What No One Told Me About Having my 4th Baby

Three weeks ago, my husband, three children, and I welcomed a sweet, gentle, wiggly little baby boy into the world. He weighed in at 7lbs and we named him, John Christopher, after my father in law, one of the most wise men I’ve ever known. One of these long, exhausting days I’ll get around to writing his birth story. But for now, I’m back peddling into blog catching up.

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Motherhood threw shock my way within the first moments of my being one. Our first baby boy was incredibly loud (even to the ears of an Italian) so much so that he was kicked out of the nursery because he woke up the other babies after the terror of his first bath, had the latching skill of a piranha, and slept in 5-7 minute cycles before demanding to be fed again. There I sat in perhaps the smallest hospital room (closet) ever designed in a quarantined floor because swine flu swept the nation in the very same way that Ebola might. I was alone and completely clueless with my very young, new husband. My hospital bag packed full of text books, pre-pregnancy jeans, and, my high heel booties, was of absolutely no hope. My plan to study for the graduate school finals I suffered through 5 days post baby while dressed in pants that button and stilted shoes quickly vanished from my delirious mind as all of my thoughts turned to, “how will I ever sit down again?” While everyone told me their congratulations, well wishes, and sent adorable plush stuffed animals, I was somehow left in the dark when it came to bleeding nipples, stitches, mesh underpants, and normal baby behavior. The three of us, still, somehow survived, and we did so happier than ever.

While I’m fully accustomed to the joys of mesh underpants this fourth time around, motherhood, so it seems, is and always will be, full of surprises. Here are some of its most recent unexpected joys:

3am occurs 24 hours in a row, or so it feels: I know it, you know it, all other moms know it. Children have no idea and still expect to be fed. If someone could only inform my infant that sleeping all day and partying all night is only acceptable in college, all will be well.

There will be blood: I sat across from Jim at our very dirty, mostly falling apart, hand me down kitchen table. With James reaping the benefits of having successfully tackled both of his sister’s in the race to tend to baby John Christopher’s desire for a pacifier, Rita drowned her sorrows in a third helping of steak. Josie continued in trying to distract her big brother from his post through song and clumsy dance. With everyone occupied, we raised our first post baby glass of wine and toasted to a Friday night home and together. Just as the delicious fermented grape touched my lips, Josie’s dance routine grew increasingly spirited catching Rita’s concentrated love of meat off guard. Three spins and the most clumsy plea ballet has ever known later, Rita’s chair was accidentally shoved out from underneath her feet. In that moment, Rita learned that heads, unfortunately, do not brace falls very well. After Jim and I discussed “I think it looks fine? Maybe not?”, we took our great parenting to the expertise of group text. Consensus confirmed stitches. To med express Daddy and sweet Rita went as I waited anxiously by the phone. Jim’s calm demeanor was first challenged when Rita did what every woman wants to do at the doctor’s office and threw a complete screaming and crying fit when asked to stand on the scale. The dr went on to diagnose that she needed staples. Every single postpartum  hormone began to be released in hysterical tears. My favorite detail, however, is the med express doctor’s immediate recognition of our last name based on the frequent visits from our next door neighbors. “Give Maria and Dan and all their boys my best,” he said as they left. Lesson learned: more kids, more med-express.

– It will be humiliating in unexpected ways: Like when I thought servicing the furnace would take 10 minutes and cost 10 dollars, it might take 4 long hours and cost much more. Enter: unprepared HVAC technician into a house with 8 children all 4 and under (the neighbors came to visit). After one hour and a leggo fight, he returned from the basement to say, “something is broken.” With the sweet sound of “Mom!! Wipe my bum!!” in the background, 45 minutes after that he asks, “is it possible something is stuck in the vents?” “Yes.” I confirm. Two hours and a sawed off pipe later, as JCDII demonstrated his impressive skill of nursing and yet simultaneously vomiting all over me, and Josie ran around in only underpants, he had found the problem. “Sorry that took so long, Ma’am,” he began nervously. “But it looks like the furnace exhaust had been stuffed with a considerable amount of rocks, chalk…and it looks like… a pair of dirty underpants.” Upon sight of my visible embarrassment, my sister comforted me with, “At least it’s not poop filled diapers in your gutters.” Lesson learned: it could always be worse, and it usually is next door.

– Questions are Asked: The last time I gave birth my oldest kid was two and mostly uncommunicative. This time 3 of them speak and they speak well. Questions include: “Mommy’s Diaper?” “Why can’t we jump on your belly?” “Why does your belly look like that?” “Why is that milk yellow?” “Why does that pumper sound like that?” “If the baby is out, why is your belly still big?” “Mommy, are you pregnant again yet?” “When will you be pregnant again?” “Can we help you get pregnant?” “Next time can you have two babies?”

– Generosity will astound: The meals, the gifts, THE PRAYERS! Unbelievable.

Joy will permeate: In perhaps the greatest grace filled moment of my life, I held sweet baby John Christopher and heard the rest of the clan’s pitter patter down the hospital hallway. My heart was beating in pure excitement that I could barely contain myself from jumping out of the hospital bed to greet them. EVERYONE TOLD ME THAT I WOULD BE TIRED. EVERYONE TOLD ME MY HANDS WOULD BE FULL. NO ONE TOLD ME I WOULD CRY IN COMPLETE JOY UPON INTRODUCING MY NEW BABY TO MY BIGGER BABIES. So they spilled chocolate cake all over the floor, wiped their faces on my sheets, broke the buttons that make the bed adjust, and nearly jumped on me so many times that my husband thought I might hemorrhage all within a twenty minute visit? THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT THAN THAT OF A SIBLING, EVEN IF THE YOUNGEST IS DISAPPOINTED THAT HE ISN’T A DOG.

– Somehow it’s easier Maybe it’s because the last time I had a baby no one could yet walk down the steps or maybe it’s because three were still in diapers, or maybe it’s because JCD’s siblings are totally obsessed with him? But, I swear its easier to have a fourth kid around! Don’t get me wrong, my hands? They are at their fullest. But, to have a new little newborn life! What a grace, what a life, what a love.

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This blog is coming back. Stay tuned.

17 thoughts on “What No One Told Me About Having my 4th Baby

  1. Mine were 3.5 and (almost) 2 when we had twins, and it was so SO crazy… Now that they’re older (5 and 3.5, plus 2yo twins) and we’re expecting #5, it’s seriously so much more fun and exciting! I think it really does make a huge difference when they’re older because they finally *get* it! Makes pregnancy a lot more fun 🙂 Now they say they want between 7 and 13 kids…

    Congratulations to all of you!!! I bet Rita will realize just how similar a baby is to a puppy once he starts crawling and chewing on all her shoes 😉

  2. Congrats! What a beautiful family. My 4th is 5 weeks old today, and I completely agree that it’s easier. Three kids threw me for a loop, but four? I’ve never been so happy and fulfilled. God is good.

  3. I loved this. Your family is beautiful, and I hope I look half as good as you do when I deliver my third, let alone the fourth one.

    Oh, and it’s hilarious that the doc recognized your family!

  4. We just brought number 7 home. Our oldest is 7 years old and so I can relate to everything you wrote. I happen to be wearing those mesh panties right now, as I lay in bed listening to the sounds of my husband entertain the other six (includes my 14 month old twin girls). They are all in love with their new baby brother and obsessed with seeing my c section staples.
    Your family is beautiful. Seeing how crazy you two love birds are, makes me fall in love with my husband even more.

  5. I came across this tonight and it could have been a page out of my life! As a mother of six I laughed and cried and was amazed at how moms can seemingly gain more strength through there childrens love. Congratulations on a beautifully blessed family!

  6. Congratulations- he’s lovely, and this is a lovely post. I also just had #4, who is 3 1/2 months old now, and it seems like all is joy this time around. Maybe we’re getting better at appreciating the little things? Like underpants in the furnace? (That so could have happened at my house…)

  7. LOL, You Nailed it! My #4 is almost 5 months already – is time flying faster cause I’m 35 now or because I have 4? This has been a breeze! My older kids are 10, 8, and 7, so I had a little more time in between. I still find poopy undies in odd places though :/ Or my mom does when she helps clean! I dug out all the books, but don’t find much to read. I’ve got this! I’m just going with the flow now. Little guy can nurse as much as he wants. Everything else can wait! So of course he’s easy – he gets everything he wants, and if I really have to do something else, then he’s got siblings to keep him entertained! Agreed the moment when they all came to see him was magic. 🙂 So my older kid keeps telling me she’ll be going to college in 8 years, or hey, mom, do you think I’ll have my baby in 10 years – Whaaaat? (mental math) – oh honey, make it 15… And be married! Please get married first! Of course Mom, she says and rolls her eyes. Congratulations 🙂

  8. I am a father to a great child. Number two is set to arrive in 3 days. All planned. I have fallen into a “google” fall. I started searching what it is like to have two kids, then three…. now four. I have 5 older siblings, so know how amazing it is to have them in my life, but up until your blog, I was a little worried if I could handle it. But something clicked while reading, or rather, something clicked even more. As if a light that was on, just got brighter. I always wanted kids, even when I was like 10, and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was probably the only little boy in existence to say, “a father.” And for some reason, reading your blog…. its almost like I could see the love in the words. It does not matter how hard things can get, because love will be worth it in the end. If I can give my kids the kind of memories I have from my childhood…. well that is a successful life. Thank you for the moment of clarity in what feels like the scariest storm I have ever been in.

  9. Im pregnant with #4 right now and aftually so worried this time! My two oldest are 8 and 6 so thats not too bad but my youngest is 16 months right now and will be a busy 2 year old around the time this one is born. Its been a hard couple years trying to keep up with everything and take care of my 3. Hopefully it will all be easier than I imagine!

  10. I have 4 kids! 9yr boy, 7yr boy, 4yr girl and 2yr girl. I so wanna have another one as Jade my 2yr is getting more independent and I just want too go through the baby stage one last time. I’m so broody!! My 9yr boy who’s called Charlie, my 7yr boy who’s called Sam and my 4yr old girl who’s called Teressa are all at school so I get plenty of time with Jade. But I really wanna have #5 but don’t know if it will be right. My husband is happy to go along with any decision I make!

  11. Your blog gave me so much hope at such a desperate time. Thanks so much for sharing your story! We’re expecting our 4th any day now.

  12. EVERYONE TOLD ME THAT I WOULD BE TIRED. EVERYONE TOLD ME MY HANDS WOULD BE FULL. NO ONE TOLD ME I WOULD CRY IN COMPLETE JOY UPON INTRODUCING MY NEW BABY TO MY BIGGER BABIES. –

    You are so blessed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you so much. I am so encouraged!!!!!!!!!! I am expecting my fourth, my first one is 6, then 4, and 2. Lovely post!!! Makes me happy to have my clan, what a great and beautiful gift to be a mom to these children. I will embrace it everyday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU

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