I have officially survived two weeks as a mother of 3. Our life seemed to be chaotic before, but now we are in full whirlwind mode. Either one of us is with the baby, or the other two kids. It's what my husband likes to call "playing zone defense". I'll yell out "I'm going to feed the baby!" or "Diaper change!" and my husband will say "Going to take the other two outside!" and back and forth communicating who what where and when. And in many ways it is everything I expected with 3 kids under 5... but in some ways it's very different. Even though I'm tired, even though my body is unrecognizable, even though I'm still swollen and in some pain... I feel joy.
Pregnancy number 3 was the worst. I felt like I underwent 10 months of torment, emotionally and physically. I was excited that I was pregnant and I felt baby number 3 would certainly complete our family... then the last trimester hit and I was in pain all over. It was like my body was scolding me for having 3 kids. My back ached all the time, heart burn was no joke, and I kept getting sick. One time I was hospitalized for food poisoning. I was in such excruciating pain that my Dr. had to put me on morphine (that stuff is awesome BTW). With each hiccup my Dr. assured me that the baby was healthy and fine with a really strong steady heartbeat.
So there was the physical pain but there was so much going on inside of me emotionally. Each night I tossed around exhausted and uncomfortable from a full day of chasing around two kids, I couldn't help but think thoughts like "What have you done Joy? How are you going to raise another kid? You are so tired and spent now it'll only be worse." These thoughts plagued be daily. It was like there was a nay sayer hidden behind each of the pleats in my maternity dress. Thoughts that haunted me, that I carried around with me all day and night.
But now she's here. Our beautiful daughter is here. Yes it is one more child added, but her arrival has changed the dynamic in our house. My four year old son is now an "oldest brother" always looking after his two sisters. He loves to hold her and my heart swells up with pride as I see him take on his new role with such confidence. My daughter Kaitlyn who was previously the baby, is now an older sister and her greatest joy is coming into our room in the morning to see her sister. When the baby cries I quickly hear the pitter patter of her little feet running towards the room. Before she struggled to get a grip around our door knobs to open the door. Now she can open it in an instant because she feels her little sister needs her. If she feels her sister's blanket is too close to her face, she'll gently fix it to make sure she's comfortable. While I'm changing the baby she'll be next to me handing me the wipes. Now every time I look at Kaitlyn I feel that she's changed, she seems so much older now next to her sister, it's like she grew up to be a little girl and an older sister in a matter of two weeks.
When I became a mother I noticed there are two types of mamas, those that love the newborn phase and those that don't. Previously I belonged to the latter party. I always wanted to get past the newborn stage and get to the cute chubby interactive baby stage. Now, that this is most likely my last time around in the newborn phase, I've been soaking up each moment. At night when I feel her steady rhythmic breath on my chest, it's as if the whole world is still and it's just the two of us. I love how her breath smells like berries. With each breath it's like every negative thought and doubt dissipates into thin air. Those ten months of burden are done and now the fruit of it all is right before me. Those thoughts are negligible vapor compared to the living breathing beauty that is before me. With this little bundle of joy came a slew of sleepless nights and the typical post-partum woes, but that pales into utter insignificance compared to how she has changed and completed our family.