It's 5:41pm. I can see the water from the pool glistening in the evening sun, and I know that the constant motion I see is being created by the three tiny souls I call my own. Even though I sit across the parking lot in the comfort of my rented couch and so-so A/C, I can almost hear their squeals as they cannonball into the water with Tim. I'd normally join them, but tonight my back aches in ways I cannot describe so Tim offered to take them alone and allow me to have some much needed time alone. My back is ever grateful.
Over the past few weeks, I have been keenly aware of my limitations. Limitations that are being stretched like Gumbi into awkward and uncomfortable positions. Limitations imposed by a growing body that whispers, slow down, be still. Limitations levied by an exhausted mind that screams, don't be impatient. It's your fault you went to bed so late. And limitations forced upon me by someone else's schedule and time table that nips at my heels each morning telling me to rush the girls out the door in a frenzy just to be on time to school, church, life, etc.
At the end of the week, I will 28 weeks pregnant with my fifth pregnancy in six years. This baby girl has proven to be my most difficult fetus, and with little help, I find myself grappling at whatever I can to hang on for dear life. So far as I can tell, she doesn't like any food. She doesn't want me to sleep at night. And she enjoys sleeping on my most sensitive organs, causing me to double over in awkward pain frequently. Even as I am writing, I am trying to enjoy the tiniest sliver of chocolate cake I whipped up for our anniversary over the weekend, hoping the heartburn gods will turn their heads for just a moment, even though they and I both know that is never going to happen. The heartburn with this pregnancy is unreal. I have suffered from heartburn with the other girls, but medicine generally helped soften the blow. I have tried three different prescriptions and found little relief. This child inside of me is stretching me, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. And although this may come across as a complaint (and some of it might be...why lie?), each moment I feel this baby girl strum the harp inside of me (also known as my insides), I remember how truly lucky I am to have her there. She is loved already.
A few weeks back I met my new ob/gyn. After uttering pleasantries, he looked at me and said, "Well, I guess a SURPRISE and a congratulations are in order" (his voice literally rose to a shout at the word surprise). And instantly my heart dropped. I thought oh my goodness, I'm having twins, and they just realized it. I asked to what he was referring, and he replied, "Well, your pregnancy I guess. You wouldn't really plan on having this many kids so close together, would you?" Dumbfounded, I didn't know what to say. I almost didn't say anything, except something quickly urged me to speak up to his rather flippant comment.
I looked him in the eyes and said, "Well, yes sir. I did. You do have my records, don't you? I requested the IUD be taken out at the beginning of January knowing there was a chance we could get pregnant more quickly than anticipated." I'm not really sure what the big deal is when it comes to the way people choose to plan or not plan the expansion of their family. It's not really anyone's business but the people involved. I have friends who love having a large gap between children, and let me tell you...on days when all my girls are screaming and crying over some dumb McDonald's happy meal toy, I am envious of those friends. And I have other friends who never use birth control and just let the children come as they may. I admire the strength of my friends who have multiple children less than 18 months apart. Society should learn that although some families grow their families differently than what appears good on paper (whatever that may be), we should all be celebrating new life whenever it comes.
With each passing day and year, I try to celebrate the lives of my children. They are growing so fast. I looked at Genevieve the other day and realized she is already older than Mya was when we moved to Peoria, and Mya seemed so little to me then. All of my girls have been particularly needy of my motherly presence lately. I don't know what it is, but I often have one or two of them clinging to my arms and legs, begging me to carry them or love them. I'm doing my best to accommodate every demand but am reminded of my frailties every time I carry one for too long. But even in my aching, I try and celebrate all that they are and that they are becoming.
I worry daily about how the girls will adapt to the new baby, especially Elle. She is determined to hold onto her babyhood, and I'm not really in a hurry to make her lose it. But I worry about her and hope that she will love the baby as much as Genevieve loved her from the beginning. Genevieve is honestly the best middle child I know. She cares so deeply for her sisters and their happiness. She is their biggest fan when things go right and their biggest support when things go wrong. I hope Elle will follow in her footsteps and example. Tonight Mya asked if we could name the baby Glamorous after a girl she knew from class in San Diego. We quickly said no, but we reminded her that she could call her whatever she wanted, and it could be her special nickname. I only hope she chooses something other than Glamorous. ;) I have loved being pregnant with Mya at the age she is now. She loves to watch my belly bounce and jump, and she tries so hard to help me with whatever I may need (unless she's in a bad mood because if that's the case...just forget it). Mya is the perfect oldest child; she embodies all the good and bad stereotypes, and Tim and I are learning to mold all she is into someone great.
I am going to enjoy the 12.5 weeks I have left with the family I have become very comfortable with over the past two years. Adding a child means change will inevitably occur. Tears will be shed for sure as I adjust to whatever challenges may arise, but I am sure laughter will also be had as we all grow together in what I guess society would deem an unconventional young family. It might seem chaotic to everyone who looks in, and it even might feel that way from the inside looking in, but it is my chaos, and I happen to love it. I wouldn't have it any other way.