The sound of freezing raining pounding on the windowsill wakes me from a deep sleep.
I am dreaming about delivering a baby, but instead I have birthed a watermelon. In my dream, I just accept my watermelon baby, no questions asked.
My chest feels tight and my lower back is in agony, and I realize that I’ve somehow flipped over onto my back in my sleep. A pregnancy no-no according to all the books, I quickly heave my body to the right and pull a pillow between my legs.
Just as I’m settling back to sleep I feel the sudden urge to pee. I can’t hold it, so I grunt and pull myself up, feeling searing pain in my hips and lower back.
I’m nearing the end of my third pregnancy, and feeling more pregnant than ever. In the night I lay awake, wondering when I’ll go into labour, and praying everything will turn out alright. Some nights I cannot help but feel myself grow tense with panic. I’m not sure I can do this again. I’m terrified of labour; the pain, and the unknown.
Somehow knowing what I’m facing, having done this twice already, offers no comfort. I curl up in the darkness of the night and wish myself to sleep, knowing that tomorrow there will be dishes to wash, clothes to fold, and children to feed and soothe.
My third pregnancy has been by far the most difficult. When I was 21-years-old and pregnant with my first child I had few worries and responsibilities. I spent my days dreaming about motherhood and my baby, and welcomed her into my life with ease. With my second pregnancy I remember feeling more uncomfortable, but managing well. I felt strong and warrior like, bouncing on my birthing ball with my enormous belly, my little toddler giggling and dancing around me.
This time around I’m battled depression, intense pregnancy pain, and self-doubt. I’ve been grateful for the life inside me, rejoicing over her health, and our decision to grow our family. But I’ve also felt unprepared, afraid of being unable to handle three young kids, and all the responsibility that goes with it.
One thing is certain, this third pregnancy is my final pregnancy. We are complete as a family of five and ready to close up shop in that regard. The finality of the decision to make our third child our last child has hit me in my final trimester, as I realize that I truly am nearing the end of my childbearing years.
I have started to take note of these precious final moments that I’ll never experience again. The swelling of my belly, a baby rapidly growing inside of me. The feeling of leaps, kicks, jumps and jabs, the reminder of life and the anticipation of my child’s arrival.
The joy of setting up a nursery, pulling out clothes that contain a thousand precious memories, carefully folding them and putting them away. The last time I’ll press a newborn sleeper to my cheek, knowing the soft fabric will contain my own newborn soon.
I try and capture these moments, a snapshot of impending motherhood and the beauty of a new soul being born on this earth.
I try to grasp and remember everything beautiful and perfect about pregnancy and the anticipation of a child’s birth. Things like final ultrasounds, hearing our baby’s heartbeat, sitting in the waiting room at our midwife’s office. All sweet and delicious memories I want to savour for a lifetime.
Trying to hold on to the lovely feelings and tuck each memory into the corner of my heart has helped me to endure the pain, the fear, and the uncertainty. It’s made all that matter much less, as I realize the importance and miracle of a child’s development inside their mother’s womb. It’s the first of many sacrifices I’ll make for my child. It’s the first test of motherhood.
For me, pregnancy is where I have seen my strength. It’s where I’ve seen what I’m capable of, and have amazed myself. The difficult moments make the prize at the end that much sweeter, and I am so ready for my final prize at the end of a difficult race.
She’s been worth it, that’s for sure.