Day after day, week after week, month after month. And yes, pound after pound. This journey continues.
It seems as soon as I'm able to cross off one hurdle that I've conquered, a new one surfaces.
It is safe to say I have made it out of the dreadful series of several months of headaches that would spike and turn into migraines that left me trying to function on a daily basis while not being able to hold my head up.
And yes, I should be thanking my lucky stars that I am not spending my days thinking that I need to have a garbage can or bathroom within an arm's reach.
However, the baby is now finding herself lying upon my sciatic nerve which at times, leaves me paralyzed in pain.
My breathing is heavier, as I have put on a decent amount of weight and the baby is pressing up against my lungs. There are days I feel I should be at least a decade older than I actually am.
I look at myself in the mirror and at times all I see is everything big and out of place on me that shouldn't be. As pregnancy is a growing process, it seems that every other inch of me seems to try to be keeping up with this continual development.
The daily concerned comments of, "Oh you poor thing. You look terrible. Just exhausted. How are you even feeling?" Or one of my favorites that I receive in public, "Oh my look at you! You must due any day now, right?" As I prepare myself for the jaw dropping look when I tell them how much time I actually still have left.
Selfishly, I miss my once toned, muscular, fit body that now has officially turned to fatigued, soft rolls, and thickness... everywhere.
I laugh, I pee. I sneeze, I pee. I cough, I pee. Yes, it's just what I do.
I will be delivering at the very end of the summer. Need I say more?
As I never know which personality or mood is going to spring up from hour to hour, I mercilessly beg that this roller coaster ride will be able to fast forward to a safe and healthy end. But as reality overtakes me, I am brought back to the fact that I have four months to clamber on.
My feet drag some days. On others, I find that they stomp, as only a 2-year-old would do. And to keep pushing through my evenings past dinner time, seems although as if I am trying to finish the last leg of a marathon.
I find myself laughing and crying at the same time, and on occasion, I'm not even really sure why.
Sleep. Such a beautiful word. Unfortunately, one that I can't use positively in my vocabulary. I learned after my first pregnancy that I entered a matter of decades of this being a luxury of the past. If it isn't up with one of the other children crying for Mommy, it's up to pee every other hour. Sadly, going to the bathroom twenty times a day has become nothing less than a chore.
But then... struggle after struggle, day after day, hour after hour, what is the one, or should I say several, saving graces that get me through all of this?
I catch myself smiling as I feel her kick and spin at the most unexpected times, and I'm once again reminded that life is inside of me. For this being my fourth go at this, the novelty has yet to wear off.
I get to see my children ever so gently place their hands around my stomach while they kiss, touch and talk to this new tiny person that will soon be joining us.
To see how much they already love her, it certainly may be one of my most favorite parts of this entire experience.
I think of the captivating, life-changing, pivotal moment of when they will lay her on my chest. To think I get to experience this most empowering ecstasy again... of me bringing a life into this world, is simply incredible.
I think of listening to the sounds while my baby will eat. To think of holding her close while she nurses, to call it bonding time, is a colossal understatement. The unreproducible sounds of her taking the tiniest gulps of nourishment while being soothed and pleased is purely endearing, to say the least.
I think of holding and snuggling my baby as she will lay on my chest, curled into my neck, as she takes the most delicate, tiny breaths into my ear. Again, a sound that could make a mother's heart beat right through her chest. They're so precious and distinct, it's as if God's breath is still lively upon this Heavenly sent angel.
I think of the time her eyes will lock with mine, as soon as she will be able to clearly focus them, and to see, for the first time... the person in this world that would walk to the ends of the earth for her. The moment she actually meets and discovers Mommy.
I think of the time she will outstretch her delicate hand to wrap her tiny fingers around my own.
I think of the time that she will cry for me, and although my body and mind will be physically and mentally drained, I will rush to her as it will already be instinct to beckon to her call.
I think about getting the comments of glowing and beaming with proudness, looking past the wrinkles, gray hair and bags under my eyes that will surely be visible, but my never-ending love for this new, perfect, little person will outshine them all.
I think that all of these hardships are only temporary, and although at times seem never ending, are such a short lapse of time compared to the decades, God willing, I will get to spend with her and watch her grow.
I think that no matter how tough of a pregnancy I have endured, and no matter what remarks I have irritably stated at the end of never going through this again, it is a matter of days after delivering that my body yearns for this experience all over again.
Each day brings me a new humbling yet exalting experience.
How is it possible that I am distressed and delighted at the very same time? How is it that as I find myself ready to crumble and feel so heavily burdened, and I am snapped back to reality and understand the blessing that has been bestowed upon me?
Simple: I am experiencing one of life's greatest miracles. I was chosen out of the other billions of women on this earth to be this little girl's mother.
It's certainly safe to say, I'm in love with a child, a tiny piece of Heaven, that I have yet to meet.
Regan Long is a teacher, author, grad student, photographer, columnist, but most importantly, wife and mother to three, soon to be four children under the age of six.
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