The 3rd Child

Today, I write this post as a reminder to myself. We have had some long days. Ella has decided that sleep at night is overrated and she would rather scream for hours. I don't require a lot of sleep, but I need sleep. I have been cranky. She is keeping us on our toes wherever we go, and is sure to REALLY keep us on our toes in public. Among all the chaos, I remember the joy she brings to me daily which I am documenting below :)

As many of you know, we struggled with secondary infertility (you can read part one here and part two here). Some of the thoughts we had: we were selfish for wanting a 3rd child, it wasn't in God's plan, we were happy with our two healthy boys, and it was all too much to keep moving forward. At some points, we felt like giving up.

We were getting into that 'easier' stage of life. We could easily go out to a restaurant, we could SLEEP IN, we could do some traveling without much fuss, we could watch a movie as a family and all relax, everyone got ready for bed and ready to get out the door independently, we had alone time to work on our marriage, and having a babysitter come over was easy as there were no diapers, bottles, or unknown tantrums. A big concern I had during the fertility journey was that Jaxon and Jace wouldn't have a bond with a sibling who was so much younger than them. While I had all these concerns, I also didn't feel like I was done having children. I didn't want all of those moments that crept by to have been the last. I felt like I still had it in me to do this all one more time. To 'start over' as some may say.

Fast forward almost 3 years and here we are as a family of five. Ella has been such a blessing to our family. Sometimes it makes me emotional to think about how we almost gave up on her. The boys are now busy in activities and she definitely puts a little spice in our life (and those of the spectators around us). Ella is that mix of happy and determined. One of my best friends said it best, "She is a natural born leader who inspires JOY". Leader. That's a nicer way to say it than full of attitude :) She can be a handful.
Without our youngest, the boys wouldn't have learned how to be patient with a younger child, how to play with and dress baby dolls, how to deal with a temper tantrum (she has many), and patience when things take us a bit longer and mom loses her patience. They let her tag along when their friends are over and help her when she tries to keep up with them. Jaxon is such a nurturer to Ella. He wants to make her happy and keep her safe. Ella is Jace's sidekick. She wants to do everything he does. He can make her belly laugh better than anyone else. Seriously, they have taken on the role of big brothers better than I could have ever expected. Having a fear that they wouldn't bond is now laughable to me.
As for me, I am happy to have her as my little sidekick. Whether it is her asking for mommy at 3pm and 3am (I mean, I really do prefer she asks for dad at this time) or being able to snuggle up and read books, I treasure the joy I find in these moments. I know the time will go quickly and rather than wishing time away, I am able to enjoy it without thinking of my to do list. I simply enjoy watching her make her silly faces and dancing to Baby Shark 15 times a day (side note: she also got about eight 6th grade boys to dance with her on Friday night as well...if they weren't listening to the tune on my phone, I would have taken a picture of them all dancing with her). The bond she has formed with our family and friends and their kids is incredible.

Here is one of Ella's favorite people helping me entertain her while the boys play football in the backyard....
Simply put, I wouldn't have as much JOY and LOVE without our third child. Our family would have never felt complete. I could have pictured myself living with resentment and wonder constantly asking myself 'what-if I had another child'.
After Ella was born, Dan and I both knew our family was complete. We knew all her firsts would be the last. Just this last week we got rid of her crib (thanks to her deciding she should climb out) and bought her a 'big girl bed'. We said bye to the crib we had since Jaxon was a baby and shockingly, I wasn't sad. I knew it was time. That stage of our life was over and I am happy to say that I am ok with it. We know all the future babies we snuggle will be those of family and friends. We just know and it is such a liberating feeling. While I will certainly miss all those firsts (and the lasts), I am excited to see them (and us) move on to the next chapters and phases of life.

To you Ella, you can make our days sleepless and long, but more importantly, you make them beautiful and full of joy! We are SO THANKFUL for YOU (and nap time)!


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