{The Ordinary Moments 16} #12 ‘The Last Time’

I lie on the sofa writing this post and the only word I can use to describe how I am feeling is uncomfortable. If I stop to listen to my breathing it feels heavier than usual, a little more breathless than normal and when I stop to think about it, it makes me feel a little lightheaded. My right rib is hurting, more of a constant dull ache with the occasional sharp pain, it is something I have had with all three of my pregnancies and the midwife says it is something to do with the fact I have big babies and they push out my ribcage.

I glance at my reflection in the mirror from time to time and I can only describe the person looking back at me as a little weathered around the edges. I guess two babies and three pregnancies does that to you. My eyes are sunken into my face and I have really dark circles under my eyes. My skin is pale, super pale, due to a lack of iron and being anaemic towards the end of this pregnancy. I’m at the stage where well meaning family and friends say ‘oh you look tired’ with a sympathetic glance. I lie in the bath in the evenings and I watch as my tummy manipulates into the weirdest shapes imaginable- some of them taking my breath away as they are so uncomfy.

Yet I look down at my tummy, with it’s misshapen form and criss crossed blue and purple veins from a skin stretched so tight it is almost translucent, with a belly button that has definitely seen better days, and I want to remember every single moment. I want to remember how my tummy goes so rock hard that I can’t get comfy in the evenings, I want to remember what it feels like to wince a little when they put the needle in my arm to draw blood for my routine blood tests. I want to remember what it feels like to imagine a face you haven’t yet seen before and I want to remember what it feels like to walk through the hospital with my green notes under my arm, smiling at other women who are doing the same. Like we are in some sort of special club together.

The time is coming for my long stay in this beautiful place to be over. I’ve stayed here three times over the last six years and I know how incredibly lucky I am for that. Twenty seven months in total which is a long stay for anyone. From that day way back in late August, when the weather was still warm and our faces were still sun kissed with freckles from the summer months, when I did a pregnancy test and saw those two little lines. And then another one, one of those digital ones, just to read the words pregnant. When we went to the girls christening the next day and I stood in the church with a little secret and prayed with all my might that all would be ok. It’s been one long adventure, at times really long, but soon I will be saying farewell for hopefully an even better and more beautiful time. And yet I can’t help but feel a little sad and sentimental for what I am leaving behind.

I know how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am to be able to be a mother. To be able to have a baby. To grow a baby. I know that and I am thankful for that every single day, even on the days when my children drive me insane and it all feels a little too hard. Even on the days when I put them to bed and collapse on the sofa feeling like I haven’t done a single thing right as their mother that day. I am incredibly thankful that my body has grown two healthy babies and I wish every day for the third one to be the same now we are on the last and final hurdle. I am at the stage now where I am restless, aggravated and unable to concentrate. I lie at night, not wanting to watch television, or blog, or read, yet too uncomfy to fall asleep. I pile pillows around me at night, I cuddle them, put them behind my back and in between my legs, and I just can’t relax into a deep sleep. I just want my baby boy here now, I just want to meet the person I have spent this last nine months wishing every single day for. That overwhelming feeling of loving someone you haven’t even met yet.

But at the same time I feel like I shouldn’t rush these last few weeks. This is the end of my journey. This is the end of my pregnancy days. When I was at my consultant appointment the other day my doctor asked me whether I had thought about being sterilised during my c-section. I had said to him that this will, all being well, definitely be our last baby and he just came out with the question quite casually as apparently it is just a tiny bit more extra work for them during the surgery. ‘Have you thought about being sterilised during your c-section?’ Just like that. When he asked me I felt my heart sink and I don’t even really know why. We always said we would have two children and then we decided just one more if we were lucky enough. I know in my heart of hearts I don’t want four, I know my husband definitely doesn’t want four children, we won’t have four, yet I do feel strangely sentimental about this being the final part of my journey. It just seems so final.

Pregnancy is absolutely amazing. From the second you see those faint lines, when you promise yourself you won’t look until the test is complete, but you know you are kidding yourself and you can’t help but squint to see if they are appearing- you begin this journey. You begin a journey of extreme awareness, fear and gratitude for the amazing ability our bodies have to create and sustain life. You may spend months hunched over a toilet, the cold floor tiles digging into your knees and your eyes watering, with you almost willing yourself to be sick so you can get a break from it for even a minute, but you don’t begrudge it for a single second.

I love the metamorphosis of change that my body has been through to grow and protect my babies. From those first tiny microscopic cells forming, each week my body has been doing remarkable things to grow this baby for me. How our bodies just seem to know what to do, how our tummy expands ready to cocoon our future loves, how we crave the nutrients that our bodies seem to be missing. And those first tiny flutters, the ones where you wonder if you are imagining it, that soon turn into full on kicks. I lie at night and I watch the way our little boy moves around in my tummy, I see it manipulate into weird shapes as his limbs push against my skin. And while hopefully in a few weeks he will be safe in my arms, I know that all of a sudden I may well feel very empty.

Pregnancy is a blessing but it can be a long nine months. I am lucky that I have had a relatively easy time in terms of pregnancy as I know some people have it a lot worse. But I would take the zero energy, the back ache, the sickness and the headaches a million times over. And I know every single mother would. Despite it feeling long at times, it is a very small stretch in a woman’s life when we experience this miracle, this miracle of sharing our bodies and making this little human, full of our genetics and full of our love. My time is nearly up. Not just for this baby but forever.

So in these last few weeks I am enjoying every moment of it, or at least I am trying to. Even the back ache and the extreme tiredness. I am trying to remember exactly how he moves and kicks and stretches to find a little bit more room in his cramped residence, to store it in my memory even though I know inevitably the feeling will fade over time. How I will remember all my babies kicking but not really feeling exactly what it felt like. I am relishing walking into the doctors with my green notes in tow while little old ladies give me a knowing smile as if to say ‘that was me once, I know exactly how you are feeling.’ I am soaking up the times when my husband will put his hand on my tummy and we will laugh at the way it transforms into all manner of shapes, and I am trying not to get too emotional when the girls say ‘Can I give baby boy a kiss?’ knowing that even though there will never be another baby in my tummy to kiss, at least there will, all being well, another one to join us on the outside shortly. And we have a lifetime of kisses ahead of us.

I know how incredibly lucky I am to even be able to experience one, let alone three pregnancies and for that I am eternally grateful. It may soon be the end of my pregnancy journey forever, but what an incredibly beautiful journey it has been. How lucky I am to have been able to grow and birth these little humans that have changed our lives for the better. While in a few weeks it will be the end of this part of our lives, we will have the final piece of our family jigsaw here.

And it will be the start of an even better more beautiful one and all the other ones to come. In the meantime I am going to treasure every single second of this pregnancy, this remarkable, incredible thing my body is doing.

For the last time.

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  • Oh my I was reading that through the tears! Simply beautiful. It really is truly amazing what our bodies are able to do and I know exactly what you mean about trying to take it all in and saving those special times in our memories forever. xx

  • Carie says:

    Pregnancy is astounding when you stop to think about it isn’t it. And I can remember being so incredibly ready to meet Pip but at the same time knowing that I would miss his funny little kicks and wriggles and all the quirks of pregnancy that give you the secret head start on knowing them. Enjoy your last few weeks 🙂

  • Notmyyearoff says:

    Ah beautifully written. It’s such a strange feeling to know it’ll be your last and I think I would have been speechless at the sterilisation question, even if I knew it would be my last baby. We are at the stage of deciding whether to give baby clothes to charity and I just can’t seem to part with them. So they’re all just hanging about in boxes. I know it’s silly and that I should just take the plunge but it’s so huge isn’t it? I hope these last few weeks are filled with amazing memories for you all xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      I know I just wasn’t expecting it AT ALL! He was perfectly polite but it just left me speechless. Oh that giving the clothes away stage is so hard! If it helps, I never gave any away even though I said we would have two. Maybe deep down it was a psychological thing. 😉 x

  • Such a beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes and made me a whole lot of broody! Your pics are stunning as always, wish I had some like this to look back on from my two pregnancies x

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thank you lovely and sorry to make you broody! I am really pleased we made an effort to take these photos. xx

  • I got goose pimples reading this. We too wanted three babies but did so with just two pregnancies. I knew when having the girls that that was it and everything was “for the last time” and it made me feel sad. As you said, so incredibly lucky to be able to carry and birth healthy children but the maternal side struggles to deal with the fact that you’ve shut up shop and you’ll never get to meet another little you.
    I love how much the girls love him already and I can’t believe you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy already! I love seeing pregnancy blogs evolve from bump to baby so thank you for sharing it with us. Very excited to see the family grow xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks Beth. It is a bit of a sad and emotional time when you make the decision for it to be the last. Thank you for your lovely comment. xx

  • That is exactly how I felt during my third pregnancy, you express it so well. My last pregnancy really took its toll on my body, but still I can’t say we won’t have another, even though it is very unlikely. It’s so hard to think about never having that experience again, despite how hard I found it at the time. Your pictures are beautiful, imagine looking back at those when you are old and grey, how proud you will feel!

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks Louise. This one has definitely been the hardest but its obviously worth every single thing. xx

  • Natalie says:

    So lovely, our bodies are amazing aren’t they? Us Women are so lucky that we get to experience this, so tough at times but such a blessing. Enjoy every second of your last pregnancy, not long left now (it is very exciting).

  • Oh Katie I’m so so happy for you. Beautiful photos x

  • An absolutely beautiful read. Pregnancy really is the most amazing thing isn’t it? I had really awful ones but by the end you don’t want to forget the miracle and all those little feelings. I hope the next few weeks aren’t too uncomfortable for you, it is such an exciting stage and important that you take it easy on yourself. Really gorgeous photo’s and a lovely way to remember boy bump and his sibling bond even before he arrives. xx

  • Beautiful, beautiful post Katie. Pregnancy is the most amazing thing and it must be hard knowing you won’t be doing it again. Cherish these last few weeks xxx

  • This is such a beautiful post. You make me want to be pregnant! Though maybe not right now! It is such a sacrifice, and yet one that feels a blessing to make. Your bump is gorgeous, and I love the shots of it! Enjoy the last few weeks, as much as you can. Not long until you get to meet your little man!! xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks Sam for your lovely comment and it is a sacrifice, but the most beautiful of sacrifices if that makes sense. xx

  • One of your most beautiful pieces of writing ever! And I’m so feeling it myself being in my third and last pregnancy too, although only 22 weeks so a bit longer to go. I love the end days though, being big and counting down until you cradle them in your arms instead of caressing your tummy. Best wishes for your last weeks and thank you so much for writing this, it’s lovely – and the last photo, so gorgeous…. xxxx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks for such a lovely compliment Anna, I was feeling very emotional writing this. Congrats on your third pregnancy too. xx

  • Sherry says:

    Oh Katie the photo of Mads kissing your bump is beautiful, you really do have the most lovely bump and this post once again had me a blubbering wreck. I can’t believe you’ll be meeting your little man in just a few weeks xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks Sherry, I absolutely love that photo and will treasure it forever. Sorry to make you a blubbering wreck. 😉

  • Suzanne says:

    Lovely words and stunning photographs Katie. I remember feeling exactly like you when I was offered sterilisation. It just seemed so finite, so abrupt and I wasn’t ready for that. I knew I didn’t want any more but didn’t want it to happen like that. I also think that we have enough going on, without a sterilisation in the process! Pregnancy and birth are two of the most wonderful miracles in this life. I imagine you’re just about ready to meet him now though! X

    • Katie Ellison says:

      I think thats exactly it Suzanne, it does feel so finite and abrupt and even though I know we won’t have anymore it does feel too final for me. x

  • Life as Mum says:

    This is exactly how I feel. Such a beautiful post and such beautiful photos too!

  • LauraCYMFT says:

    I wish I had done that when I was pregnant with Miss C. We had never said oh she will be our last though so I just didn’t think about it. You do miss being pregnant once the baby arrives though, don’t you? Even though you have this little bundle to cuddle and so on, there’s something amazing about being pregnant and really just having the baby to yourself unless you tell someone the baby is kicking! Enjoy the last few weeks. You look amazing x

  • So beautiful, Katy. I really struggled at the end of my pregnancies with both boys because they were huge and everything was so physically difficult. But one of my favourite things was to lie in the bath and watch them wiggle around in my belly. I sometimes still feel their little feet pushing out. And yes, I’ll never forget the feeling when my tummy went hard and I became short of breath. I think the memories do fade but your body always remembers what it did xx

  • Naomi says:

    Oh my goodness, this is such a beautiful post. It really made me cry, and I understand exactly how you feel. We’ve decided to stop at two, and I feel terribly sad that my younger son will be my last. I think with the first you look forward to their developments so much, and then you learn to savour each moment as it doesn’t really last long. Wishing you all the best for the birth xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks Naomi. I think you are exactly right about looking forward to the developments with the eldest and savouring the moments with the youngest. xx

  • Mary says:

    It certainly is lovely to read this and reflect on how amazing pregnancy is and what it brings. I thought as I read this “I need to treasure this more”… on the achy tired days its easy to wish it away and look forward to it being over and having them, but the whole process is filled with special moments and miracles.
    I don’t know when or if I am done. My husband says this is the last but that makes me a little sad, but like you I dont know if its because its so final? I dont know, time will tell, I know for now I just look forward to hoping for this one and praying all will continue to be well. What a blessing indeed to have several opportunities

    Lovely pics x x

    • Katie Ellison says:

      It is so hard on those hard days isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong there have been days where I haven’t felt like treasuring it much at all, but it is such a special journey isn’t it? It does seem final but I guess we can’t keep having babies. Well we could… 😉 x

  • Susan Mann says:

    Oh what a beautiful post. It is amazing what our bodies can do. Sometimes we do need to take it all in, enjoy the special times. xx

  • This is utterly beautiful Katie! You had me welling up! Your descriptions are so clear I could almost feel what you were describing (though I am definitely NOT pregnant!) I remember well the discomfort towards the end and those constant tightenings… But it is so lovely to read that you are making the most of this last pregnancy journey. Can’t wait to hear about your little man’s arrival!

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Ah thank you Claire what a lovely thing to say. The tightenings are so weird, they take my breath away almost. I am definitely making the most of it. xx

  • Jodie says:

    This is so beautiful. I have actually asked my doctor to have my baby making bits removed as three is enough for us. But they just laugh basically because I’m so young.

  • Oh Katie this has made me sob ALL the tears, this is so beautiful. I hope one day I can experience pregnancy once more as I’ve not yet had that feeling of knowing we don’t want to do it again. You look absolutely wonderful and I am so sure that you really are cherishing every second, even during the tough times, which there are many particularly at the end! I loved reading this.

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Sorry to make you cry lovely. I wonder whether you ever feel completely done. I am not sure I will, but I know that we most definitely won’t have any more. Thank you lovely. x

  • Such a beautiful post huni. These pictures are gorgeous. Yes you are blessed to have your children, but they are blessed to have such a wonderful Mummy who obviously loves them so much xx

  • Such a lovely post and beautiful photos. My babies are 14, 12 and 10 now and I’m sad to say that I don’t remember anywhere near as much of my pregnancies or their lives as babies and toddlers asi would like to. You’re lucky to have the blog to help you remember these experiences.
    The sterilisation question is a tough one! I could never have gone through with it, even though we never planned to have four children. There was always that ‘what if?’ question at the back of my mind that stopped me from doing it.

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Yes one perk of blogging is definitely that we can record these moments isn’t it? I wish I had it with Mads pregnancy but I started when she was about 4 months. And I agree, it is definitely the what if that is stopping me at the moment. x

  • I love this post Katie. I often wonder what it’s going to be like having two children and how Alfie will adapt to being a big brother. I think I’m more scared and nervous for next time round because not only do I know what to expect, but I’ll also have a my Alfie too. He’s very much like Mads in that he won’t entertain himself for very long, so that does worry me if I need to rest or I’m not feeling well. Eeek. There’s no denying that pregnancy is one of the most amazing experiences and even though it was four years ago that I was pregnant, I still remember it so well. I remember how utterly rotten I felt in those first 12 weeks when I felt sick all day every day and then just like that, the first trimester was over and I really started to enjoy being pregnant. It’s amazing what our bodies go through during pregnancy and labour and it’s such a special time. I still remember the first time that Michael felt Alfie kick – his football team were just about to be relegated and then out of nowhere was this little kick and Michael soon forgot all about the football. Magical. I can’t believe how close you are to the end. It’s gone so quick. Very much looking forward to ‘meeting’ your baby boy! xxx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Mads has always been an incredible big sister, from the very beginning and has never shown even an ounce of jealousy. I am sure when the time comes Alfie would be the same. It’s an amazing experience pregnancy isn’t it? xx

  • Naomi says:

    What a beautiful post. My last pregnancy was tough, like hospitalised at 8 weeks with HG tough. I really struggled almost the whole way through and was so relieved for it to be over and meet my little man. I know that it was most likely our last pregnancy because I know I couldn’t repeat it and care for two at the same time but I have never taken the time to really think about it quite like I just have. It was hard and it’s somehow easier to remember the horrible parts but there were still the wonderful parts too, thankyou for making me take the time to remember the amazing kicks and wriggles and bump bonding moments. I didn’t realise what a negative pregnancy wall I’d built up around myself. You are of course quite right, although for many reasons we wont add to our family now, I would of course go through it all again for my little man. In a heartbeat.

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Gosh that must have been so hard and completely understandable you can’t repeat it, I have friends who have had the same. But now you have your little man and I guess you nut look back and think it was worth it, even if it was incredibly difficult. x

  • So close now lovely lady 🙂 Beautiful post and such lovely photos. Cannot wait to hear your baby news when he arrives xx

  • Oh you look amazing and glowing to me, pregnancy is so tiring isn’t it but you are right to cherish the last weeks. As I read how you describe it it brought it all back! xx

  • This is so beautiful Katie, I think part of the reason I am so sad that I will never have a third baby is because I didn’t appreciate the ordinary moments, the little moments, the things that happen for the last time. I thought there would be a next time.

    Enjoy every moment xx

  • Oh Katie, I read this through tears! You really do have such a beautiful way of portraying family life x

  • I had goosebumps reading this… Final anything is hard to deal with, regardless of whether it’s the right thing or not. Enjoy these weeks xxx

  • Emma says:

    Oh no I was feeling broody before I read this and now I feel REALLY broody. Such a beautiful post 🙂 Get lots of rest and savour every moment 🙂 xx

  • This is so beautiful Katie, what a blessing it is to be able to have babies and experience pregnancy. I think I may have had my last one, sometimes I hope not but it is a small chance 🙂 My very best friend has just become pregnant after trying for a while and I am so enjoying seeing her pregnancy and watching her bump grow, it really it incredible what our bodies do. You are such a lovely Mama, I love to read these posts of yours xx

  • Oh Katie, this is such a beautiful post. I have been feeling exactly the same over the last few weeks, even though its getting harder, I feel sad when I start to think that this quite possibly is the last time I experience pregnancy. You articulate and capture this bittersweetness of it all perfectly.. Emily x

  • Katie you really are such a beautiful and inspiring writer. It will be amazing for your girls and little boy to look back on all the wonderful memories you have created on your blog. This is such a beautiful post and pictures. I really wish my 2 had been born in the media world we now live in. I didn’t even have facebook or twitter to keep me company during those 2am feeds. I too think I would have been shocked at the sterilisation question. We both knew we only wanted 2 children but it still took me 7 years to send hubby for the snip lol xx

  • Aaah this is beautiful lovely girl. Not long now and you’ll meet him — it’s so exciting. But, as you say, an emotional and also a little bit sad that you’ll perhaps not experience pregnancy in all it’s guises again. I can relate to that. Sending lots of love your way xx

  • Colette says:

    What beautiful photos.

    I was sterilised during my third section. It was a strange decision to make, so final. My head knows I don’t want any more children, three is our number, my body couldn’t cope with another tricky pregnancy. It was recommended by my consultant that I have the sterilisation. But it still seemed a hard choice to make, my heart wasn’t so sure. In the end, I let the medical professionals make the decision really, they stressed it was the right thing to do and sensibly I agreed. I feel “fixed” now – I no longer get broody but I’m sure this is in part a concious thing, a feeling I control as I know that my time is done and it wouldn’t be possible. In the end, my husband also had a the snip as the risk of getting pregnant after female sterilisation is surprisingly high.

  • laura dove says:

    This is so beautiful and made me so emotional. I felt like this when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter (our fourth baby) as I knew that she would be our last. I wanted to soak up every moment of my pregnancy, the birth, the days that followed as I knew I would never have that opportunity again. So it came as a shock to say the least when just three months later I fell pregnant and four days after her first birthday we welcomed our fifth little baby, Harry. He was never part of the plan and yet he is absolutely the best accident that we ever had. I can’t imagine our life without him, although my husband did go for the snip after his birth!! I think if you really know, a 100% that you don’t want another then being sterilised is the sensible choice. I felt a sense of relief when my husband had the snip, knowing that all of those “what ifs…” and “maybes…” were no longer possible meant that I was able to find a sense of closure and concentrate on the beautiful children we had been blessed with. Good luck!

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