a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Oct, 2010

Dr. Snip

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Mark is going in for The Procedure on Monday. Getting The Snip.

It’s something we’d been thinking and talking about for some time: Should we, or should we not have a third child?

Very very very rarely I catch myself wondering who that potential third person could be. I can’t imagine a world without Sarah’s guffaw, or Emma’s hugs. What, or should I say who, are we missing?

Also: baby gear. I love baby stuff. The clothes, strollers, the linens, the toys … where were they 11 years ago, when all the diaper bags looked like diaper bags? 

Also: maternity clothes. When the girls were born it wasn’t quite socially acceptable to embrace the bump. I wore tents made to look something like clothes. And here we are, in 2010, with outfits like this. I would sooo rock it.

Also:  I see parents holding their babies and I think, wow, that’s so special and beautiful. Babies are so cute. And so new. And SO soft and they smell great. Wouldn’t it be nice to visit that place again?

But here’s the thing, having a baby isn’t VISITING, it’s MOVING IN. The harsh reality is that although babies can be wickedly wickedly cute at times, they are also a lot of work. Mark and I are too old to parent a newborn. Heck, newborns are easy, it’s the other ages/stages that are hard.

I remember times when seemingly mundane things such as TAKING A SHOWER and getting out of the house without a stained shirt were considered small victories. I remember following toddlers around while they learned how to walk, worried about them falling and crashing. I remember the screeching and the tantrums. The oatmeal hardening on the floor. The tears – mine and theirs.

But you know what really killed me the first two times? Sleep deprivation. I lost precious brain cells and never truly got them back again.

Piper sealed the deal for us. She had a gastro issue a few months ago and I found myself out on the front lawn with her several times during the night. It was awful, for her and for me. I was a train wreck the next day. Bleary-eyed and stupid from lack of sleep; practically unable to function.

Can I afford to do that to myself? No. Can Mark afford it, double no. He’s pushing 50. (!)

(Oh man, I see that in print and I can hardly believe it. If we had a baby now he’d eventually be a retired parent of a teenager. Gadzooks.)

If we had a third child I don’t think I’d be able to be a very good parent.

I like my life, a lot. It’s mine again. My body is mine, and it’s taken awhile but my time is becoming mine again too. The girls are old enough and incredibly self-sufficient. I don’t have to watch them while they’re playing outside. I don’t have to wake when they do. They are making their own breakfasts and paddling the family canoe. Maybe this will be the year we take up skiing.

Monday is coming up fast. In the meantime I will quietly count my blessings and at the same time, mourn the fact that this stage of parenthood is over.

24 Responses to "Dr. Snip"

1 | Javamom

October 1st, 2010 at 8:37 am


You are talking to yourself here, and convincing yourself that *that* time has gone…and yet to talk to so many of us too!

Someone recently said to me that two children is perfect. She said (and this rings true to me) that EVERYTHING changes, not just the obvious, when a third one comes along.

For some that means new houses (need an extra room? closet?), new car(s) (we can’t fit a third car seat in our car now)…what about if you have a dog or plan on getting a dog…? Will that affect them in a positive, negative way? How is the transition going to go for the rest of the family while all these new plans are being made?

The time may have past for many of us. I sit and ponder about it all too, yet at the same time I remind myself that I’m entering a new phase, a different phase, with older children, that will be just as rewarding as getting that toddler to master the stairs by himself. Or the baby to sleep through the night (will she ever, that girl child of mine?) The new phase of school-aged children will bring new joys and challenges…will I miss out on that if I’m stumbling around in a sleep-deprived stupor?

Face it, my patience level isn’t the same anymore either as it may have been way back when 5 or so years ago…

Congratulations on the next stage, the next phase of life.

2 | Melissa

October 1st, 2010 at 8:56 am


I was the one holding off in our family – kept thinking about a third. But in the end, James went last summer. He would have gone two weeks after Leanne was born if he’d had his way, but I wanted to be sure I was done.

We did it while Sam was at camp and Leanne slept over at her parents. Rented some movies and watched them in bed. Was actually kind of nice.

In the end, I still have occasional dreams, but also have enough friends with little ones that I can get my fill whenever I need :)

Plus – our family trip to Chicago and the Lego Convention would have much harder trying to keep a two year old from eating the Lego!

3 | Mary Lynn

October 1st, 2010 at 9:01 am


I had always planned on having three kids, but after our first two I just felt very content with where our family was, as did my husband. It was a surprisingly easy decision for us for him to have the ol’ snip, snip done. My best friend, however, is struggling with whether or not to have kid #4, though, so we all have different thresholds for family size. Myself, I’m reveling in the little bit of extra time I have for my own pursuits now that the kids are getting older. I also enjoy that the kids no longer desperately cling to me like they used to, but they still give me lots of cuddles and snuggles. I don’t think I could go back to those sleep-deprived early stages of parenthood anymore.

4 | Danielle S

October 1st, 2010 at 9:07 am


Love the way you put it! My hubby got it done less than a year after our 2nd was born. When my son was8 weeks old I told him him if I ever talked about a 3rd to remind of that moment. I was exhausted! Somehow 2 years older having my 2nd just killed me. I knew a 3rd would definitely not bring out my best Dodd as a mom

5 | Annie @ PhD in Parenting

October 1st, 2010 at 9:12 am


So….can we get Mark to come and post about how easy the procedure was after it was done so that I can convince my husband?

6 | Ginger

October 1st, 2010 at 9:22 am


I wish I could know for sure what is the right thing for our family. The boys are getting easier…but…they are twins and we are about to embark on a journey of speech therapy. But…to only have babies once…to only be pregnant once…I don’t know. To always have the well, maybe…if…hanging over our heads. Another baby will require intervention again…and instead of just one baby it might be another set of twins. Cold fear seeps into my blood at that thought…

I just hope to be in a place soon where either we move forward or let go or at least make a decision!

7 | Kelly

October 1st, 2010 at 9:58 am


You can never really know how things will be until you are there…We had 2 beautiful kids, a boy and a girl – the “million dollar family” people called us. Then a surprise, well a shock to be honest! Our third, a boy, was unexpected to say the least. I was mired in diapers and potty training and my husband was busy building his own business while working full time. We had our hands FULL. I was panicked at the thought of lugging three kids around, tired at the thought of managing it all. Then came William. I never understood that our family was missing something until I held him in my arms. I was now complete. He has added a joy and balance to our life that I did not expect.
That said, I can say with complete confidence that WE ARE DONE! We have moved into that sweet spot of kids doing things for themselves, sleeping in on weekends (when hockey schedules allow) and going out without the bag (however chic) filled with diapers, wipes and toys. Also, my husband and I are actually able to have a conversation that is meaningful, loving and uninterrupted! It has enlightened us to the fact that we have moved on…now if only he could make it official!!!

8 | Dave

October 1st, 2010 at 10:36 am


We were very excited when my wife got whoops-pregnant this summer, and when she miscarried, we were sad, but also quietly relieved. I’m happy to be at the stage where I can hold a baby and love the heck out of it, but still be able to pass it back to someone else to do the dirty work.

I’m way to young to think about grandkids, but MAAAAAAN, I can’t wait to be the best Grandpa ever.

9 | Dave

October 1st, 2010 at 10:36 am


Oh, and high-five to Mark for the Snip.

10 | andrea

October 1st, 2010 at 11:24 am


The wavering “what-ifs” can be totally paralyzing, but I keep thinking … just because we CAN have a baby doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

It feels sad to close this chapter but also good to have made a decision. I will make an awesome grandma someday. :)

11 | sara

October 1st, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Makes ME kind of sad to read you’re done. Silly really, I know. I must be an emotional new mom?! We just had our first little munchkin last April. I love it but no doubt about it… IT’S HARD!!! That being said I’ve always wanted three and hope I can find the energy to make that dream a reality.

I’m the middle child in a family of three. I was 7 and my older brother 10 when oops my younger brother joined the family. My parents have admitted he was a surprise, but a surprise that completed our family perfectly. I loved having a younger brother, and it gave us all the excuse we needed to stay young. All those traditions we were getting a bit old for, well now they had to continue for him;)

A hard decision for sure. But I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy the next chapter! A leisurely shower, HOT cup of coffee, and actually being able to read the paper does sound nice. My husband would sign up for that in a second I think… but he does come from a two kid family;)

12 | Michael Gauthier

October 1st, 2010 at 2:01 pm


Nice post Andrea – well summarized. No guilt necessary. It is your life, and your needs and obligations certainly change as you evolve. And for Mark and others that might have some worries, it is a piece of cake. You will barely notice it. I was pushing a lawn mower around later that afternoon. And ABSOLUTELY no after-effects. mg

13 | Miss Vicky

October 1st, 2010 at 2:27 pm


It was an easy decision for the Webgeek and I – I was 41 by the time AJ came along and after the second extremely risky birth there was no way I was going to consider a third. The Webgeek said “your body’s been through enough – it’s my turn” and that was that. Love him.

And yes, he did say the procedure wasn’t too big a deal.

14 | Mark

October 1st, 2010 at 2:46 pm


Hey Michael, Ixnay on the “piece of ake-cay”. Taking a few days off work and I don’t want anyone to think I’m out mowing the lawn immediately after.

One thing I am certain though is that I doubt that I will “barely notice it”. I make it my business to take notice when someone approaches my nether regions with scissors :)

Kidding aside, everyone is different. Not worried but I’ve heard both sides of the experience so hedging my bets until the main event is over.

15 | karen

October 1st, 2010 at 3:24 pm


I have always known I wanted a third “baby”. I was never quite as sure I wanted a third “child”. I am one of those people who think the baby years are the easiest. Preteens on the other hand I find hard.

16 | Laura

October 1st, 2010 at 6:50 pm


I hope you will write about how great your husband does after the procedure…then I’ll show it to my husband! :)

17 | Betsy Mae

October 1st, 2010 at 7:55 pm


I definitely knew I was done but Bert wasn’t so certain so we waited four years for him to get ready. When the time came for him to actually get the procedure I did start to have some emotions that surprised me. Now that it’s been a year and a half I know two was our magic number (of kids).

18 | Nat

October 2nd, 2010 at 8:56 am


The Man had his vasectomy about five or six years ago. It was the right decision, and one that was relatively easy to make (I had a really rough pregnancy followed by a really rough delivery). We are a family of three and that’s the way it is.

Funny though I don’t think I ever romanticized having a baby. Anyway… Good luck to him on his vasectomy. It takes about 10 minutes… they get valium… and a few days off.

(Why do we dumb down the term vasectomy? we don’t dumb down tubal ligation or vagina or penis?)

19 | Jen Hughes

October 2nd, 2010 at 8:30 pm


I was happy with two. We weren’t quite where you are now with your kids, but the sleepless nights were done, the diapers were winding down and I was getting out with my friends regularly and able to get away for a night or two here and there. You start to feel like yourself again after the two-year mark, I find.

But my husband wanted a third. I was very reluctant. It took a bit of a surprise to make it happen, and then all throughout my third pregnancy I had this feeling of impending doom and fear and stress. Didn’t help that I started my SS gig at about six months along.

But of course, as I had guardedly hoped would happen, boy #3 has been a brilliant blessing and I can’t imagine life without. He is a true joy to all of us. But like you say, newborns are easy and I’m still waiting for the sh*t to hit the fan when he gets mobile.

Now I need to convince the husband that we are indeed done and that he should “man up” and make that appointment. Hopefully it goes well for your husband on Monday and he can reassure the multitudes.

Congrats on making the final decision. It truly is a hard one no matter how old we are or how many kids we have.

20 | bushidoka

October 2nd, 2010 at 9:04 pm


We’re very happy with our recent #3, and now the discussion is about #4. We’ll almost certainly need a new house if we go down that road, as 1000 sq ft is going to be tough enough with 3 boys!

So, um, about the procedure. I know this is going to sound stupid, but if they cut off the stuff from coming out, don’t you have permanent DSBs / blue (ahem)?

Hey, someone has to ask!

21 | Nora

October 2nd, 2010 at 9:54 pm


Mark: Best of luck on Monday!!!!!

22 | Mark

October 3rd, 2010 at 1:04 pm


bushidoka: The short answer is: nothing changes. All systems go (except for the fact that there are no swimmers). Here’s the more complicated medical explanation…


23 | Know More Do More: exploring our neighbourhood >> a peek inside the fishbowl

October 4th, 2010 at 8:56 am


[…] is here again. Aaaaannnd, it’s a doozy. Mark is getting a vasectomy today. And I feel like I have list of a hundred things to take care of, a list which now will not include […]

24 | bushidoka

October 6th, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Thanks Mark – I’ll read that. I know a lot of guys who have had this done but am always a little squeemish to talk about it with them. It just seems to me that with everything blocked up, it must feel different. Or maybe put us at higher risk of something-or-other (testicular cancer?)

Though I may not have to have it done since my wife has a condition that may otherwise require the removal of her equipment. Far riskier way about things unfortunately, but since she may have to have it done for completely unrelated reasons anyway it does take care of the pregnancy thing at the same time.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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