Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Waiting Room

I was overjoyed to leave the kids in Trevor's care this afternoon and head out for a few hours all to myself. Unless you count my obstetrician invading my nether-regions, because it was for my annual exam, but I didn't care. After two sleepless nights and two days of a non-napping teething baby, I took what I could get. 

When I arrived all the typical stuff happened, with the weighing-in, the peeing in a cup, the "has anything changed in the past year?" business. (Well, I wasn't pregnant and I didn't get pregnant, which is a switch from the past four years.)

But just before my doctor was supposed to make his entrance, he had to run out to perform a C-section. The nurse asked if I'd mind waiting, and I didn't, because I had brought a book and a coffee stand was in the lobby of the building (truthfully I was a bit giddy at the thought of this enforced quiet time).  So I got my cup and took a seat in the big waiting room of my OB's office.

I focused on sucking all the whipped cream on top of my mocha (splurge!) out of the hole of the to-go cup before it melted. Then I pulled out my book and glasses, and got to work assessing the people around me. 

Now, Trevor and I have been pretty happy with our little family of four. In fact, you could say we've been freakishly obsessed with discussing how we don't really know how we'd handle any more children right now. I'm fairly certain it's because we're "natural family planners," who don't use any form of birth control besides charting, faith and terror.

We've gotten pretty good at charting, but I go through spurts when I forget to take my temperature, or when I've been up all night with the kids and my temperature is way off. We have a cool computer program that helps us and we've taken all the classes, but mostly we're just trying to get the whole temperature thing down pat and every now and then we get thrown for a loop with it. This creates nervous energy, which leads to compulsively talking about not having more children right now. Which leads to feeling guilty because if God has more children in store for us, we don't want to miss out on them. But really we would love to just have these two right now. But we wouldn't mind more later. Probably. But God is good! He has a good plan! But our car is pretty small and we couldn't possibly fit another car seat in it!

You see how this goes. 

But sitting in that waiting room today (through what turned into TWO C-sections), I watched pregnant woman after pregnant woman bounce through the office door, happy grins and ultrasound pictures in hand, sometimes with husbands, mothers, mothers-in-law and even other kids. I love pregnant women. I love the way they sit down -- the big exaggerated sigh, the one arm back first to lower themselves down. I love the pregnant waddle. I love an OB visit when pregnant. I love how when you're pregnant, anything about babies is fascinating. 

One couple came in with their 9-month-old daughter, who caught my eye and waved like babies do to strangers, over and over, and I waved back, and she made me miss my girls. So I asked when Mom was due, and she said in June, and that she had two other girls at home, and today they were finding out the sex of this, their fourth baby. And a little later they came out and, surprise, it's a boy! Life-changing news, just like that. 

Remember that? Remember carrying your babies in your belly? Oh, I just melted in my chair today, watching the moms-to-be in that waiting room. It made me ache to be pregnant again, but only for a few minutes. I do miss being pregnant. Everyone seems to want to know about this; if I miss it so much that maybe I will be pregnant again in the near future. Maybe I am currently pregnant, they wonder? Am I drinking wine with dinner? Am I looking a little green around the gills? Could I be sharing a secret with Trevor, or are we just being goofy?

Some people really don't want me to be pregnant. One of my family members once said, "It'd be nice if you could just keep your family of four." I think it's hard for some people to deal with natural family planning, when they've been used to controlling things through methods that are 99 percent effective. So when you don't really know what's going to come up in your life, it bothers them. 

A few months back I was shopping and a lady was standing next to me at the check-out desk. She was talking to the salesgirl about her grandchildren. "I have 10 grandchildren!" she said. The salesgirl was impressed. "I like shopping, but not for 10 different kids. So I tell them, 'When you're 18 you aren't getting gifts from me anymore.' I think that's fair; they're adults then so they don't need me to do things for them." She was so sure of herself. The salesgirl just nodded.

I was so saddened by this grandmother. I don't mean to say she should spend all of her hard-earned money on 10 grandchildren; I just mean that it sounded as if she didn't enjoy having 10 grandchildren. 

I think about her when I think about God's plan for our family. I wonder if we'll have six children, and if people will lump them all together as "The Doublestein Children" and not think of them as individuals. I would like to claim that Trevor and I would be amazing parents to six or five or 12 children but I don't think we would. I think we could be great at three, spaced well, and possibly four. We desperately want to travel and do exciting things with our children. We want to be able to afford certain things. Not Porches or mansions, but we would like to take our kids to Europe and Disney and camping (well, Trevor does) and we want to buy them the right sneakers for school. That might sound materialistic and I am very, very aware that children are a gift and I shouldn't forsake a possible child for sneakers and truly, I'm not (natural family planning isn't fun for us). But it's hard for us to imagine life with many children, to be honest. In fact, we love the idea of our two children. And we love the idea of our two children, plus one or two others. But in the end, like everything, it's in God's hands.

I would really like to meet a few goals in the athletic department, and possibly even (gasp) in the career arena before another baby comes my way. I'd also like to take a trip for two nights with just my husband and even drink more than one glass of wine. And I'd like to have a year of doing fun things with two toddlers, and not worry about a baby's naptimes or nurse-times or diapers or devoting 98 percent of my attention to the baby and 2 percent to the other children. I want a year of joining in on all the fun, and not having morning sickness or missing parties and definitely, definitely not missing one of my girls' events, even if it's just fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Five minutes ago I wanted to write that sitting in that waiting room today made me miss being pregnant. But after writing this post and remembering the physical ache of watching Berit do exciting things without me because I was taking care of a baby, I want to instead write that I love being pregnant. Pregnancy, even just thinking about it, makes me smile. (In retrospect, of course.) But I don't want to be pregnant again for some time yet. And when it does happen, because we're natural family planners and it's bound to happen again, we can be pleasantly surprised, and totally fulfilled as a family, and not worried about the size of our car or that we have to wean the youngest now because soon I'll be nursing a new baby. 

I just hope God reads my blog.


Kimberly Reed said...

Hi Lisa :)
again you make me smile. I love reading your blog!
You are so right about life being in God's hands...... and that is something to be so thankful for. With that in mind one or two or ten more children would be o.k. and you would deal with it gracefully and wonderfully knowing that God is in controll..... the car situation would work itself out :)! I ask my older girls if they remember when Kara was a baby and the time she might have taken me away from them..... guess what they do not recall me not being at something or missing something because child number 3 came along :)!!! And now that they are older they all understand if I might have to attend one thing over another...... as good parents (like you and Trevor) you will raise your children to understand those things...... I think in reality it bothers us as mothers to not be able to do it ALL! :)
As long as we are living for God and following his plan all will be wonderful :)
Love you,

Andrea said...

So... I think we will wait a little longer! :)