October 2015. 10:20 p.m.
The baby monitor lights up as I’m finally crawling into bed next to my husband. I try to ignore its red flashes. I only put her down an hour ago. How is this happening already? I try telling myself that she’s just having a bad dream, that she’ll calm herself down and go back to sleep. I know she won’t. Her sleep is becoming more fitful each evening. As her cries continue, I carry my pillow and blanket down the hall and camp out beside her crib for what feels like the hundredth night in a row.
Same October night 2015. 2:50 a.m.
I have slept for a total of about 45 minutes. I have to get up for work in two hours. I’ve tried everything. My husband has, too, but he’s not an insomniac like I am. Her reflux meds aren’t working. Nothing is working, in fact. I cannot stay in this house for another minute. A mess of tears and hormones, I sit behind the steering wheel and drive to nowhere. Her sister was a great sleeper. I know that this phase won’t last forever, but I am spent.
Next October day 2015.
“I cannot do this again,” I sob into my husband’s shoulder.
He asks me what.
I word vomit all over him.
“Have another baby. I can’t listen to her cry all night and to her sister cry all day. I can’t function on this amount of sleep. I can’t deal with pregnancy and postpartum again. I can’t keep up at work or at home. Two kids is plenty. We cannot have another.”
“Okay,” he says.
He makes an appointment for a vasectomy later that week.
My baby is now a toddler, and she started sleeping through the night almost a year ago. Her older sister has adjusted to having a sibling. I’ve quit my job, and my hormones and body have returned to “normal,” whatever that is. There are less days when I think that I’m ruining my children and more when I can’t get enough of being their mom. Every once in awhile, this feeling creeps in that we have made a mistake.
“Have you thought about having your vasectomy reversed?” I timidly ask my husband.
“Have I what? No, I have never thought about that.”
“Would you? There’s this doctor in Fort Gibson … ”
“I cannot do that again,” he says.
I ask him what.
He doesn’t word vomit. He says what I know to be true. He addresses the lurking fear that I haven’t wanted to acknowledge.
“It’s not about having another surgery. It’s not about the cost or the recovery or the doctor visits. I cannot go through months and years of infertility again. I cannot almost lose our marriage another time.”
“Okay,” I say.
We don’t talk about it anymore.
It’s amazing to me how God can take our messes and turn them into something beautiful. We made an emotional decision when our baby was less than three months old, and I wouldn’t recommend that anyone make life-altering decisions that way. However, our hasty choice also ended up being the right one for us because it has led us to the next big thing …
Maybe our family isn’t complete. Maybe there is a little boy or little girl already out in the world who needs us, and we need him. Maybe we will be able to adopt again, or maybe we’re only meant to be a soft place to land for a short time. Definitely, it will be hard. Definitely, our hearts will get broken, regardless of the outcome. Definitely, we will be stretched. Hopefully, we will grow.
Here’s to the next big thing, a decision not made in haste but prayed over for years.
Join us on the journey!
Mary Rachel Fenrick
Mary Rachel is a wife to her college sweetheart, Andrew; adoptive mom to Piper; biological mom to Caroline; and foster mom to several. A former Texan, she currently resides in Norman, Oklahoma, and is pursuing a degree in Dental Hygiene after teaching special education in the public school system for six years. Mary Rachel loves Jesus, coffee, distance running, good books, and everything Paleo (in that order). She blogs at www.thefenricks.com.