Thursday, March 09, 2017

why I'm nervous about having four children

I've felt mostly just anxious about this baby from the get-go. I was not exactly baby-hungry when we got pregnant, but we both wanted another baby and the timing felt good, and I'm feeling ready to be done having children.

This year has seriously ramped up in terms of busy-ness. I volunteer for meals on wheels weekly, and at the school every other week. I'm planning Activity Days and teaching primary. I have to drive downtown (an almost 3 hour round trip) for my OB appointments. Anna and Levi are both doing piano and a sport. Imagining dragging a baby around to all of this sounds ridiculous.

Our Wednesdays currently look like this: School pick up at 3:15. Eat a snack and change. Leave the house at 4 PM for Levi's piano lessons at 4:15. At 4:45 I drive Levi to the soccer field for practice at 5. We're always a few minutes late. I drop him off and drive back to piano lessons to pick up Anna. Her lessons end at 5:15, but I'm usually there around 5:25-5:30 because of rush hour. Her teacher has been unflaggingly kind and patient about this. Then we drive back to the soccer field and wait till practice is over at 6 unless Sam has been able to get out early and come to practice in which case we rush home and make dinner for everyone. I try to prepare something earlier in the day, but that doesn't always happen.

Lots of this will change when the baby comes. I'll stop volunteering at school. I'll be released from Activity Days :( I won't have any more OB appts downtown. I'll talk to the piano teacher to see if we can rearrange our schedules. It will help, but I'm still anxious.

For example, last night after soccer I noticed that the spots Anna had been complaining about on her face had turned into a rash. It looked like impetigo. I asked Sam to take her to urgent care and get some antibiotics so she'd only have to miss one day of school. I took Levi and Emily with me to our quarterly RS meeting (Sam was wondering what he was supposed to do with them if he had to take Anna to urgent care- I didn't tell him that they just come with me and we all suffer through it on most occasions). It was nice to relax and talk for a couple hours, but I forgot my phone so I couldn't check in to see how urgent care went, and Levi and Emily were crazy wound up after their time at the nursery.

When I got home they both lost it they were so tired, so bedtime was a struggle. And I found out the urgent care I'd recommended to Sam was full for the night and he didn't know where else to go, so Anna didn't get treated. I'd felt overwhelmed for days and had a good cry while worrying to Sam that these anxious feelings now could indicate higher risk of post-partum depression after the baby's born and that just makes me more anxious.

This morning Emily woke up crying. She had a fever of 102 and eventually threw up twice. I cancelled the dentist appointments I had scheduled for all 3 kids, got an appointment for Anna with our pediatrician (and a back up appointment at the closest urgent care) and hoped he'd be able to squeeze Emily in while we were there. I got Levi to school 40 minutes late and loaded the girls up and rushed to the doctor. They recently moved locations so I didn't know which building they were in or where to park and drove around a while trying to figure it out.

Emily threw up in the parking lot on the way inside to the doctor. I wiped her up with baby wipes as best I could and got to our appointment 10 minutes late. This was when I realized I was still wearing the slippers I'd slipped on to take Levi to school. We waited another 20 minutes to be called back. They took Anna's vitals and then we waited 15 minutes to see the doctor. He didn't like the way Emily looked so he said he'd check her out. He looked over Anna and said, "This could be impetigo?" Ten points for mom.

He went to visit another patient while the nurse came and took Emily's vitals. She consulted with him and came back with half a tablet of zofran. 20 minutes later, the doctor came back with prescriptions for topical and oral antibiotics for Anna and more zofran for Emily.

Still hoping to not have to have Anna miss much school, I called the pharmacy from the parking lot to have them start filling the prescriptions. He said they were out of one of the antibiotics, but said another location further away had them and he'd call ahead there.

We drove to the other store and they said it'd be about 10 minutes till they had them mixed and ready. We went to the bathroom, found some allergy medicine the doctor had recommended for Anna, and got some gatorade for Emily. Of course they weren't ready when we got back. We wandered around for another half hour, taking our blood pressure, finding a rainbow of items in the makeup department, and buying bejeweled mirrors for each of the girls before they finally called us.

So, three and half hours after I set out this morning, we were returning, hungry and contagious, and out about $100 in co-pays. I really did feel grateful that we have insurance, that I could see a doctor the same day, that he was willing to fit in Emily, that the zofran was a miracle drug that had Emily walking and laughing and playing and eating while this morning she looked like she wanted to die. I was grateful for antibiotics, even though Anna is going to miss school tomorrow too since she'll be officially contagious most of the day.

But I just kept imagining these past two days with a nursing infant in tow.

And that's why I'm nervous for baby number 4.


Elisabeth said...

That sounds like a truly difficult, difficult day. I've had a lot of similar fears about having a fourth child so I really appreciate you writing this :)

D said...

Just Daniel's activities are too much for me to handle. I made him stop taking fencing while he's in a play just to cut down on how much driving I have to do.
A couple things I do to save time and effort: I never cook any meal that takes more than five minutes, and never clean anything except dishes and laundry, except sometimes on the weekend if I feel like it. Also let my yard go to seed. Also don't volunteer anywhere, and never invite people to my home. You would be surprised how much time these tips can save!

Marc and Miriam Deru said...

Heather, I think three kids was the hardest. Four has actually been ok, even more joyful and relaxed. Don't get me wrong, it's still crazy, but I think I've already been stretched this far as a mother so I can handle more than I used to and be a little wiser too. This year I've simplified how much the older kids are involved with so I don't have to drive so much. One year of doing less to enjoy the baby more isn't so bad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and boy are you doing great with your family. Ps-- I'm so behind on my own journal this was a nice little escape for a second. Now back to work!! :)

lizzie said...

True true that some days are horrendous (though I feel we have been spared much in Felix's first year of life), but I think not only will you know your limits a bit better, you will also adapt more easily. For me, 4 has been great. I relate to Marc and Miriam's comment--I feel more relaxed and am finding more joy. I am also asking more of my kids (Simon and Oliver spend an hour alone while Felix and I take Elsa to gymnastics) and giving them more responsibility. I know it is hard to ask for help, but we have had a few occasions where it would have been impossible to get kids where they needed to be with just the two of us and we've found that people generally like to be helpful.

Marci said...

Wow! What a rough couple of days! I completely understand the anxiety, having had the same feelings before babies 4 and 5 (and severe post-partum depression after most of the children). Hang in there! You are doing great, you have a plan to cut-back, and worrying about things won't change the fact that baby will come regardless. Kids are adaptable and you and your baby will learn to adjust to the situations you are in. Lots of hugs and prayers for you!

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