up again in the days post-birth. I’d be swollen, recovering from another c-section (which, admittedly, weren’t all that bad thanks to my friend Percocet) and I’d have bags under my eyes. I’d tell myself that breastfeeding with two other kids running around isn’t a picnic, and by the way, just this morning the UPS man knocked causing Kate to pop off for a look and whoops! He saw our boob! (true story.)

I’ve been holding it together pretty well. I passed the 18-month mark and have had a few ‘moments’ that led me to believe that, if I hadn’t been ‘fixed,’ I’d be attempting to talk Dave into baby number four. Once you’ve had three you might as well throw another one on the pile, right? Wrong!

At this moment, two years ago today I sat in my OB/GYN’s office hooked up to monitors because baby number three hadn’t been moving all that much. She wasn’t due for another two weeks, but once you pass the age of 35 and enter the land of High Risk Pregnancy, most doctors don’t mess around. My OB sat with me watching baby Kate’s movement, or lack thereof, and we chatted. She looked at me and laughed, “Well, you are about to enter survival mode. Two children at home under the age of 5 and a new baby…that’s what I call survival mode. I did it. You’ll be fine. In a few years it will all be over with.” Having shared that information, she stood and told me that I was being admitted for another emergency c-section. Survival mode in T-minus three and counting.

Lest you think my OB was a total jerk, she shared my no-nonsense, sarcastic sense of humor. Boy did we laugh at the thought of survival mode. Her children were entering college and mine were just entering the world. We shared stories and giggled at the joy our children have brought to our lives. No matter what their age.

Today marks the day when I officially declare the end of survival mode. Today my baby enters her second year and leaves all that is “baby” behind. To celebrate, she had a raging party at her crib last night and the light show was amazing.

When her party eventually wound down, I tucked my one year old girl into bed for the last time and mentally said goodbye to her infancy. Happy Birthday, Kate.
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  1. The Coexist Cafe says:

    Aw! This was so incredibly sweet. 🙂 Happy birthday to Kate, and happy I Survived Survival Mode Day to Kelli!

    (Oh man, and DH brought up today that he might want three kids in the future. This, after deciding we'd be happy with one and would see about others after the fact. As a form of birth control, I'll be sending him your blog. ;))

  2. The Coexist Cafe says:

    Also, that last photo amused me so, as I gave my own hand gesture and screamed a la hardcore rockers.


  3. Slidecutter says:

    I remember those feelings after #3, our son, was born; I was 33 and not ready to close the baby door but, we were working towards our own home and that was the main focus for the next few years. My OB had told me that I "was good for one more, even as I approached the age of danger".

    Once we built our house, my spouse turned to me and said "go get fixed"…huh? His reasoning was that 1) with my spontaneous births, we'd never make it to the hospital in our new area in time and.. 2) he wasn't getting any "snip job" because he heard what that procedure did to men.

    I thought that was the whole idea of the Big V!

    And so, one morning, he dropped me at the hospital on his way to work and a girlfriend picked me up later in the day. Babyworld had come to an end and I mourned its passing for some time.

  4. My procedure was only picked since i was already in surgery…my hubs was ready to go right around the time we found out that we were expecting #3…glad he didn't go!

  5. Tales of a Hockey Wife says:

    My husband had a vasectomy one month to the day I gave birth to our second child…only because it was the earliest I could book his appointment! 4 years later, I know for me…that was the best decision.

    Enjoy everyday as your kids grow! One day they will bring you grandbabies…and then you can have the joy of babies…and give them back when they get fussy!


  6. I asbolutely love your stories! And I know "that" feeling. We have 4, and I'm kind of having that I-love-their-smell-and-what's-just-one-more-baby feeling. Warning sounds are going off..hubby won't come near me! LOL!!!

  7. The Coexist Cafe says:

    Ha! See, that's what I've been trying to convince DH that it's NOT. I mean, sure, the potency is gone, but the AWESOMENESS isn't. Granted, the procedure is probably more highly recommended over a tubal nowadays because of the major v. minor surgery issue, but he still bawwwws about it sometimes.

    … and we haven't even had kids yet! LOL

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