July 29, 2008

DSM-IV Diagnosis: We're Fertile and We Like Babies, That's All

You wanted to discuss my uterus, right? Oh good, me too!

I finally worked up the nerve to talk with my OB about the risks of having another baby: I'd be over 35, and I've had four c-sections. I've been wanting to ask about it, but I was worried he'd do what a lot of people do when I mention wanting a sixth baby, which is to suggest I have a psychological problem. I think this is funny when it's kidding (one of the best moments of my pregnancy with Henry was hearing a librarian joyfully shout "ARE YOU CRAZY??" in a quiet library), but some people are serious.

This'll vary from family tree to family tree, but in my parents' generation, two kids is typical. In my grandparents' generation, three or four kids is typical. In my great-grandparents' generation, five or six kids is typical. A set of my great-great grandparents had nine kids, including twins twice. And a set of my great-great-great grandparents had eleven children like it weren't no thing. On Baby #6, my female ancestors were just getting warmed up.

My OB earned points by acting as if it could be just as psychologically normal to have six kids today as it was 100 years ago. He opened my file and looked at the surgical reports and medical history. He said he didn't see anything in my file that would argue against trying for another baby if I wanted one.

I tucked that information under my ribs. I keep peeking at it.

61 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I have, I admit, wondered about your sanity when you've mentioned the possibility of a sixth baby, but sometimes I look at my daughter and imagine how awful it will be to have one more and know that that's it, no more babies for me, and I know why you consider a 6th.

Did you always know you wanted a lot of kids? (Um, it occurs to me that you may have mentioned this before, but I've only been reading for a couple of months.)

SLynnRo said...

You are crazy! (Kidding- I get the no children judgment)

But you are doing the work for me! Consider number six having one in place of mine. Can I name it?

JRay said...

My dad's the youngest of eleven, and while neither six or eleven is for me...(no kids just yet), I wouldn't ever trade having so many aunts, uncles and cousins... and none of them are SERIOUSLY traumatized (only slightly).

Whether you have another one or just stick with five you can look forward to the years when your kids are grown up and sit together remembering things (and all remembering them differently)...and arguing over who did what, and was it Gary or Phil that set the hallway on fire and then hid under the table...no, it was Danny!!!

It's something I treasure about my family...besides if they hadn't had just one more my Dad wouldn't be here, and neither would I...

Mimi said...

I think you should have as many babies as you want, Swistle! It's not like you couldn't handle one or even a few more.
I'd have a million babies if they didn't keep growing up into darn toddlers.

anna said...

Clearly I hadn't read this post yet when I wrote you a few minutes ago! (But don't you love how I just GUESSED that you'd ask your OB about that?! I must be PSYCHIC. Or have picked up on one of the many thousands of clues you have dropped.)

Camels & Chocolate said...

My mom recently broke it to me that she and my dad had wanted six kids. I was like, "really??? After me, I can't imagine you wanting to go through that five more times!" Unfortunately for her, her uterus gave out after child #2.

honeybecke said...

Well, I can't help but want to be pregnant every time I either see a pregnant woman, hear of a new pregnancy or even read about it on a blog...or! or! even reading that you want (maybe) to have a sixth baby. I just can't help but think me too! me too! even though we are fairly certain two is the limit for us. It just seems so sad to be done having kids when we *could* have more, ya know? Yeh, I know you know :)

So, I can't wait to hear more. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm 27 and the youngest of 6. :) Have another one if you want it!

Giselle said...

I love love love mimi's comment, "I'd have a million babies if they didn't keep growing up into darn toddlers." Amen, sister!

And my great-grandparents were each one of 19 kids. One family of 19 ended up with 6 becoming priests. 6 was a drop in the bucket to my ancestors. My grandpa was one of 14 and my dad one of 8. I'm a bit ashamed to be stopping at 3, quite frankly. It's like I'm an underachiever.

Have six! Be proud!

AndreAnna said...

I think you should have as many kids as you could love and care far, be it 6 or 14...

"normal" is overrated.

Niki said...

Good for you. I would love to have a third but I seem to be lacking the sperm portion of the program these days.
Good luck.

Nowheymama said...

I heart your OB. I know mine would react the same way, if the patient's medical history didn't argue against it, but I have had OBs in the past who would not.

Erin said...

I honestly don't think it's crazy AT ALL. If I end up with a dozen kids, I will still wonder if maybe thirteen would be nice? Just one more... Just one more...

But also, it might be different-- more conclusive-- for you since it would be on purpose, all the time knowing it would be your babiest baby.

may said...

Loved your last sentence, Swistle. That's exactly how I feel when I find out I'm pregnant. Well said.

What do your parents say about numero seis? Do they know you're thinking about it?

Stick with what you're good at - have another!

MzEll said...

peek peek! Yes, please. More babies, and maybe my uterus and yours can figure it out soon!

Dynamita said...

I hope it's a girl... (wink, wink)

Michelle said...

Five or six... you'll know what's right for you. And be happy with it.

The part that most strikes me is that your OB had the reaction he should have. No overly dramatic SIX kind of things and just reviewing your chart to see if it was feasible. Knowing your doctor is that sane, don't you feel better and trust him more with other things, too?

Astarte said...

Hooray for your doctor for being what he's supposed to be, and not a judgemental idiot!

Do you REALLY think you'll stop at 6? Or will #6 breed desire for #7?

Hey, just think - you're going to be one of those families who is basically a dynasty in the school system!!!

Sarah M. said...

I have 6 siblings. It can be really fun. :D

Shelly Overlook said...

You have 6 babies, I'm only having one. If people think you're crazy for having that many, just tell them you're making up the difference for me.

moo said...

what's your motivation? Do you feel you aren't done? Do you just love being pregnant? Do you think your family isn't complete? Do you just love that newborn smell?

Can you afford a sixth child? Does it even matter at this point? Will 6 be enough? Do you have the room for another one?

I don't think you're crazy. I think it's part of your identity. And there is something so special about babies that is hard to define.

cherish said...

Im the 4th of 6 kids (and the only girl; kinda like Elizabeth). Im also 25 and just gave birth to my fourth boy. Ive got lots of years ahead of me for more but at this point I have no idea if I will. Ill just wait and see how I feel in a couple years.

If you want more than I say go for it and dont look back. As long as you can handle whatever number you choose, then it is the right choice for you.

1hot&tiredmama said...

We have four children and some people act like we're crazy. I say, if you want another baby, go ahead and have one. Babies are so fun!

Me? I would love to have another baby. I just don't want another 2 year old so we're done.

Happy BIG family!

Jen said...

isn't having babies kind of like parenting in general? do what works for you? i think it's great that you're not swayed by the idiots who balk at 6 kids - i say yay for even numbers! plus, i always wanted to be part of a big family. it seems like so much more fun than playing scrabble with you mom. :)

Anonymous said...

Coming from a large family, I hope to have at least four, and maybe more if I can handle it. My mother in law keeps making pointed comments about "two children is all you need" and "two is good, no more" and it bugs me so much that I would like to have 10 just to horrify her.
I guess what I'm getting to is only you and your husband can decide what number is good for you and the reaction of everyone else in the world is neither here nor there. If you can handle six than have six! More joy all around!

BRash said...

My grandparents-in-law (my husband's father's parents - the couple that produced all of my husbands aunts and uncles) had 22 children - THAT THEY KNOW OF. They lived in a horrible time in a horrible part of the world, so a lot of thier children passed away. My father in law knew at least 21 brohters and sisters, and there were a couple that he he knew had passed away at birth or shortly thereafter, so he thinks it was more like 25. And then his father died - that's why they stopped. If he'd lived longer there probably would've been MORE kids. My husband has EIGHTY SEVEN first cousins on THAT SIDE of his family. That's a lot of names to learn for a new wife...

Somehow this started off as being supportive. It doesn't sound like that now. Whoops. I meant to say - "Hey, keep going! There's lots crazier stuff out there!"

Becky said...

I totally agree with jray - I have 4 siblings and both my parents had 7 siblings. And I wouldn't trade my huge, loud and somewhat obnoxious family for anything!

Keep going!

Jess said...

I am so sick of people judging other people for wanting different things. It makes me upset that you have to worry that a DOCTOR will treat you like you're crazy instead of just looking at the facts. I'm glad it didn't turn out like that. And that number six is an option.

the new girl said...

You were up late last night thinking about bebes, weren't you?

I love the historical perspective on things. And I share Tessie's fascination with large families. I love when you write posts about how it *works* in your family.

My father is one of 9 children. My mom was one of 3. Her mom was one of 5. And so on.

I, too, think it's a funny joke if it's light-hearted amusement at the differences between families and people, like any other teasing. But it's so hideously presumptuous if it's serious.

I'll end the LONGEST COMMENT IN THE WORLD by saying a big YEAH for your doctor, who is not an ass-hat.

Misty said...

Holy Moly, when I saw that title I thought you WERE pregnant. Whew! What a rush. I was all excited and stuff.

So, what does Paul say about all this?

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

Where does Paul have this nugget of information tucked?

Farrell said...

God bless you. To each his own. I'm only having one, but i think you know why. my mom is one of 11, her neighbors had 13, the other neighbors had 12, etc.

Mommy Daisy said...

I think that's great. I know quite a few larger familes around here. I love it. I'd have several more if my husband would permit it. He wants one more, but it's taken a while for him to be ready for the next. I'm hoping after another baby I can talk him into one more, and so on until I'm done. ;)

Our next door neighbors have 7 children. The oldest is in high school, and the youngest is 2 (born a month after my son). I think they're finally done, though. They have a nice family, and I enjoy seeing all the kids outside playing.

Oh, I love Jennifer's question about Paul.

Becky said...

My dad was one of seven kids. Seven kids, in ten years, in a three bedroom house. Let's not mince words, they was PO'. But, it was the 50s, they were Catholic... they certainly weren't the only ones to have put themselves in that situation.

I can attest that the second phase of a large family is a beautiful thing, and I appreciate whatever sacrifices my grandparents had to make while raising one. I always had lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins at my birthday parties. We were always celebrating, because there was always a baby shower/ baptism/ graduation/ wedding to attend. I've spent every Christmas with my wonderful, obnoxious, ever-growing family in that same three bedroom house, and I've loved everything about it.

My husband (he of no siblings) had quite the adjustment being thrown into a "meet my 40-odd relatives!" situation, but took to everyone immediately. This allows me to hold out hope that someday he might be open to having a big family, though right now we are still working on number one.

Do it! Then tell us ALLLLL about it!

Tessie said...

First of all: SQUEEE!

Second of all: I find it totally, TOTALLY bizarre that anyone would think six kids = psychological dysfunction. I mean...SERIOUSLY?

Third of all: SQUEE!

aibee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aibee said...

I really hope you DO have all the children you want because then I can live vicariously through you.

:)

Seriously though, if you can have more kids, and you want more kids, then you should have more kids.

Yeah.

-R- said...

That is great news!

My husband's parents are each 1 of 13 kids. And then my husband's parents had 5 kids. And now my husband's siblings are all having 3 or 4 kids. We only want to have 2 kids, and they all think we are crazy.

Dr. Maureen said...

I can tell you that I'm VERY glad my parents had that 6th kid, since she's me. And I also love having a huge, loud family. And lots of siblings are a blessing; for example, last week my infant nephew had to have a spinal tap (Three weeks old! I know! But he's fine.), and all my siblings rallied around my sister and brother-in-law to take care of their two older kids so they could be with the baby. What if my sister had had no sisters?

nonsoccermom said...

I say do what makes you happy! I only have one sibling myself, as do each of my parents. And each of their siblings only has one child, so large families are kind of foreign to me. But I can see how they would be a lot of fun! I personally don't find anything "psychologically unstable" about having 6 kids.

d e v a n said...

eh. What's normal anyway?
It's good to know you have your options...

Kristin.... said...

Being a mom of 4, I understand where you're coming from. But I am SO DONE. I will live thru you if you have more. I already do....

Jill said...

My dad is one of 4 and my mom is one of 7. Her father was one of 13 and I'm pretty sure the rest of my grandparents were from similiarly large families. My mom's dad always jokes that my grandma is hard of hearing. He'd ask her "do you want to go to sleep, or what?" and she'd say "what?"
My husband and I are each one of two, and when I think of all the cousins I have and how are kids will have to miss out on all that, I'm tempted to have at least 3 or 4. I guess time will tell!

Lippy said...

I think 6=lots o' family fun! My mom wanted 6 and only had 2. Call her up to see how much she regrets it. Seriously, I have heard about it 6 bazillion times. You don't want to spend your later years regretting. Plus we could get pregnant around the same time and be commiserate about the barfing.

Donna said...

My family thinks I'm odd because I have 2! (Both sisters stopped at 1, the wimps.) I say go for #6 if that's what you want. Besides, Elizabeth needs a sister.

Michelle said...

Congratulations and good for you. I'd keep peeking at it too.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Congratulations. What wonderful news! Now you can feel like your options are open! :) Where I'm from, 5 or 6 is large but actually pretty common. (I'm Mormon and live in Salt Lake City.) People don't start looking at you funny until you pass 8. But I still know lots of families who have 9, 10, 11, or even 12! (That's a little crazy to me.) But 6, that's totally doable! ;)

Slice of Paradise said...

When the epidural kicked in I offered to give J 12 kids if he so choose ... when the morning sickness kicked in this time I asked to tie my tubes after this baby. I go back and forth daily.

Honestly, you have 5 ~ would one more really break you? At this point you have a routine, you know what you're doing & the two of you make a great team (and some pretty good lookin kiddos!) If you want another it's not insane ... just a little exhausting for the rest of us to watch superwoman make it look so easy!!!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Ooh. Have a baby. Have a baby for the Internetz. (Isn't that what these comments feel like??? LOL).

I've decided I love blogs for this one specific thing: I get to be excited about new babies ALL THE TIME. I'm not even a Mommy, but GOD I LOVE Mommy-bloggers. LOL.

I hope to have a large family myself one day (which is also why I love Mommy-bloggers, as I like to read all the different experiences out there and tuck away tips!), I'm thinking of the number 4 right now...but we'll see what happens down the road.

My mom has SIX brothers (and she's the only girl; four older than her, two younger). I have only two brothers myself. I absolutely LOVE having such a large family full of aunts, uncles, and cousins and I agree with the comment Becky left -- there are always so many events to celebrate together, and so many amazing memories created. I want to provide that type of "big family" experience for my future children, and their future children.

Hurrah for big families!

(Oh c'mooon... have another one. You're obviously handling 5 with very little stress; figure out your breaking point!!! LOL).

Lizzie said...

My sister has seven children. They range in age from 19 to 5 and are the best kids ever.

I only think people are crazy to have big families if they're irresponsible and don't want to take care of the kids they already have and then choose to have more.

What could possibly be wrong with a world populated with well-loved children? :)

Alice said...

have more babies for US! more babies for you = more pictures of babies for us. case closed.

HollyLynne said...

I'm an only child and it sucked (still sucks!) in lots of ways. Was cool in other ways, but I want at least 3 for myself someday, if that tells you anything!

My fiance and I have agreed that we'd like three . . . but of course all of that could go to pot with the first day of the first pregnancy. I've told him from the get go "three, but ask me again after I know how much it hurts to get the first one out"

I secretly want a dozen though. Or more.

Meredith said...

Awww! Swistle!

Erica said...

After the forth one, isn't it really a moot point? I mean, what's one more?

Although, the jump from 5 to 6 can be costly. I'm thinking most minivans hold 5 kids, but not 6. That means you'd need to get a big ol' Duggar sized van. After that, though, you can have like 10 before you have to upsize again!

Anonymous said...

I'm de-lurking (after reading you since before Henry was born...:-) ) to say that big families are the best! My dad was one of 10 and my fondest memories are of family get-togethers.

I'm one of 2 and have ALWAYS wished for a bigger family. This is why I want to have at least four kids, of course I'm not even married yet so that might change!

Like everyone else is saying, if you can have 'em, have 'em! Also, I agree with Donna, Elizabeth needs a sister :-)

Hillary said...

My babysitter growing up, a close family friend, has six children. When she went to her oldest child's high school graduation, she was carrying her swaddled up sixth child. And let me tell you, she's one of the best mothers -- and women -- I know. My mother, my entire family, pretty much everyone who knows her, thinks of that woman as a saint. My point here is that some people are just meant to have lots of kids - it's what they're good at.

Eleanor Q. said...

I'm all for big families! I love the camraderie that many siblings provide and the sense that you have everything you need (play friends, enough for basketball, siblings to look up to) within your own house. If you can do it, and it feels right, then go for it.

Bird said...

As if it's anyone's business how many kids you have! I knew a family of eight growing up and my MIL is one of seven. My grandmother was one of six. Whatever feels right to you is the right number--but you know that.

Swistle's mom said...

I vote for six—or better yet twins so seven! I'm not sure I'll ever get the point where I don't want one more grandchild!

Annie said...

You are truly awesome! :) I am plotting to sneak in a third sometime soon. Heh heh.

Danielle-lee said...

OMG! Good for you! I think it is no one's business to judge how many kids anyone has!!! Every one is different! Go for it, lady! You seem like an awesome mom!