What to Expect: Pregnancy #4

What to Expect When Your Pregnant With Your Fourth by Nina Badzin1.NEW-FOUND STAMINA FOR SYMPTOMS: If you’re 98.99% sure this is the last time you’ll be pregnant, you might find yourself whimpering less about the poorly named “morning” sickness. You’ll also face the exhaustion, constipation, and heartburn like a champ because A. you’re feeling nostalgic about the finality of it all B. you’re such a pro by now you hardly notice it’s happening or C. (and most likely) nobody has any sympathy for you anyway so there’s no use complaining.

2. STRANGE REACTION FROM OTHERS: Once your baby bump is noticeable, you’ll get the occasional question: “Is this your first baby?” Expect eyes to grow wide with both admiration and disappointment when you say “No, my fourth.” People love to share tips with first-time moms-to-be. When you drop the four-bomb, you’re cutting off their expertise. Also brace yourself for defensive comments resulting from people who see you and your bump as an affront to their two children.

3. LOOSER EATING HABITS: You’ll shamelessly eat soft cheeses, deli meat, sushi, Caesar salad, cookie dough and all the other things the first-timers and even second-timers avoid with a badge of honor. You might also enjoy the occasional quarter-glass of wine. Don’t hide in a shame pit. A friend of mine who had her two kids in Paris told me that her French friends followed this rule while pregnant: one glass of wine on weekdays, and a cocktail on the weekends. And just ignore the people who stare in disgust when you have the tuna roll two inches from your lips. It’s not a crack pipe, people.

4. APATHY ABOUT THE NURSERY: Remember the first time you were pregnant and you shopped for the crib bedding like world peace depended on the decision, like your baby would be the miracle kind who never vomited in her bed? Times have changed. Between the gnawed crib and the chewed board books, it looks like you’ve raised woodchucks and raccoons rather than human beings. But here’s the truth: you won’t care how tired and faded it all looks. After three babies, you finally understand that when it comes to the nursery nothing matters except the healthy baby inside of it and keeping the room from smelling like poo. If the nursery is pink and you end up with a boy, you’ll get around to changing it if that’s what you want. You’re a pro now. You know these petty details really don’t matter and you’re not wasting precious time sweating about it like you did when you were pregnant with baby #2. Besides, you need to save your funds for baby #3′s new bed and big-kid furniture now that he’s getting booted from the raccoon den.

5. DECREASE IN ANXIETY: You already have a mini-van or an extended SUV. You own eighty-four car seats for every size child imaginable as well as strollers for any potential excursion (thanks to your ridiculously thorough research on strollers the first time around). Most importantly, you’ve let go of any attempts at the perfect mom thing a LONG time ago. If you haven’t, now is a good time to ditch that race and take a nap. There are no medals for the most exhausted and martyred among us.

6. INCREASE IN VANITY: If you planned on four kids, then you treated the physical insults of three pregnancies with a sense of humor. Deflated boobs, areas of your hairline that are practically bald, dark circles under your eyes—WHO CARED? You had no choice but to accept it all when you still had one more pregnancy to go. But if you’re (98.99%) sure that number four will be your last, you might find yourself saving up for all the treatments, lotions, shots, and lasers you avoided until your reproducing years were behind you. It can’t hurt more than childbirth, right?

Unfortunately, this increase in vanity will not result in a slow and steady weight gain. You know you’ll spend the rest of your life forcing yourself to take it easy at Dairy Queen so you’ve taken your foot off the brake for this one last ride.

7. BABY NAME DESPERATION: By now you’ve used all the ideas you love for first and middle names and mocked everything else. You’re so desperate for suggestions you’ve taken to the internet. And it’s ugly out there. A couple recently named their child Like. As in the Facebook term. Lord help us.

EDITED TO SAY: For an update on baby #4, look here!

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Nina is a contributing writer at Brain, Child Magazine's website and at Kveller.com. She's also a freelance writer with articles in several anthologies as well as in The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, and elsewhere. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines. She was thrilled to participate in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother, and she enjoys co-leading the book review site GreatNewBooks.org. Nina lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.
67 Responses to What to Expect: Pregnancy #4
  1. annegreenwoodbrown
    June 14, 2011 | 9:55 pm

    What? Baby Name despair? I thought we covered this. It’s going to be Anne, right?

    Enjoy your DQ. You deserve it!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 8:52 pm

      Ha! But seriously, Ann (spelled that way) is the name of one of the MAJOR character in the WIP.

  2. Julie Nilson
    June 14, 2011 | 10:07 pm

    I do like the idea of being able to cut off the so-called experts. That has to be fun. :)

  3. Jen Erickson
    June 14, 2011 | 10:10 pm

    Vintage Nina. Dropping the four bomb. I think that is my favorite phrase in this post. I agree that the laid- back-this-is-how-I-roll with my fourth bump is a good pregnancy swagger, er, waddle. I am already anticipating the baby name post. Take your naps and eat that DQ. Soon enough you’ll be digging out the onesies that aren’t too stained and realizing that you cannot fit your family into one hotel room for vacation anymore. Raising a toast to your Fab Four! ;)

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 8:54 pm

      I’m joining your club! :) Thanks for appreciating the “four bomb.” I don’t think my husband got that when he quickly read the post.

  4. Bridget Baker
    June 14, 2011 | 10:12 pm

    THIS is hilarious–and exactly correct. I just had number 3–and plan to have a fourth and be ALL DONE. SO, reading this was totally correct. My favorite part is the raccoon den–why do kids chew on everything!? I know, teething, but still.

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 8:57 pm

      Thanks! And this is all pertinent to having three kids, too. Don’t you think?

  5. Scary Mommy
    June 14, 2011 | 10:15 pm

    This post is why we are friends.

  6. Susan Carter Millner
    June 14, 2011 | 10:23 pm

    Love it! BTW, I met twin boys today name Oberon and Aragon. Throw those into the running…

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:00 pm

      Ha! Seriously!? Why do parents have to go out of their way to be so different? So glad you told me. You know I love to hear names!

  7. Tracy Hahn-Burkett
    June 14, 2011 | 10:44 pm

    Awesome post, Nina. I laughed out loud at the woodchucks and raccoons, because I’ve raised a couple of those myself!

    And I have complete faith in your baby-naming powers. :)

  8. jenna
    June 14, 2011 | 10:46 pm

    Love it all. As #3 comes to a close for me here I feel every statement you made. I must say I appreciate the chance to say its #3 when people ask if it’s my first so that makes me a little jealous of your ability to say it’s # 4, even if I am scared out of my mind for what is about to happen in my life. And DQ is NEVER going to be out of the question.

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:01 pm

      You probably get the extra wide-eyed stare when people hear how close your three will be in age! And by the way, you know me so you know DQ is never out of the question even when I’m not pregnant, though I DO try to tone it down SLIGHTLY. ;)

  9. Barbara King
    June 15, 2011 | 2:01 am

    Nina, I love this post—very witty, accurate appraisals of self and others! Chuckled about the people so proud of their “2″, the “four” bomb, and the raccoons. Somewhere between your first and your last (98.99% sure), you’ve become proficient at wearing life like a loose garment!

    Have you considered the name “Anniversari”–we have a Sackheim cousin by that name.

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:02 pm

      Do we really have a cousin with that name??? OY!

  10. Rebecca Kotok
    June 15, 2011 | 6:25 am

    Brilliant! As a fellow mom of f*** agree with all of it.. xo

  11. Barbara Forte Abate
    June 15, 2011 | 6:45 am

    Yes, yes, yes on numbers 1-7!!!! Hilarious and spot-on, Nina.

    Oh my gosh, but I would’ve so loved savoring this fabulous post back in the day of my #4 (who is currently snoring off the up-all-night celebration of television and massive intake of junk food to celebrate the last day of school. Who will arise several hours from now and consume massive amounts of anything that possibly remains in cabinet or fridge…). I freely admit that I loved my #4 pregnancy best of all (note, I of course didn’t say “child”, lol. They are of course all wonderful and lovely and perfect…) Though bittersweet assuming/knowing it was the end of the child birthing era for me, I did feel pretty darn good about my self-assumed expertise in this particular endeavor. (An illusion of course!) Thus I blissfully indulged, enjoyed, and glowed like an everlasting light bulb — despite morning sickness that lasted 9 months to the day,

    I won’t tell you to enjoy this pregnancy, Nina, because of course you most certainly are. And that perfect baby name will come along when you least expect it — such is life :-)

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:04 pm

      Thank you for this, Barbara! Yes, I’ve felt extra glowy and relaxed during this pregnancy. By far it’s been my most graceful!

  12. Julia Munroe Martin
    June 15, 2011 | 7:20 am

    As a mom who stopped at 2 but now wish I’d gone for 3&4, I read this with amusment and more than a dash of envy! Enjoy the rest of the pregnancy, and from experience: don’t make it your last if there’s only that 1.01% telling you to go for #5!

  13. tmsouders
    June 15, 2011 | 7:44 am

    I loved this post. I only have 2 kids, but still this is so true. It made me laugh. Thanks.

  14. liz
    June 15, 2011 | 8:15 am

    Madelyn remained nameless for several days because we had no girls names we liked. And she was only girl #2.

  15. Erika Robuck
    June 15, 2011 | 8:17 am

    Fantastic post! Very humorous. :)

  16. Diandra
    June 15, 2011 | 8:26 am

    “There are no medals for the most exhausted and martyred among us.” That’s true not only for momdom.

  17. Ann
    June 15, 2011 | 8:38 am

    We had woodchuck room for #2. Good thing we left it at that. Funny post!
    Thanks for the shout-out.

  18. Lisa Mayers
    June 15, 2011 | 8:57 am

    Oh Nina, you always put it so well! Can’t wait to share a little sushi and a quarter glass of wine with you. I like this plan– you drink 1/4, I drink 3/4. Good times!

  19. Tanya
    June 15, 2011 | 9:13 am

    I choked on my coffee over the “raccoon den”. I was at a friend’s birthday party last night and one of the guest was first time pregnant at 6 months. I tried to talk her into going out to sushi with us. I’m so bad LOL. I would NEVER have considered sushi my first time pregnant.

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:14 pm

      Oh yeah—I wouldn’t have considered it with baby #1 either! Love that I made you choke. ;)

  20. Melissa Crytzer Fry
    June 15, 2011 | 9:18 am

    Hilarious, Nina (said by one who doesn’t have children). But, being a second child, myself, I can relate to the waxing and waning of parents’ obsessions with their kids (and that was after only one before me!). My sister has five albums filled with professional baby shots. Me: not even one. (I don’t hold a grudge. I get it).

    And bless you, dear, for going through this FOUR times. You are indeed my hero! Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy and enjoy that cookie dough while you can.

  21. jennifer k
    June 15, 2011 | 9:47 am

    Hilarious!! And so true-thats why every kids comes out more relaxed than the previous. I love the lightness you put out there-people need to relax, enjoy being pregnant and not sweat the small stuff!

  22. Natalia Sylvester
    June 15, 2011 | 10:29 am

    I don’t have kids yet but this is the first post about pregnancy that doesn’t scare me into thinking I’ll never be able to handle it! I love your laid back attitude, and the “cutting off their expertise” bit made me laugh out loud. Very excited for you! Your kids definitely lucked out with a mom like you!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:16 pm

      You’re so sweet! I forget how young you are by the way! You’re so wise on all the writing stuff. Seriously.

      • Natalia Sylvester
        June 15, 2011 | 11:51 pm

        Aw, that is so sweet! Makes me want to give you a big hug. ::squeeze::

  23. MIchelle Kuhl
    June 15, 2011 | 11:34 am

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the best thing I have read during my pregnancy so far. I am following all these rules and I am only on #2. I love this. Please write more.

  24. Mama Kat
    June 15, 2011 | 11:40 am

    Love it. And so true.

    Not that I would know.

    But I imagine.

  25. ramblingsfromtheleft
    June 15, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    I love this post and your insane optimism at “planning” on four. My mom told me that the Good Lord only gives us what we can handle, and someone up there knew the two I had were more than enough for my tangled nerves.

    You sound like a great mom and I love when you post about the pregnancy, the name and your humor over what women face with each additional child. I am not sure I remember … when is the last little bundle due?

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:19 pm

      Thanks! And I’m exactly half-way to the due date…first week of Nov.

  26. Sharon Bially
    June 15, 2011 | 12:34 pm

    Nina, this is priceless! I think I’ll take the rest of the day off to re-read it over and over and choke laughing.

    “Nobody has any sympathy for you anyway so there’s no use complaining.”

    “There are no medals for the most exhausted and martyred among us.”

    So true! And I could go on and on about the delightful nugget in here.

    But I’m surprised that keeping the nursery from smelling like poo still gets some attention. The poo smell, too, shall pass!

    (And glad you’ve taken that French wine rule to heart! L’chaim!)

  27. Cynthia Robertson
    June 15, 2011 | 5:22 pm

    Too funny!
    Three kids and a fourth on the way. When do you ever find a quiet moment to write?

    • Nina Badzin
      June 15, 2011 | 9:30 pm

      Hi! Well, no miracles here…I literally pay for the time in the form of the most wonderful nanny who helps me sneak away. I almost always write at a coffee shop near my older kids’ schools in the afternoon while she’s home with my 2 year old. But of course there’s the kids’ activities, etc that pull me away. There are rarely long stretches of time, but I’m so grateful to have the time I do.
      Frankly, I haven’t produced as many pages as I would have liked since I had baby #3, but she’s well worth it!

  28. julie gardner
    June 15, 2011 | 9:08 pm

    My favorite line? It’s not a crack pipe, people.

    Brilliant.

    I went to Italy when I was eight months pregnant (gasp) with the FULL APPROVAL of my OB.

    My husband had won a trip for being his company’s #1 salesperson for the year. It was the only time the trip was offered. HOW could we turn it down?

    I was healthy, the baby was healthy and the doctor said, “They have hospitals in Rome. If she comes early, name her Isabella and you’ll have a great story to tell.”

    (That would’ve helped with the name dilemma. We had nothing for a girl.)

    So the entire eight days we were there, the waiters and hosts kept pouring me gigantic glasses of wine. For every meal.

    (I didn’t drink ALL of it. But my OB also said to have a little. To encourage relaxed muscles and discourage contractions.)

    It was a great week… :-)

    p.s. Enjoy every minute dropping the four bomb. I’m more than a little bit jealous. I’m vicariously soaking up all your joy. (Sorry about the morning sickness, though. that’s all yours.)

    • Nina Badzin
      June 16, 2011 | 1:37 pm

      Julie–that’s a great story. And I love your doctor’s attitude! Would’ve been crazy (and kind of cool) if you had the baby in Italy!

  29. Frume Sarah
    June 15, 2011 | 11:24 pm

    Great post!!!

    When pregnant with my third, I would get the “is this your first?” question too. After replying that it was my 3rd, the questioner would stammer something along the lines of “why, bless your heart.” Did she think I said THIRTY? I mean, it’s only three. My goodness…

  30. Hallie Sawyer
    June 16, 2011 | 12:19 am

    Loved this! Having three children, I had the chance to experience all of these same things. Sort of a “Ah, screw it.” on #3.

    Thanks for the late-night laugh! :)

  31. Jennifer King
    June 16, 2011 | 12:33 am

    Nina,

    This is all so true and wonderfully said. I love it, even though it’s been a few years since I sweltered my way through the summer of my last pregnancy. I hope it’s going great for you!

    I always think the best part of having the last babies is that there’s always so much going on, so much entertainment for them from their older siblings, that they are much easier than the first one or two. And, you’re very smart with the nanny– very European, if I might say so. We live in Prague now, and every mom with a little one or two has a nanny. Might be a great thing if it caught on in the US … makes for much saner moms. We all need a little dose of sanity with the smells and sounds and long hours of being a mom.

    All the best to you, Nina! And thanks– I’m passing this on to my sister-in-law, due with their 4th and 5th next week!

    Jennifer

    • Nina Badzin
      June 16, 2011 | 1:38 pm

      Thanks Jennifer! I hope she finds it funny. And I’m totally going to use the line “I’m very European” from now on. ;)

  32. Amanda Hoving
    June 16, 2011 | 9:06 am

    Loved this, Nina! My mother-in-law had 10 kids…wonder what her take would be? “Hey! Where’d this baby come from? Oh yeah…forgot I was pregnant.”

  33. Jorie
    June 16, 2011 | 1:44 pm

    Nina!! This might be my favorite post ever! Love, Love, Love!

  34. Ashley Graham
    June 16, 2011 | 2:16 pm

    Okay, Nina. You’re not helping me warm up to motherhood here! LOL. Just kidding… Can you believe I used to want 8 kids? EIGHT? Can you imagine? Then I toned it down to five, and now I’ve toned it down to two, three max. Hubby, of course, thinks we should only have one — because he was an only child and he thinks that was so great or whatever. But I keep telling him, “If I have any, I’m having more than one. I refuse to have an only child.” We’ll see who wins. ;-)

    This post also could’ve been titled, What to Expect When You’re Expecting #4. Loved this!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 16, 2011 | 9:05 pm

      Oy–can’t imagine 8. I remember you telling me that! :) And you know what, I used to not want kids when I was in high school. Things change! I agree with you on trying to have at least two though. It’s good for the kids. I have to imagine the hardest part of being an only child is when that child is facing the stage of dealing with aging parents. It has to be nice for siblings to lean on each other then! (not to mention the whole childhood companion part)

  35. Leigh Ann
    June 16, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    This is all so, so true. Although I had NO stamina for symptoms in pregnancy number 2. But much much looser eating habits. And anxiety? I didn’t even have a monitor in #3′s room for the longest time, and paci on the floor? No cat hair on it, no biggie.

    I used to get funny looks from people who saw that I was pregnant and had twins (they were just shy of 2 when #3 was born). Yes, thanks for making me feel better about this unplanned life event.

  36. Alissa
    June 17, 2011 | 12:22 am

    Without a doubt, my favorite post to date. So artfully crafted with such wit and candor. Love it. So happy for you.

  37. Stephanie Alexander
    June 17, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    OMG Loved this! I’m a wuss with just three (and we’re out!) but I know with my last pregnancy I experienced everything you’ve said above. I also ate Chipotle burritos four times a week, consumed entire boxes of chocolate covered almonds, and drank a (real) coke every day. What the hell, last time in my life I could get away with it, right?

    Fifty lbs later… but whatev! I gained at least forty with the other two and lost it all. Remember laughing w/ my husband (who I definitely outweighed at some point during every pregnancy!) about the fact that I’d gained and lost almost 150 lbs in four years! Biggest Loser has nothing on pregnant Chipotle eating moms.

    Good luck! You’re an inspiration!

  38. Sara Grambusch
    June 17, 2011 | 4:52 pm

    “Baby name desperation” is just hilarious. People are really getting out there with baby names. We’re going to have one whole generation named after fruits and adjectives. BND should be a real syndrome.
    Great post Nina!

  39. [...] RELATED POST: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Baby #4″ [...]

  40. Libby
    August 2, 2011 | 4:22 pm

    Nearing the end of pregnancy #3 (like could give birth next week?) and 98.99% sure it’s the last. Your post made me cry I was laughing so hard. People’s reactions are just hilarious (“Whoa?!?1 Three?? Are you nuts?). How did you know my #2 child ATE her crib railing and I could care less? Funny enough, I just had a little tiff with my mother about this very issue last week – her comment, “How can you let a new baby sleep in that eaten-up crib?” My comment, “How can I justify buying a new crib? EVER?”
    Thanks, I needed this. And a really nice glass of wine tonight I think.

    • Nina Badzin
      August 2, 2011 | 9:22 pm

      Libby–I’m so glad you liked it! You’ll appreciate that I had a handy man over today to make sure our crib will hold up for one more baby despite the stripped screw that fell out. He assured me all the other screws would keep it together for long enough. Also, speaking of the name Libby, you’ll like my past from last week: http://ninabadzin.com/2011/07/25/help-my-husband-name-our-baby/

  41. decemberbaby
    October 5, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    I love this! Just found your blog through a string of links (can’t recreate it – pregnancy brain) and even though I’m just on #3, I hear you on so many of these! Chewed-up books? Check. Chewed-up crib? Yep, just turn it around so the chewed side is facing the wall. Stained onesies? Well, they’re bound to get stained sometime. And people do seem to deflate when I say that this pregnancy will be kid #3 for us. I never thought of why, though.

    Anyhow, thanks for this post, and I love your blog!

  42. [...] “What to Expect: Pregnancy #4″ [...]

  43. saquina
    February 29, 2012 | 8:39 pm

    That’s hilarious. I just had my Baby #1 in November 2011. I’m not quite sure if I get to #4, but it would be nice to experience less anxiety etc. :P Nicely written. I like your blog and I’m glad I found it. :D
    Nicole

    • Nina Badzin
      March 1, 2012 | 4:40 pm

      Well, your #1 and my #4 are the same age, as mine was born in November 2011. Our newest issue is that he has THE WORST cradle cap EVER. Never had that issue–at this level at least–with the other kids. See, there’s always something new to deal with!

      So glad you found the blog. I look forward to checking yours out too. This freshly pressed thing has been really overwhelming! Lots to see at once.

      Stop by my blog: http://ninabadzin.com Follow me on Twitter: @NinaBadzin

      • saquina
        March 2, 2012 | 11:11 am

        I think Noah has cradle cap too (looks like dandruff?)… I’m not really sure what’s causing this, but I may ask his doctor if there’s something I can do to clear it up (lotion doesn’t seem to work) or if I just need to let it run it’s course…

        Ah well, my blog is just a “Sims 3″-Legacy story. Not really a blog blog… :P

  44. Everyday Commotion
    March 13, 2012 | 9:46 am

    A random series of links today led me to this post and I found myself nodding and laughing. I have four kids, too, and yes, I am going to start playing the lottery to afford the “mommy makeover” I most definitely need.

    So agree with the letdown people feel when they find out you’re on the fourth and not first baby. It’s similar to when people who’ve had nine pound babies want to brag about their huge kids and then find out my two of my babies were bigger. Takes the wind right out of their sails.

    Great blog post!

  45. kelliefish13
    March 14, 2012 | 11:57 pm

    Love this post, makes me feel a million times better especially about all the things I have eaten then realised/remembered after that I wasn’t meant to be eating them. I am currently pregnant with our first. We moved from The UK to NZ at 7 months, to be closer to family, and somehow managed to get mostly all set up in a month, which involved letting some things slide. Though conveniently the baby room happened to already be painted blue (good thing we are having a boy).

  46. Hannah
    July 12, 2012 | 12:12 pm

    #3 (and the rest, to be honest) made me laugh. I’m pregnant with #3 right now and I’m in the middle of eating “right” and eating whatever I want. I’ve been craving deli meat and hot dogs like crazy so I’ll eat a bunch of them and then feel guilty for a while. And then the guilty feeling goes away and I eat some more.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 10:29 pm

      Ha! Yes, that’s exactly how I felt (was good some weeks and bad some weeks.) I knew I was a little TOO bad when all the waiters at a nearby sushi place knew my order. They were thrilled when I came in with the baby . . . maybe happy to see he came out totally healthy. ;) Thanks for visiting, Hannah!

  47. Pure Barre, Lululemon, and My Unsculpted Arms
    January 23, 2014 | 10:42 pm

    […] Now that my kids rely on my choices for their nutrition, I try to eat like a reasonable person. I also begrudgingly but consistently do thirty minutes on a recumbent bike in my basement. I don’t even sweat because HELLO, it’s a recumbent bike, but I’ve managed to keep my weight in check through four pregnancies. […]

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