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The Longest Shortest Time

I’ve got about 1 week of pregnancy left. I say this with relative certainty, because I have decided to be induced at 39 weeks gestation.

There’s always a sense of finality at the end of a pregnancy – you know that baby can’t stay in there forever – but this is the first time I’ve been ticking down to an actual date on the calendar. To say that I’m experiencing a (expletive) maelstrom of emotions is entirely accurate.

I’ve been sitting here for a while, trying to write what I feel only to keep erasing it. Every point is a dichotomy. I’m happy, I’m sad. I’m excited, I’m scared. I don’t know what to say.

This is my last baby. I know that it is, and I still have a hard time accepting it. Tom and I have always said we wanted 3. Of course, the idea of a 4th sounds wonderful. I am a 4th baby. When I see pictures of families with a lot of kids I feel a pang of jealousy. But I know myself, and I know that having another might send me over the edge. Having another baby isn’t worth the risk of being unable to be a patient, loving mother to my children. (Besides the fact that babies COST A LOT OF MONEY.)

And so, as I sit in my heavily pregnant body, feeling my baby stretch and kick, I am torn between excitement and sadness. I can’t wait to hold her, to see her face, to come to know her little personality and how she will complete our family. I am so excited to have my body back, to feel it shrink down and grow strong again. But, god. I am going to miss this.

Pregnancy has always made me feel a little like a superhero. It’s incredible to feel your body shift and change, to know that it’s doing it unconsciously and purposefully. The anticipation and excitement are magic. Now that I have two, I think about who she will be, what she will look like, and that the answer to those questions have been in place since she was first conceived. What kind of magic is that?

38 WEEKS WITH EACH BABY.

I think I worried more during this pregnancy than during the other two. Eh, not think…I know I did. Even in the relatively short time since Willow was born, I feel like the internet is awash with all sorts of new information. More tests, more concerns, more questions, more things that can go wrong!! I’d like to tell you that I did the smart thing and unplugged from it all, but I didn’t always.

Fortunately for me, baby and I have both been in excellent health over the last 9 months – which makes me embarrassed to admit that up until very recently, I started having total emotional breakdowns with some regularity. And I mean crying in a heap like a Disney princess breakdowns.

A lot of the reasons why could easily be dismissed as #firstworldproblems, but many of them were legit. My girls were in a difficult behavior phase and my hormonal pregnant self just couldn’t take it, which would ultimately result in me being “angry mom” and then hating myself. For a very long time baby was in a transverse position, and so I started doing all kinds of tricks to try and encourage her to flip down: Webster techniqueby a chiropractor, Spinning Babieshypnobabies, etc.

This all tied to the worst part of all – anxiety levels that were, at times, crippling. It’s not a secret that my 1st birth was traumatic. I know that before I had Violet I felt a certain amount of fear based on that experience, but for whatever reason, this time around that fear gripped me tightly and wouldn’t let go. It was almost like I was processing certain parts of the experience for the first time. I knew in my core that I would do anything in order to avoid feeling what I felt 4 years ago. (Of course, I understand now that due to Willow’s positioning her birth was indeed more painful than your average natural childbirth. But still.)

While trying to get the baby to flip, I heard and read multiple things encouraging me to just relax! The result? I felt more tense and guilty that this was all somehow my fault. Well, something must have worked, because baby did indeed flip into a head-down position. Now I was left with a choice – wait to go into labor naturally, or induce?

I chose induction.

I’m choosing control, even if it’s only the illusion of it. And that’s okay.

And so now I’m left processing all the guilt. There are some days when if I had to define motherhood with one word, it would be guilt. Guilt that you’re doing it wrong. Guilt that you’re making the wrong decision. Guilt that you’re messing your kids up forever. Guilt that you suck at this. Guilt that you’re adding another baby to the family and shaking up the whole routine AGAIN.

And then.

I feel so incredibly grateful to be where I am. Tom and I have been blessed with amazing fertility – something I do NOT take for granted. We’ll have 3 children before the age of 34, which is exactly where I hoped to be at this point. Our children are smart, funny, beautiful, and healthy. We are truly blessed.

Of course, I easily forget this on days when my last strand of patience has snapped and I begin screaming so loudly that I am sure a neighbor will call child services on me. Just to throw things in perspective for you. Our lives are great, but I never want you to think that they’re perfect. That wouldn’t be fair or true. We take the good with the bad. We just try to focus on the good, because there is so much of it. Sometimes I ache with how good it is.

I know that as soon as this little person comes into our lives, we will adjust. Our hearts will expand and we will not be able to imagine life without her. I know it beyond any doubt. But until then, I’m going to sit in the bittersweet.

The only thing we can count on is change, and I’ve only got a little more time left in the longest shortest time.

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