Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thoughts on the insanity of disturbing the comfortable state of things

After much obsessing and some discussion with my husband, we have decided that it's entirely OK if the next baby shares a room with the computer temporarily. It may mean that the baby has to nap in our room during the day and we sacrifice computer time at night, but it seems preferable to all the other options we have been exploring. We reserve the right to change our minds about this, but there it is.

Ultimately, we plan to have Olivia and the new baby share a room as soon as the new baby is reliably sleeping through the night. As long as we live in this house, that would absolutely be the best plan. We are also expecting the next baby to be a girl. It's just a feeling we have, and it could be entirely wrong, and we'd be happy either way, but that's the way our minds are bending when we think about two children.

I've been thinking a lot about adding kids after baby turns to toddler. We see a lot of this happening. We have several family members and friends who have kids Olivia's age and are either expecting the next baby or are planning for the next baby.

Every morning when I drag my drowsy self out of my oh-so-comfy bed, I think about how blessed I am to get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. My child knows when it's bedtime and goes to bed without fussing. She sleeps 11-12 hours every night. She can be temperamental and challenging during the day, but I am always well-rested enough to be relatively patient and joyful about the daily task of parenting.

I'm not so far removed from the infant days, though, that I don't remember how tough they were. Part of the problem was that we were completely new at this whole newborn thing. I didn't sleep as much as I could have because I was wracked with anxiety about whether she was hungry/wet/missing her pacifier/stuck in the crib bars. Every time she cried, I wondered if it would mean that I'd be up for the next 90 minutes or if she would fall back asleep on her own. I would lay awake after putting her down from a feeding, waiting for her breathing on the monitor to slow to a sleeping pace before relaxing enough to sleep myself. You can see why it didn't work for me to have her sleeping in our room next to me. I would have gone mad.

Eventually, I did settle down and developed the ability to sleep through any extraneous crying. I had a well-honed sense of whether her cry meant she needed something or whether it was just a tired cry and she would fall back asleep on her own. As a result, Olivia developed the ability to soothe herself back to sleep, to have a reliable bedtime and wake time, and to wake up happy and playing instead of fussy and whiny.

So, the point of all this is that we've reached a comfort zone with regard to sleep. We have also reached a comfort zone with regard to our daily routine, schedule, naps, space and what we can and cannot do with a toddler.

So why are we, and so many others like us, so eager to upset that balance and introduce another baby to the house?

That is the baffling question, and I don't have an answer other than to say that we want kids. Plural. Our intent was never to have an only child. We believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a sibling. They learn so much about love and sharing and getting along with others by living with a sibling.

A child changes the way you see the world. We have so much love to give, and we just have a feeling that there's a child out there who is "meant" to be a part of our family. I don't know if that's the politically correct way to express that in the adoption world, but we felt strongly that God led us to Olivia. I feel that He's leading us to open ourselves again to adoption.

Months before we finally decided to actively pursue adoption, I started playing the "what if" game in my mind. We had already determined that I had some significant fertility issues, and we decided to start researching adoption options. I started thinking, "What if there's a child in utero right now who might become our child? What if there's a baby already growing whose birthmom is looking for a couple just like us?" This kind of question kept popping into my prayers. When Olivia was born, I tried to remember when I started having these thoughts...not just the IDEA of adoption but the concrete thoughts that there could be a real, live gestating child waiting to become a part of our family.

My best guess was that those thoughts started in late February of 2007, when we started actively researching adoption possibilities. I was home recovering from foot surgery and searching adoption websites. A couple of weeks later, we attended our first adoption seminar. We started talking to friends who had adopted. We requested information packets. By the end of Spring, we had gathered all of our information and decided to sit on it for awhile. We didn't decide to actively pursue adoption until August, a week before we got a call about Olivia's birthmom.

These little "What ifs" were just little nagging thoughts at first, and slowly they became more real scenarios to me...something I could actually imagine happening. As time went on, the adoption "promptings" in my mind became more frequent and insistent. They eventually led to us saying "yes", and before we could do anything to get the process started, God stepped in and settled the question once and for all.

Olivia was born on November 12, 2007. Which means that she was conceived in...you've got it! February. Coincidence? I think it was God's prompting.

So, why do people give up all the comforts of life to add babies to their family? I think it has everything to do with God. What else could cause us to sign up for this insanity? This sleep-deprived, all-consuming, beautiful, amazing, crazy, wonderful insanity. Sign me up.


maggie said...

At my moms group this morning we were talking the How Many Kids conversation and I said, "Oh, I'd have 8 kids no problem!" Where did that come from?! After all the whining I've done lately about schedules and sleep! Obviously there's SOMETHING right, because I TOTALLY WOULD HAVE EIGHT KIDS!

Jen said...

Well, Olivia is so amazingly awesome that of course you want more. Even if they are quite a lot of work and quite an unheaval.

Brian said...

Yes. So true.

Having a second child does disrupt the flow for a while. But babies are always a blessing, and you and I both know already that they are worth the effort.

What a great post.

(This is Stephanie, not Brian.)