Anticipating baby number whaaaat?
Oddly, or perhaps not, as veteran moms to many would likely tell me, I am actually more excited about this pregnancy than about any previous pregnancy save perhaps for number one. (And let’s be honest, number one was marked with periods of stark terror, lots of late night googling, and overpriced and precocious maternity purchases.)
I don’t mean that numbers 2, 3, and 4 weren’t all delightful and filled with moments of sweet anticipation, but there’s something about this pregnancy, coming during a year of intense transition and turmoil for our family, that has been so grounding and so sweet. After the first 24 hours of shock wore off, I shifted almost immediately from “well, that wasn’t in the 6-month plan” to “I can’t wait to meet this little person,” which, for me, a woman for not given to acute fits of maternal emotion, seemed unusual.
This little baby is softening my heart already. (Along with the rest of me, but that’s the price of admission to the mother club.)
I’m sure it’s due in part to my other children’s excitement for a new sibling. At 6 going on 7, Joey is old enough to understand that a baby is really growing inside me, and in fact, spent the first trimester taunting me that I was having twins because “mommy you’re soooooo sick, there must be two babies!”
(He got deep enough into my psyche that I did actually request a 14 week ultrasound and, sorry, kid, only one bebe on board. Whew.)
I’m just starting to show now at 19 weeks, though if I’m out in public with all 4 kids I can still kind of suck in and feign midsection thickness if I’d rather not cop to it. The kids have started talking to my belly, putting their hands on the entirely wrong part of my abdomen and whispering sweet nothings to fat rolls that are just sort of being rearranged. (I need to order that Blanqi asap, because Luke blew my last one out beyond all elastic recognition.) It’s charming, if not humbling, to have one’s fluffy midsection lovingly stroked by adoring sibling hands eager to suggest names (The big boys favor Leo and Nicholas, Evie prefers “Boobie Trap”) and to narrate the day to day action in our house to their little brother or sister in utero. Even Luke, not quite 2 years old yet, has taken to kissing and patting the belly before bedtime, insisting on being tucked in with a naked babydoll some nights who he solemnly tells me is “my baby, mama.”
It’s hard not to catch their enthusiasm. And it’s hard not to look at each of them and wonder whose eyes, whose nose, what shape head (size XL: guarantee). I was watching them ride plasma cars in a death defying swoop down the driveway into the street last night and realizing that for as numerous as they are, as they grow and mature, I’m seeing them more as a collection of individuals – starkly and startlingly unique – and less as a pack of toddler wolves. Improving bathroom manners go a long way toward alleviating that perception, to be sure. It’s fascinating to watch their personalities come online, seeing different interests and abilities bubble to the surface, along with specific character flaws and even tendencies to sin. I thought I had one of each four temperaments, officially, but the older and louder Luke gets, the more chagrined I find myself that I ever fancied him a phlegmatic. Homeboy be choleric, loud and proud.
I’ve been trying to not rush ahead in anticipation of the process this time, and instead accepting each week for what it brings. I usually psyche myself up for an early delivery (and I usually do deliver early) but I end up mentally and emotionally “done” at 38 weeks. I don’t want to do that this time. I don’t know if this will be our last baby (and given our track record, I rather doubt it) but you never know. And if it is my last pregnancy, I want to enjoy it, to the extent that it’s possible. I want my kids to have at least one memory of mommy being joyful while expecting a sibling and not laid out on the couch destroyed by fatigue, and having these two most recent additions 28 months rather than 18 months apart has done worlds of difference for my mental and physical health. #thanksMarquette
I hope that I can hang onto this rosier vision of gestation as the weeks and months (and pounds) tick by, but I know that by month 8 I might be crying uncle and googling “earliest safe induction by massage” and all that. For now though, this baby is the best thing going in the hectic and slightly overwhelming life of our family, and it has never felt more accurate or more sincere to speak of another sibling being the greatest gift I can give to my children. I’m so glad this baby is here, and so unworthy of the beautiful children I’ve been tasked with. I can only hope they’ll go easier on me at assessment time since I’m parenting them in zone defense rather than one on one. Kids, if you’re reading this on your hologram pads in 2032 in some ancient internet archive: mommy loves you and is doing her best, even though she keeps feeding you hot dogs and trying to fall asleep at 7 pm.
Ahh this is so wonderful! Also, my 3 year old always pats my breasts and talks to our baby. #wronglump
Aww, too sweet Jenny! Great to hear the older kids now getting in on the anticipation – should make Advent extra special for your family this year 🙂 Now, I must run and Google “Blanqi”!
Jenny, this is so, so sweet. Praise God for the joy and the peace! God bless you!
The saying”Man plans, God laughs”, sure applies! Our daughter had 2 children within 2 months of separate moves! She prayed for a calm baby with #7, and got our wonderful Faustina! God bless you all!
I find it kind of amazing that even though I’m feeding them hotdogs and falling asleep at 7 p.m. and generally hitting that eight month pregnancy wall of exhaustion, the kids still think having a baby is the best thing ever. My daughter still wants six children of her own (three named Azelie and three named Augustine). Last night she told me, “This is what pregnancy is like! You go through this to get the chubby little baby!”
I love this!!! Oceans apart and still the same 🙂 my son wants us to have 9 more kids and all named after him – Azaria 1, 2, 3…
If children are not wonders, don’t know who are.
Jenny, you wore pearls during delivery? Now that makes you a true rock star!!!
Jenny, it’s so sweet that Luke wants his own baby. My son Aidan (almost 15 now) had a baby doll when he was about 3 years old & he used to pretend to be her daddy.
Such a sweet reflection. I have to say I have been struggling with #5 pregnancy.. it’s been debilitating from day one. But my kids’ enthusiasm as well as my husband’s has helped lift me a little. And I am trying, as you say, to show my kids that pregnancy is a joyful thing.. but man o man, this one is testing me!
I was very excited for pregnancy #5 also. We always talked about having 4 kids and so the gift of another one was really cherished. We had one girl and three boys and when I found out #5 was a girl, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I hope the second half of your pregnancy continues to bring you joy.
Random east coast Catholic mama reader, with an NFP question. Sounds like maybe baby #5 was a Marquette method “surprise.” First off, congratulations! Second, beautiful post! Now to brass tacks: I know this is terribly personal but would you mind sharing, was #5 due to a conscious decision to make use of a risky day, or did something specific trip you up? Asking for a postpartum Marquette “friend” 😉 (Who has several serious reasons to postpone pregnancy!)
Just beautiful – life is such a gift. Many blessings and I pray you truly find joy in each day you get to carry that beautiful baby!!!
Jenny I’ve been enjoying your posts….you are much younger than I (65! Yikes!) but I can relate, having raised 4 of our own. At that time, most people had only 2 and #3 was an “Oops”….they thought we were crazy having 4…..but that last one….I get your transition experience, as he was born shortly after we moved to the East Coast from MN! But he was the sweetest baby yet! I thought I wanted another girl to spoil, but I was wrong….and you are right! That little guy brought more joy to our family…all his sibs loved him so much! And when I was headed for the hospital, his older brother rubbed my belly like a crystal ball going around in circles and saying with such wonder “Mommy are you going to get my baby brother out now?”
He was right and I was wrong…..who knew! At 4 years old he was closer to God at that time than I was (that’s changed now, thank goodness!) I’m so happy a real life, down-to-earth CATHOLIC Mom is putting it out there and letting others know…..yes, it can be a struggle….but the JOY is worth learning to love Our Father’s discipline! God Bless…..
You sound very uplifted today. Good to hear that in your words. Maybe this year instead of “Mama Needs Coffee” it is “Mama Needs Babies” ; )
what a beautiful life together with your husband and children God has blessed you…
I love this! I went through the same phases. This wasn’t the plan too I can’t wait to hold her and I think because we do have five children that when each one is approaching their delivery date we know the amount we’ll have for the little one and it’s unexplainable in words. Words wouldn’t give it justice. And then you think how am I going to do all of this while being sleep deprived and nursing a baby. While it all falls together while falling apart (wink wink) but it doesn’t matter because that love for that baby is again unexplainable and it only grows more and more with each one! What a gift to have that! And the worries and fatigue are all apart of it but the love is the gift! And now we’re approaching teenage years so we’ll see how that love grows and deepens during these fun years! Best wishes as having five kids is such a gift and I’m trying to be grateful for all of the seasons of life we go through and if God calls me to have more i would begin that same season all over again and would love #6 with that much anticipation and more. God bless!
My 5th is almost 4 months old, and except for taking quite a bit longer to adjust to the idea, this could have been written by me Albeit , not so eloquently. And now my five year old pats my soft midsection and tells me she thinks I’m growing another one. I assure her I am not.