I'm only 2 weeks away from meeting this little guy, and after a really long and challenging pregnancy, the days feel like they are suddenly flying by. In no more than 15 days, I will hold this little baby in my arms. Now that is one thing that doesn't fade after three babies. The awe in the miracle of meeting your child for the first time - touching him, holding him, after months of knowing him only by his kicks and the sound of his heartbeat and fuzzy glimpses on sonograms - there is nothing in the world like it. Nothing.
I remember the day we found out I was pregnant so clearly. I expected to conceive in 5 months - I know, who guesses at that, right? It took 5 cycles with my first two, so I was kind of programmed that way. To me, if it was going to differ at all - it would take longer, and I was prepared for that. I had no gut feeling or guess that it would happen sooner. It just never occurred to me. But there I was, at the end of our third cycle, and my husband asked when I could test. I was so clueless and unprepared, I didn't even realize the 2 week wait had ended!
Usually I would jump at the chance to test, but I was so far on the skeptical side of things that I considered not testing just to save money on the darn tests! On a Friday afternoon, while my kids were napping, I was sitting in the recliner crocheting for my etsy shop, when I noticed that my heart was inexplicably racing, and my boobs kind of hurt. For just a second I thought, "hmm, maybe I should test?" and even pictured the scenario of telling Matt it was positive. I'd almost completely decided against it when I stood up and realized I had to pee - and I felt so dizzy in standing up that on a whim I changed my mind and thought, "eh, why not...let's do it."
I didn't even have to wait the 3 minutes to see that our next little one was on the way. I carried both Henry and the test downstairs where Matt was finishing up work for the day, and I told him I brought his other two kids with me. He looked around sort of confused and asked me what I meant - Luke had already been down there with him. I pulled out the test, and his eyes widened in surprise. I'll never forget how he walked around the house that night with a certain man-strut, like he accomplished something huge. If you ask him, he'll tell you how proud he is of the accomplishment in making three boys - it's dorky, and macho, but hilarious and adorable to me.
We first "met" our Mr. Fetus at 10 weeks for the initial sonogram. Luke was at school, but Henry was with us. Though Henry no idea what he was looking at or why, we told him that it was our new baby, and he pointed at the screen saying "baby!" for the rest of our time there. We found out that Mr. Fetus was measuring a week ahead, but because of an office policy (that they've since reduced), they didn't adjust my due date. They just assumed he was big since I make big boys!
The beginning of my pregnancy was nearly excruciating. I thought I'd figured out how to manage morning sickness on my own, but when it showed up at 5 weeks (a full week earlier than it had with my first two), I was really hit hard. Of course, this was more evidence that he was further ahead - he was probably actually 6 weeks at the time, and morning sickness was just showing up as it usually would. I quickly lost control over my nausea, and I called the doctors for help. I just couldn't get through preschool drop off and running my kids through gym class and errands while I was fighting the urge to vomit all over my van. They prescribed me medicine, and life improved a little.
The problem this time, was that my morning sickness didn't end when I expected it to, either. I was better at 17 weeks with Luke and 15 weeks with Henry. This baby had me near-barf until 21 weeks. They always say that subsequent pregnancies are easier in that regard, so I was really disappointed and confused. The nausea lasted well into the summer, and the heat made everything so much worse.
We had an early ultrasound at the start of May, where we found out Mr. Fetus was a boy. It was a really cool experience, and though the above picture-of-a-picture isn't the best quality, it is SUCH a clear and amazing sonogram photo to have! I stared at that picture so much - I felt like I could see HIM a little - like I was getting a glimpse as to who is in there, who will be joining us and who he is. It even helped me chose his name. His name echos in my mind every time I look at that picture.
As the summer progressed, we had a few heat waves, and my anemia got worse. The combination of these things made me utterly useless. It was so heartbreaking to me that I could barely get myself out of bed every day while my kids just wanted to run around in the back yard and play with their new swing set or kick a ball. The best I could muster was a few poorly-planned picnics in the back yard for lunch, and even those moments nearly got the best of me. I'd find myself short of breath, exhausted, and sick to my stomach afterwards. I spent almost all of our summer praying for nap and bed time, and it really made me sad. My kids are so little and sweet, and they will only be this way RIGHT NOW. Time moves so quickly, and they grow every day, and I couldn't get over the fact that I was robbed of a summer with them. It's not this baby's fault, of course, and I will never say so. It's my body's, and it seems to have gotten worse at this pregnancy thing.
As we made it to August, the temps started to cool - which yes, sounds backwards. Most people in my hometown would say that we were ripped off this summer, while I still feel we had too many hot days. But ya know, ask a pregnant lady how she feels about summer at all and I'm sure you'll get similar reviews. The cooler temps helped a lot, and with the nausea behind me finally, I started to feel a little more like myself. I made more of an effort to put myself together including keeping nail polish on my fingers and toes, every day, and I'd throw on some jewelry and carry a cute purse anytime I left the house - all in the name of feeling like myself for a while.
Of course, I was hitting the third trimester at the same time this was happening, so I was fighting a losing battle. My belly was getting less manageable (how do so many maternity brands STILL fail at covering an ENTIRE belly - isn't that the point?! I don't want the bottom hanging out, thank you!). I started to feel a little more slowed down and achey, but with the rest of my body cooperating, I took on a little more in my daily life. I got a part time job working from home, and put more passion back into keeping my house put together. It's amazing what a little extra purpose and drive can do for your self worth!
The baby was measuring big (as usual - gosh, it's so crazy to me that some doctors at my practice still have a hard time accepting that this just normal for me), so more sonograms were ordered. They also discovered that he was transverse, and despite having a c-section, they want to keep tabs on his position. In the sonogram above, he was an estimated 4lbs 6oz. He was so squirmy that the ultrasound tech had to take his measurements a handful of times to be sure they were accurate. He also wouldn't let her anywhere near his face, so seeing his chubby cheeks was saved for another day!
When September hit, I was officially LARGE. I felt like I should have been kicked out of the kitchen completely at this point. I can't even reach things! Standing at the counter, sink, or stove, has to be done sideways just so I can get at things, and the twisting hurts my back so quickly. My tolerance for doing anything this way is pretty low! I keep getting annoyed that I can't do things normally - I can't even hug my husband the right way anymore! I have to stand sideways, and then twist to get my arms around his neck. It's not comfortable or romantic in the least.
Still, through September, I kept on fighting through the day-to-day. I was getting Luke to and from school, Henry through his gym classes, Luke and Matt sent off to soccer practice, cleaning up the house by the end of each day, doing the grocery shopping, and keeping up with my various jobs. And not to toot my own horn, but I couldn't believe I was juggling all of this without hitting an overwhelmed moment. I was capable of more in September than I was for the rest of my pregnancy combined!
And then October happened, and helloooooo ugly, tiring, end of pregnancy. It's mind boggling to me - how quickly this happened. One day I was keeping it all together and feeling awfully good about it, and the next I woke up feeling like the baby gained 3 pounds overnight and shattered my pelvis in the process. "The waddle" suddenly became a part of my life again, and I've started choosing yoga pants over jeans. I hate to admit defeat - but, yikes. White flag.
Matt was just asking me the other day if I need him to take over preschool drop off and gym class (I already handed grocery shopping over a couple weeks ago), but I told him I'd be fine, I can swing it til the bitter end. I don't know if he sensed this coming, or if he has seen me go through this enough times to know me better than I know myself (sometimes it's easier from the outside looking in), but he was so right. The smallest things feel monumental - wrangling the kids in and out of the van for a quick 10 minute ride and simple walk into school is starting to feel like an intense workout.
Can you see his squishy cheeks?!
We had our final sonogram a couple days ago, and he's now an estimated 7lbs 8oz. That puts him on track to be about exactly as big as his brothers were. We all seem to be made from the same mold, and I'm totally okay with that - is there anything better than a big, squishy, rolly polly baby? I think not. He finally gave us a glimpse of his sweet face (probably due to the fact that he is FINALLY head-down, and able to show it to us!). Seeing him move his little hands around his squishy little face, through fuzzy sonogram or not, made me fall so in love. I just can't wait to meet him!
Nesting has set in at the same time as discomfort and exhaustion (ohh cruel nature and your conflicting symptoms!), so I've been trying my best to get everything ready for baby. My attempts at keeping a clean house have failed miserably, though. I went from a happy mostly-tidy September, to an embarrassing October.
I feel like I should rank it. I know you all have some version of this in your house, moms.
MIL-Ready: Ya know, pristine. Check for spots in the carpet, specks on the floor, crumbs on the couch, air freshener turned on and sink nice and shiny.
Visitor Decent: It's not perfect, but it wouldn't be embarrassing to open the door to someone for a quick visit.
BFF Won't Hate: It's getting a little terrible, but she loves me and "gets it".
Mom Only: She lived with me as a messy toddler and changed my poopy diapers. This level of dirty house isn't going to phase her, and she'll still love me after she leaves.
We went from somewhere between Visitor Decent and MIL-Ready in September, to Mom Only in October. And we're not all that far into October! I went down hill fast, guys. Such is being 9 months pregnant, I suppose.
I have a lot to share with you in the next couple of weeks, including our baby prep (like my first experience with freezer cooking, and my new method of packing the hospital bag - hint, it involves some Gussy Sews ruffles!). I also have a lot of emotional thoughts as this pregnancy comes to a close, and I'd thought I'd also re-cap my birth stories with my first two babes as we approach my third experience. I suppose I should declare this a very baby October!
Anyway, that's my pregnancy in a nutshell - and in two weeks, my new little man we'll be here! He will make all of the trials and struggles we've gone through SO very worth it!