My husband asked me this morning how I was feeling, knowing that I was perched precariously on an "all the feelings" edge (also exasperated by the fact that I can't decide on what to eat, obviously a big pregnancy problem). I told him that I am a bundle of nerves and wonder and worry and happiness and frustration and impatience and possibly every single emotion I am capable of feeling all in one moment, and for a second I worried that he might run out of the room immediately and go into hiding under an assumed name until it's time to have this baby, but luckily he didn't flee, and let me laugh and cry for a second about how over this pregnancy I am but how sad at the same time I will be that it is over. Makes sense, right?
I've done this before, with this being baby #5, this isn't my first rodeo. In some ways, it's comforting, I know what to expect (for the most part) and there is less of the unknown. I am more comfortable with the pregnancy worries, and feel carefree enough to sport a "maternity bikini" (aka two mismatched pieces from bikinis past that still somehow sorta fit) because it's 90 degrees out and mama needs to get in that pool. But on the flip side, there's also less hoopla and hype and planning with a fifth baby, and that can mean this big new huge life change sorta sneaks up on you (and your feelings).
I remember with my firstborn I had a huge shower, I can't even remember how many people came, some from hours away. Tons of friends, relatives, everyone I cared about was there and it was such a special day. I had planned the food and the flowers and the games myself (I'm a planner, let me tell ya) and it came off without a hitch. I needed to make more than one car trip to bring all the baby booty home with me: a highchair, Pack 'n Play, so many blankets and outfits and toys and keepsakes, many of which I still have (we STILL use that same Pack 'n Play, it's like a member of the family now).
Now with this being my fifth, I recently took a stroll down the baby aisle in Target, where I am frequently anyway since #4 isn't even two yet. I mean let's be honest, on any given day of the week the odds of me being in Target, in that aisle, are pretty high. So as I was there to get some "new baby" stuff, I picked up a box of breast pads and some newborn diapers and realized I was pretty much set. Since I kept all of #4's baby clothes, most of which were saved after baby #2, I don't really need much. I have the baby sling and the breast pump, I have the swaddle blankets and all the gear. And while I love the ease of this kind of getting "ready", I find myself sitting here now just...waiting. And I sort of miss the whole big to do of a first born.
To be honest, it makes me a little sad that each child doesn't get a celebration like the first often does. Would I expect friends and family to fork out the money for a gift each time like they did for the first baby shower, and go through the whole party planning and execution complete with cute baby games and favors? No. But even without the gifts it does feel a little "less" without the celebration of a first baby. And once you rack up three or four (or more) kids the novelty seems to wear off, if only outwardly.
On the rare times I'm alone in a store or a restaurant (okay let's face it I haven't been alone in a restaurant in a LONG TIME) people will point to my baby bump and say "Is this your first?" and when I tell them "No, it's my fifth" they will usually say something like "Oh then this is old hat to you!" and I always laugh because in a way it is, but in a way I want to tell them that this feels just as brand new as the first time around. That I am just as nervous and apprehensive, anxious and eager, happy and excited to meet this new little person. That becoming a mother again even for the fifth time is no less magical than the first time. That the other night I lay in bed unable to sleep and literally could not accurately remember what it feels like to hold a newborn in the hospital in those hazy first few hours together. I mean, I know I've done it a bunch, and just given my past experiences I can somewhat picture it, but man it will feel brand spanking new once I am holding that baby in a few days, like I am holding a baby for the very first time again. No matter how you become a mother, or how many times you become a mother, that magic is reserved for those moments, and nothing can change that.