fourth and final pregnancy

The part of me that died when my fourth baby was born

I was 19 when I got “knocked up” with our first daughter.

I barely knew how to take care of myself, let alone support the life of another being.

When she was born, a part of me ceased to exist any longer.  I was no longer just “Me”. Freedom in it’s entirety would cease to exist for me.  I was no longer my number one priority. My goals and aspirations no longer involved only what I wanted for myself; they now considered what was right for this tiny being. I was a mother; and while my former self had come to be no more a new definition of who I was developed.

When our second and third daughters were born I didn’t experience the monumental shift in identity that I did with my first. I had already made the transition into motherhood and still felt the desire to continue having children. However, the pregnancy and birth of our fourth daughter extinguished a part of me that I had never considered before.  My childbearing journey had drawn a close when my youngest entered the world. I had made this realization during the time she grew inside of me but the finale surfaced mixed emotions within me. I am capable of bearing more children but  have chosen to not regard it as an option any longer. I have chosen to enter a new phase in my life; a phase that will allow the “Me” part of myself to gradually integrate back into my life. A phase that will allow me to merge my independence and what I want out of life with what is right for my family.  A phase that will allow me to take the experiences that I’ve gained through my journey of pregnancy, childbirth, infancy, and toddlerhood-the experiences that have allowed me to grow into the person that I am today- and apply those invaluable lessons to the rest of my life as a Mother, and as a professional.

I know there will be days where I will mourn the death of my childbearing years. These are the days I will celebrate my four beautiful daughters and I will remind myself that I am content.

My years of growing life inside my body have drawn to a close.

They will forever be gone…but will never be forgotten.

 

A Good Enough Mom

We all have our aspirations. At one point in time I wanted to be in an executive position in a huge corporation, wearing fancy suits, drive a fancy car, and have people reporting to me.

That changed when I got pregnant with my first daughter.  My fancy suit turned into sweat pants, my fancy car turned into a minivan, and I was the one reporting to a tiny boss.

Just like that my goals changed. I no longer wanted a prestigious job and nice things. I just wanted to be a good mom.

When I got pregnant with my third daughter my goals changed once again. I was exhausted by trying so hard to be a good mom: homemade everything, countless arts and crafts, endless educational activities, ongoing kids music, daily trips to the park, and the forever feeling that what I was doing just wasn’t good enough.

That’s when I realized; instead of being a “good” mom I needed to strive to be a “good enough” mom.

“Good enough” moms are capable of doing everything that a “good” mom does. However, “good enough” moms are content knowing that if only the basics were provided for that day (food, exercise, love), that’s enough.  Anything offered beyond that is a bonus, but is not expected. There are no glorious goals to strive to meet and no looming feelings of failure when they aren’t accomplished. Satisfaction is accomplished daily when expectations are realistically achievable.

Being a “good enough” mom allows me to make it through to the end of those days that I just can’t wait to be over. Being a “good enough” mom gives my children the chance to learn to entertain themselves and gain understanding on how to be capable and independent. Being a “good enough” mom gives me peace of mind that my children get what they need and I still get to maintain my sanity.

I have days where I’m a “good” mom and days when I’m even a “great” mom (that means a trip to the park without yelling or having repetitive profanities circulating in my brain), but life is happiest when I’m a “good enough” mom.

My children may not always have a “great” mom or even a “good” mom, but they do have a “good enough” mom that they’re happy to call “Mom”.

children's hospital

Thank you, Children’s hospital

My oldest gal is 10 in a few days. That means that it has been almost 10 years since my darling girl graced us with her presence. 10 years since she went into heart failure.  10 years since we took her to  Vancouver Children’s Hospital. 10 years since she had her first surgery. 10 years since we spent a month in a hospital room.

10 years since my life was changed unimaginably.

Nevaeh had Double Outlet Right Ventricle, a hole in her heart, and a branching coronary artery. She went into heart failure and had closed heart surgery when she was nearly 3 weeks old. She would not be able to grow any bigger without slowing down the blood flow. The purpose of the procedure was to enable her body to grow large enough for her open heart surgery. That was scheduled for when she was only 8.5 months.

Shortly after her first surgery she acquired a blood infection that kept her hospitalized for a month.

It was terrifying.

In our time at Children’s I met a lot of people. I met a couple with a daughter who had a condition similar to Nevaeh’s. We celebrated with a family that was breathing a sigh of relief after the cancer of their 3 year old daughter/sister was removed. A hug was given to a father who was just informed his son had mere days left to live. I played Scrabble with an 8 year old child who casually informed me that he likely wouldn’t live past the age of 30. My eyes locked with a mother whose child had just passed away.

There was a quick realization that the mountain that I felt my baby and I were facing was an anthill to most of the families there. My child would survive and grow and get to live the rest of her life.

I knew some wouldn’t.

Perspective

I felt guilty at the notion that this comparatively minor condition of Nevaeh’s was causing as much pain and anxiety as it was for me. The idea that ” it could be worse” never rang so true for me as it did upon meeting some of these families.

I learned to breathe.

I learned to focus on the positive.

My mountain got smaller as I witnessed those around me take on their challenges head on. I watched as they bravely listened to the doctor explain that their child would need yet another procedure. I watched as they prepared for the worst and prayed for the best.

We left that hospital with a fixed heart and a brand new understanding.

Yesterday was Nevaeh’s routine checkup. As we waited to be seen I spoke with mothers as they held their babies in their arms and the tears back in their eyes and told me of the hardships they were yet to face.

I listened.

And offered empathetic smiles.

They were facing their mountain.

I said nothing other than assured them that Children’s Hospital was the best possible place that their child could be.

After all, it saved the life of mine.

I owe my child’s life to this amazing facility. The child who wakes up every morning with a smile on her face. Who tells me I’m the best mommy in the world. The child who entertains her baby sister while I cook dinner and who keeps her little sisters (mostly) out of trouble. This is a child who voluntarily gives her tooth fairy money and the money she’s collected in lieu of gifts for her birthday, to the Children’s Hospital jar that sits in our kitchen.

The child who is one of the reasons my life is as beautiful as it is.

Thank you ,Children’s Hospital, for saving my world.

 

To donate to BC Children’s Hospital please click HERE!