I found out I was pregnant last Friday. I took the kids to spend their weekly allowance at Target. We never hit the dollar section at Target anymore--so it took forever for three kids to make a final decision on their VIP purchases. I picked up a pregnancy test. I felt nervous about spending the $5.95 for two generic test, because I buy so many of them while my periods are all irregular during breastfeeding and they are never positive.
When I hustled all the children out of the van at home, Jon was home from work. I didn't even kiss him hello as usual. I told him "I bought a pregnancy test, I'm going to take it now." I took the test and it turned positive right away. Usually I have to wait the full three minutes and then I kind of look closely and try to see a faint plus sign. This time it turned positive right away.
I was so excited that I ran out of the room. All my family was gathered in the kitchen hanging on Jon who was cooking rice for dinner. I shouted "I'm pregnant!"
Hannah started screaming "We're having a baby! We're having a baby!" All the girls started jumping up and down and dancing in the kitchen. Even my only son had a faint smile on his lips. It was a picture post card moment.
The only odd part was that my husband didn't move. He kept calmly cooking dinner. I knew because I know him, that he wasn't unhappy about a new baby, so there must be so other reason that he wasn't reacting. I realized that he hadn't heard me--which is hilarious because three females around him are screaming 'We're having a baby."
So I went into the bathroom, picked up the pregnancy test, tapped him on the shoulder and handed it to him. The look on his face when he said "Does the plus sign mean you're pregnant?" was so priceless. Soon the rice was over-boiling while everyone jumped up and down in the kitchen and shouted "We're having a new baby!" It was the little moment when my family of 7 realized they were now a family of 8.
Later, when we went to bed, I realized that I still felt so calm and happy. That had almost never happened before. When I found out I was pregnant with Hannah, I was happy but terrified at becoming a first time Mother. With Alex, I had just quit my job and we had no health insurance. I got in a horrible screaming fight with Jon that night (even though we wanted another baby desperately and were moving to a new State to better raise a family) the timing surprised me. I thought a surprise pregnancy meant I had to go back to a job I hated in a town I hated and I felt horribly trapped. I was happy about my pregnancy with Franciso, but he died. Then I was scared to death of another miscarriage when I got pregnant with Maria six weeks later. With Tess, I was super excited about discovering my pregnancy after almost 3 years of secondary infertility. That was the one I got clearly told about while praying in Church on a Marian Feast Day. Yet my pregnancy with her was mentally hard--I was so scared after the secondary infertility that we would loose her too. She had a beautiful birth--but then 6 days later ended up deathly ill in the NICU. So that sort of cast a pale over my pregnancy/birth memories.
With Abigail, I discovered that I was pregnant 3 weeks after a major move. There were so many boxes still not unpacked in the basement. I found out I was pregnant while Jon was at work. I drove to Target alone and tried to make a bargain with God. "Just give me one month. Just let me get pregnant in August and not in July." I took the pregnancy test alone and when it came out positive I started to cry. I had all these plans on how to make the best of our forced move and make new friends to replace the old ones I missed--and instead I knew that I won't be able to get out of the house for basically four months because the morning sickness had started to get so bad with every pregnancy. I told Jon in a note when he came home from work. We left the bigger kids in the new house alone, put the nine month old Tess in her stroller and started pacing up and down our block. Jon was really happy. He kept himself calm and reassuring. We just kept walking up and down the block because we didn't want to be out of sight for our older kids. It took a good 30 minutes of walking up and down the block before I felt strong enough to start to feel hope for the new baby. When we came inside, I asked Jon not to tell the kids.
This pregnancy is different. I told everyone I was pregnant right away. I found the baby a godmother one hour after the pregnancy test. I feel this calm hope. I am so grateful to be pregnant at 38. Tess will become 3 in August, and I've spent almost all that time praying for other babies in the NICU. All that prayer has changed me. With Abigail, it was within 9 months of having a kid with a NICU stay and I was terrified of the new baby getting some worse disease or birth defect that was just going to cause the baby massive amounts of pain.
Now its like my perspective on life is inside out. Life is a gift. I don't expect anything. I just love this baby sight unseen. I'm grateful for today. I'm living inside the present! Today I have a new baby! I don't know if this baby will make it to birth. Or make it home after birth. Or spend a year with colic and infant reflux. Somehow all of that uncertainty, rather than making me scared, just makes me feel extra grateful. Today we have a baby!
It's funny, I keep thinking "This is what people must people must feel during their first pregnancy!" I'm pretty stiff necked. It's taken me seven pregnancies to get to the calm hope that many faithful Catholics feel immediately after their honeymoon. Yet God is gentle. God is good. It's not where I started in my motherhood journey that matters, its where I am today. I'm bonded so deeply to every single one of my kids. I'm humbled by this love I have for my husband. My love for my husband is not perfect--its the imperfections, and the unevenness of my love for him and his love for me that makes our marriage beautiful. I'm so grateful that with all the messiness, that my life is rich and good and deep. Love is a journey.
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for me!