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Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around my own bundle of joy ever again as we bring home a new baby for the first time.

We’re rounding out a first year full of first smiles, rolling over, and all the joyous milestones. His year of firsts is a year of lasts for me. It’s been bittersweet in a way I never expected. It’s no longer a daily occurrence for me to see every hour on the clock in the night hours or watch an entire season of Gilmore Girls while the rest of the world sleeps, besides me and my tiny peanut.

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That little, squish-face baby now has a personality. He’s becoming a person in the most wonderful ways just like his siblings did. I fall in love with each of my babies a little more every single day because it’s an honor to watch them grow and raise them.

I’m not curious about adding another member to our family, but my heart aches just a little knowing the baby chapter of our family is closing. There’s a grieving in knowing I’ll never hear the heartbeat of my baby on an ultrasound for the first time. Never again will I feel that excitedly nauseous nervousness that comes from peeing on a stick. There won’t be another doctor’s appointment when we hear that magical sound of our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. There is something bittersweet about this final baby.

My head and my heart both feel my family is complete, but my heart still aches a little bit because no matter how many babies I have, I’m not sure I’d ever be totally ready to close the chapter on having more babies. It’s a hard choice, but it’s the right choice for our family. Our home and our hearts are full, but that doesn’t mean a tiny piece of me will always long for the first time those tiny little fingers grasp mine or the time my baby first settles in my arms once picked up. There is something so beautiful about the baby stage.

RELATED: You’re My Last Baby So I’ll Savor You a Little More

There’s a finality in knowing this baby is our last that has allowed me to really cherish and soak up these moments as much as possible. But for some reason, maybe because it’s our third time or maybe because we know it’s our last, this time has flown by quicker than I could have ever imagined. My days are full of love, milestones, and sleep deprivation, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe it’s easier to stand the sleep deprivation when there’s an end in sight. I know that one day, I will blissfully make it through the night without seeing every hour on the clock. It just might not be anytime very soon.

Knowing this baby is our last has given me the foresight to cherish and memorize every little detail about his little dimples on his fingers and the way he rubs my chest when he nurses in the middle of the night. It’s made me appreciate our time together at 3 a.m. when he just wants to be held because he’s cutting teeth, so we watch Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time as I pace circles in our living room carpet.

While it still makes me just a bit sad to close the baby chapter, there’s also a fullness in my heart from knowing that everyone is around my table. It’s a bittersweet feeling. My family is here; it’s complete. My hands, my heart, and my home are full in the most wonderful of ways. It’s a really beautiful thing, an indescribable love of having my whole family here, together.

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Megan Vollmer

Megan Vollmer is a wife and mother of three. She writes about motherhood, marriage, and faith. She thrives on faith, sarcasm, and coffee. She has been published on Today Parenting Team, BabyGaga, Her View from Home, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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