Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This is not an April Fool's joke

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.


MadMad said...

Oh, WOW! Wow. Wow. Wow. Yeah, I guess you won't be running any marathons for a bit... but it WILL be fine. They say by the fourth, it all gets easier - and the girls will really be able to help, too, which helps a lot. It might seem insurmountable now, but I think that it's one of those things that the imagining of it is always harder/worse than the actuality of it. By now you'll be able to nurse and change a diaper at the same time! And you'll have built in sitters in a couple of years; it will be fine. You will be basking in the joy of a little guy/girl soon - and think of all the great things you'll get to knit!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow is right! I think that I would probably have the exact same feelings that you're having now. It's hard to think about going back to life with an infant!

Get it all out there and be honest with yourself. There's nothing worse than faking feelings and then have a big old breakdown later from stuffing how you really feel away. That's how you end up crying hysterically in the dry cleaner's, for example.

That said, congratulations!!! I'm so excited for you. In fact, let everyone be excited for you while you get used to the idea. 4 is a nice even number.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Becca -- get it all out there, whenever you need to... just be honest.

You are a fantastic mama to the three you have -- and will be the same fantastic mama to the fourth bundle of joy.

Barb Matijevich said...

Oh. My. Gosh.


I think I'm actually speechless!! I'm all goosebumpy and amazed and you know what?

Really, really HAPPY for you. When I found out I was pregnant with Ana, my soon-to-be MIL said, "Well, life is what happens when you're making other plans."

Of course, once I got over the shock that my MIL was quoting John Lennon, not that she knew it, I decided this was the best reaction to an unplanned pregnancy ever.

It's LIFE, H. It's a miracle in the midst of the mundane. I'm really happy for you.

That said, I have to admit that I felt sort of ambivilent during both of my pregnancies, It wasn't until that baby came out and sat on me that I realized my heart had just grown "two sizes that day."

Anonymous said...

Yay! Congrats!

And TRUST ME, it's perfectly normal to be feeling like you do now. My 4th pregnancy I didn't even know what week I was half the time, I probably ate the worst I ever did, ever, just all wrapped up in the minutia of life and not paying attention. Hearing the heartbeat helped, getting TONS of pictures of ultrasounds helped, but really, it wasn't until the doctor told me that my fluid was low and they were going to get him that I was actually concerned. And now? He's not my favorite. Nuh'uh. You did not hear me say it.

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and holler when you need to vent it all out. Anytime.

Nadine said...

Hopped over from a comment you left on Madmad's blog. Congrats! I can't imagine having four! We just had number two.

Thanks for sharing your honest post!

t. Cooke said...

Holy smoke! Your breeding like a catholic or a mormon! I' must say i'm shocked, but I'm happy for you. Congratulations!!!

ckh said...

Wow! Congrats!

The best part of having three kids during this pregnancy (and I can say this because I only have two - ha ha) is that you're going to be so busy that you won't have time to fret over what's coming.

But what's coming is the sweet smell of baby hair when you hold the little one close without them wriggling away. You're going to have that little heartbeat warming you up while it sleeps on your chest. You're going to have someone eat what you feed them (for a while) without them knowing they can refuse. You're going to have one more being squeezing more love into your heart than you ever knew would fit.

That and haircuts are over-rated. And I'd skip the dentist all together if I could, and I'm sure you're with me on this one.

I'm sorry that there are thorns with the rose, but the other three will help make it all merrier. Does that help? If not, just take a nap. That should do it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. That is really seriously big. I could talk with you someday about all those mixed emotions, i surely could. But for now...

Well, this IS a kind of marathon, right? The pregnancy, and the life with child. Back to back marathons. And you've already trained really, really well for it. And you have training partners and lots of little ones to kiss you at the water stops. Don't time the miles. Just enjoy the run.

Kerry said...

Oh, HUGE NEWS, wow! I'm sorry and congratulations all rolled into one.

My baby number 4 was a COMPLETE and utter surprise too. Me, barely fertile (fertility drugs in the past and PCOS), he having already had a vasectomy. We'd just finished rocking our world combining our families into a happy little Brady Bunch with 4 kids and no money for a minivan. I was so DONE with babies. We were terrified of telling our teens (the littles were of course overjoyed with the news) and one of our teens actually referred to his brother as the ACCIDENT until he was in his arms.

Well, he's a joy and everyone loves him to bits, and I'm such an old hat about this it really didn't shake up our world at all.

Get our all those ambivilant feelings!

"BUT I HAVE PLANS!!!!" was something I had to shout at the skies MANY times.