The very fact that this is the first baby-related blog post I've written during this pregnancy, and it comes just shy of a mere two weeks from my due date, ought to give ample evidence of one of the key differences between this pregnancy and my previous two.
That being, there has just been so much less time to focus on it! Part of that is intentional...for having done this twice before, I've largely known what to expect when I'm expecting, what my body is doing, what's fascinating/normal/annoying, etc., and the need to document it all has just not existed in the same way as it previously has. I do not take for granted in the slightest, however, the miracle I am taking part in and the gift I am experiencing in carrying this baby. I just now know from a little experience that the "real" fun and memory-making comes once the little one joins our family. Raising the babies that are already here has taken most of my attention over the past many months, and rightly so, I think.
The other part of my lack of documentation is not intentional, I'm afraid, and to a degree, I do regret not having written more and photographed more and journaled more. (I have kept a pregnancy journal again this time, though! There was that one entry!) As it turns out, raising those aforementioned babies that are already here has taken most of my attention...and energy...and time...and energy...(did I mention energy?)...throughout this pregnancy. Truth be told, I am banking somewhat on the possibility that, since this newest member of the family is a boy, perhaps he won't have such strong feelings once he's grown in knowing every detail of his mother's pregnancy journey. In my mind, a little boy won't care as much about those things as his older sisters could. I could be wrong, though, and this may be my first lesson in figuring out how to parent boys as compared to parenting little girls.
In any case, here we are, anxiously awaiting our son's arrival that could happen, really, any time now.... Emerson was three days early; Brennan was born a full week before her anticipated due date. I've heard from more than one friend about how each subsequent child seems to come earlier and earlier; I'm trying to mentally-prepare myself for that possibility. I'm really just hoping to make it to May.... In some ways, his near-arrival has snuck up on me. I've mentioned to a few friends that I think we're going to get to the hospital and wonder how we ended up there! Bringing a baby into the world is always a somewhat surreal experience, I've decided. This time, perhaps even more so!
On being a boy. I'll be honest. My initial reaction to opening the envelope and reading "BOY" on the card was not an especially positive one. Bobby and I opened the envelope at midnight on New Year's Eve, and in hindsight, having such an emotional moment at a time when we were both weary was perhaps not the best idea. Lesson learned. Anyway, I was not immediately overwhelmed with joy. In fact, though I'd said I didn't care either way, I don't think it was until that moment that I realized that I did actually have strong feelings about having another girl. Three sisters. We'd both expected that it would be another girl, given my symptoms and our general "feeling". But, we were wrong. Bobby was happy, though I don't think he even got to savor the moment of learning he was having a son due to concern over the state of my mental health in that moment. I'm not proud of it, but that's what happened.
The next morning was Sunday, and we were still the only ones who knew the gender of the baby. I was struggling to wrap my head around the news, and "grieving" (though I know that's too strong a word) the little girl I thought we would have. But, tears (of the positive emotional variety) came to my eyes as we worshipped and sang songs with such lyrics as "...sovereign over every step...", "...You are perfect in all of Your ways to us...", and "it is well, it is well, with my soul". And, in that moment, it was.
Having a baby boy wasn't what I expected or thought I needed. But, in the days since then, I have grown to not only accept, but quite like the idea of having a little boy in our family. The Lord knows what dynamics our family needs now, and in the years to come, and I'm thankful that He is the One designing our family.
On being "ready". People often ask if I'm "ready" for the baby to be born, and it feels as though it's often implied that "ready" means "get this over with" or be finished with the pregnancy. And, in that sense, no, I'm not. I'm not miserably uncomfortable or desperate, and quite honestly, I find this last-stage of pregnancy to be one of my favorites. If I'm going to be pregnant, I might as well look good and pregnant, and there's something about the final preparations and excitement and suspense (and what I'm considering to be nesting-related adrenaline and energy!) that makes it fun. So, am I in a hurry for him to be here? No. It'll happen when it happens. Although I am certainly excited to meet the little guy! Am I ready mentally and emotionally? I think so. As much as one can be, I'd say. The hospital bag is packed, the laundry is all caught-up, and the house is tidy. Now...we wait!
On my physical condition. There were the weeks and weeks of morning sickness and weariness and general exhaustion...the gory details of which have largely faded from memory. That's probably for the best, anyway, and really just indicative of the temporary nature of such things. "This too shall pass" holds true, and though miserable in the midst of it, it really doesn't last forever. Life goes on. Really, one of the biggest struggles I remember facing during those early weeks of pregnancy this go-around was the mental anxiety of wondering what in the world I'd done, knowing that I was too exhausted to feel like I was taking care of the girls particularly well.... Thoughts of "I'm too tired and lazy to handle two children...what was I thinking imagining that I can handle another baby?!" crept into my mind frequently. I was forgetting in my weariness, of course, that when I'm firing on all cylinders, feeling healthy and NOT in the early stages of pregnancy, I am absolutely up to the challenge. But, that feeling was defeating and difficult...but, it too passed.
The largest physical complaint of this pregnancy, though, is definitely the lower-back/rear end/hip (truly, I can't even place it or figure out exactly what hurts) pain that shows up at the end of each day. It really is brutal, and unlike anything I dealt with previously. I don't know if it's a result of carrying this little guy differently (everyone says that I am), or being that much older (hello, thirty!), or just the result of my body's changes for having done this twice already before. In any case, that has been a challenge. I must create quite the spectacle for Bobby, as he's helplessly watched as I try to get off the couch multiple times each evening, struggling to get upright and slowly shuffling to the bathroom as my back readjusts. It isn't a pretty picture.
I am looking forward to my postpartum workout routine more so than ever, hopeful that this back trouble is another temporary ailment. I enjoy being pregnant...but I think a lot of the "luster" of the experience has left, and I've been less patient with its unpleasantries this time. I'm reminding myself that I also enjoy not being pregnant...having my body do what I want it to do...and being able to keep up with these girls the way that I want to be able to.
On feeling confident. I'm so proud of having given birth to both girls naturally, and that has always been the plan for this birth, too. Still, it isn't particularly something I've looked forward to. I wasn't, and am not, fearful, per se...but I wasn't particularly confident about the event until about two weeks ago. Bobby was out of town for the week, and the big trashcan in the garage needed to be emptied into the dumpster outside. As he was away, the task became mine. Quite literally, strange as it sounds, in that moment of hoisting the big black trash bag up and out and into the dumpster, I thought "I can totally do this". "This", of course, referring to giving birth again. Silly, I know. But, it was a physical effort, one that I didn't especially want to do, but it had to be done...and I was capable. It was enough of a reminder of my ability to do something physically-challenging and unpleasant to give me the confidence that I can do hard things. It made me feel empowered and ready for another natural labor and delivery. I can totally do this.
On sentimentality. Over the past couple of days, I've begun to feel very sentimental about my time with Emerson and Brennan. I remember this happening in the days before Brennan was born, too...just an awareness that the family dynamics we've enjoyed are about to change. That isn't a bad thing, but it is the end of a precious era. I've loved our days as a family of four. Having two daughters is the family structure I know (and love) and it's difficult in a lot of ways to picture anything else. But, just as my concerns over welcoming another little girl into the family after enjoying my time with only Emerson were immediately eased, I know that this little man will fit perfectly into our home, too. Still, I am treasuring these final days at home with my girls...just the three of us. I am so in love with them.
On the big sisters. Oh, the big sisters. They are so excited. So ready. What joy they have brought to this pregnancy, seeing their enthusiasm and readiness grow as the months have gone by! Honestly, it was their initial excitement over having a baby brother that first helped me embrace the idea of having a boy.
Emerson largely knows what to expect in having a baby around, and she's confidently embraced the idea of having a baby brother. Lately, she's verbalizing the thought "I wonder what it will be like to have a baby brother...." Brennan can't relate to the idea in the same way, but in watching two cousins grow in the past year, she's been around small babies enough to imagine it. (Although, she has mentioned more than once that she will be the big sister, and I think she may be under the impression that that means that Emerson no longer will be. That may be a harsh reality to face once she figures that out.) She's woken up many mornings, the first words on her lips being "I have a baby bru-vver!" Her little hands often rest on my tummy, and she's enjoyed talking to him often. Emerson has appreciated feeling his movements in my belly, which is fun to share with her.
Some days it seems as though they're just ready to get the show on the road...enough talking about the baby brother that's supposedly coming! Emerson has shifted to thoughtful curiosity of when this big event will take place, and she's revealing some first-born tendencies that I can relate to, including not liking the surprise element in the timing of it all and wanting to know when and where and what to expect. So much of my thoughts about the new baby involve Brennan's reaction, which is certainly fun to imagine. I know Emerson is a wonderful big sister already.... But, when I stopped to consider Emerson with a baby brother the other day, I was overwhelmed with excitement about that, too. It will be entirely different this time watching her with a new sibling.
I'm excited to share this experience with them; happy for them to be able to enjoy the gift of another sibling. Their love and enjoyment of each other has grown so much over the past months; I'm thankful they have each other and I know that their bond is going to have such a strong impact on what the weeks ahead look like for our family. Not to mention that the confidence that Emerson's leadership and companionship gives Brennan ought to help with my hospital stay and time away from home.... And, I'm counting on their ever-increasing ability to play happily together being a key factor in a healthy transition for all of us! It's going to be a fun summer, and I'm so looking forward to spending it with them. This is one lucky baby boy to have Emerson and Brennan as his big sisters. Also...I hope he's ready for them!
On being a mother of three. I joke about my readiness to handle the busyness and action and demand of three children...but, honestly? I feel pretty capable! I'm a good mom, and I don't pretend to have "it" all figured out, but I also feel like I'm pretty good at "this"! And, I'm glad to have that confidence. Homemaking is, I'm quite sure, my calling, and (as I would hope I would have the opportunity to say about any career I could have chosen)...I'm good at it. So, will I feel overwhelmed at times? Have hard days? Think I'm in over my head? Most definitely. But, I'm ready. And capable. And it's going to be great. Three babies in my nest? What an enormous blessing!