At the end of the summer my husband came home from working in his classroom and said, "I want more children."
I looked at him, shocked and worried, and said, "Do you mean in nine months or eventually?"
"I don't know," he replied. "I was looking at the pictures on my desk. There was our wedding photo, and then you and Lydia, and then Lydia and Bennet, and then all three kids. And I just knew that I wanted another baby."
I said something about how we could eventually have more kids but not in nine months. No way. I was not ready.
My husband and I use natural family planning - we pray about the size and spacing of our family and I do fertility awareness charting. NFP helped us intentionally get pregnant the first two times. With Bennet we weren't charting or praying (and therefore practicing no family planning whatsoever) but we still won in the end because he is one awesome little boy. With James we were charting and taking risks.
After James we took no risks. I was praying, but my prayers were more along the lines of, "God, I do not want to get pregnant right now and if You want me to You will need to change my heart." That was where I was at when Travis came home that day with his open heart. His words were enough to make me change my prayer.
"Lord, do You want us to have another baby right now?" became my prayer. I prayed it over and over again, usually with a great deal of anxiety that the answer would be "yes", and often with the added line, "I really hope You don't." But as I continued to seek God's will I began to feel a calm inside. My prayers continued and I soon felt that God was asking me to set aside the charting for a little bit and Trust. I felt like He was telling me, "Maybe you'll get pregnant, maybe you won't. Maybe if you do the pregnancy will end early and you'll have two children with Me. Just know that whatever happens will be My Will and I will be faithful and generous."
If there was one thing I learned with James, Sheen, and the NICU it's that God is faithful and generous. And so there I was, convicted.
After a day or so of sitting on this conviction I decided to talk to Travis about it once all the kids were in bed. So I shared everything with him and he told me that he had the same answer.
So we set aside the charting. And we got pregnant. And about 6 weeks into the pregnancy I had very painful cramping and bright red bleeding. We thought I was miscarrying. And, odd as it may sound, we felt a lot of peace about it. Don't get me wrong - I was scared, worried, anxious, and sad - but I felt like, "We knew all along that this might be what God would do." So maybe it would be better to say I wasn't surprised. My progesterone levels were low but not enough that I was too concerned. Probably to the horror of many friends I did not take progesterone - I just waited it out and hoped that the numbers would increase and the cramping and bleeding would stop.
Clearly, at 25 weeks today, the numbers went up and the bleeding and cramping stopped.
In our first five years of marriage Travis and I have been pregnant five times. People are often shocked that after the surprises of Bennet and James we would have intentionally gotten pregnant again. In turn, I am shocked that people are so unwilling to trust and believe in the big God that they claim to believe in.
We both feel that family will be a good size at 6. Four kids, aged 4 and under will keep me pretty busy during the day. We feel like this may be all God is asking of us and so I try to enjoy each little movement I feel. But are we done, never to have another child? I don't know. Probably. Perhaps, though, in five years God will tug at our hearts again, asking us to set aside the charts and just Trust. Perhaps some kind of infertility will befall us and this baby really will be our last.
I don't know where God is leading me. Five years ago I never would have suspected He would have brought me to this point. But here I am, very blessed by my five little babies.