She Says… I’ve Got the Fever

Nope, not the kind of fever we usually have around this house. (Though, mercifully, we haven’t had much of that at all recently!)

BABY FEVER.

For so long, I felt very strongly that I wasn’t quite ready to rock the boat and have another baby. My time with just Owen has been so special and sweet and intimate. Owen is such a lovely little boy and I haven’t felt ready to share him, or myself, with another baby. I wasn’t ready to split my attention and cause unnecessary chaos and turn my perfect life upside down.

Everyone around me is pregnant. And I mean everyone. Almost all of my friends who have babies Owen’s age are pregnant again. Together. Their bellies are growing and they laugh about how crazy it will be to have kids so close in age and how they will be best friends.

And slowly, ever so slowly, those little thoughts have begun to pop into my mind too. Fleeting, at first. A pang to feel those floppy newborn legs. An image in my mind of how cute Owen would be hugging a little “brudder”. Thinking about how, even if we got pregnant thisverysecond, we’d have 9 months to prepare and Owen would be like a different kid. Nine months ago feels like a lifetime in terms of the developmental milestones Owen has gone through, and I imagine the next 9 months will be the same. He’ll be big enough to help. He’ll be such an awesome big brother.

But then, of course, I hear the other voice in my head shouting, “Wait! Wait!”. Two kids in daycare changes our financial situation quite a bit. Two kids makes traveling (especially solo) that much harder. Two kids means we need to find a babysitter who’s cool with taking care of both at the same time. Two kids means splitting my attention during bedtime routines and cuddling with Owen one-on-one and not having the sole focus or time to have a long conversation filling in the blanks that his sweet toddler brain leaves out. And on and on and on. There’s a lot to think about when considering another baby.

And then, once my mind has gone in a million circles about timing and months and age difference and seasons to be pregnant… it all comes back to one, humbling thought. What a luxury to be able to actually plan when you get pregnant.

Although we’re not “trying” yet, and I really don’t know how quickly we will get pregnant, we are in a completely different situation than when we thought about getting pregnant the first time. And I am thankful for it every day. With Owen, we had our perfect schedule laid out, and then we took a detour when my body had other plans. Now, thanks to pregnancy and birth and, well, most likely just time without birth control, my body seems to have reset. We have no reason to believe that we will have trouble getting pregnant the next time. I’ve been charting cycles and they are shockingly normal with an identifiable ovulation day. No predictor kits. No drugs. No nothin’. Bodies are amazing things, people!

We have a plan for Baby #2. And it involves waiting a bit longer before we start trying. I’m just getting my head in the game.

What do you think is the ideal age difference between siblings? What month would you most like to give birth, if you could choose?

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30 responses to “She Says… I’ve Got the Fever

  1. oh! exciting.
    my sister and i are 4.5 years apart and i kinda feel like that is too many years – maybe 2-3 would be more optimal?
    late spring (maybe may or june up here) seems like a great time to have a baby, that way you don’t have to be uncomfortably pregnant during the hot, humid months (july/august) but you’re also not at your hugest when it’s really cold and you need to wrap up well (which i imagine can be a real challenge).

  2. We’re in the same place. All of my friends have kids that are 2 years apart. My son is 20 months old now and I’m not pregnant, and I’m compulsively checking your blog and others that I read while I was pregnant and had kids around the same time, trying to reassure myself– “see not everyone has kids that are two years apart.” I always thought that would be our plan, but we also are just so enjoying our son and after 16 months of breastfeeding, I really wanted sometime for my body to just be mine.

    We are now aiming for between 2.5-3 year age difference. We had originally thought we’d start trying in June, as that would work out perfectly in terms of our child care arrangements. And then realized that there was no way to know if we’d even get pregnant right away, so we might as well try a little earlier. I’d love to start right now, but wouldn’t have enough leave banked up, so March it is. Best of luck to you and your growing family. I so enjoy your blog.

  3. I have a feeling we will be waiting until Logan is 3 before we start trying again, so a 3-4 year age gap. Right now it’s tight just paying for 1 child in daycare, and I don’t know if we could stretch our budget to cover 2 in daycare at the same time any time soon.
    My siblings and I are 18 months apart – I’m the middle child – and we had some AWFUL, probably a bit past normal sibling rivalry going on until we all moved out of the house. Now in our mid twenties, we are becoming friends again. I know a big part of that was the environment we were raised in. But my husband and his brother are 6 years apart and are very close, so I don’t think the age difference is the only factor in how close siblings are to each other.
    As much as I long to hold a newborn again and go back to the early days when we spent hours napping in the recliner together, I know it won’t be the same with two kids and I don’t think I’m anywhere near ready for 2 kids. I want to immerse myself in Logan as he enters the toddler phase and continues to grow and meet new milestones. Plus my husband and I were only married for 2 months when we found out we were pregnant, and we are just now getting into a good routine as both a married couple and as parents. I really don’t want to disrupt that. I want to settle into the family we have now and get some other of our goals accomplished before we add to our family. (Like working on our house, going on the honeymoon we never got to take, finishing my first half marathon and making it through an entire mountain bike season.)

  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels like EVERYONE is pregnant. When I got to story time at the library, all the other moms are pregnant or have newborns. I’m the freak, haha.

  5. I totally feel you, Kate! I ebb and flow between the same emotions: wanting to enjoy the time with Maya now, and wanting another baby soon so they aren’t too far apart in age. I think 2.5-3 years apart is ideal and that’s where we’re at … What trips us up is we weren’t trying with Maya so we have no idea how quickly (or not) we will conceive. I’d been off the Pill since May 09 (being careful as we could) and I got pregnant in March 2010. I nursed and never went back on the Pill so I’ve just been tracking my cycles and it seems I am getting my period the same date each month recently (coincidentally, the 18th — Maya was born 12/18!) so I think that gives us some insight into my cycle being regulated but I dunno. I waffle back and forth but love the idea of being close in age like my sibs and I (2 yrs between each of us, there are 3 of us). It’s good to start thinking about it, either way. Financially is the biggest concern — daycare is $10,000 for one kid, so for two we get a discount but not much … still looking at about $20,000 a year. Which is hard to swallow. So we’ll see … it might just mean I move to part-time when the time comes. So much to think about!

    Oh and I LOVED having a December baby … all winter long, I was home snuggled with my girl — and we still went out (when it wasn’t snowing) almost every day. I think delivering in March or April would be nice b/c you’d get those lovely spring-time walks in that we winter maternity leave moms really couldn’t — not with a newborn (when she got older we went out when it was cold — this is Michigan after all!) Good luck — and who knows, maybe a whole new flux of us will be pregnant next year together! There is no right time, only YOUR right time. But seeing the swollen bellies does cause pangs of baby fever to strike even more!

  6. My babies are 16 months apart and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is hard, hard, HARD -but- I had my 2nd before my first really understood jealousy, they’ll be old enough to take to Disney at the same time, they can share most of their toys and they aren’t out of date or broken or what-not, and I can’t imagine having them any further apart really. :) In a few more months they’re really going to be able to entertain each other and not get as bored of each other as siblings further apart can.

  7. And if it doesn’t happen, there are plenty of great only’s out there. :)

  8. I was 22 months apart from my younger sister and we were TIGHT. In a family of 7 children it was nice to have someone to be close to.

    I’m pregnant with my second and my son will be 21-22 months old when he’s born. I’m excited to have my boys close together but I agree, it’s a luxury to plan pregnancies.

    I’m a stay at home mom so a second child is slightly less disruptive since we don’t have to think about childcare costs or splitting evening times between the kids because I’ll be able to spend each day with them. I totally understand how you’d need to really reevaluate your life for a second kid.

    I hope you can find a way to make things work either way!

  9. Sometimes I shake my head at how similar we are. Up until about 2 weeks ago I wasn’t quite ready to “get back in the ring” so to speak for ALL of those reasons you listed. The biggest one I think was already feeling guilty for the idea that Cameron would have to share me, that somehow he wouldn’t feel as loved, which is ridiculous because everyone has siblings, right?! I myself am an only child, so perhaps that’s why the idea of having multiple children, even though, was always the “plan”, isn’t something I’m able to wrap my head around. I wasn’t a person who “enjoyed” pregnancy the way that lots of women say I “love(d)” being pregnant. I was sick and miserable most of the time, BUT about a week or two ago I had a brief flash of what I remembered it was like to feel Cameron moving inside and kicking and it was a definite “pang” for #2. I am still not officially ready to try and see it more toward end of summer/fall, but I think I’m going to be ready to make Cameron a big “brudder” too. 3 yrs apart is about as long as I think I’d want to put them too. And like you, since having him, my cycles have been becoming regular and while they are still slightly longer than “normal” I have yet to miss one since getting it back, so that’s a good sign :-)

  10. Its always the right season to have a baby, and at what ever age difference you feel comfortable with! We have tons of love to give each child, and money comes and goes.

    And yes I am thinking “baby” too, I blame it on female genetics!

  11. It’s funny how people have such varied opinions about this. I really think a lot of these days is based on finances. My husband and I are starting a business and we have an 8 month old. I know that it would be way too much for me to handle trying to add another kid into the mix in the next few years so we’re thinking we will wait until he’s 3 or 4 to even start trying. Then again, I want to have another baby before I’m 35 or 36 and I just turned 31. Where does time go? :)

  12. Ha, I actually have a post very similar to this one scheduled for next week. I think we’re going to go for 2-3 yrs between kids, for a variety of reasons related to our thoughts/experiences with sibling spacing as well as our financial/living/etc. plans. I would love a spring baby. I would rather not have another July/Aug. end of pregnancy, but if that is what happens it wouldn’t

  13. Ha, I actually have a post very similar to this one scheduled for next week. I think we’re going to go for 2-3 yrs between kids, for a variety of reasons related to our thoughts/experiences with sibling spacing as well as our financial/living/etc. plans. I would love a spring baby. I would rather not have another July/Aug. end of pregnancy, but if that is what happens it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever.

  14. Kate, I say this as one planner to another…try to just go with the flow on this one!! I don’t think there is an IDEAL age difference or month to give birth. My son is the same age as Owen and my original ‘plan’ was to space my kids out 2-2.5 years. Well, you know what they say when you make plans…God laughs. I’m having #2 in a month. We were shocked, scared and overwhelmed at first, but we have come to realize all the positives that come with this surprise blessing. All your concerns (finances, alone time with Owen, etc.) are valid points, but I’ve come to realize that these things work themselves out. I say just enjoy your time with Benjamin ;) and see what happens.

  15. I think the ideal age difference is what works best for your family. I truly believe the type of relationships siblings have is more dependent on the family dynamic and how you foster their relationship in healthy ways rather than the years between them. My husband is 5 years older than his brother and they are best friends. There are only 2 years between my brother and I and we don’t have much of a relationship at all. Do what works for you and your family and that will be the perfect age difference:)

  16. we’re in the same place too, although it’s mostly because of my age rather than timing. I kind of wish I had gotten pregnant a year ago so that the kids would be two years apart. If I get pregnant soon, they’ll be three years a part which is fine, I’d just like to have them closer if I could choose.

  17. Seriously, EVERYONE is pregnant. It’s a little freaky. But yeah, baby fever is in full force in my household. It came on suddenly. We planned to wait to start trying until maybe late summer/early fall. But all of sudden, things (financially, emotionally, etc) seemed to fall into place, and we both realized we want a baby sooner than that. So the timeline has been moved up. We’re hoping for a 2 to 2-1/2 year difference in age.

  18. Everyone keeps telling me how we should have our babies close in age… and though theoretically that makes sense, I have no desire to be pregnant again, yet. I don’t want to share my Bug yet. I also worry about the things like Eli’s preschool only taking babies over the age of 1… I LOVE his school and would hate to have kids in two different daycares. I always thought that a 2-3 year age gap would be great, now I’m thinking more like 3-4 years.

  19. I heartily agree with Sarah that money concerns, age gaps and time just seem to work themselves out. In our case, we were surprised by our first pregnancy, planned for children 3 years apart, and then I experienced secondary infertility. Our boys ended up 4 years apart and I was grateful that we only had to cover a year of both in childcare before the oldest started kindergarten. When he started school, I cut back my work hours to match school hours, which benefited both kids. I found my 4-year-old to be tremendously helpful with a newborn and not the least bit jealous.

  20. The thing that I’ve struggled with the most with having just one baby is finding the right balance dividing my attention between my boy, my husband, work, dogs, other friends, etc. It’s so hard! And I have a lot of guilt over the time I have for my son and my husband. I’ve always wanted at least three kids, but having another one is going to make balancing everyone’s needs more difficult….and I’ll probably feel more guilt. I FINALLY feel like I’m getting in a good groove of balancing it all….and I don’t want to disrupt that. But I know we want another one….and sometime within the next 1.5 – 2 years. But I don’t know when I’ll feel ready to bring on that level of more responsibility into my life. You know?

  21. We aimed for a 2.5 year age difference, but a lot of that actually had to do with when I wanted to give birth. We wanted a summer baby, because we would both be off from work, and I knew I’d want my husband home as much as possible (read: ALL THE TIME) in those first couple of months. And it was the best thing we could have done. Not only did I get plenty of one-on-one time with the baby (which was one of my biggest fears, not having that same one-on-one that Ethan and I had had), we also had lots of concentrated family time, which I think helped us avoid any major jealousy from Ethan. When he needed some solo mommy time, it was really easy to give it to him, with my husband right there to take over with the baby. And we were able to spend two months getting used to life with two — or at least enough so that when we started work again in September we didn’t feel completely overwhelmed! Having the 2nd baby in the summer was great, too, because we could spend a lot of time outside — with a newborn AND a toddler, being able to play outside was a necessity!
    It’s definitely different the second time around, but it’s just as wonderful. The capacity that moms have to love is an amazing thing. Yes, things do change and most of the routine you had when it was only one needs to change, adjust, etc., but you find your way there. And it’s even better because there’s more of that wonderful baby love, not only between you and your little ones but between the two of them — and THAT is one of the most wonderful things ever. When I watch my two boys “chat” and make each other laugh, it’s the kind of thing that makes my heart skip a beat — there’s just SO MUCH love. :)

  22. I had my first child, a daughter, in January 2010. Our second, a baby boy, will be joining our family on February 21st! Eek! That will make our children just over two years apart. I have no idea what is in store for me but I’m ready for the insanity! I will say that my daughter has a cousin who is 2 1/2 years older than she is. And my sister and I are 2 1/2 years apart in age. It’s a really, really good age difference! My daughter and niece are best friends and my sister and I are best friends (of course, there were rocky patches when we were teens but that’s all over now). I also have a sister who is five years older than me and a brother who is nine years older than me (yes, my parents were INSANE!) and we are all very close actually. There are positive and negatives to probably just about any age range but the beauty is that siblings are an awesome blessing no matter what!

    As far as a perfect month to have a baby, I’m not sure about that. All I know is that I hate the sticky, hot, muggy, horrible summers where I’m from. I would hate to be hugely pregnant in the summer. I see myself always trying for a winter or spring baby just so I can be enormous when it’s nice and cold outside. Good luck to you when you do decide the time is finally right!

  23. I’m INSANELY jealous everytime I hear / read about a pregnancy [does that mean I have baby fever?].

    That being said, we are going for a 5 year gap. Many factors: it is what hubby and I both grew up with and loved, only one kid in college at a time, only one in hs at a time [me and my sis were so competitive I'm thankful we never were in the same school at the same time], more years to do fun things with Blaine before a baby has to be towed along, I should probably go back to work a few years before taking another leave [I can take 2 year leave], we want a bigger house with more than 2 bedrooms before the next baby is born, etc.

    So we are waiting but it doesn’t help with the pregnancy envy!!

    AND SUMMER BABIES ALL THE WAY!! No question about it! [and we don't have air conditioning either so I understand the pregnant when it's hot thing].

  24. Oh man, it comes in waves, doesn’t it? Last year I was one of easily a dozen friends who was pregnant. This year? NOBODY!

    You can make a logical argument for or against any age difference. Some people LOVE having their kids super close together, and find that the siblings grow up with a great relationship. And it’s sort of a rip-the-band-aid-off approach, in my mind. The first few years with little ones close in age are madness, but then you get the payoff of kids who can play together. That said, my brother and I were only 17 months apart, and HATED each other. We were so very different, and never got along at all, so being so close in age actually seemed to make it worse.

    I never wanted kids that close together, though I ultimately ended up with my first two a whopping 45 seconds apart, so I suppose you just can’t plan these things. :-) For me, the 3.5 year difference between my big kids and my little one has been wonderful. The older kids are in preschool, so they have their own life going on. They’re old enough to talk to, old enough to understand, old enough to help. They’re also old enough to COMPLETELY adore their little sister.

    But, then, was their easy acceptance to a little sister due, in part, to already having a twin? Neither of them had ever known 100% of my attention, so it wasn’t such an adjustment to share with another. Plus, they still had the same constant playmate as before, so how much really changed? Would 3.5 years with a singleton be so much harder because that one child was so used to the undivided attention?

    It’s the unanswerable question. You’ll only know the path that you end up on. You can imagine all of the others, but it doesn’t matter. You only have your kids, with their own personalities and lives.

    You’ll know when it’s time. You won’t be able to hold it back any longer. Believe me.

  25. I think three years is an ideal age difference, though I know of friends whose kids are 6 years apart and are incredibly close. In the end, the span of time between children probably doesn’t matter, but it’s the way that we raise our kids to love and care for each other that makes a difference. And singletons are lucky, too–they get mommy and daddy to themselves, after all!

    My kids are 22 months apart, and I didn’t plan it that way. But with my history of m/c when TTC #1, I feel lucky that #2 arrived safe and sound and without much difficulty, even if it was unplanned and all around surprising. Also, I have a fall baby (September) and a winter baby (December), but I would have loved a spring baby! Spring seems like a great time to hang out with a newborn.

  26. What a timely post…the fever must be contagious! My daughter is 20 months and I’m starting to do the calculations and weigh the pros cons etc. The funny thing is we had a fluke pregnancy in that we were trying for over a year but I was not ovulating and had not actually gotten my period once since being off the pill but then with charting were able to get pregnant o our first actual try (read no period just caught that first ovulation!) My cycles have not perfectly resumed since I have some hormonal issues but after trying to relax a bit and gain a little weight I have had 3 cycles in the last 5 or so months. That’s pretty good for me. Obviously I have to be flexible (as we all should) but I think 3-3.5 years would be a nice range. I’m lucky right now because none of my friends with babies from the year my daughter was born (there was 7 of us) are pregnant yet..and we have a new baby cousin in the family so I get to get my cuddles in without the night waking! I’ve thought about it all too, money, childcare, work responsibilities, family balance, health, stress, you name it….I guess everyone adjusts accordingly. I had a Spring baby and although it was really nice not to be pregnant into the hot summer I find it funny that everyone raves about Spring babies and getting for walks etc….I look at like this, the first couple of months were to focus on bonding and breastfeeding and getting as much sleep as humanly possible (I didn’t leave the house much at all!) and I get 1 year off work (in Canada) so I would rather have the nice weather at the end of my maternity leave than the beginning. So if I am going to get super anal about it, I would say something like having an August baby so that I would go back to work in August -September (if I banked holidays on) and have the whole summer with my ~1 year old. But since I’m a little crazy I also think about things like childcare entrance and when cold/flu season is…my daughter started in September and by October was hit hard with every virus, since they take at the earliest at 15 months I had my sister watch her over the summer months when I went back to work but I have no real plan in place for next one…apart from maybe extending my leave by a couple of months unpaid. Any as you can see although we are not even going to be trying till the fall I’ve thought about it just a tad LOL :) You are certainly not alone my friend! Great topic for a post!

  27. Hi Kate! As one of the pregnant ones, I definitely have a lot of trepidation of what life with 2 will bring! So count yourself lucky to be “planning” things how they’ll work best for all the fam. Seriously, I have some moments of mini freakouts (like, how will I deal when 2 children are throwing tantrums??) but I’m sure I’ll adapt. As for doubling the cost of childcare, I wanted to share how well things are going with our au pair. It works out to just $7.75/hour, which is total cost – not per child. Plus, it’s incredibly flexible – they work whatever hours you need them to. For us, that means she gets up with our little one 3 mornings, husband 2 and me 2. I haven’t felt this good in years, literally. And when the new baby comes, we’re going to have her do some night feedings. As you know in our situation that soul numbing sleep deprivation was a particular challenge, hence we looked into night nannies in anticipation of the new baby. The cost of hiring a night nanny is over $300/NIGHT….and the au pair is $350/week for 45 hours of care. No brainer. Plus, even during her off hours, when she’s at home she’s an extra set of hands to help out. For example even if her workday ends at 2, if she’s eating dinner with us she watches the baby while I cook anyhow. My only wish is that we already had her when the first baby was born!

  28. First time commenting :) Owen and my little man Jack are only about a month apart so as as read your blog I see so much of what is going on with our life.. I’m struggling with the same issue..Everyone seems to be having their babies 2 years apart but I’m enjoying life with a toddler and I’m not quite ready to go back to no sleep.. Plus, being an only child myself, I worry about how my relationship with Jack will change with another baby..For now though, I think we’re thinking of a 3-4 year gap..

  29. @Kate – I loved having a Summer baby (July)! I’m not sure there is a so-called ‘perfect’ age gap for having kids ___ yrs. apart. I think whatever works in the ttc dept.(or not) and what works best with each couples daily life & current situation! Yay for having ‘Baby Fever!’

  30. Everyone i know is pregnant or has babies too, but we’re only just thinking about having the first. I can totally relate to your thoughts going around your head, that’s what I’ve had for the last year or so about when to start trying for our first. I agonise over timing, how it will effect my career, etc. I also have lean PCOS so I’ve found your story really interesting and I’ve been looking for tips.

    Anyways, age gaps! I would agree wih others and go for 3 years max between siblings. Ideally 1.5 – 2 years I reckon… But then I haven’t even had one baby yet! :)

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