My Last Pregnancy

The Children God Gave Us

My last baby is 19 this week. I suppose he’s not a baby anymore. My thoughts about him have provoked me to write this post. Does this mean that I must turn in my mothering card? Officially, he’s been an adult for already a year. Who decides such official classifications anyway? And what different children God gives us, verdad? Our kids have definite traces of their parents and sometimes that pleases me, and other times I cringe! I definitely play favorites with my children. My favorite firstborn, my favorite daughter, my favorite middle child and my favorite last baby. They truly are my favorites. 

When my babies, were not so baby anymore…

Wait on God

I’ve written about my pregnancies and about being muy vieja to have another baby. Pregnant at 36! Hijole! After Thomas I would never experience pregnancy again. I ached at the closing of that chapter of our lives. When I experienced baby fever, no amount of Tylenol could remedy that ill. When I felt the phantom baby kicks, regret would flood my spirit, I yearned to be pregnant again. It is one of those decisions, that if I could “do over” with Ben again, I would wait on God and his timing. When a young wife asks me about permanent birth control, she usually is tired and weary with little toddlers at her feet. I share my mourning time and encourage her to wait, time changes everything.

I do thank God often for the opportunity to carry my four children, and as for my last child, his arrival carried a lot of weight.

I was moving right along with living. More than 13 years of friendship with Jesus, 10 years of marriage, 3 kids, not just ordinary kids, mis hijos. Life was good and I said something along those lines to Ben as we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I remember feeling or noticing something sinister as those joyful words came out, ya se, dramatica! Pero, It’s true, something didn’t sit right as we entered our 2nd decade of life together.

Storms of Life

One day, as I was cleaning my house, I was hit with one of those trials in life that can rock your world. A time of tribulation and testing we’re coming my way. I was dumbfounded. Impossible, I thought, I’m a child of God. Deep pain couldn’t reach me, right? For this Southern California girl it was like a long, cold and harsh winter season, I declare in a muy exagerada fashion that I did not think I would survive the trials and tests of my life. Right here I’m feeling the chuckle of my dear friends who experienced life with me during these years. They knew God was right there with me. 

It took some time, but after many days, when the sun began to shine again, our hearts began healing. Oh what glorious moments I felt as the sun melted off the ice cold days.

Our small family of 5 was settling down. I was getting into my routine. My first last baby was gonna go to school in just another year, and I hung on to this last baby for as long as I could. Then, as I saw the end of busy toddler days I considered planning some projects in the house. I was busy with three young kids; 1 toddler,  2 school age. Lunches, school work, volunteering, housework, ministry, ocupadisma! 

Sorpresa

When I began to slow down and had to sleep in the middle of my day I chalked it up to my age. Then it was the changes in the weather.  Maybe a summer cold? Hormonas? By the time I faced reality, it was unreal! Pregnant at 36! A terrific time I had on that roller coaster of shock! Denial! No puede ser! I was so consumed by negative thoughts that I let them rob me of the wonder a momma feels when she knows a little life is growing in her womb. 

I was afraid. Afraid to be criticized for having too many kids. Quizas mi ama had felt that way? I was her eight baby. I was afraid that I was too old, should a woman my age be having a baby? I wonder if anyone told my ama that she was too old to be having a baby at 40, then another at 41? I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to get the weight off. I already had 3 pregnancies and gained 50 lbs each time, hijole! 

Getting weight off me has never been easy and I dreaded it. Somewhere out there I had heard that when women passed 35, losing weight was a losing battle! Now I’m hearing that same line for when we turn 50. Mentiras!

Worst of all, was the miedo I felt, an inexplicable dread that this 4th child at this stage of life would snatch away the peace that had just come to us. That was it! Nunca mas! No more babies, no more pregnancies. Although it wasn’t my decision alone, Ben was kind of in that same mindset; we were done.

Another Baby

There I was carrying our 4th baby and as the “woes” of 1st trimester dissipated, thankfully, so did the blues and by the time I entered the 2nd trimester, I was ready to share the news with our kids, then the rest of our world. We did get interesting and unexpected reactions. The kids were surprised, but it wasn’t a big deal to them. Someone said “What? Another baby? Si! Y gracias a Dios! It felt good to honestly be able to thank God for my baby. Someone else asked “How old are you?” Young enough to have a baby.

Every once in a while, the question was “is this your last baby?” The more we answered that question, the more we convinced ourselves that this was our last baby, but we dreaded the idea that we had to do something extra, something permanent to stop a pregnancy from ever happening for us again.  

Most people around us congratulated us. Asi es, felicidades! Our small family was growing.

Making final decisions

As our baby grew, I think we both enjoyed this gestation period. I was watchful of my eating and exercise and he made sure to move about in his cozy womb. Everything was on schedule, he was a good size. I was winding down, and the only thing left was names and a final decision on permanent birth control. 

We couldn’t agree on a girl’s name. I was leaning toward Adriana, he wasn’t leaning that way at all. He wanted a family name, his family. Nancy? Jane? Claro que no! All his kids had his name already! Thank goodness we quickly agreed on a boy’s name. A family name. 

There was that question again, “Will you be having more children Mrs Greene?” Should we? Could we? Would we? No, we wouldn’t, we would not have any more children. The decision was made. After labor, delivery and recovery we would do something more.

Labor was something from a textbook or maybe a fairytale. The kind of labor I would have wanted 3 times prior! Contractions began and progressed. I went to the hospital as labor intensified. My water broke, I fully dilated as my little boy worked his way down that birthing slide. I pushed about 15 minutes and woosh! Bienvenido amorcito

Face to Face

Thomas Walter Greene born 6/9/02 Sunday evening. 8 1/2 lbs

Oh my beautiful baby! What an absolutely incredible experience it is to meet your baby face to face for the first time. I had been talking to him for 6 months already, he already knew my commanding voice, now I was hearing his demands. 

Even with my 4th experience it was new and unique and beautiful. I bet my ama cried every time her new baby was placed in her arms, even the 8th and 9th ones.

Had I truly once regretted this baby? No! Oh God forgive me, thank you for giving me the privilege of carrying my baby, Gracias Señor por mi hijo! Our 4th baby’s arrival marked the restoration and blessing that flowed.

Thomas Walter Greene

His name is Thomas Walter. It represents family legacy. My primo Tomas, was my amas own beloved nephew, who himself was generous and kind. I loved the idea of this family name. On Bens side, his ancestor Thomas Rogers had been on the Mayflower ship to the New World and my flaco appreciated what that meant for him. Walter is my Benjamin’s middle name, which was his fathers name and his grandfathers. It means army ruler. Perfecto! Our son can be described as a gentle giant and a go-getter.

Thomas Walter Greene

Nineteen years later, Thomas Walter, our friendly, people person son has demonstrated what a grateful heart looks like.  With this child of mine, saying his complete name doesn’t mean he’s in trouble, it just has a warm ring to it. 

Thomas is always quick with a kind greeting and never stingy with his hugs. He truly is genuinely happy to see you, everyone else in our family needs a minute or a cup of coffee before we can be so friendly. 

When he knows there’s pain in your life, he wants to offer comfort. If there’s celebrating to do in your name, he’s ready to honor you. When he’s being celebrated, he absolutely loves it and knows how to appreciate it, graciously and joyfully. 

Our youngest child grew up trusting his siblings and loving them, he is a loyal little brother and works hard at winning over his nephews and nieces. I could go on for days but suffice to say, that from our last baby we all have gleaned so much.

The Promises of God

Looking back to those days of restoration I see the fingerprints of God as we stayed on course and trusted him. He sheltered us when the storms came, and he strengthened us as our family grew. 

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust…” Joel 2:25   

This was the promise from scripture that my pastor reminded me of one day at the altar as I prayed.

Pregnancy

Having My Babies


Mothering is an incredible journey that sometimes begins with pregnancy.

My own experience was wonderful each time, until of course I reached the last month of gestation. I almost wrote indigestion and that would have made perfect sense. Four pregnancies, and no kind of complications that I didn’t bring on myself; like when I was 3 weeks overdue with the first one and broke my leg, but that story is for another time.

My pregnancies we’re fairly easy. I experienced a little bit of queasiness but that got taken care of with food. My biggest problem was too much weight gain. My ribs would hurt the last trimester because of my fat little babies kicking my ribs too hard. Gordos! My first born weighed in at 10 lbs 11 oz. He takes pride in his title of “biggest baby”. My next two were just over 9 lbs., my ribs are hurting again just talking about it. Once my my babies arrived, things settled down and so did the extra weight. That “baby weight” found a place on my hips, thighs, stomach and backside and moved in!

No Diet needed, Right!


Some ladies can have a baby and get right back into their jeans, not me. Not me, I have to wear the stretchy pants​ (you gotta read it with a Nacho Libre accent) for a while, and then a longer while, until eventually I have to face reality. A d, a die, a diet! A diet!… diet. After each pregnancy I had to be intentional about taking off the weight, wrestle my flesh to the ground and get it under control. Not an easy task, some of you might feel me right here.

Getting Older


We were feeling the weight of the world, finances ran dry, Ben’s mom passed and he was quietly, and unemotionally feeling his loss. I felt sorry for him and didn’t know how to help him. I was actually relieved that at 31 I hadn’t gotten pregnant again, despite my willingness. I was fine with the pair, my boy and girl. My son was going to kindergarten, and I decided to try a part time job. I put my little girl into good hands, though someone else’s. I needed this, I wanted this change, it was good for me.

Ben was busy working again and handling his mothers estate, I couldn’t tell if he was coping alright, this was the stage in our marriage when he decided to let his hair grow and grow, definitely not the Benjamin I thought I knew, but he was busy. Jonathan was adjusting to school, Daniella was enjoying her time with the sitter and I was trying to adjust to being away from my kids. I wondered if my baby was preferring “her” to me. Right here, during these alone days, my third baby came into the family.

Delivery & Postpartum


Since I was 31, Doctors had marked me as “older” and high risk, offering every test out there to make sure my baby was o.k. He was.

After two C-section births I insisted on the full experience of labor and delivery against the advice of my doctor. It was long and hard, and after 2 hours of pushing, our son decided to arrive. (Yikes!) To this day he arrives when he’s good and ready. The recovery was not at all like all my friends had described, a quick and easy bounce back.

For a season, life was squeezing me tight. I had my 2nd grader, my soon to be kindergartener and my newborn demanding my attention, and postpartum was coming for me! I was trying hard not to fall into depression or feel sorry for myself as I took care of my children, cleaned my house, did the laundry, folded and sometimes put it away, worked on homework, prepared meals and ignored my overweight self. By the grace of God I survived that season and somehow miraculously have some sweet and bittersweet memories tucked away during those days.

I Flirted with him again

It took a few years, but finally, at 35, with a semi-organized life, I was thin. (calmate! I’m talking about my interpretation of thin I am after all ‘big boned’) I fit into my average size pants, even a little loose and I was comfortable in the “smaller” size, I was breathing easy and I was wearing jeans that didn’t have to stretch. I was feeling pretty good. I was confident and flirting with my Flaco again, batting the eyes, walking close enough for him to reach. At this point in our lives, we decided that Emery, or Benjamin Emery would be our last baby, after all, we were older now.

The American Dream


We had bought our house, settled in and focused on raising our three kids. Doesn’t that sound like a good cozy life? Two good looking dogs, la Ginger, y el Sarge. The American dream Life was moving along smoothly, I was feeling skinny (remember, my version) my kids were getting along, the baby, (almost 5) was growing fast, the following year he’d be in kinder and I was not even getting baby fever, great! How much sweeter could life get living in ​Americas finest city? ​Except for a cold in the summer that just wouldn’t leave me things were wonderful.

Symptoms:


The weather was cooling and I was feeling it, stuffy nose, headaches and fatigue. I was barely gett​i​ng things done, wanting to sleep in the middle of the day. I just couldn’t shake the tired off me, as I moved less, my skinny was leaving. I was pulling out my stretchy pants again.
For my birthday my sister Lupe had invited me to Georgia to visit her son who would be graduating from boot camp. I wasn’t too excited about going. I was dragging and did not have comfortable or nice clothes for a trip. But I went, despite the flu bug (Here’s my symptoms, mira: tiredness, hunger every couple of hours or nausea and weight gain. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on t.v.)

My big sister finally caught on, when the trip was coming to an end, she said “I think you’re pregnant” Of course I laughed, Impossible! “Que? Te operaste?” No, I didn’t get my tubes tied! I was just not pregnant. I explained to her that we were done having kids. She said “haste la prueba.” 35 was way too old! I didn’t need a pregnancy test.

Again…. I was too old!


As fast as I could, I bought a test. I sat on the pot not believing that stupid test! It was wrong. I was nauseous. I needed food. The rest of that day I processed this. How could I be pregnant? (How could I not??) What was I going to do? I was way too old to have another baby. It didn’t matter that my mother was 41 when she had me. But Emery was almost in school! How would I ever get the weight off? (In my defense, just remember that hormones throw you all over the place in thoughts, feelings and emotions)

I told Ben we were having another baby. He was just as surprised as me. I know, I know, We shouldn’t have been so surprised… but we truly thought that the San Diego Greenes (as we’ve been dubbed by the New Hampshire Greenes) were to be a family of 5. You know how it is, the last child is always spoiled, except that now he wasn’t the last.


A Special Date


Once I got the idea wrapped around my brain, pregnant! A baby! We were ready to tell our 3 older kids, Emery was now an older sibling, yikes! We tried to make it special, took them out for an ice cream because we had a surprise for them and had them guess. They truly were pretty settled with a family of 5. Jonathan thought we were getting a t.v. while Daniella hoped her tio Jerm (that’s Bens brother) was coming back to visit and Emery was happy with his ice cream.

Now they too would have to adjust to this change.

Weight Gained Well


I laid out a plan for this pregnancy, I couldn’t gain over 50 lbs this time and the doctor agreed. With a nutritionist alongside me, I only gained 22 lbs. A skinny pregnancy for me. One of my dear friends says “Rosie, ni sabia que estabas embarazada, hasta que te vi la pansa!” Wow! She couldn’t tell I was pregnant until I turned to face her and she saw my belly, I felt pretty good. When that last week came around, big belly or not, I was done. I wanted to move on and thankfully this baby came on time and with ease just like he was supposed to, he was my little one; only 8 1⁄2 lbs. I almost got back into my jeans and was feeling alright.

My lil guero (as my sis in law calls him) Thomas Walter now completed us.