You don't always know when the lasts happen. I didn't know when I had my last first kiss. I didn't know when I was having my last girls' night with friends with whom I've parted ways. I didn't know the last time I would see or talk to loved ones I've lost.
With my last baby, I am trying to be keenly aware of these lasts and, especially, the last firsts.
It was my last labor (not exactly bittersweet). The last time I'll hear the immediate newborn cry and feel that skin to skin. The last time I will watch that instinctive latch to my breast. The last time I will spend with just this newborn in a hospital.
It was the last time my older girls will meet a sibling in the hospital and wonder who she looks like, who she will be, pet her and hold her for the first time.
I felt my milk let down for the last first time, am watching my baby grow from my own production. It's the last time I'll dress a baby in newborn clothes and they're already getting too small.
I'm trying to commit her little face to memory during those 2 am feedings. Even those will come to an end (though that's hard to see right now).
I saw my first baby smile that wasn't just from gas. I'm anticipating first giggles, rolls, steps. They will all come too fast and I can't get them back.
I'm on my last maternity leave, my time to bond with this little new person that I chose to bring into this world. I won't get this time ever again.
In a week, I will go for my first consultation to have my fallopian tubes removed. I'll never again see a pregnancy test with two lines. I'll never again feel a little foot pushing out my side. I'll never again watch in awe as my stomach moves from side to side. I've had those firsts and lasts.
We have three beautiful daughters. This will be my first step toward being there for their firsts -- school days, dances, loves, heart breaks, graduations, babies -- and hopefully a lot of their lasts, too. I want to be there for it all.
Over the next year, I hope to take my next steps to further ensure that I will be here.
But for now, I will hold baby hands, take daytime naps and try to cherish every last first.