two and through

This post was inspired by my friend Emily’s post, Thoughts on Three. They’ve been debating about adding another kiddo to their family. While I would love to have allthebabies, we’re two and through over here. 😉

It’s funny because as soon as you have a baby, particularly when both of your kids are the same sex, it seems like people instantly want to know if you’ll have a third.

“Are you going to try for a boy?”

004 baby girl p sneak peek photography by jacquelynn buck

(photo by the amazing Jacquelynn Buck)

It’s everything in my power to keep from laughing. Nope. We’re good over here (even though I know that a baby Pilot running around would be too cute to handle). Also, I’m pretty sure Tom is meant to be surrounded by girls.

For quite a while, Tom and I have been pretty set on two kids. We talked about future plans, moving, and traveling, and felt like for us, two would be a good number. We both have siblings -the Pilot has a sister, and I have four brothers- who are our best friends, and we really wanted to share that experience with Liv. We also thought it would be nice to do man defense in chaos scenarios, and we wouldn’t be outnumbered.

When we go out to eat, one of us has Liv:

FullSizeRender 20

and the other has miss P.

Lunch w p

The financial considerations of raising kids is something we discussed, too. With two, we’d be able to afford the necessities and good schools, while continuing to save and enjoying the additional things we like to do, like travel and fun extras. 

When Penelope was born, it confirmed our desires. We all fell instantly in love with her, and we’ve spent the last couple of months welcoming and adjusting to our new dynamic. Our family feels complete with her, and we feel like we’re done. Even though I’ll definitely miss baby smells, snuggles, and big gummy smiles, I’m excited to fully enjoy P’s baby stage. I feel like there’s always something to look forward to: giggles, pigtails, “Mama,” and clumsy first steps, until she’s in a tiny tutu and sharing secrets with her own little friends. I feel like it’s pure joy to watch all of these beautiful moments and memories unfold. Our next chapter will be as the kids grow up together, and I’m not gonna lie, when I think about the fact that I won’t have to get up a thousand times a night, it makes me dance with joy. (Liv still wakes us up at night, but it’s different when they can tell you what’s wrong, or you can easily scoot over to make room in the bed.) I’m excited for what the future has in store, especially as we’re able to travel and continue creating our life as a family together.

As you guys know, I’ve a huge fan of the Fertility Awareness Method. I’ve used it for years to track my cycles, and I pretty much know my cycle like clockwork. I use the handy iPeriod app on my phone, and it makes it pretty easy to track everything. I got a kick out of seeing that my cycle was late by 346 days. Now that it returned after a glorious year without it, it’s time to get back into charting and figuring out my life. Also, I’ve been thinking about more longer-term birth control methods. We’re in a situation where if we were to become pregnant again, it would be totally fine. But, if we can keep it at two kiddos, that would be great, too. 😉 

What’s going through my brain:

Fertility Awareness Method WORKS, but there’s definitely a bit of an error margin. This is especially true when your cycle returns and is unpredictable at first. While I used FAM when we were both trying to get pregnant, and trying to prevent pregnancy, we knew that it was a possibility either way, and were ok with that. Now, we’d like a backup method, especially around the middle of the month.

IUD: I’ve heard some instances of IUDs becoming lost up in there and requiring surgical removal. While the instances of these are super rare, the fact that I’ve had this happen to a friend still gives me the creeps. I also have friends who have and love their IUDs, but I just feel like it’s not the fit for me. 

Birth control pills: I really liked these while I was on them, but it wasn’t until I was OFF that pill that I realized how great I felt without it. Ideally I’d like to avoid synthetic hormones, but if we decide to roll with this, it would be NBD. I took them for 10+ years before, and I know they’re a great option for a lot of people. [Also, this is TMI but I had my first cycle after P, and it was TERRIBLE. Easily the worst it’s ever been, in my life. If I need to take the pill to calm things down a little bit, I’m going for it. I’ll have to see what the doc says this week. I am also starting some herbs from Dr. Flynn, hoping that it will get everything back in order again.]

Condoms: work pretty dang well if you use them correctly. This might be the best bet for the long-term?

We also talked about vasectomy, and that was our initial plan until I read this.

Like my friend Betsy said, I really need to stop with the Google university.

I’d love to hear your experiences about planning for your family, and also what you use for birth control. It’s such a personal decision, and I know different things work for different people, but I always love to hear your thoughts.



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  1. Stepf on January 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Most of those studies are 30+years old. There are some risks, but more recent studies have said the connection is inconclusive at best. My husband had a vasectomy five years ago, right after we started dating. We love it. We absolutely do not want kids, and it was the best way to ensure that never happens!

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      that’s great to hear. it was our #1 choice until read that

      • Stepf on January 22, 2016 at 2:57 am

        The cost was one office visit co-pay, too. I am going to ask the naturopath I work with about this. She and I just worked on a men’s health project, but that was not a subject that came up. It’s interesting.
        Some good, newer studies: (vasectomy was not associated with increased risk of prostate cancer)
        Here’s a review from the late 90s:
        “They should be told that, while some studies have suggested a small increased risk of prostate cancer after vasectomy, it is not proven, and that several surveys, including two of the most recent, have detected no increase in risk. They can be reassured that any other health scares about which they may have read or heard are without foundation.”

        Oh, and since we’re discussing super fun topics, my dear friend had prolapse and saw a PT & yoga teacher here in Asheville to treat it successfully. Libby specializes in pelvic issues (both musculoskeletal and internal). This is her site, if you want to reach out:!about/cjg9 I know an in-person appt wouldn’t be possible, but she might be able to do a phone consult. Good luck! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

  2. Dianna on January 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I feel the exact same way! I actually just had my second girl on November 20th (my oldest just turned 3). I have no Idea what form of birth control I want to use, but I definitely don’t want to get pregnant again. My husband says that he thinks he could get a vasectomy done, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. I’m still nursing so hopefully I will have a little more time to think about it. By the way, I have enjoyed following you throughout my pregnancy and postpartum phase!

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      thank you so much for reading <3 congrats to you and your family, too!
      it's definitely a tough decision

  3. Ash on January 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’m a nurse who works in a family planning clinic, but I will tell you my personal experience. As a married woman in my 30s who is choosing to be childless, I LOVE my IUD. I have the Mirena which is actually marketed toward “busy moms” haha which I’m not. The insertion procedure really isn’t that painful for me, but it’s certainly uncomfortable. The cramping that follows the next couple of days is more intense than I remember having with my monthly cycle, but nothing a heating pad and ibuprofen can’t take care of. I love that I don’t have a cycle (I don’t have to plan around a monthly cycle when the hubs and I plan to backpack and camp or spend a day at the beach or when I run a race), and I really love not having to think about birth control on a daily (or even regular) basis. The Mirena lasts for 5 years and I just had my second one placed. I’m a customer for the long term! Good luck to you and the Pilot as y’all navigate this decision!

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      thank you! happy to hear you love it. the thought of never having a cycle again sounds like a DREAM

      • Dreamylady on August 14, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        I had horrible side effects from the mirena. Please research it carefully. Some women love it but many suffer numerous side effects after having it inserted.

  4. angie kilar on January 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    While I cant give you BC advice since I don’t take any (and haven’t since I was a teen). I can give you a little insight on being truly done with two.

    I have 2 older sons (17 and 8). For the longest time I thought that was it this is perfect..blah blah blah. Then about 4 years ago I started thinking about it again. pros and cons. Then in 2012 I realized that I really did want to try for another. Something had always felt missing in our house. When I returned from my deployment in late 2013 I came across a pic of a dad and infant son praying on a couch. My ovaries screamed and cried at me. That yearning BURNED my soul. It was then that I knew we had to try one more time. My husband returned from his deployment a month later and within 2 months I was preggo with our daughter. When I found out I was preggo, we had almost given up. We thought we were good with 2. But the universe had other plans. Now that she is 15 months I realize that now I feel totally complete and content. She was the missing piece. She definitely knows it too, she eats up the attention from all of us.
    So I say give it a few years…You never know you could feel the same way I did. If not, great. Growing up it was just my brother and I but I always hated not having another sibling. Although my dad did remarry and had 3 other kids who I am close to now.

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      that is really interesting to hear. i feel like maybe because we’re in the trenches now that we could change our minds later. but the current me is like NO WAY haha

  5. Lucy on January 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Just wanted to point out that the article was from 1981…maybe your doc will have some more current info that could help you out and put your mind at ease!

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      that’s very true. i was so interested in the content i didn’t even care to look at the date. haha major piece of info there

      • Alice on January 22, 2016 at 7:45 am

        Also the conclusion in the article states right out there that “we found no evidence that vasectomy increases the subsequent long-term risk of immune-related diseases”.

  6. Kate on January 21, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    We were totally “two and through” a couple years ago after our second daughter was born. Since my husband was squeamish about a vasectomy, I got an IUD and figured we were good for at least a few years. Then, when my girls were 4 1/2 and 18 months, I had an unusually short period. I chalked it up to stress and carried on. Six more weeks went by and by then I was so nervous that I finally bought a pregnancy test. It was positive! After a doctors appointment and an ultrasound confirmed that I was 11 weeks pregnant, it was determined that I was one of the 0.1% (or whatever the statistic is) who gets pregnant with an IUD! We always forget that no form of birth control is 100% effective. Baby girl #3 is now 10 months old and while life is crazy, we can’t imagine life without our little surprise baby! Sometimes fate makes the decision for you despite the best laid plans. So now we’re *really* done, and my husband got the vasectomy!

  7. Meagan Leanne on January 21, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    You’ve probably heard this before, but you should read the studies linking breast cancer and the pill. Maybe it doesn’t matter as much to some people but I’m already at high risk so it was never an option for me an I thought I’d share in case other people didn’t realize.

  8. Kandi on January 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    You could try the Nexplanon…it’s an implant that goes in your arm and lasts 3 years. Just a simple office visit to have it put in. Loved mine!

    • Sarah on February 8, 2016 at 8:39 am

      I just had my Nexplanon removed. Ouuuuch.

      I loved the convenience of the implant, but the side effects were harsh. I went the full three years, but now that it’s out I’m kicking myself for waiting to feel better. Everyone has different results, but the side effects and the pain of the removal were enough to switch me back to the pill. So much more flexible!

  9. Stephanie on January 22, 2016 at 5:35 am

    While TTC our first baby I learned about FAM and we used it to help conceive. After we had him we knew we would want another baby in the somewhat near future so we used FAM to avoid pregnancy for over 2 years and then utilized it to help conceive again. After our second baby we were in a situation where we thought we were probably done, but we definitely weren’t ready for anything permanent. I ended up getting Paraguard (the copper IUD) and even though I was nervous thinking about the potential side effects or because I read horror stories (I like to torture myself 😉 ) I love it! Placement was a breeze, I had slightly heavier periods for the first 4-6 cycles (each one was a little better until I got back to my usual) and now I don’t even know that I have it other than no babies! Woohoo! I’m a huge fan and I love that it doesn’t involve any hormones. Obviously birth control is such a personal choice and what works with one person’s body isn’t the best fit for another, but I like to share my IUD story because there are so many scary ones out there and I do believe that (especially the copper version) IUDs are a really convenient, effective, and somewhat underutilized form of birth control. Good luck!

  10. Leyna on January 22, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Have you researched the Lady Comp? It’s 99% accurate if your cycles are regular, but still relies on you to avoid or have a back up plan at ovulation. I am recovering from damage the BC pills have done to my body and I’ve been off them for 2 years. My best advice is stay away form anything that isn’t natural!

  11. Kelly J on January 22, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Loved this post! Really enjoyed Emily’s post as well. I felt like I was writing hers! I have a 3 year old and an 18 month old. For the first year after my second was born, I would have said h@ll no to having a third. But things are calming down a bit now and we are wondering if a third could be in our future. Just like Emily, I am turning 35 in March and feel like we need to make the decision sooner rather than later. Honestly, I would recommend not making the decision for permanent birth control at this point. You are still in that exhausting baby phase. It gets easier. You and your husband are still young enough that you might change your minds!

  12. Susie on January 22, 2016 at 6:47 am

    I went off the pill in March to try to get pregnant, and I’m pretty sure taking it is part of the reason we’re having such a hard time. All I can say is that the pill is pretty terrifying, haha. I never knew the consequences of taking it when I went on it at 18 years old, and now I wish that I would have done some research or something to know what I was doing to my body. But at the same time, it’s easy and does the job, so I can see why people love it! But listen to the latest Chris Kesser podcast (Revolution Health Radio) on hormones – I listened to it last night and it kind of confirmed my suspicions. But it was super interesting and informative! Anyways, what’s best for me isn’t best for everyone else :). I just thought I’d share!

  13. JennP on January 22, 2016 at 6:52 am

    We have 2 girls with our third (gender surprise) due in a couple of weeks, and I’m already getting the, “If it’s a girl, will you try again for a boy” questions. Um, no! Three is it for us, and we weren’t “trying for a boy” this time either.

  14. Maria on January 22, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I’m taking my husband to get his vasectomy the Thursday before Valentine’s day 🙂 How romantic I know. We talked with my midwife and our primary care physician and they both said that was the safest bet. In between kiddos I was on the paragard and my problem was my doctor couldn’t get it placed high enough. I liked that I still kept my normal cycle, it was non hormonal but I went in for an ultrasound because I felt like it was placed too low (it was a string issue) and the tech was able to see a fertilized egg, but the copper kept it from implanting so I didn’t love the idea of that. After spending my whole adult life trying to not have kids and then trying to have them, and then birthing two of them into the world, it’s the least my husband could do.

    • Lauren on January 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      I just wanted to let you know there is no way a fertilized egg could be seen by ultrasound. I’m not sure why someone would tell you that because it is 100% false. Sorry but I had to comment and let you know – I didn’t want you (and others who read this) to think that this was possible.

  15. Cassie on January 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    We will likely only have two if we decide to have another. I also am completely against going back on birth control, because I’m the same way as you. I hate the idea of IUD problems. Plus, I felt SO much better going off the pill. I told my hubs, I’ve taken care of the birth control for 10 years, now it’s your turn.

  16. Emily R on January 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Hi Gina,
    Sorry to hear about the prolapse. I hope everything works out for you and that you will not require surgery. Pelvic Floor Therapy may help with the Prolapse. I have gone to a Pelvic Floor therapist as I have a tilted pelvis from having a C-Section and it helped immensely. Best of Luck

    • Fitnessista on January 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      i had my third appointment today! already LOVING it and so thankful;

      • Emily R on January 25, 2016 at 6:10 am

        That’s fantastic Gina! =0)

  17. mary on January 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I would vote for vasectomy but if that’s not right for you, maybe also consider a diaphragm? Inexpensive, non-hormonal, non-invasive.

  18. linz on January 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    It’s embarrassing that the first time I read about FAM was from you! so it was actually a blessing because after my first baby (came early due to poor use of the pills) I got the IUD but have been feeling like it was a rushed decision that, had I not been so concerned about just preventing pregnancy, I would’ve gone another route. I’m getting through the Fertility book you suggested many times and am removing my IUD!Looking forward to the FAM method keeping me in check until it’s time for #2!

    I say vasectomy is the best route too! (I didn’t click your link soooo…. maybe I’ll disagree after reading that.) haha

  19. Kate on January 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    What about a diaphragm? I was actually inspired by you to start thinking of getting off of hormones. I had been on birth control pills for something like 15 years and then got an IUD for a year while I was deployed. When I got back I got it removed and asked about a diaphragm. The nurse practitioner looked at me like I was an alien at first (not a popular option these days), but it an easy process. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is having to use spermicide. There are natural spermicide options out there, I just need to do some more research.

  20. Mandy on January 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I have limited options in terms of birth control because of a genetic blood clotting disorder. The IUD is one of the few I can use and I had it put in after we had our first 6 months ago. I love it as I never have to think about it. Because I did it 8 weeks after my c section it was virtually painless with no cramping. I’ve heard it can be a bit more painful if you’re not doing it right after having a child. I did have to go back in 1 month after it was inserted to have an ultrasound to make sure it was still in a good placement and hadn’t attached incorrectly.

  21. Alisha Ness on January 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I love my IUD. I use mirena. It hurt when it was inserted, but I’ve also never had children & I hear that helps. If you’re not a fan of hormones my friend has the copper IUD & she loves that one.

  22. Tricia on January 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I have a daughter the same age as Liv and also have a 1 year old son. My husband and I were very sure we did not plan to have any more children. At my 6 week appointment after having my son I discussed this with my dr. and shortly after I decided to get an essure placement. It is a permanent birth control similar to getting your tubes tied, but non-surgical. I recently turned 29 and didn’t want to be messing with my hormones for the next 15+ years, so this seemed to be the best option. So far I have no complaints.

  23. Susie on January 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Given your affinity for FAM, you may have interest in Marquette Method. It is NFP that utilizes the Clearblue Fertility Monitor to provide concrete data related to low, high & peak days based on estrogen & luteinizing hormone measurements. Takes away the subjectivity of many FAM/ other NFP methods. Literature shows 98-99% efficacy with perfect use. In addition to the regular protocol, there is postpartum/breastfeeding protocol accounts for the challenging return of fertility period.

  24. Elana on January 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    This is not related to me, but my dad had a vasectomy after I was born and then my parents had my sister! They knew that his counts weren’t zero but the doctor told them that there was a one in a million chance they could get pregnant. My mom also felt like she wanted another after he had it done, so it was kind of awesome that they got pregnant again super fast! We are only 22 months apart 🙂 However after they had her, my mom had a severe prolapse and had surgery so they did not have to think about BC after my sister. I know you guys will figure out the right thing for you!

    As a single person, I have hated every method of birthcontrol. I am crazy sensitive to hormones and I had the copper IUD and had terrible cramps and the most heavy periods for a year. Since I had neither cramps nor a heavy period pre IUD, I think maybe I was a little bit of a baby. I kept for a year with instance from my doc that the symptoms would improve and when they did not I could not wait to get rid of that thing! Supposedly after you have had kids the cramping and heavy periods are less. I wanted to try the mirena but my doctor convinced me that since I had cramps with the paraguard that I would have cramps with the mirena (even though the hormone is supposed to help with that), so I got the implant thing and I HATED it. I got it out in 3 months and it took another 3 to recover from it. At this point I use condoms, and when I am in a serious relationship I will definitely use the FAM. I read the book, but for me right now I don’t monitor it since there is not really much incentive, haha. The BC journey is a tough one 🙂 Good luck!

    • Fitnessista on January 29, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      that is so crazy!! amazing that they were able to have your sister, but bummer to hear about your mom. hopefully everything was resolved and she was feel much better after! i’m actually scared to get pregnant again now, because we had so many issues pop up. we’re definitely done, but i don’t love the synthetic hormones in BC. (they don’t love me. i’m also super sensitive to them!) i’m going to see what the doc says in a couple of weeks.

  25. Jenny on February 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I used to be on the pill but stopped a couple years ago while trying to get my thyroid issues under control. I recently got the Mirena IUD inserted instead, and so far I love it. For me, the insertion was definitely painful, but I’ve never had kids so I think that makes a difference (less painful if you have had children). And despite the pain, it was a quick procedure. It is hormonal, but they’re localized to the uterus as opposed to systemic (like the pill), which is what made the decision easier for me. I also like the fact that the IUD is a long-term solution that I don’t have to think about every day (Mirena is good for 5 years), but if I ever change my mind and decide to have kids, I can just have it removed (as opposed to trying to reverse a vasectomy or similar). Good luck!

  26. Kariann on February 5, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I use the nuva ring for my birth control and have for 3-4 years now. It works well for me, though I don’t have anything to compare it to besides birth control pills which I hated! It’s a ring you insert for 3 weeks, take out 1 week (your cycle happens), and on. I don’t feel it at all. Sometimes I forget to take it out on the right day…I took it out a day late, nothing out of the ordinary happened. It’s easy to track if you use a planner or phone calendar 🙂 Let me know if you decide to use it! I also use a diva cup during my periods and this combo is awesome for me! I’ve thought about the IUD but I have also heard horror stories (probably rare occurrences but still! When it happens to a friend, it feels closer to home), so I’m sticking with the nuva for now. Hope that helps! two & through sounds perfect 🙂

  27. Blair on August 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I am totally curious what you ever decided about birth control. Currently we are in the same boat (sort of). Our third is 16 months old and after 5 years of no cycle hello cycle! We aren’t planning for anymore babies immediately however I am sure I want just one more, my husband is saying he is done for now. We don’t want anything permanent but I’d love something besides the pill since I have three young children and can never remember to take the thing everyday. I also am super sensitive to the hormones so I feel awful most of the time 🙁

    • Fitnessista on August 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

      we’re still doing FAM. it’s worked for me for so many years, and i don’t feel super comfortable with the idea of an IUD, and don’t want to take hormones again. i feel like mine are FINALLY back to normal-ish and don’t want to rock the boat. i also use the iperiod app in addition to FAM and while it takes a while for it to *get* your body, it’s been accurate for me

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