February 1, 2012

Discerning #5

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 L, and then L and Ben, 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 Ben 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 JF we were charting and taking risks. 

After JF 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 JF, 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 Ben and JF 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.


  1. You should feel blessed. You and Travis make some pretty darn cute babies. Yay God! :)

  2. I love the line "In turn, I am shocked that people are so unwilling to trust and believe in the big God that they claim to believe in." That is so beautiful and true.

  3. Such a sweet, heartfelt post. I've been toying with the idea of talking about feeling called to have another baby. Because I know that most people must be thinking that no one in their right mind would get pregnant *on purpose* when they already have 4 kids, and then think "Gee, that NFP stuff really doesn't work, does it?". You've inspired me to think it about it a little harder...

  4. My seven came about through some tough circumstances, but I wouldn't know what the world would do without them. Or what I would do! God continue to bless you~as He is obviously already doing!

  5. This post has me recalling the importance of prayerful discernment - seems obvious, right? :) In the past, I've pretty much let my emotions guide me: "I really *want* another baby, surely this must be from God." ...and, I do believe that He has used this desire and blessed us with our children. However, as I approach the return of my fertility this time around, I'm torn between the good/blessing of children (and their eternal souls) and the distinct feeling that I'm not ready, yet. I too have low progesterone and need 2 shots a week for 37 weeks. I've also been on bedrest for 2 out of 3 pregnancies. I don't know that I'd feel comfortable skipping progesterone (no judgement - obviously God is in control either way, as you know well) but I'm not too keen to start them again. I guess I'm feeling guilty for not being ready...so, in summary, thanks for reminding me to pray about all this. I don't know what God's going to say - either way I'm not ready: not ready to avoid but not ready to be pregnant, so I just hope my fertility doesn't return for awhile. :)

    ...on the other hand, out of the blue at breakfast this morning, hubby and I came up with a great boy's name. Oh dear! :)