I remember our walk into the hospital. He had one hand in front of my stomach and one behind my back, to brace me, just in case I would forget how to put one foot in front of the other and stumble. I was only a few weeks along and we were heading to get blood work done to verify the pregnancy and despite my giggling and playfully pushing him away since I was more than fine, it was one of the most endearing things for me to recall to this day, as he tried his best to put the baby and me in a bubble to protect us from any remote danger that could potentially happen to us.
He would cook almost every dinner, do the clean ups and make sure I would take my daily nap every night after work. I appreciated and enjoyed (and at the time felt I needed all of this) as my body was adjusting to the exhaustion of growing another human being. At this point, taking care of ourselves and our dog was a full-time job in itself, so I decided to take full advantage of any pampering and extra rest I could sneak in.
For my second pregnancy, I thought that I must be Superwoman. Now I was taking care of a husband, two dogs, a 2-year-old, teaching 20 little children each day and oh yes, growing another human being. My energy level seemed to diminish on a daily basis and in between my lovely side effects of the pregnancy which included migraines and morning sickness (which should change its name to all day sickness), I thought that there was no way I would survive some of my days.
My husband and I still were getting used to our busy lives with just one toddler and normally "tag teamed" most things in order for them to run smoothly. Occasionally, I would be able to sneak in a nap when the baby did, but for the most part, this pregnancy did not mirror my first at all. The extra attention went to our daughter, which I wouldn't have wanted any other way, but I realized the days of coddling the woman who was carrying the baby were over.
Just when we figured out how to divide and conquer and play man-to-man defense, things got crazier. While one of us would sprint after a toddler running one way, the other had to dash in the complete opposite direction. And then, yep you guessed it, I got pregnant with our third. And without a doubt, I certainly thought I was losing my mind at times.
Still keeping up with the regiment of the house, a husband, two toddlers, two dogs, 20 students every day while being pregnant was typical; however, we decided to make things even more exciting. As our family continued to grow, our home and space continued to shrink. So we decided that we needed a bigger house. Now not only was I dealing with a zoo, but trying to pack up an entire house while painting and organizing and setting up our new one.
I'm not sure if one nap ever took place and as far as ever getting my feet up, it only happened when I collapsed in someone's bed or randomly on one of the babies' floors. At this point, as I carried another massive baby in my belly, I had one toddler on one of my hips, one wrapped around my leg and a moving box in my free arm. Both my mind and that of my husband's were just blown away on a daily basis that we all survived another day's adventures.
Going from two to three naturally added to the circus. However, in some respects, we had become experts at managing madness. And when I was having a nervous breakdown, my husband held us all up and when he was breaking down, thankfully, I was on strong and steady ground. Some days it's all we can do to get everyone safe and sound until bedtime and others run almost effortlessly. But just as we've gotten some of the waves calmed, here we are... number four will be arriving at the end of summer.
This pregnancy has been by far the most draining on my body for mainly the obvious reason of keeping up with my schedule and now three little people. I had a baby at 24, 26, 28 and now will at 30, and naturally, the years have almost seemed to multiply in taking a greater toll on my body. Every day I'm trying to keep up with the greatest miracle, the most unfathomable mystery, the most gloriest wonder -- pregnancy. As I struggle through almost each day with the numerous burdens that creep upon me, at some point, I'm slapped in the face with a glaring reminder that the blessings, by far, outweigh the encumbrances.
Simply because of what our daily life demands of, I no longer get the pampering and attention I did when we were pregnant with our first child. My days don't consist of mentally or physically relaxing and finding tranquil moments to prepare myself for this monumental experience that is nearly upon us. Rather, they're filled with quite the opposite, but I think that soon enough I'll be surrounded by four tiny people, four miracles, that I brought into this world.
My best days begin and end with a child snuggled into some side or part of me. I think it's a proven fact that no matter how many babies keep coming, they all find their spot on or around Mommy. And the most astounding fact of all, that despite what the job calls for, there is always enough of us to go around. Certainly there are moments and days that seem like that could be the farthest thing from the truth, but somehow, someway, there always is.
And that, right there, is why we're simply incredible. We do the unthinkable. We conquer the impossible. We prove on a daily basis to be extraordinary. And we go by the name of Mom.
And, if we're lucky enough, to find a partner to hold onto as we try to survive this amazingly, crazy ride with, well, life is good.
Long is a teacher, author, columnist, photographer, grad student and most importantly, wife and mother to three, soon to be four children. To follow her more closely, please see below: