The 4th Trimester

Well, it’s official. 

  Today, I leave behind me……..the 4th Trimester of my pregnancy. 

  The Trimester I refer to as:  ‘The Trimester OUT of the Womb.” 

  It’s quite a ride, that 4th Trimester;  your body is recovering from labor, and you can’t help but wonder when life will ever be “normal” again.

   Somebody once said it takes about 6 weeks to get back to normal after you’ve had a baby……somebody doesn’t know, that once you’re a mother, normal is history. 

  Life is a bit chaotic as you adjust to a new little one, you feel as if you are always partially de-robed, because there is a child literally hanging from your body at all times, seeking nourishment.  

  You usually can’t recall what sleeping all night feels like anymore, since it’s been like 6 months since you slept well;  first from the pregnancy related heartburn, and trips to the bathroom, and now?  The endless nighttime feedings. 

  You have to ask yourself: “Will I ever get to stay in my bed all night long again?” and “Do people who have no children realize what an AMAZING privilege it is, to receive uninterrupted SLEEP?!?!?!”   

  During the 4th trimester, and even in months to follow, the burp rag becomes a permanent fixture on your shoulder, and you can go to Wal-Mart, never even realizing it’s still up there.  You can’t laugh or sneeze without first squeezing your legs together, and that woman staring back at you in the mirror with stringy hair, black circles under her eyes and a bright red shiner on her chin, reminiscent of highschool days gone by, can’t possibly be the new you……

CAN IT?

   I remember asking Dale, if a person could die from lack of sleep with our middle 2, who decided that they didn’t need to sleep all night until they were 6 and 9 months old.  Thank the Lord,  Paxton followed in Destiny’s footsteps, both of them sleeping all night by 5 and 7 weeks.  Yet, the exhaustion continues.  That may have something to do with staying up all hours of the night, trying to get things accomplished, but I could be wrong.  

  Now, if only I could convince Tylan and Avery not to come in during the night, multiple nights a week, for a wide variety of reasons from growing pains, to bad dreams, to snuggles, maybe, just maybe, I’d wake up one morning refreshed and ready to bound out of bed.  Does that EVER really happen again after kids? 

  During the 4th Trimester, you can use the, “I just had a baby” line, to excuse yourself from things, and just hole up and stay home.  And quite frankly, you can use that same excuse, to make yourself feel better about your lack of housekeeping skills, and hygiene in general.  You can stay in your bathrobe all day, if necessary, because showering before noon or even every day, is a feat unto itself! 

    And then, they turn 4 months old, and suddenly you realize, things are getting easier.  The sparkle is returning to your eyes, you’re sleeping longer stretches uninterrupted, the hormones have settled, your skin has cleared up, and life is starting to have a rhythm and pattern of its own. 

  Today, Paxton turns 4 months old!  We are in a good nursing and napping routine, which allows me the freedom to plan for a sitter before I run errands, or go to appointments.  Planning those times during naps, or between feedings, mean I no longer have to load him up, and haul him around with me in his carrier.  It’s bitter-sweet.

  Sadly, this is also the part where, as my baby discovers the world around him, he no longer is quite so content to lay in Momma’s arms.  Paxton fights sleep with the best of them, arching and fighting it to the bitter end, rather than just lying there and drifting off to dreamland, as I get my snuggle-fix at the end of a long, and loud day.  Instead, he prefers, after a few short cuddles, to just be put down in his crib, and drifts off to dreamland on his own.

  He will continue to get better at rolling over, he loves being “big” in his Excersaucer, soon he’ll be sitting up to play on his blanket on the floor, and before I know it, that exciting, but dreadful moment……

When his world expands, and he crawls away from me!

  There is something about that moment!  I have experienced it 3 times now, and 3 times it brings me such complete joy, yet heart-wrenching sorrow, colliding in my heart all in the same moment.  I sit there, and clap and smile, tears streaming down my cheeks, because everything changes with that first crawl away from Momma. 

  Forever more, you are their pivot point, in a much larger circle.  And yes, they come back to you time, and time again, but that tether goes a bit further out each time, as they discover a whole new world out there, away from you.  Soon, Mommy will no longer be “everything”. 

  In the next few months, I will no longer be Paxton’s one and only food source.  He won’t “need” me as much.  And, with the relief that comes with being almost halfway done with my year of nursing, also comes great sadness.  When that part is done, I will never again bring a child close to me to nurse.  Never again see those funny faces, that only a mommy is privileged to see, as those sweet little ones gulp down milk that comes too fast at times, and too slow at others.  I will never again smell the sweet, warm milky breath, of a freshly fed baby, or cuddle a flesh-of-my-flesh infant to my neck afterwards, to burp and snuggle.  Just drinking in that sweet, sweet newborn smell.  Stroking that head and skin, so soft, you can scarcely tell there is something beneath your hand.

   But on the flip side, he is ONLY 4 months old!!!  He has only been on this earth with us for a moment in time.  Yet it feels like there has never been life without him!  He charged into our world, mixed it all up and stole our hearts the moment we lay eyes on him.  Instead of looking forward, with dread and anticipation of the things to come, I chose today, to enjoy and embrace every moment of being a mom to a 4 month old, 2-year-old, 3 1/2-year-old and 7-year-old. 

  All different stages.  All different levels of “hard” and “easy”.   All precious, special gifts from God, to be enjoyed and loved, for a moment in time, while here on earth.

  So today, I choose to be content.  Not looking forward, not looking back, just here.  At home, with my 4 little Fergusons, thanking God for all my every day moments with these precious kids…..

~T

 

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