The First of Lasts

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Looking to the future, I never imagined myself with a certain number of children. I didn’t have that childhood dream that showed my futuristic self as a mother with a specific number of children running around that so many do. But what I always knew I wanted, and dreamed that some day of having, is several children. I wasn’t sure how “several” would be defined for us, but we have come to the point in our lives that for one reason or another, the definition of several has become more and more evident, and for us, will mean three.

We are so very blessed to have two healthy children with a third due in just six short weeks. While I have felt great most days through all of my pregnancies, this last pregnancy has been complicated, and for the health of myself, another potential baby, my husband, and our children, we have learned this pregnancy should be our last. And so it begins…the first of lasts.

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The first of lasts are hard. Having a second child made me realize how fast each stage goes by, but now with our third, and now our last, I have truly learned to appreciate just how fast time ticks away. The more children you have, the more life you have to tend to, allowing the days, weeks, and months to sneak right past you. Now here we are in the third trimester, so very anxious and excited to meet our new little one, but also wishing for a way to rewind the clock so we can take one more maternity picture at each week and spend one more night feeling the kicks, pokes, and jabs of our growing tiny human.

As I continue to attempt to process what this third pregnancy means for us and delivery day quickly approaches, I can’t help but think about all of our lasts…

Our last highly anticipated thirty seconds of awaiting the blue lines on a positive pregnancy test.

Our last surprise announcement to the world that a new bundle of joy will be added to our growing family.

Our last initial OB appointment to hear that brisk first heart beat.

Our last ultrasound to see our precious little teddy bear.

Our last set of weekly fruit stickers for growing belly photos.

Our last maternity photo shoot.

Our last experience of watching our children become older siblings as they watch the baby grow with pure joy.

Our last baby shower to gather friends and family in celebration of a new being.

Our last renovation to prepare the perfect nursery.

Our last hospital bag packed for delivery day.

Our last sleepless night of just you and your little bonding through the dance party inside your belly.

Our last time you experience a growing human that only you can experience and no one knows better than you.

Our last exciting and anxious drive to the hospital for the big day.

Our last experience of one of life’s few organic surprises, the gender reveal.

And finally, our last wait for first breaths and that first newborn cry.

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And as that little one grows, we will experience a new last each day. It is a hard pill to swallow, but with each new last will also come a new first. Not only our third child’s firsts, but firsts in parenthood that we will learn to love, things like the first time we will not have to buy diapers, or the first time we do not have to make plans around nap time, or the first time there will be no car seats to buckle. Until then, I will continue to soak up each and every day of this last pregnancy as I begin to learn to accept the first of lasts.

All photos by Katherine Birkbeck Photography.

How did you process your last pregnancy? How do you accept the lasts you experience on a daily basis?

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I’m Kara, wife and mom of 3. A Florida native, I relocated to Knoxville over a decade ago to pursue a master’s degree where I promptly fell in love with the endless supply of sweet tea, southern hospitality, and peach cobbler. Oh, and my husband! I’m a physician assistant by day, wife and mom by day and night. When I’m not caring for sick patients, I enjoy traveling as a family and spending time with friends at local events downtown. We had always called Knoxville home, but after returning from spending two years living abroad, our lives are forever changed. We left a piece of our hearts on an island out in the Pacific Ocean and took with us the desire to see more. If words could explain, I’d write a book, but until then, occasional blurbs and social media posts will do!

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