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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear 9 Months Pregnant Body,

Dear Me, as I approach my 9th month of my very last pregnancy,

It's been a wild ride, hasn't it, dear old uterus, belly and body? You and me, all the things we've been through together while carrying life inside us. It's pretty awesome actually. You've helped me bring two beautiful, healthy babies into the world already. And here we are, approaching the 9th month of pregnancy again.

But this time it's the last time. The bittersweet taste of this being my last baby is starting to hit me. 

It's been there the whole time, these last 34 weeks or so, and yet now that it's almost here, that final day where I'll deliver a baby and be done with pregnancy forever, it's hitting me. The finality and sadness of some of it, despite how happy and ready I am to reach that finish line.

I'm realizing how far I've come from that first pink line I saw, and the breath I held for a moment hoping and praying the second line came on the pregnancy test. Wow, that feels lightyears ago. I am realizing I've overcome the worries and fears, for the most part. I've survived the ultrasounds where I closed my eyes tight, wishing and hoping all to be OK when I opened them again. I've taken the multivitamins every single night and I've drank enough Ginger Ale to sink a battle ship during those nauseating weeks, months in the beginning. I've read the What to Expect book and Googled every single week wondering what was happening in my body that week during pregnancy.

And now here we are. My strong-willed body has done it again. We've grown a baby. We've created life and kept it going in there. It's nothing short of a miracle. Three kids now, and I realize this to be true each and every time. I'm so blessed and I know this. 

This being the very last time, our last baby, my last time pregnant, I'm realizing even more how incredible my body is. It's allowed me to keep this baby safe. It's let this baby thrive and kick and move for almost nine months now. And I'm thankful. So thankful.

So now that I approach the hardest part of pregnancy, the part where you're more exhausted than ever before because you're so unbelievably tired, unable to get comfortable at night, switching positions a thousand times, I'm realizing that I need to savor some of these tough moments because they will pass quickly and they won't come again.

Despite the swelling and the heartburn (damn freaking heartburn!), despite the fact that I have to sit and catch my breath after taking a shower or the fact that sometimes I need help putting shoes on or reaching my shorts on the ground to pull them up... I know I'm lucky to be going through this pregnancy. Despite that I can't eat as much because I feel full with the belly up near my neck it seems like, and despite that nothing seems to fit anymore because my belly just hangs out of all shirts and skirts are getting super tight around the middle these days... I know this is an amazing thing.

So as I approach these last few weeks of my final pregnancy, I hope I remember to relish in the beautiful parts. I hope I stop to rest more, put my feet up and not just do it because I don't want swollen ankles but do it because I CAN and should and because it affords me the opportunity to appreciate my body for what it's doing. 

I hope that I memorize the way it feels to be kicked and jabbed, even when it's in the middle of the night and I'm so seriously tired. I hope I stop to appreciate those movements because I'll never have that feeling again. There is no greater feeling, truly.

I hope I take deep breaths when I see some stretch marks appearing or when my eyes are dark from lack of sleep or when I step on the scale at the doctor's office and I've surpassed that stupid weight gain recommendation some random person who maybe has never been pregnant came up with.

I hope I take a breath and realize it's OK, I've done a great job, my body is amazing, and we're growing a life. Despite the aches and pains, that's what matters. 

A life is growing because of my body and because of my patience and strength. There is nothing greater than that. I hope I remember that, even when I want to cry I'm so worried about the upcoming delivery or how I'm going to survive sleepless nights again or how it'll be to recover physically from a C-section again with two busy kids in tow.

So Dear Me, the one who is approaching the last stretch in this last pregnancy, remember that even though it is not easy most moments, it's worth it. Remember what it feels like to carry this life, to know the purpose you are here for right now, and remember that all great things come with trials that make it oh so worth it in the end.

I'm not saying I won't complain these next few weeks. I'm human. I despise sciatic hip pain. I can barely get out of bed physically sometimes, it's such a chore.

But I'm going to try to enjoy the moments that are to be enjoyed and take deep breaths to let go of the difficulties of not feeling right in my body. Because it's the last time. And I'll miss this someday. 

I may not miss heartburn, but I'll miss the reason I had heartburn. I may not miss not being able to shave my legs easily, but I'll miss that it was because my belly was so large with this growing baby in it that I couldn't reach. I won't miss how I'm out of breath, but I'll miss the moments that have taken my breath away in a different sense - like when I've heard the heartbeat on the doppler or when I've seen the squirmy gummy bear figure on the ultrasound just moving away or when I've felt that first flutter and then large jabs in my belly.

I will miss this. I will. But I'm forever grateful for what my body has done and given to me the last almost nine months.

So Dear Me at the end of pregnancy, just breathe, take a seat, and prepare to be wowed one last time by all that you can do - the hard parts and all, it's all incredibly worth it.

Your tired pregnant self

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