I’m in a weird place.
I’m still pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl), with six weeks to go until my scheduled delivery date, and things are starting to get a bit difficult. Moving around is hard, sleeping is next to impossible, and my two boys are basically feral at this point. I throw some food at them and make sure they’re clean and clothed, but if they want to do anything other than sit by me and read a book or play a quiet game then they’re on their own.
Still, I have had a very easy twin pregnancy by anyone’s standards. My perinatologist is always happy to see me because I’m apparently really good at carrying healthy twins and I’m sure he’s seen some terrible things over the course of his career. Everything has been textbook, and my doctors all believe that I’ll have no problems making it to full term with the way things are going. I’m so thankful for that, and so many other things. Thankful that I can conceive a pregnancy without too much (or any) intervention. Thankful that my body carries pregnancies very well. Thankful that my children were born healthy and big and strong. Thankful that I recovered well from the two major abdominal surgeries it took to birth my sons. I am well aware of how fortunate I am.
But this has been one of the most physically taxing things I’ve ever done. Early on it wasn’t so bad, but I’m at the point now where I wouldn’t wish a twin pregnancy on my worst enemy. I’m simultaneously so ready for this pregnancy to be over and trying to soak up every last second of it. Every last kick. Every last roll. Every last bulge of baby moving around in my belly.
Because it is my last pregnancy. These will be our last babies. This will be the last time I meet a baby I’ve carried for nine months. The last first trip home from the hospital. The last magical first night with a newborn at home. The next time I pack away too small baby clothes, it won’t be for the next baby. It will be forever. In a year or so, we’ll exchange the infant car seats for convertible seats for the last time. In a few years, there will be no need for the many strollers sitting around our house (seriously, why does one family need so many strollers?). The kids will grow tired of their “baby” toys, so those will be put away for the last time. The last first words. The last first steps. The last first loose tooth and the last first day of school. Every first that we experience with these babies will also be our last as parents. The thought of this absolutely breaks my heart.
It’s not so much that I want more children. Lord knows we will have our hands completely full raising four kids. But closing the door on what has been such an amazingly sweet time in our lives is a really hard pill to swallow. And although my husband is 100% done, as in gotten his referral for a vasectomy done, there is still a twinge of sadness in his voice when we talk about these babies being our last. It is a very small twinge, but it is there.
It’s just a weird place to be. When we start our adult lives, we think we have all the time in the world to build our family. But for most of us, that time is usually only 5-7 years. Two or three kids, two or so years apart, and your childbearing years are over and done with. Here I am, on the downward slope to 35, having only 7 years ago seen my first positive pregnancy test, and it’s over. Done. Never again will my body do this amazing thing that it was designed to do. Never again.
I don’t know that I will ever feel truly done having babies, even though we are. I’m not sure if it is a primal drive to procreate, or a desire to relive some of the most amazing days of my life, or just because I love cute squishy babies and the kids that they become. But the longing is there, even as I feel my son and daughter kicking each other in my belly. I’m just not sure that longing will ever go away for me.