Kyle came with me to the hospital yesterday so that he could be there for my second ultrasound. I told him not to be sad if there wasn’t a heartbeat this time because that happens sometimes in these things but as soon as the wand hit my abdomen there was a wiggling baby on the screen. Waving hands, kicking feet, little head bobbing up and down. It’s in there.
When I found out that we were going to have a third baby, I was ecstatic for about two seconds and then panic set in and stayed for a few weeks. I have rough, rotten pregnancies. The first four ended before I ever got to this point and the other two came with their own complications and questions about whether the kids would be OK. There is a very fair elephant question in the room about whether this was a good idea, medically. I have to have surgery if I want to stay pregnant and then I’ll have to have another (more minor) surgery if I want to stop being pregnant at the appropriate time. The baby will come early because the other two came early and now we’re in a battle to make sure I can cook it long enough. I’m city-bound, travel restricted and leaning on the grace of the universe to avoid another summer of pregnancy bed rest. So there’s that.
Also, it’s the third. The truth is that you automatically go on the defensive with the third kid. Everyone is excited for your first kid (assuming you’re old enough to vote) and if you’re stable and happy with the first it makes sense to people when you have a second because now there’s a sibling and you’re “really” a family. The third…the third is questions about how you can handle three kids, which birth control method failed, are you having marital problems you’re trying to sort out, when are you moving to a bigger house, why did you sell the minivan, and the ever present do you really think you can afford this?
And maybe there’s a little guilt. Part of it is that I already have two great kids and I could be complicating things with this third one, taking time and love away from the others. Plus, from a fertility standpoint, three feels like showing off when I used to consider myself part of the can’t-have-a-baby club. I’m having another baby and with all our medical ducks in a row, I’ll probably be able to bring a healthy kid into the world. It feels greedy. Stealing blessings.
Honestly, actually being pregnant doesn’t help. I always know my hormones are haywire in the beginning because I can go from euphoria to despair in five seconds flat. Plus, in the beginning when nobody knows, it’s so hard to be home, walking around with a bucket to throw up into (an accurate picture of the last 6-7 weeks in my life), and you have this thing you want to talk about but it’s too early because you can’t count that chicken until hatches…or at least until you’ve seen the heartbeat a few times. So you’re just sick, tired, lost, and waiting. First trimester joys.
Through everything, past all the reasons why maybe this was crazy, after running around with the other kids all day and wondering how you’d ever fit a napping newborn into the mix, that little bit of joy starts. You carry it around quietly but you know it’s there. It doesn’t make sense and nobody can see it, but there are bright warm sun streaks scattered throughout the day and it’s because you’re having a baby. Everything is fine because you’re having a baby. The kids are crazy and messy and kind of mean to each other and it’s all good because you’re having a baby. And your husband comes home from work exhausted and rumpled and carrying paper bags of french fries and all you can do is grin at each other because you’re having a baby.
This is going to be so good.