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What To Expect When You Weren't Expecting Another Baby

By Katie Allison Granju |

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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About Katie Allison Granju

katie-allison-granju

Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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20 thoughts on “What To Expect When You Weren't Expecting Another Baby

  1. Amy says:

    And that piece, Katie, is just the Christmas gift I needed. Thank you.

  2. SarahB says:

    My birth also came on the heels of a family tragedy. As I grew up, it started to sink in just how hard that time was for my parents, particularly my mother, and I started to ask far more questions about that time.

    Baby G will need to read this someday.

  3. TRodgers says:

    Katie you always make me cry. Most often it is a good cry. My most unexpected gift turned 1 in October. I remember going in for my annual pap and they asked me when was my last period and well it was a couple of weeks late but I hadn’t thought about it as my 14 month old, 12 year old , full time job and daily hour commute had kept me so busy. They wanted to do a pregnancy test to which I laughed because my husband and I had only found time to be intimate 2 times since our 14 month old had come into the picture. When the doctor came in she said we won’t be able to do your pap today because your pregnancy test came back positive. I cried, sitting on the table with the doctor comforting me, I cried. She asked me a few questions that I still can’t remember and I left there in a terrible daze. We were already tight on money & time. My work was and has been going through layoffs how could I tell them I would again need 6 weeks off. My 14 month old was/is a child that needs more attention and love (cuddling etc). I had just stopped breastfeeding and was starting to get back to having a few minutes to myself and a little more normal body. Needless to say I was freaking out, to put it mildly. When I told my husband he was like no big deal, we will just figure it out. My whole pregnancy rightup till the end I worried and worried that I wouldn’t love this baby like my other two. I was so scared I resented him for making things harder. I beat myself up about it alot. Then as the doctor handed me my baby it was just so simple, we will figure it out. Way worse things have happend to us than a beautiful baby. Needless to say this is our 3rd and last child. He is a complete joy, no trouble very easy going. he wakes up smiling, he goes to bed smiling and sometimes I think don’t tell anyone but he may be my favorite. To have worried so much about not loving him, what a waste of my time. I love that little fella more than life itself.

  4. Andria says:

    Beautiful post, and a great reminder about the joy that can come from the unexpected.

  5. KathrynT says:

    Trying to type through the tears welling up in my eyes. Beautiful!

  6. Melissa says:

    I appreciate how eloquently honest you are, Katie. I can very much relate. I am happy the universe knew what was needed and you have Baby G to love on!

  7. kim says:

    Amen. Just Amen.

  8. Adina says:

    Must concur with above commenters – this was beautiful and inspiring. Enjoy Baby G’s first Christmas!

  9. Jenn says:

    I can relate to this too; my son was SO not planned. I thought for sure we were all done with the three girls we had. But now I can’t imagine how I thought our family was complete without him.

    Hugs to you, Katie. Have been thinking of you and your family often this month. I hope that you are okay, and blessings to all of you.

  10. Lorrie Lewis says:

    Very beautiful!!!

  11. Bless_the_Beast says:

    That was beautiful!

    I too had a baby at 42 after being told I’d never get pregnant again. (And didn’t for 11 years.) But I spent the whole pregnancy waiting for that baby to die because I’d lost my middle son 11 years earlier. I just figured that was my lot.

    But he lived and now he’s the light of the family!

  12. christine says:

    We had a “surprise” baby this year too. The timing could not have been worse, my husband has been out of work for over a year, I have been struggling with a back injury, my father passed away, and we have 2 rambunctious boys who take a lot of time and energy. I was on the pill, and still got pregnant. But now, I look at my little girl, and everything seems right. She was meant to be.

  13. Julie says:

    Beautiful post.

  14. Melina E. says:

    Your post resonated volumes for me…thank you for sharing.

  15. Mary C says:

    I always thought I would have babies by no. At this stage, I have pretty much given up but every once in a while I think…………… MAYBE. I am so glad you have G to add to the love in that crazy clan of yours!

  16. Debbie Llewellyn says:

    Just beautiful.

  17. Maggie May says:

    Incredibly moving.

  18. Devora says:

    Katie that was such a beautiful post, I look forward to reading your stuff every week. I am so happy Baby is G is healthy and brings you so much joy. I remember reading about your Henry and how much it made my heart hurt for you. I to had an unexpected pregnancy. I had got pregnant with my daughter after too much wine after my third date with my now husband. I already had a 15yr old child and was on the pill. She was a very BIG SURPRISE. However after an mostly uneventful pregnancy at 20 weeks I lost my beautiful little girl. Words cannot describe how I felt. Me and my husband never spoke about it however we were not going to try again. Exactly one year later still on the pill I became pregnant again. This time I was subjected to many doctor appointments. Heartburn that felt like I had a volcano in my chest and weekly shots in my bum to keep the pregnancy. Weekly sonograms and neverending anxiety that I was going to lose him as well. I never enjoyed my pregnancy and had overwhelming guilt and sadness every day. Then I saw that little face that lit up my heart. My lil Noah who is a bundle of energy and wakes up like sunshine.

  19. Sue Taylor says:

    ” 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.”
    Thank you. I really, REALLY needed that.
    This will be child # 7, unplanned, 11 years after the last child ( adopted) 14 yrs after the last birth.
    I have a 21 year old addict whom your son Henry reminds me a great deal of, and also a son in Iraq that I am so worried about. It’s not hard to support him but I begged him not to do it. With things heating up in the Middle east again, I’m a ball of nerves between the two of my oldest sons.
    So, thank you again for those words of comfort. They have been a blessing to me and given me hope today.

  20. Rachel says:

    My beloved great uncle (a man more my grandfather than anyone else I know) committed suicide 3 weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I think the same thing, God gave our family what we needed to get through, especially my great aunt. They had been married 52 years, I believe.

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