As she wriggles around in my tummy, I think to myself ‘This is it now – 8 more weeks of feeling baby kicks and that is it. I will never feel a baby again beneath my ribs, stroke a bump in a maternity dress, or wash tiny newborn outfits to pack into a hospital bag.’
I tell myself ‘Enjoy it. Soak it up. Commit it to memory. One day, you can tell your daughter just what it’s like. But you won’t feel this again. This is it now. And soon, it will be over.”
I am pretty sure this is the last pregnancy. You can never be 100% sure with life’s twists and turns and a fourth baby would by no means be a disaster – but I am confident this baby will be our last. I will walk out of hospital in a few months time with a newborn in a car seat and that chapter of our life will be over.
The last pregnancy, now just a memory.
The first of ‘the lasts’.
I loved pregnancy so much the first two times that I imagined I would feel nostalgic and a little sad about that as my due date approached with my last baby. But the truth is that I don’t – I feel like it’s right. This pregnancy has not been easy on my body and I have no energy for my boys. I can’t wait for her to arrive. And even though she is still safely tucked up in my tummy, I already feel complete. I already feel done.
But I haven’t met her yet – and as much as I have got to know her wriggles, the positions she likes me to sit in, and the fact that she prefers me to lie on my left hand side at night (or I get a boot in the ribs for my troubles) I don’t really know her yet either. And I am sure that as soon as she is placed on my chest and we’ve met eyes, I will know exactly who she is – and saying goodbye to the newborn days for the last time will be harder.
Saying goodbye to the small sleepsuits, the tiniest vests, and the softest swaddles that all three have been wrapped in as newborns. Packing them away in boxes, selling them, having to hand them all over to a stranger to dress a baby I have never met. Or not having the courage just yet, keeping it stashed away, too painful to say goodbye to such precious memories (even if they are stained yellow with milky sick and bobbled from so much use).
That will be harder, I know that already. Not because I am aching to do it all again – but because I don’t want those hazy, but so special newborn days to be over too soon. I don’t want her to grow too quickly, to become a big baby, then a toddler, and then a child.
Then the baby days really will be over.
But for now, I can’t wait to walk out of that hospital and head home to my boys with their little sister, to start our life as a family of five. No more baby kicks in objection when I lie on my left side – but a baby girl swaddled in my arms.
The first of ‘the lasts’ – yes.
But more importantly, the first of the ‘the firsts’.
And I can’t wait for it all to begin.