Saturday, November 2, 2013

Awesome Family Planning

If you're anything like me, you waver between literally wanting like, 20 kids, and looking at the ones you already have thinking, Dear God, our home will explode if we have another. 

Since we were married in June 2009, Chris and I have been practicing the Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning. Click here for a brief overview of how Billings works. We attended a short course offered on NFP by our church before marriage. Let me just tell you, 3 hours of instruction is not enough to get the success rates NFP boasts. Amazingly, with how little either of us really knew about charting, we managed not to get pregnant for over a year. After slowly getting lazier about charting and paying less attention to my fertility signs- surprise, surprise! We get pregnant with our oldest.

This came at what seemed like the worst time ever for a baby. We had just packed up all our belongings and driven halfway across the country from Maryland to Texas so Chris could start law school. By belongings, I mean one business suit, a few pairs of shoes, and a large collection of empty water bottles. (Ok, I am definitely exaggerating.) We had no furniture to speak of, and no money, so we figured we would sort of just levitate over the floor at night, kind of like we were sleeping on a bed in Wonder Woman's invisible plane.


Forgive the black eye, she's being used as a shovel in the mulch these days.
Also, if you are management at our apartment, just kidding. Lenny NEVER digs up the mulch.


By the grace of God, we were given a bed and other furniture by a friend of the family who had just moved to another city in Texas and had bought all new furnishings. We actually had a kitchen table! And a couch!! We even scored on two outdoor chairs!!! 

So a week after we moved and began settling into our new apartment, we are lounging around in the pool and Chris hands me a celebratory beer, just because we are so awesome. And I say, sure I'll have one, my period is only 8 days late hahahaha maybe I should get a pregnancy test jajajaja. (Yes, I did begin laughing in Spanish once we moved to Texas. I figured I could perfect the laugh first and learn the rest of the language later. Still working on that second part jaja.) 

I'm not lying folks, I was seriously joking with him and in no way did I actually have even the slightest thought that I could actually be pregnant. And then the next day I'm all, holy crap I haven't had my period in nine days holy crap holycrap crapcrapcrap. And OBVIOUSLY I am pregnant as I have ever only been four days late for my period, ever. But we still get the obligatory twenty-six different tests and then get super duper surprised when they say pregnant. 

We were over the moon. 
With fear. 

That night I began desperately searching for a job. And the following morning I began desperately searching for the toilet. And let's not even talk about how my sweet dear husband thought I was just getting sick for show. (After a few months of puking he kind of got the idea that I was not doing it just to prove that I was pregnant...) Let's just say God blessed us. After months of being so sick that I couldn't eat or even get off the couch, and getting so scared and stressed because not even McDonald's would hire me, I found a job at a child care, and the owner let me bring Lenny for free when he was born. There was no way we could have afforded our bills if I had gotten any other job and had to pay child care. 

As any parent knows, once a child comes into your life you would NEVER have it any other way. Lenny is my life and my joy and I am in awe that God chose me to be his mother and I will love him and protect him forever and never let anything bad happen to him and I will never let him go and he will be my baby forever. MINE FOREVER. And if you are trying to tell me that he will grow up and leave me one day then lalalalala I can't hear you...

By the skin of our teeth we made it through three years of law school. We used NFP successfully to avoid pregnancy after Lenny was born, and started trying to get pregnant again so that our second would be born after Chris's graduation. We had pretty bad timing on that one too, since Carolina was born two weeks after we moved to Houston, right as we were switching from Chris's school insurance to the health insurance at his new job. She came over two weeks early, one day before Chris's first day at work. It was scary and stressful and I wouldn't change a minute of it.

Chris is working for a judge for one year, and then we will have a period of anywhere from one to three months where he has no job before he starts work at a law firm downtown in Houston. So we are pinching every penny and would reaaaaaally like to avoid having another child before he starts the new job. Which means we would need to wait until at least February, giving us six months after Carolina's birth, during which we could apply LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method). This website explains LAM. 

What is the point of me saying all this? I think it's a sign that God has us perfectly set up to start using AFP instead of NFP. AFP, also known as Awesome Family Planning, is a term I started using after reading this post from Carrots for Michaelmas. AFP is also known as do whatever you want and take kids as God gives them to you. Which is something that I never ever ever in a million years would have thought was a good idea before my second child came along. My mom had eight of us and we were all pretty closely spaced, the first three all in three years, and then the rest of us straggling along just under 2 years apart. And every time I imagined that being my life, my mind just shut down in a panic. But now... I feel like I can do it! Yay me! Because kids are the greatest, GREATEST blessing. And I find myself thinking, how can I deny any of my children the right to be born? This is what I envision- Chris sitting at the fire, I at the piano, and our children gathered around, as we sing hymns from memory in perfect harmony. 


Either this, or total chaos. 


Since I basically already know that I won't be able to get pregnant until at least February because of LAM, especially considering I didn't get my cycle back after Lenny was born until he was 13 months old, I feel like God is setting us up with perfect timing. And if I don't get my cycle back until around 13 months again, the next two kids will be almost 2 years apart, which is about the same spacing I would try to achieve with NFP. Except without ANY of the hassle. 

Having kids kind of scares me. That's normal, right? Right?? But I love my two more than anything and I love being a mother. I used to want to be an important artist, to get my work out there and to pat myself on the back while people admire my technique and the meaning behind my work. But when it comes down to it, that will never happen. Not just because I'm honestly a terrible and lazy artist, but mainly because I found my true calling. The word "Mother" can't really do justice to the great undertaking God calls us to when he gives us his child to care for on this earth. 
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