I hadn’t even finished, and the line was pink. Really pink…bright pink. I started crying.
Ten minutes earlier I had awoken from a dead sleep and shuffled into the bathroom. I closed the door, turned on the light and started digging through the bottom drawer. I knew there had been at least one First Response left in the box from when we had been trying to conceive our son, and sure enough, I was right. There was one buried under all sorts of random stuff we thought we might need at a later date in the bottom drawer.
The previous month had felt off, we had friends in town every weekend. I had been looking forward to hanging out, but the thought of drinking made me feel sick, and I was bloated like I’d downed a vat of salt! It was a photo posted on social media from the 4th of July where I thought to myself “I look pregnant” (although my baby was eight months old), I realize now the photo probably triggered something deep inside waking me up. I guess deep down, I knew.
I didn’t just cry. My whole body shook. I was sobbing when my husband finally woke and opened the bathroom doors to make sure I was okay…I looked up at him and said: “I’m pregnant”. He smiled and picked me up off the floor and said: “Honey, that’s wonderful!”…I shoved him and started bawling.
Barely four weeks earlier we had gone on our first date night, like real date night, since our son had been born. He had recently dropped the “dream feed”, my freezer stash was finally impressive after many daunting pump sessions, and the baby was sleeping almost thirteen hours straight! I had enjoyed wine, maybe too much wine, but I had tasted freedom, I started to feel like “me” again and well…my husband and I could have passed for newlyweds!
I rubbed my eyes, but as my husband held the test, the line only seemed to solidify even more…
We were pregnant…again.
I didn’t tell anyone for almost a month, most didn’t know until well into the second trimester, and I didn’t tell work until almost thirty weeks. I had started my new job in May, and here it was July and I was still stepping out of meetings to pump for my infant son!
Motherhood had never been something I ever knew I wanted and having my son threw me for a loop. I struggled to find my identity in motherhood and realize now I was dealing with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). Just leaving the house with my son was terrifying for me (to the point I rarely left), and I was isolated in a new town in the middle of a very contentious and emotionally draining custody battle for my bonus son. I had barely survived the first eight months postpartum and my marriage was strained, but that one date night had been a light…now it was clear that ONE date night had also given me something more…
At the moment I wasn’t ready for another baby. I certainly wasn’t ready for two under two. Sure, we had said we would talk about it down the road, but it was the furthest thing from my mind. My son had not even turned one yet! I was devastated.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and blessed to have never struggled with infertility or infant loss, and I have far too many friends who have/do, it’s heartbreaking. To be honest, I almost didn’t write this piece because I was afraid of backlash. It was the mother of one of my son’s classmates who encouraged me to share. She felt there were so many who could relate and for the same reasons I was afraid to share, also stayed silent.
What I didn’t know at 2 AM that fateful night was that I had been given the gift I never knew I needed, and the little girl I was carrying would complete our family and my heart in a way I could have never imagined. I am sure, so many others feel this same way.
Over the next few months, I accepted my pregnancy, becoming excited about the newest addition to our family. My husband and I prioritized date nights on a regular basis, I made time to take care of me, feed my soul, and the seemingly never-ending battle to see my bonus son came to an agreement (and albeit temporary, it was a time of peace during my second pregnancy). Sure there were struggles, we worked on our marriage in counseling and at thirty-six weeks pregnant, we found out we would be moving states as soon as baby girl arrived. But I was at peace she was coming, and I was ready and knowing we were headed to Charleston made me happy!
Fast forward, and last week I took my now 2.5 year old daughter to get her first manicure at one of Charleston’s non-toxic salons. As I sat next to her getting my own manicure, I was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for this little girl. She is my world, my mini and the one I never knew I needed. I love her with a fierceness that is hard to describe or quantify. Clearly, a higher power knew what was needed for me, for our family, and I am forever grateful.
I want others to know it is OKAY to feel the way I felt in the beginning. There should be no judgment for yourself or from others. It is okay to not want the baby, it is okay to cry, it is okay to be sad. It is okay to have all these feelings and more. There is NO shame in not being ready or not sure this is what you wanted. In the end, trust a higher power has your best interests at heart, and it will work out as it is meant to work out. Personally, I cannot imagine my life without this little girl, but I am well aware that there are many avenues our family could have taken with our unexpected little girl. I recently spent time with a friend who now has the most beautiful adopted daughter because of a mother who was not prepared to have a fourth and found a different path of acceptance than me, and that decision made my friend the mother she has always dreamed of being…trust…trust it all works out.
My daughter is skipping down the walk, suddenly stops and turns to me “Mama, I wub you” – I almost cry as she says it, looking up at me with those big blue eyes. I silently say thank you
“Thank you for the one I never knew I needed.”