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Monday, March 31, 2014

End of the Rainbow


Baby Levi is due on April 22, which doesn't mean much since none of my babies came on their own, even the twins were induced at 37 weeks 1 day, (considered full term for twins). Either way, the time of being pregnant is near its end, and I'm going to be totally honest, this reality is bittersweet for me. Lots of emotions and thoughts run through my brain when I bring myself to recognize this is it.  Ryan and I always talked about having 4 as our aspiration.  So when I came to him with the desire to have another, he did well to conceal his shock.  Now that we're approaching 5, we both feel we have reached our desired max.  That's a pretty personal topic, but I share a lot of personal things on my blog, so I figure I'll just clear the air for those of you who were wondering. I have no problem sharing this with you.  I understand your curiousity. Many people, complete strangers even, want to know if we are "done."
But really...how awkward that some would ask.
First of all, if you consider what you're asking, that's a very personal question. Are you done having sex for the purpose of creating life? To which I would like to respond, "Are you done being the most intrusive and tactless human being on earth? Are you done sniffing into my personal life as a dog sniffs the crotch of others to get a sense of who they are? What if I was not done? What if I wanted to keep having and having, until I dropped? Would you try to talk sense into me at that point? Clearly you have an opinion on the matter, which I did not ask for. What if I wanted more, but physically could never be pregnant again, for whatever reason? Would I be expected to explain that to you? Just a little awkward.  I don't mind pregnancy questions--except that one.
Secondly, as some grammar sticklers will tell you, humans aren't "done". Cakes and pies are "done." People, when completing a task, are "finished."
Anyway.
Yes. If we have any say in our future, then we are finished adding children to this family. The factory is closing, this will be the last baby I grow. There are lots of ways to say that, and I'm trying to find the phrase that feels most natural and comforting. The truth is I am always a bit of a juxtaposition. I am content, I am overjoyed, I am blessed, I am complete, yet I am prematurely nostalgic, I am old, I am closing the last chapter to the book I have dreamt about and enjoyed for many, many years, not to be read again. I will enter into the group of those women who are "done".  The creation moments, the spark, the beginnings, the conceptions, the life, all stop here.  I am healthy, but I am tired of being pregnant, I am happy, but I am spent, and I am excited to tie this ribbon onto our family and say we are finished, our family is complete.




Pregnant people must seem very approachable, because more strangers strike up conversations with me while I'm pregnant than in any other period of my life so far. They smile sweetly and ask if this is my first, as if they're just dying to give me some standardized wisdom like, "Sleep while you can!" *idiot. you can 't just build up sleep in the event of a drought in some sleep reserve tank. If sleep is hard to come by with this newborn, then there's nothing to be done about it. Then there's, "Enjoy every minute of it, they grow too fast!" or  "Is this your first?" and I get to smile back and just shake my head, letting them flounder for an answer. "Second?" **shake head no, keep smiling, as their smile fades. "Third?" **shake head no, keep smile in place, cheeks start to hurt. "Fourth?!"...
 "This is number five." ...**smile, try to read stranger's face to see if they are mortified, amused, skeptical, or highly uncomfortable. usually all of the above.
Others don't ask what number this is. They ask when I'm due, they ask how I'm feeling, and then they promptly tell me I look great, which I have no problem with. Even if most of me knows they're just being polite, and that's what you always say to a pregnant woman, it still sits well with me.








Other thoughts on this subject:
Preparing for a new baby for me at least, is exhilarating. I have been very blessed to have wonderful, healthy pregnancies and deliveries for all of the kids.  I still have some quiet worries that come into my head though. They are fleeting, but they still suck the joy out of me for a time. What if the cord gets wrapped around him at delivery? That still happens you know. Babies are so vulnerable and fragile.   What if he's breech and we have to have a csection?  What if he's born with epidermolysis bullosa? What if what if what if?? I have to get control of myself, worrying is natural but really not helpful. Then there are the awesome excited nerves when I think of this new guy. What combination of genes will come together for him? Will he repeat a genetic combo we've seen already with the others? Will he have blond hair like his brothers? Blue/green eyes like daddy or hazel/brown like mommy? Will he do his own thing and come out red-headed? Curls? Freckles? How big will he be? What disposition will he have?
I think all pregnant women can agree, some anxieties ebb and flow in the anticipation of what is coming, what it all means, how your family dynamic will change, how the baby will fit in and affect your lives.  With your first baby, if the pregnancy is going well, it is an incredible high, never far from your mind is the thought of this new little person you're soon to meet. You read a lot of books and articles, nursery decorations are chosen with the utmost care, birth plans are typed up, and it can be the shortest and longest 9 months of your life, all at the same time.

With your second baby, your third, your fourth, or your fifth, life has become increasingly and more beautifully complicated, your attention is demanded in many places at once, and the pregnancy can sometimes be completely forgotten about.  You can go about your day, your week, just going from one mundane task to the next, from breakfast to clean up to diaper changes to school drop offs to laundry to dentist appointments, to dance class, to homework, to baseball, to church activities, etc... until you feel a kick, or you find yourself unable to get off the couch, instead you must roll off in the most undignified way imaginable, and you stop and wonder, when exactly did your belly get so big? Or when did your pelvic bones start to feel like tectonic plates separating? Or when did your muscles become so useless? It's easier to forget the miracles taking place inside of you in subsequent pregnancies. At the same time, you  are uniquely reminded of what's happening inside of you every time you look into your other children's eyes, watch their minds at work as they stack blocks, and see them running through the grass.  You take a moment and realize that life, that person, started inside of you, and it's starting again with your most recent creation.






agh. I could rattle on for-eh-ver about this. 
Let me 'splain.
No, there is too much.
Let me sum up.






Some pregnancy things I cherish and will miss:
1. Eating. Eating a lot, of whatever, whenever, because it tastes good, because it's the only time in my life when eating such delicious foods is so free of guilt.
2. Attention. I don't mind sweet old people telling me about their birth stories, or other young moms giving me knowing smiles, or all the wonderful, mostly fabricated and totally exaggerated compliments of how I'm glowing and adorable as a pregnant woman. How sad...will I never glow again?
3. Babies movements, even the semi annoying hiccups
4. Taking naps and sleeping in (with husband approval) without guilt
5.Choosing baby names








Good Riddance:
1. struggles to reach the car pedals as the steering wheel keeps my belly from bringing the seat closer
2. bending down for anything, only applicable in last trimester
3.  waddling and overall slowness (last trimester)
4. not being able to squeeze into small places (last trimester)
5. being tired more than I can afford to be
6. frequent urinations (last trimester)
7. healing after delivery (see Hidden horrors after delivery, not so eloquent but pretty darn accurate ) post pregnancy,  obvi.
8. abstinence of fermented grapes and malted barley, sushi, deli meats, etc.
9. The judgmental stares I get when I go out with my children, as people can clearly see I'm about to add another child to the troop.




I know this rainbow can't go on forever, so I wanted to dedicate this post to my current personal thoughts on the matters of pregnancy.  I'm sliding down the end of the rainbow, and I'm going to try my best to remember these moments and enjoy the ride while I can. After I'm grounded, all that is left is to cheer on other moms who are blessed enough to go on this same amazing journey, and to encourage and support them when they find their rainbow also, has come to an end.  I know there are beautiful things still to come, but the colors and lights of this particular adventure can never really be recreated again. 
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay. 
~Robert Frost