Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From Charlotte to Charlotte: the Birth of a New Chapter

In the words of my husband, in his best mockery of LeBron James ever, "We have four kids; not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR kids!"

You see, this was the dream. When we began dating and discussing the things we wanted in life, we both knew that we wanted four children. However, our opinions on that changed after the third. I do not enjoy pregnancy, my body rebels against me during it. In fact, labor and delivery is easier on me than the actual pregnancy. And my babies aren't little, y'all!

So after our third child, we took a hard look at our family and tried to decide if we were ok with this. I was unsure. We seemed incomplete, but at the same time, I really didn't want to go through all of that again. I had been looking forward to getting back into shape, and playing some basketball again. Then, last spring, my sweet daughter cried to me about how much she wanted a little sister. We couldn't guarantee her one, of course, but as a gal with sisters of my own, it broke my heart that we may not even try to give that gift to our own daughter. My response to her, "Pray about it." After all, that's pretty much where her daddy and I were in the thought process ourselves.

Just a few months later, SURPRISE! We were actually visiting my sister in North Carolina when I had a sneaking suspicion that I could possibly be pregnant. Sure enough, it was confirmed just a couple weeks later. I will admit, I was a little concerned as to how my daughter would react if we found out we were having another boy, but she calmed my nerves just a couple of weeks before that ultrasound, "Mommy, I really want a sister, but I will love him if it's a brother too." Melt my heart!

Then, if you read The Anti-Climactic Gender Reveal, you know that my daughter was actually the very first to know that she would, in fact, have a little sister. So fitting.

So this past Saturday, February 28, our little surprise, and Chastity's answer to prayer, arrived. I spent the last few weeks of the pregnancy in excruciating pain from my back to my hips, to my knees and ankles. I could barely make it up our stairs. My husband and I continually expressed our excitement that this was almost over. "Ugh, I am never doing this again!"

Then, yesterday, as we pulled away from the hospital, and my husband was still expressing how awesome it is to be done with all of that, a very strange and unexpected feeling washed over me. Suddenly my annoyed and irritated, "Ugh, I am never doing this again!" turned into a sad inner panic of, "Oh my gosh! I am never doing this again!" As we drove off, the hospital disappeared into the distance and a slow motion reel of every birthing experience I had ever had played through my mind, from my C-section with Elijah to my first, miraculous VBAC with Chastity, to the amazing and shocking VBACs of Isaac and Charlotte, my 9lb 11 oz and 10 lb babies (ok, she was 9lbs 15.8 ounces, but give me that 10).

I don't want to be pregnant again. It probably wouldn't even be wise, knowing all the problems I just had with my body. However, knowing that a door is closed on that chapter of our lives we only dreamed about just a short time ago, brings waves of emotions and uncontrollable rolling tears to this face of a woman who just birthed a 10 lb baby without crying. Seriously.

Exactly 8 years ago, we were beside ourselves with joy in the very early stages of our first pregnancy. It was all new and exciting. We could still hardly believe we were married, let alone increasing in numbers! We were living in a small apartment in Charlotte, NC, when this exciting journey began, and our family took it's first steps. Now, our own little (big) Charlotte Hope, completes that journey, ending that chapter of our lives, and beginning a new one.

As I watch my husband play with the kids in the living room, while Charlotte sleeps peacefully in her chair, I know that this sadness for a time now gone may never fully go away, but I can comfort myself in knowing that she is not so much the end of a chapter, but rather, the beginning of a new one.

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