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What To Expect When You Weren't Expecting Another Baby

As those of you who have read my blogging over the past year are aware, Miss G was not a planned occurrence (HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT). After a series of miscarriages following the birth of our daughter C, who arrived when I was 39 years old, Jon and I had decided to throw in the towel on the whole having-another-baby thing. We decided that we were done. Finis.

I’d begun to make peace with that, feel pretty good about it, actually. I went back on the pill while we discussed more permanent options. I began buying “skinny clothes” again, excited at the prospect of having my normal size body back for good. I started looking into how I could find time to get back on a horse and ride regularly – my favorite activity in the world, but one that isn’t a good match for someone who is pregnant or mothering a baby. Then, in October of last year, I suddenly came down with a horrible, still not completely explained virus of some kind. It was like having the worst flu ever for a month straight. I was hospitalized twice. For a few days, doctors told me that they thought I might have lymphoma. I missed weeks of work.  No one ever was able to figure out what kind of virus it was, or how I got it, but 4 weeks and 15 pounds later,  I was back at work full time and getting my strength back.  But only a few weeks after that, I once again began feeling really nauseated and tired. I realized that my period was late.

NO FREAKING WAY, I thought to myself.

But, umm, yes, yes freaking way. I was pregnant. How did this happen to a 42 year old woman taking birth control pills as prescribed? Well , my OB figured out that the antibiotic I had been prescribed during my prolonged illness had interfered with the effectiveness of my birth control pills and BAM, this 42 year old was pregnant. Just like that. My doctor said the odds of this happening were about the same as winning the lottery WHILE being struck by lightning. Lucky me.

We told people our big news this same week of December last year. Even though I assumed I would miscarry this pregnancy, like I had the last however many before (I truly can’t remember how many times at this point), I must have had some weird inner knowledge that this pregnancy would stick, or else I wouldn’t have “gone public” with the news so soon.

And right out of the gate, from before I even realized I was pregnant, I was sick in a way I had never been in any of my previous pregnancies.  Straight up, my pregnancy with G was perhaps the most miserable physical experience of my life. Coming on top of the month of being sick with that virus, I felt like my body was under siege. I vomited constantly, and felt like vomiting when I wasn’t actually throwing up. I was so exhausted that I could barely get dressed each morning, yet I had to try to stay productive at my very demanding full time job. I was incredibly stressed because I had missed so much work with my illness, and now I was feeling almost as bad and afraid that my employer would lose patience with my inability to always bring my A game. It was just horrible.

Plus, of course, I was unbelievably worried during this whole time about my eldest child, my sweet Henry, who had returned from almost a year away in inpatient drug treatment in late October, but began using again almost immediately. As my hellish pregnancy marched onward through the spring, I watched my son grow sicker and sicker with the drug addiction that had him in its grip. It was a nightmare, even if I hadn’t felt so physically terrible at the same time. Then, on April 27th, 2010, my world changed forever when I got the call telling me that my son was in critical condition at the hospital following an assault and drug overdose. Seven months pregnant, I sat vigil at my child’s bedside for the next 38 days, until he died in my arms, and those of his father, on May 31st.

Three weeks later, I gave birth to Baby G, six weeks early.

I hadn’t wanted to be pregnant at all. And then the pregnancy was entirely miserable. And I was so heartbroken (and am so heartbroken) at losing my oldest child that I honestly could not imagine having any emotional energy left to fall in love with my youngest one. I was worried even as they wheeled me into the operating room for my emergency c-section that I just wouldn’t WANT this baby. I felt guilty, conflicted and anxious. I hadn’t been expecting her, and I still felt a little resentful about having fallen accidentally pregnant.

But then I held her. And everything changed, just like in a cheesy Lifetime movie or something. I swear, the lighting in the hospital room went all soft focus the first time I held my tiny new baby daughter, less than a month after the last time I’d ever hold my beloved son. And I loved her. It was as simple as that. I forgot about the nausea and the exhaustion and the job stress and everything. I just loved her.

G has now been part of our lives for almost 6 months, and when I look at her, I cannot imagine life without her. She is the most sunshiney, sweet, chattery little baby girl you have ever met.  Her brother and sisters adore her, and her father thinks she hung the moon. Looking back to that day just about exactly a year ago, when I stared down in horror at the positive pregnancy test in my hand, tears welling up in my eyes, I realize that sometimes the Universe, God, or whatever we want to call our higher power, knows exactly what we are going to need, even when we don’t know what lies ahead.  Sometimes, we think we want one thing, but we actually NEED something else.

My baby was unexpected, yes, but she is the best unexpected gift I have ever, or will ever receive.

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