Monday, October 21, 2013

Is this the end?

The final days of this pregnancy are here, and I can't help but wonder if these are the final moments in which I will ever experience this. Is this my last baby? Is this the last time I'm counting down the days until I meet my new child?

28 weeks pregnant with Lukas

Pregnancy has not been kind to me - all 30 months of it that I've experienced in this lifetime. There have been highlights, of course, and I am not blind to the absolute miracle it is to bring another human into this world - but it's been hard. Both physically and mentally. The idea of telling myself I no longer have to suffer through the struggles of pregnancy is VERY appealing. Especially because of the all-consuming mom guilt that comes with being down and out when my playful, sweet, energetic little ones just want to play with their mom. I always end up feeling like my pregnancies are unfair to my family. Not to the baby involved, of course, he's clearly getting the most out of it (ha) - but my kids struggle with a sluggish mom, and my husband pays the price in terms of picking up my homemaking slack, dealing with my physical and emotional struggles, and more. How can I keep doing this to them? The end result is of course, gifting them with another family member to love - but not without 39 weeks of robbing their lives of fun and joy. Not completely, of course, but it would be a lie to say it didn't effect them in a big way. 

I was very resolved that this would be my last pregnancy - when I thought I'd be having a girl, that is. Within hours of finding out this baby was a boy, I'd changed my mind - I wanted four kids. Period. I struggled with the idea of being 29 and saying "I will never have a daughter", because that just seems too young to give up hope when I clearly have a couple more years of decent child bearing age left in me to make it a possibility. But the idea of having an odd number of children bothered me as well. I actually like odd numbers, but I knew that with 3 - there will always be 2 against 1 in arguments, someone left out on theme park rides, someone without a buddy to so sit next to in the van, someone that doesn't fit in the double stroller, etc. I wanted 4 children so that they would all have someone, and I'd get one last shot at a baby girl.

18 weeks pregnant with Henry

But then this pregnancy got more complicated. I was diagnosed with something that, while common, is very hard to deal with on a daily basis. I saw the way pregnancy was taxing my body after three babies in 5 years, and I thought - how can I keep doing this to myself physically? I need to be HERE and HEALTHY for the children I already have. Because of that, I changed my mind and decided that this would be it for me - no more pregnancies. It was very hard to say goodbye to the idea of a daughter and welcome the idea of being a boy mom (and only a boy mom) for the rest of my life, but the relief I had in not having to be pregnant again was monumental. It felt right, and I was resolved.

But then, but then.

I saw this baby via sonogram again. We've had 5 total this pregnancy (see aforementioned common complication), and 3 of them didn't show very much. I did have one 3D picture of him taken at 14 weeks that I adored (see left) - it carried me through most of this difficult pregnancy. But since it was taken so early on, it didn't give me many clues or a clear idea of who he was. When I saw him this day, though - he finally cooperated and showed us his gorgeous, chubby-cheeked face. His hands kept wandering by his mouth, touching his cheeks.....and I could SEE.

I remembered my newborns - how they act, how they move (JUST like he was). I saw a clear vision of what I will see on the outside later this week, and I fell so deeply in love with him. And so suddenly, I feel - this is worth it. This is all worth it. The struggles, the fear, the disappointing moments, the frustration, the exhaustion - all of it. And my newborns! How could I commit to never having another?! How could I say no - a clear, definite, resounding no? I couldn't. I can't. I won't. 

So now I'm in a place where I firmly say NO when every doctor and nurse quadruple checks that I do not want my tubes tied, despite their "are you sure" smirks on their faces. But at the same time, I'm not sure if I will ever find myself on the ttc bandwagon again. I don't know that I want to chose pregnancy any more. What I want is for God to take the reigns, and if He deems us worthy and able to care for another one of these sweet babies He's given us - we will welcome him or her (but let's be honest, probably him) with more than open arms. I will embrace pregnancy to the best of my ability, and be grateful that there was still someone else He saw fit to bless our family with.

But there's also the chance that He never will. Maybe He even sees the way I struggle and fail in every day moments through all three trimesters and decide that a break from the physical and mental struggles of pregnancy is what's best - maybe it's been too much for me, and He wants to spare me of further trial. And that's okay, too.

One thing is for sure though - it's in His hands now. And of course it always was, really, but I'm not longer pushing for it, planning on it, or working towards it. He will let me know, one way or another, whether I'm meant to be a mother of four.

34 weeks with Mr. Fetus

And because I've relinquished control, I have to wonder if this is the last time I'll experience the happy side of pregnancy. Will I ever feel the sweeping, all-consuming wave of love like I did the day of our recent sonogram? Or the day my babies join us on the outside and I lay my eyes on their sweet faces for the first time? If it is, I want to be very sure that I'm soaking up every minute of this. I want to intensify every ounce of emotion - feel it backwards and forwards and upside down. I want to remember every detail, and wear out my camera's memory card and fill up my Instagram feed to help me do that. I'm approaching the end of this troublesome pregnancy with my eyes and heart wide, WIDE open - just in case. Because I now have hope in what felt like a hopeless, loose-loose situation. What a relief it is to put things in God's hands!

So whether this is the end of pregnancy forever, or just for now - I am okay, and wonderful, wonderful things are on the horizon. <3

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