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The Last Time?

I always told people I wanted “at least 3 kids.”

Granted, I didn’t expect to have ALL THREE before I turned 28, but nevertheless.  Here I sit.  Three kids.

Sometimes when I told people that I wanted “at least 3 kids” they would tell me, “You say that now – just wait ’til you HAVE ONE.”  When I was pregnant they added, “You might change your mind after labor!”  (Which, by the way, is a really stupid thing to tell a pregnant woman.)

10 minutes after delivering Madeline I looked Dan square in the eyes and said,

“Just so you know, that wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t do it again.”

After we’d lived with a baby for a little while, and especially after we received Madeline’s diagnosis, people continued to ask, and my answer never changed.

“Yes, I want more.  Yes, I want at least 3 children.  Yes, I’m sure.

“Just wait,” they said.
“Wait until you have two,” they said.
Then you’ll see,” they said.

I smiled politely and suppressed the urge to roll my eyes.

PSA:  Please, parents, stop telling people in different stages of life to “Just wait.”  It’s kind of patronizing and rude and it never, ever makes anyone feel better about anything.  Stop saying “Wait ’til you have two, wait ’til you have three, wait ’til they start walking, wait ’til they start throwing tantrums, wait ’til they’re teenagers.”  If you want a cookie, just ask for one.  But stop telling everyone else to “just wait…”

Thank you.
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

In the delivery room, holding Sam for the first time, I knew:  I’m not done.  I’m not done being pregnant.  I’m not done having kids.  This family is beautiful and perfect, but it is not finished.

As I sit here, 36 weeks pregnant with my third child, for the very first time in my life, if someone asked me if I thought I’d have more kids I’d have to answer honestly,

“I don’t know.”

I know that I don’t not want more kids.  But this is the first time I’ve not known with certainty that I do.   This is the first time I’ve even been able to entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, I won’t be pregnant again.

And now, the what-ifs that tag along behind “the unknown” are here en force.

As our little boy gets bigger and bigger, as this pregnancy draws nearer and nearer the end, I can’t help but think:

Could this be the last time I feel a baby do a somersault inside of me?
The last day he bumbles around for 30 minutes straight?
The last time I sit on the couch and watch my belly twitch?
The last time I feel the  l o n g,  s l o w  rolls?
The last time I push down and find a foot, or feel a knee bend beneath the pressure of my hand?
Could this be the last time my womb is full?

I don’t know.
It might be.

That is maddening to me.

Pregnancy is hard for a lot of reasons, but to think that this might be the last tiny baby that I whisper private whispers to, the last baby that lives on the inside of me before he lives on the outside of me, the last baby that sticks his toes up into my rib cage – it makes me stop.

I know that, sooner or later, this too shall pass – this season of baby-bearing.  God knows I won’t miss 98% of it.  At the risk of sounding terribly, awfully, embarrassingly vain – I mostly want my body back.  My breasts have been completely out of control for the last five years (and don’t even bother making cheeky comments like “share the wealth,” because believe me when I say:  if I could afford the surgery, it would have been done yesterday).

But to think that this could be my last tiny little baby makes me forget about the giant bras and maternity pants.  It makes me forget, if only for a minute, the discomfort and fatigue.

Because I’ll never know whether or not this is the last walloping kick before he’s born.  The last walloping kick ever?

This is the trouble of having to live life forwards instead of backwards – we just can’t know.  I could never have known “This is the last time Madeline will fall asleep on my shoulder.” I don’t even know when that happened, but somewhere along the way – it did.   I could never have known, “This is the last time I’ll swaddle Sam.  The last time I’ll nurse him.”  I’ll never know when it’s going to be the last time he will call me “Mmmmmm” instead of Ma-ma  -  then Mommy, then Mom.  It just…happens.  They grow up.

I suppose I’m feeling extra nostalgic, not because this is my last baby, but because it might be.

And so – I’ll just soak it up.  I’ll cry because I’m so happy with this little boy floating around inside of me.  I’ll try to memorize every sensation and know that, in 30 years, despite my best efforts, I won’t be able to recall it, not perfectly anyway.

I won’t wish him born, or wish to not be popping quite so many Tums, or wish for my face to stop puffing up with swelling and baby weight.  I’ll just love it – because I can only live life forward, so I’m going to live it.

(7 months pregnant with Madeline.  At the time I thought this was a “big” belly.  Oh, firstborns.)

(5 months pregnant with Sam.)

(8.5 months pregnant with little brother.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/taylorlkee Taylor Kee

    What a beautiful post. I love your honesty in this post. We don’t have children yet but we want them and this post does a wonderful idea of describing the miracle of pregnancy of birth while not leaving out the realistic part of it either.

  • Leslie

    Kate, loved this post. I especially love that you’re so real, you didn’t even bother to make the bed before taking that picture :)
    But honestly, I’m happy you have the sense to think of those what-ifs. I didn’t and now I wish I had documented more of my pregnancies. Every now and then, when I’m feeling a bit “gassy”, those little intestinal bubbles feel just like a tiny, mid-pregnancy baby wiggle. It always make me stop, close my eyes and remember.
    Then I poot and its over. (((sigh)))

    • Sara

      I laugh because I think the same thing about gas! ha!

  • Shelley W

    I always said I wanted “two of the same”…….and continued to say it for months after the birth of my second precious daughter……but as she approached 2, my arms ached for another baby, and I knew I wasn’t done! After the arrival of my blue-eyed baby boy, my family felt complete (and I was 27 at the time!)……..however, seems God (and my husband apparently!) didn’t think we were! My fourth pregnancy was long and difficult – I didn’t want this child! But of course, the second I held him in my arms, I knew God had a greater plan, and he completes our family in ways I never imagined………I never dreamed I would have four children before I was 30! Enjoy these last precious weeks, looking forward to the arrival of your son! Xxxx

  • Sara

    I must admit it was a blessing to know beforehand which one was our last. When our #4 was on the way, we were quite older than you are now and decided that she would be the period at the end of our sentence. It was like getting a heads up about a pop quiz – I tried to pay closer attention. Everything became a big deal to me – the LAST first kick, the LAST months-long bout of heartburn (yay!), the LAST kick and stretch (boo!), and so on. It was wonderful and bittersweet and exciting. Wish I had a way of knowing for the other things in my life. Guess I should probably just slow down and soak up each moment as it comes. Thanks for a great post.

  • Valerie

    This brought memories of the end of 2011 for me, except it was only my second and she would be my last because I was 37 and I do have medical issues while I’m pregnant. I loved carrying a baby, that special time you don’t have to share them yet, as selfish as it sounds. I’m still teary eyed after reading this post, I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

  • Susan Peters

    You are such a talented writer and you are wise beyond your years. I love reading your blog!!! This one almost brought tears because I do miss the feeling of being pregnant. I knew my second would be my last because of medical issues I had and carrying a third was not an option. I cherished every day of that high-risk pregnancy because it was a day-by-day struggle to keep me pregnant and prevent her from being born too early. Children are precious gifts from God and it is an honor to be the mother of my amazing daughters. God bless you and your wonderful family. Susan P.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501316378 Christine Trevino

    This is the exact reason I’m ok with going slow with the next one. I know I want at least three, and the thought of starting that process when it might be the end makes me a little nostalgic and sad. I have loved this season and at the same time am very excited to someday have my body back as well. We shall see . . . . :) BTW you look adoreable.

  • Amy Maddox

    Hey, there, lovely pregnant lady!

  • jsanck15

    While being pregnant with #2, our daughter Kenley, I was pretty sure that we weren’t done. But now that she is 16 months old, and I am feeling slightly overwhelmed with two kids, we just can’t decide. I wish that I would have even THOUGHT that she was our last, even for a second. Because while I can’t imagine doing it again, I can’t imagine NOT doing it again.

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