Jen, over here, has inspired me to post on the subject of how I came to have five children. I married into two kids also, so that's seven, but they have always lived with their mom, and when I say five, I mean the ones that live in our home.
Warning: it's a long story.
All my life I have wanted to be a mom. Other than singing, being a mom was all I ever really cared about. All I really planned for, and hoped for. I knew exactly what I would have: two boys and two girls, or more. But at least two of each. Not because I thought I had any control, but based on my own feelings, among other things. I knew I was in for at least four.
Russell and I got married in February of 1997. I was just twenty years old by a few weeks, and married into five-year-old Tyler, and two-year-old Mariah. Russell and I lived in Missouri, and Tyler and Mariah lived in Texas with their mom.
I knew I didn't want to wait too long before we started our family, and by July we were expecting our first little one. I was SO thrilled and couldn't wait to tell the world. So I did. At eight weeks, I started having some spotting, and a few days later we lost it. I was devastated. I think one of the hardest parts was the fear that I would never be able to have a baby. I didn't want to wait to find out, so as soon as we could, I was ready to try again.
In July of 1998 we welcomed our little Chandler. He was the perfect little baby I had dreamed of, and even though the delivery was a nightmare, and trying to nurse him was an utter failure, I was thrilled about being a mommy. I went to work in the show "The Promise", in Branson, when Chandler was just 10 days old, and was able to take him with me. (Russell was there, too.) The wardrobe girls watched him while I was onstage, and when he was six weeks old he took on the role of the baby Jesus. We just had a blast together, our little family.
In September, 2000, Carter joined the party. He, too, played baby Jesus when he was old enough, and I finished out that season before deciding I was ready to devote my life to being a mom. I "retired" from professional performance and became a "stay-at-home-mom". Exactly what I always wanted to do.
Now, here I was with two perfect little boys. That meant I just needed my daughters, and we'd be all done, or at least I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.
We had just decided it was time to try again. One Sunday one of my boys was sick, so Russell stayed home from church with them, and I went alone. Sitting there in my meeting, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was already pregnant, and that my first little girl was on her way. I started to cry, and couldn't wait to tell Russell. The next day or so, I took a test and confirmed what I already knew. Number three was coming.
A few months later, I headed in for my ultrasound. Another confirmation, or so I thought. "It's a little boy", the tech announced. I think I was in shock at first, but after the ultrasound, when I went in the bathroom, I broke down. How could it be a boy? I just couldn't accept it, and a couple weeks later I asked my doctor (whom I loved) to check again. He laughed at me, ordered the ultrasound, and said "I have a feeling it's still going to have some external plumbing". Sure enough, there it was. "It", you know, meaning still a boy.
Over the next few months, I warmed up to the idea of having the Three Musketeers. (Or the Three Stooges, depending on the day) By the time Caden was born, in May of 2002, I was ready for him. My little blondie was perfect, and I was thrilled to be his mom.
By this time, Russell was getting close to the "cut-off" date. See, when we got married, he said we could have as many kids as I wanted, but that he'd like to be done by the time he turned 40.
I started praying for twins. I desperately wanted, needed my two little girls, and I knew that I was running out of time. See, like I said, I KNEW I was meant to have sons and daughters, and I was down to one, MAYBE two chances.
When I found out I was expecting number four, I was so excited, and so terrified. I was so afraid that they would tell me it was another boy, and when I went in, right before Christmas, and they said "girl", I really didn't even get excited. I just didn't believe it. A little girl. One, but still, a girl. For my anniversary gift a couple months later, Russell bought me a 3-D ultrasound, and we confirmed our Makenna was on her way.
In May, 2004, our first little girl was born. I was just beside myself with joy, and would often just sit and stare at her. Of course, everyone around me was saying "You got your girl, so you're done, right?" It wasn't that easy for me. I still knew there was another little girl waiting to come to our family.
My dear husband agreed to one more, and our fifth little one was due about six weeks after Russell's 40th birthday. I was ready to move on to another phase of our lives as well, and made the most of this last pregnancy. Until we had our ultrasound and they said "boy" again. "No way. It can't be another boy." I can clearly remember laying there, my mom and my other children in the room, (Russell had to work) and truly being at a loss for words. I wanted to be excited, but I was just shocked. Did this mean I wasn't supposed to be done? Was I going to ask Russell to do it again? Everyone told me that I needed to be done, that Russell "deserved" to be done.
Conner joined our family in February, 2006. A perfect, healthy little chub. I adored him immediately, and have never regretted that choice. But I wasn't done, I knew it. I still knew that there was another little girl meant for me.
I caved to the pressure, and a few months later, we took steps to assure our family was complete. That morning I sat at the computer and cried, searching the Internet to find out the odds of conception after, you know, the "steps".
That was four and a half years ago. I have never gotten over that feeling. That nagging feeling that we weren't supposed to be done, that I turned my back on one of my children. It has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. One of the longest-lasting, most painful trials I have faced. But it is what it is, and I have learned to live with it.
I love my children more than anything in this world. I am so thankful for the support and sacrifice of my husband, so I can stay at home and take care of our family. I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in the world, and am so thankful these crazy little people are in my life!
If you're still reading, congratulations! I know that this was really long, but since I decided to tell the story, I wanted to tell it right, so that my kids know exactly how they came to be here, in our little world.
If you'd like to join the sharing, go here!