I’ve been pregnant 7 times. I have 4 healthy boys (7, 5, 2 and now, brand new). I’ve had three miscarriages. As I write this, I’m snuggling the baby from my last pregnancy on my chest and I’m trying to commit to memory the way being pregnant felt.
I didn’t love being pregnant. My pregnancies aren’t particularly hard. Oh yes, uncomfortable first trimester, a few irregular tests requiring more worrisome tests, too many sleepless nights, reoccurring gestational diabetes which is no fun, but overall, nothing too troublesome. However, I’m not one of those glowing-I-could-be-pregnant-my-whole-life pregnant people. I love having kids, so for me, it’s all worth it.
But it was my last pregnancy. Or at least the last one we planned.
And because of that, it felt different. Almost like a last goodbye, the fading of the rainbow after it has shown so brightly in the sky. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to recall exactly how vivid the colors were when it fades.
Am I crazy hormonal and so completely in love with my current family that I’m a weepy mess? Yes. Is that impacting how I’m feeling about this last one? Definitely.
But it’s still there, this need to forever commit these bits of magic to my long term memory:
The feeling as I pee on the stick and the line appears.
The excitement on my husband’s face.
The last gender surprise. (It’s a boy!)
Telling our other kids.
The first feelings of movement. Then, when they get more. You know, just, more?
And then, I can start to see him move.
The first hiccups.
The magic of knowing I’m not alone…there’s a little growing being with me all the time.
Trying to guess his personality. I cannot believe how rowdy (literally, crazy-pants constantly moving, please God let this kid stop for even a minute) he is already.
My older boys blowing raspberries on my belly and talking to our baby.
Playing the name game. (What about Abednego? Let’s name him Quiet!)
A hardening tummy, not squishy any more, but full of…life.
Resting my hand on the curve of my stomach.
Feeling the “hard parts” and wondering if it’s a bottom or a head.
Remembering my other boys as babies as I put well-loved favorite clothes on hangers and in drawers.
Buying newborn diapers.
Being completely shocked that my boobs just keep growing.
Reading what piece of fruit our baby is the same size as (what exactly is a winter melon anyway?)
Hearing his heartbeat.
Dreaming of that newborn smell.
Figuring out how to have sex with a big baby bump.
Planning what we need for the hospital.
Being asked constant loving questions: How are you? How’s the baby? Have you figured out a name? What do you need? How can we help? What can I carry? What can we do?
The feeling each time I see him move on an ultrasound. Seeing all the right parts and the magic of growing.
When my husband rubs his hand on my belly and smiles with love.
And most of all, knowing this is the last time I will experience that moment – you know, the one where your baby is born and the love you have in your life multiplies? Not doubles or triples, but is so so much more. I thought I knew love with an amazing husband, and then we had a son. And the magical exponentially magnifying love just happened in that one moment of birth.
Then, we had another and I wasn’t sure if it would be quite the same. And truly, it wasn’t. It was more. How could we possibly love this much more than we already had?
Our third son came after a miscarriage and again, I wasn’t prepared for the incredible amount of love that just added onto what we already felt.
So, now our last pregnancy after two more miscarriages, a full wonderful family – and now, this last addition to make us complete. I tremble in anticipation of all this perfect little man will become.
But I’m not quite ready yet for him to grow.
For now, I am trying to commit these little bits of magic, these steps along the path, to memory. Because I very likely won’t pass this way again. And I’d like it to be as vivid a memory, as full of color and feeling as possible.