So in the last month or so something has happened in my brain. I think ... I think this is my last pregnancy.
(You'll remember on my post about getting my tubes tied that the jury was still out on that.)
Now listen, since then my kids have hid from me in the house (that hellish day was two weeks ago), so I know what you're thinking: "Well DUH, Manda. You have your HANDS FULL, LADY." Believe me, I know. And also? When people see me with my two small children and large pregnant belly? They LOVE to remind me of that. Daily. My favorite response, by the way, is "I'm one of the lucky ones!"
And I am. I know how blessed we are to have two healthy children and to be expecting another (by all accounts) perfectly healthy baby in two months. Sometimes when I stop and think about what my life would be like without my son ... I cannot believe how incredibly blessed we are. The intervention that saved his life, and has now saved the life of this baby girl, it blows me away that their lives are possible. It blows me away that I gave birth to a 10 pound, 7 ounce baby with no complications for either of us. My mother-in-law's mother was not so lucky. Seventy years ago she gave birth to a baby boy who weighed over ten pounds, had a very similar difficult labor story to my own, and because the doctor who attended her birth was not trained on doing c-sections, my MIL's older brother died at a week old. Her mother never fully recovered physically from the shattered pelvis she endured during the birth, and worst of all - obviously - she lost her baby. What an absolute nightmare.
But none of this is here nor there. About a month ago after we decided we were a no-go on tubal ligation? I suddenly had this realization that even though I wasn't going to get my tubes tied (still am not going to!) that it didn't mean that this couldn't be my last pregnancy. It sounds so dumb to talk it out like that, it's just so simple, but for some reason it felt like if I wasn't going to get my tubes tied that the possibility of more children joining our family was still there (and I guess on a purely technical level, YES, it IS still a possibility because anything is possible if both people involved are still fertile).
What I am saying is this: I think this is it. I think this is probably my last baby.
When I was pregnant with Elijah I never felt this clarity. (There! That is the word I have been looking for during the endless writing of this blog post, writing that has been interrupted roughly 856 times by my demanding 4 YO. Which I realize is oh, ho, haa haa SO IRONIC). Even when things were extremely difficult I never thought during that pregnancy that it would be my last one. I wondered about it A LOT, but I never felt clear on it.
Clarity is a strange beast. It kind of takes you by the shoulders and looks you in the eye and dares you to look away. It asks you, "But are you SURE? Are you OKAY with this?" And I suppose that when the answer is a shrug back and a simple, unhesitant "yes" you just know. And you just move forward and you don't look back anymore. When I figured this whole thing out it was just ... a relief. I can move on from pregnancy. I can move on from worrying about miscarriage, taking progesterone, gaining and losing weight, all the important and trivial things that come with this territory. When this baby is done with her baby things we can let them go for good. We can make plans. We can make space in our lives for what is next that is not babies. And don't get me wrong, babies are an awesome dream. But I'm ready for what's next. I'm ready for our family to go on to what is next. I'm ready to meet this little girl and give her a name and move her into our home. I've got dreams brewing for us all. For myself.
I know we will still have our moments. We will probably talk about more children from time to time (my husband looked across the table at me just the other night - which was fairly brave of him considering I'm miserably lodged in the third trimester - and said, "But wouldn't it be nice for Elijah to have a brother?"). But in this moment I have peace. I have clarity. And it feels really good.