While I don't have CF, nor think my care regimen for bronchiectasis is currently nearly as complicated as most people's regimens here, I can speak to having three kids And I also recognize that feeling of wanting more kids. I always wanted more and more children and was in denial that I even had a health problem after my second. I had a surprise pregnancy then, that ended in miscarriage, and afterward I was extra determined to have a third. My third was born healthy after nine months of threatened miscarriage--detached sac--and a fourth kid was not a temptation. (I got a dog a few years later. Apparently, petting animals releases oxytocin.)
I have no regrets at all and am not recommending against more kids, but I thought I might share some stuff I personally didn't think about or realize when I was aiming for more. When kids are little, there is so much physical work. I call it "mouths, butts and don't kill yourself." You feed, wash, clean and prevent them from jumping off high objects. (Of course, you also work on teaching them to be kind and that you're the boss but that their voice and opinions are valued by mom and dad...etc.)
Now, I have three 5-10 yrs olds (6,8,9), and though I sleep through the night, there is simply A LOT going on and I am always wondering if I'm doing right by each one. You may have friends or relatives with older kids, so this may all be obvious stuff. For me, I had no idea. I'll break down what I'm talking about:
Homework--This is not the same as when I was a kid and my parents had no role in this stuff. I have to go through three folders every day. Their work requires my attention: checking, sign off, read aloud...etc. Not just looking for field trip forms. AND each kid has a different M.O. and needs me to approach homework differently. Add to that: three parent-teacher conferences, classroom holiday parties, concerts, and the possibility that your child gets in trouble or is bullied or has a problem learning or you have a problem with a teacher--you gotta deal with that, and two other kids, who may have one or more of those problems too. Ahhhhhh, I am freaking myself out here...
Sports & Activities--I believe parents can choose to make or not make this a big deal, and relative to my peers, I am middle of the road. I want my kids to try new things, pursue their passions, but I am not a martyr and I see the value in down time. The result: I am all over the place all the time. Combined, this fall outside school, my kids did (no overlap, they've different interests): Japanese, piano, social skills group, football, basketball, cub scouts and girl scouts. Football alone was a 8-10 hr commitment for my son (drop off nighttime practices, one parent at most games).
Friends--Someone always wants to be at someone else's house or to have someone over, and quite often there are six or seven kids in my basement or kitchen. I'm blessed to live next to a family with three boys, and my boys play with their boys fairly often. But my daughter averages 1-2 playdates a week--pause, turn off stove, grab other two, and drive somewhere.
Food/Laundry/Cleaning/Health--If all five of us are together, we go through a whole loaf of bread in one lunch. I run an average of 7-8 loads of laundry a week (we do not change our towels more than once a week either). Toys, beds, changing closets with the season, cutting finger and toenails, monitoring tooth brushing, teaching about personal hygiene. Three annual check-ups, dentist appts, eye appts. Three rounds of kid barf when the flu passes through.
Vacations--I can't book one hotel room. There is a 4 person limit in most hotels. Amusement parks--one parent gets the little one, the two olders ride alone.
Parent R&R--Your husband goes on a business trip, you've got three kids all to yourself. He takes one to a b-day party, you've got two still. You get the idea.
SO, that's my "wow, I didn't realize all this when my kids were younger" list.
Could someone please write me a list to prepare me for when they are teens?!