We are done having babies. I can say that definitively. Four's our limit and Hattie will be my very last pregnancy. Jack always likes to remind us that this is what we said after Claire was born, but we changed our minds back then. This time, we've left no room for mind changing. I won't go into detail, but we've taken care of it.
On a totally unrelated note, if you see Kyle moving at his own pace for a little while, just leave him alone.
Last week, during the days leading up to . . . well . . . our done-ness, I was a little weepy. I still blame the postpartum hormones (I think I'll be blaming postpartum hormones for years to come). It's emotional to think about my childbearing years coming to an end. I didn't really enjoy being pregnant all that much, but even I can come up with things that I loved about it. On the morning before Hattie was born, I sat still and felt her little arms stretch and her feet push back and forth against my side. I just closed my eyes and tried to memorize it, knowing that this would be the last time that I'd feel a little one squirming inside of me. I watched my belly move as she rolled her little bottom from one side to the other. What an absolute miracle it is to grow a person. I get all teary just talking about it.
For these reasons, I think it's okay for me to be sad. It doesn't mean I've changed my mind. It's kind of like high school graduation, you know? It was a good time of my life, and I was really emotional about leaving it behind, but I definitely don't want to go back and do it again.
Almost 10 years ago I was told that getting pregnant would be difficult and it was. It took us time and a lot of money to get pregnant that first time, so it's still hard for me to believe that I have four children. Four. If I'm being honest, it makes me feel a little bit guilty, too. But that's a post for another time.
So, here's the plan: I'm going to soak up the months of babyhood that Hattie has left, and I'm going to brave the toddler/preschool years that both Claire and Hattie have ahead of them. I'll enjoy those stages as much as I possibly can. I will be careful not to wish them away. BUT. I will still look forward to the next stage and I won't cling to the last.
I love being able to have deeper conversations with Jack and Ben and I'm looking forward to being able to do that with the girls, too. I welcome the idea of having four kids who can entertain themselves for longer than 10 minutes, tie their own shoes, put themselves back to sleep at 3 AM and play games that all of us can enjoy. Perhaps we'll have a ceremonial burning of Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O.
Sure, there will be new and different challenges as they all get older, and I'm certain to have plenty of "I wish I could just go back to when they were babies" moments, but I'll welcome the next stage with open arms.