So about four weeks ago all my plans for the coming year got thrown out the window. My goal of running the New York City Marathon? Gone. My anticipation of having Ella and Lily at school all day and Campbell at preschool two mornings a week? Gone. My plans for taking on more freelance work? Gone.
Because I'm pregnant with baby number four. To say that this was a surprise would be an understatement. I'm still having trouble saying "pregnant" out loud - it's like if I say it, it will actually be true.
The pregnancy test turned positive immediately - no need to wait three minutes for the results. I left it on the counter in the bathroom and went back several times during the day to check to see if it had suddenly turned negative - because they do that you know. Or not.
B was in meetings all day, so I couldn't get in touch with him to share the news. I had the whole day to sit and stew and cry. I finally was able to tell him late that afternoon, after our meeting to refinance our lake place. His reaction? "Holy f*ck, Wally!" Then he asked if I was sure he was the father. I kicked him in the shins. But since then he's been a rock. Every time I melt down in despair about having a fourth child when I can barely cope with three, he's there with reassurances that everything will be OK and we'll figure it all out together.
As much as I have joked in the past about wanting to have more babies, I didn't really mean it. I'm fine with three kids. Before we had Campbell, I insisted that someone was missing from our family. Once Campbell arrived, I felt like we were complete. There isn't anyone missing.
And all of these feelings of stress and anxiety make me feel even worse than the constant morning sickness. I mean, how can I not be excited about a new baby? I love babies. Babies are wonderful!
But I was so close to having that part of my life over with, and I was looking forward to it. I was going to have two whole mornings a week without children in the house. I was going to be able to get my hair cut or go to the dentist or go to work meetings without having to hire a sitter. I was going to be able to volunteer more at the girls' school without having to hire a sitter. I was counting down to the end of having diapers and sippy cups in the house.
Now I get to start all over.
All of those mixed emotions were compounded by the fact that I found out about the baby the same week my grandmother died. I fell apart one day when I realized I didn't get the chance to tell her that she was going to have a fourth great-grandbaby. My dear friend H consoled me by saying that my grandmother's spirit was whispering all sorts of secrets to the baby already. That just made me cry more.
We told the girls earlier this week. They did cartwheels around the kitchen while screeching with excitement. Ella kisses my belly several times a day and keeps asking when the baby will be big enough to hear her read stories to it. I'm trying to share their excitement, but it's hard.
I know that once they put that tiny, pink, screaming bundle in my arms I'll be just fine. I'll rejoice in the miracle that is a new baby.
I may not be able to rejoice until then, however. At least not until I stop feeling queasy and tired 24 hours a day.