How did I end up with 8 kids? When Tim and I had been dating for oh…a week, he asked me how many kids I wanted. I was actually afraid to answer. I thought he would run screaming. Well I screwed up my courage and told him 4. He didn’t run screaming, wonder of wonders. He had grown up with 2 siblings so one more didn’t seem like such a stretch. I only had one brother so doubling the size of my family was a little bit more of a stretch for me, but I adored children, especially babies. Well 18 months later we were married. I still had 18 months of undergrad work and 2 years of graduate school to get my degree in Audiology. The “plan” was for me to finish school, work a year to get certified and pay off bills, and THEN start a family. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. “Accidents” happen and voila, our first child was born 1 week after I waddled across the stage with my undergrad degree and had one semester of grad school under my belt. We had been married 2 weeks shy of 2 years.
I say accident cause this was not “the plan”, but God and my desire for a baby had other “plans.” After she was born we went back on the pill for 2 1/2 years. I stopped working on my Master’s with just 9 hours left, so I could be a full time mommy. When we decided to try for #2 I got pregnant right away. While I was pregnant, I checked out a book from our church library called “A Full Quiver.” Our life was never the same. I learned how much God values children. He calls them a blessing, not a curse. I realized that God was supposed to be the Author of Life, it was He who opened and closed the womb at His will. I was to be completely surrendered to His will and trust Him to provide for me. He grants extra finances when they are needed and extra patience, and grace, and peace. I shared some of the passages from the book with Tim. We researched what the bible said and decided not to use birth control anymore.
Well number 2 arrived in August of 1996 and once she weaned at 9 months I was immediately pregnant again. And I was excited. I wanted all the blessings God wanted to give me. After all, would I turn down any other blessing He sent? Health, wealth, happiness, friends. Of course not. When she was 9 months old I again got pregnant, but this time had a miscarriage. Physically it was easy, but the comments started coming. “Why are you trying to have more kids?” “It’s probably because you have been having them so close together.” “Trusting God is all well and good but you need to be smart and use the brain God gave you.” That one always struck me as weird. When is it a bad idea to trust God? Doesn’t the bible say God’s thoughts are higher than ours? It’s not like God’s up there going “you guys need to use birth control because I just can’t help myself. I’ll make another baby if you don’t stop me.” Absurd.
It took 9 months to get pregnant again. Let me say this; after our 3rd we stopped trying to GET pregnant as well. We just let the chips fall where they may. Our first boy was born 27 months after his 3rd sister. Now everyone thought we would surely be done. Wrong. Girl number 4 arrived 20 months later. I remember telling Tim we were officially nuts now. It was understandable to keep having more until we got our boy, but after that…nuts.
After #5 I specifically asked God to give me a little break, to let my body recover. I just asked for a full 2 years between births. So when 2 years went by and I still wasn’t pregnant I thought something was wrong. Nope, God just granted me time to recover and taught me another lesson in trust at the same time. He’s still in charge, fertile Myrtle or not. Boy #2 arrived 33 months after his sister.
Then came another lesson in trust. I again miscarried. This time I hemorrhaged and almost died. I had to have a transfusion and spent 3 weeks barely able to walk. I couldn’t even chew my steak that I knew had the iron in it that I needed. Wonderful friends took turns caring for my 6 kids. Again the comments started. “How irresponsible.” “The 6 kids you already have need their mother.” “You need to stop now.” I have to say my faith was really tried. I begged God to be real to me and show me that He was still with me. After much prayer we decided that trusting God was always going to be the best plan.
3 months later I was pregnant with #7. I tried to take extra good care of myself but really I just recovered supernaturally fast from the miscarriage. The “Charmer” arrived in perfect shape and I had no complications. Again after prayer we decided not to use birth control and #8 arrived 2 years after his sister.
We laugh now that when we first got married I wanted 4 kids and so did Tim. We just didn’t know we were going to get 4 each;) So now when people ask us if we are done we just smile and say “that’s up to God.” We’ll take as many blessings as He wants to give us, but if we are through, I’m OK with that too. At 38 I still could have several fertile years. Or God could just say I’m done. Whatever comes I will “Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understandings.” Proverbs 3:5