It was Mother’s Day when I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child, however my pregnancy was a surprise. In fact we spent the day at the zoo with my firstborn son and second born daughter. As we boarded the little train that painfully chugged around the zoo perimeter I thought to myself “this is it, this is good, hubby has one and I have the other, we are done making babies!” I had heard from plenty of people how we had hit the jackpot with one boy and one girl.
Why not close up shop?
Truth be told I half-heartedly agreed, however I had yet to unload all of my maternity or baby clothes. The Baby Einstein was put away in storage along with the newborn head rest for the Graco car seat. If I heard a baby name I’d pair it with our last name just to see. Just in case. Just for kicks.
Well low and behold as we were circling around the bison pit hearing how these enormous creatures can get up to 30 miles per hour it reminded me of being pregnant but chasing little ones. A slight “well that will never be me again” was followed by a slight panic. When was my last period come to think about it? Cornering around the bat cave coming into the “station” as our last zoo event of the day I made a mental note to dig out a pregnancy test when I got home. It had taken a lot of prepping, planning, temperature taking and testing to get Baby 1 and Baby 2 on board so no way I was knocked up. It was just to be sure.
And sure enough. There was the word “positive” right on that stick. There was no time to calculate or even think – the two little ones were fighting over a toy while my husband was yelling for them to get to their rooms for bedtime. I set the pregnancy test on the counter by the bathroom sink and finished our bedtime rituals convinced the test was wrong and I was not with child.
Unlike the unveiling of the pregnancy test for our firstborn there was no ceremonial speech, no giggles or tears. No excitement.
In fact my husband walked up to me with the test and hand and said “so do we need to talk?” Yes, yes we did, but not until everyone was asleep or at the very least silent. And I had purchased more pregnancy tests because who knows? It could have expired and was just popping out wonky info. Sure, that’s it.
Well four tests later my husband told me to stop as we’d need to save the money shifting to a family of five. What? Oh my word I was not prepared.
And sad to say, I was not happy.
In fact I was panicked. Waking up in the middle of the night I’d think “what have I done?” Followed by a load of lies how we were upsetting the balance, forcing my daughter to be a middle child, messing up having a partner for rollercoaster rides. Someone would always get left out!
Yes, perhaps the pregnancy hormones arrived early, but truth be told I was not gleeful nor thankful.
In fact I was downright bummed. My body was going to be huge. Again. We’d have to adjust who slept where. I’d have three children ages 3 and under.
When I made it to the doctor it was a first time meeting as we had moved and I had delayed finding an OB/GYN. Not anymore. I introduced myself and launched into my concern that I was pre-menapausal.
Doctor: Have you take a pregnancy test?
Doctor: How many?
Doctor: (Looks up in shock) Um, OK. Well let’s check this out.
One ultrasound, one heartbeat and one shocked momma to be. The doctor clearly says “So this is a fetus, are you going to be able to motor through this?”
Yes, yes of course. (Not at all.) I’m ashamed to say it crossed my mind if I miscarried if I’d feel partially relieved. Then that sent me into fits of guilt as I have so many sweet friends with empty arms ready to hold a babe.
What was wrong with me???
When it was time to tell friends and family I had an air of apology. “I’m not sure how this happened, it wasn’t my plan, yes I’ll turn 40 right after the baby is born.”
Embarrassment, shame, silly for being pregnant AGAIN (which was how many responded to our news) and aware that we were “tipping the cart” or “upsetting the balance” or my favorite “going from man on man coverage to zone defense.”
And I continued with an air of apology when I was out with my little ones and obviously pregnant – which this time around seemed to happen overnight. Like I put my head down to rest from nausea and I sat up 45 minutes later 3 sizes bigger.
“You do know how that happens by now, right?”Um, yes, embarrassment, red cheeks, ankles swelling and we weren’t even in the hottest weather yet. Terrific.
And unlike the first two go-rounds I wasn’t pulling out little onesies and cleaning blankets. My name journal sat there – uninspired I suppose. Stunned. Still a bit in shock. And honestly I was busy with a 1 year old and a 3 year old. How on earth would I ever have the energy to keep up with another? And thank you dear Lord for Curious George episodes on PBS. I don’t care how ridiculous it is for a pantless monkey to be riding a city subway and dining in an Italian restaurant, but it keeps them stationary for 27 glorious minutes.
I pretty much continued in that haze through the summer and into fall when we had our 6 month ultrasound. I didn’t get pregnant the first time until I was 35, so I’ve been “high risk” for each one, but this was the only time I really felt it. My body seemed to be wearing down faster under the pregnancy stress and although my weight was lower than past pregnancies I had ugly veins and trouble getting comfortable all the time.
And there in the room with paper thin walls and paper gowns we had the overdue long silence of a tech moving the ultrasound wand around on my big ol’ tummy. She “ah-hemed” to my question if all was OK. I mean I could hear the heartbeat. Or could I? Was that just amniotic fluid whooshing around actually? We weren’t new to this rodeo so as time clicks along and her chatter settled into what I could only guess were worry lines with an intense stare into the screen followed by an abrupt “I’ll be right back” as she walked out. But she wasn’t right back. And there it was.
All my worry about rearranging rooms and toting three little ones around at 40 years old flew out the window of that windowless room. I hadn’t been excited. Maybe God was teaching me a lesson for being so selfish! I hadn’t seen the blessing of this baby and now it’s gone because I’m such a horrible vile person. And on and on it went for what seemed like an eternity until the doctor entered and swiftly started the ultrasound show again.
But this time she caught the hurried little heartbeat and it sounded like a miracle. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. Thank you God. Thank you thank you thank you in an constant wordless string of praise.
Right then I knew this little person was supposed to bless us as a Family of Five, and despite myself I would be joyful in this baby’s arrival.
And you know the rest of the story – once he arrived he filled spots in our hearts we didn’t know needed filling. But boy did God know what we needed when He gave us our sweet boy who exudes joy from the moment he wakes until the moment he sleeps.
And that’s how it usually goes. Women have the gift of forgetting the tough stuff. Example found in why we go through labor again and again. Yet usually nobody admits the terror of the positive pregnancy test when you are married, stable, already a mother and even a stay at home mother to top it all! It’s taboo to admit we are already overwhelmed so how can we manage another? It’s seen as selfish or even thoughtless to chatter on about “upsetting the family dynamics” with another when many are without children. All of that on the surface is true and valid.
However in the silent of my bathroom, with a positive pregnancy test in a weary hand it was my reality. So for any other Momma who’s heart dipped a bit at the thought of close in age siblings or whose panic rose at the reality of everyone in diapers or who had to cut off nursing one to attend to another I say it’s OK. The worried, desperate, anxiety driven, panicked, Debbie Downer private conversations we have with ourselves are OK to admit. Why? Because we all know the moment you think you’ve lost that little one or that baby is placed in your arms all those doubts vanish and you are mommy to another perfect creation. A grateful, tearful, happily tired and wildly blessed mommy.