Ramblings of a mid second trimester, soon to be Mama of 4

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I am pregnant with son number 4. I’ve written many blog posts about this pregnancy in my head, they just haven’t made the trip from my head to the keyboard.

Quick summary is that baby boy number 4 is due in January. I am happy to have another boy, I don’t long for a girl. I’m happy to grow 4 gorgeous boys, who will grow up respecting women and respecting themselves. The two eldest already have a better knowledge of reproduction, breastfeeding and baby care than many 20 something year old girls. So… boy or girl, I don’t mind. I just hope for and am thankful for happy and healthy.  I find it amazing how many people think it matters so much. Usually, the first thing people say to me when they find out I am expecting baby number 4 is some variation of “I’ll bet you’re hoping for a girl this time”.

Needless to say I am looking forward to baby number 4 and I know that this is the last time I’ll have the honour of growing, birthing and breastfeeding a baby. I feel a mixture of excitement and terror of what’s to come.

Excitement because pregnancy, birth and nurturing a brand new little body and soul has been an almost magical experience for me in the past. I can’t wait to be drunk on oxytocin after the birth and experience the bliss of falling in love with my newborn. The pride in myself that I gave birth to this beautiful creature and the love I feel for my husband when we connect eyes over our new baby with the silent exchange “We made something as beautiful as this”.

The terror has many faces. How the hell am I supposed to be an effective parent to 4 children? I can just manage 3. How is my 2 year old going to handle not being the baby anymore? Am I ever going to have a second to call my own again?

Then there is the legacy of past challenges and scary experiences. I’ve had preeclampsia in 2 out 3 pregnancies. Not particularly badly so far as preeclampsia goes and thankfully not until the end of the pregnancies, but still, it’s preeclampsia, it’s never a good thing.

Next is the worry that 2 out of 3 of my births have resulted in cord dramas, slowed heart rates and respiratory distress at birth. NICU was home for us for 3 days with my first son and thankfully only several hours with my third. But… then he wouldn’t feed, got jaundiced and ended up back in the NICU anyway. When the birth goes so well, you expect your babies to be healthy. Regardless of how many nurses tell you that he’s going to be fine. I’ve had the most terrifying and heart aching times of my life sitting in front of my baby in a plastic box with leads and monitors and IV’s. Sitting there thinking it’s not supposed to be like this, he’s supposed to be snuggled up with a bliss out dozing and adoring parent.

And then there is the ‘Will I even make it to hospital this time?” question. My last labour was 1 hour 40 mins from first contraction to birth of baby. I don’t particularly mind the idea of an unattended birth, but the history does haunt me. Since I’ve had 3 non medicated, un-interfered with births in the hospital I am going to, I don’t feel it is worth the risk of an unattended birth if I have the option.  I’d actually quite like to have the baby at home but it won’t happen with a homebirth midwife since I can’t afford the $4500 to have one, even if I could find an ob to sign off on the idea (as is the new rule in this country). I do know that if it does happen at home, we’ll be fine. Between my husband and I, I’m confident we can handle it. I just don’t feel right planning it that way. But then… it doesn’t feel right not planning for that eventuality either. I think this time, I’m liking the idea of un-planning the birth.