I wasn’t planning on taking a pregnancy test today.
In fact, it was one of the furthest things from my mind, since my youngest of four kiddos is only turning 9 months this week.
But a strange mixture of symptoms prompted me to start thinking, could I be … ?
First, there was the strange cramping that I seemed to be having, like the dull ache before your period comes. Oh sure, I thought the first few days. Must be getting my cycle back! Breastfeeding doesn’t keep Aunt Flo away forever, right?
Every day, I waited, thinking surely today would be the day — except she never came, and the cramping persisted. And then there was the unfortunate weight gain I seemed to have, after months of working out to the best of my man Shaun T. and a definite bloat that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. I scrutinized myself in my bathroom mirror, feeling defeated that inexplicably, my jeans suddenly weren’t fitting again.
What the heck? I thought. I’m working out harder than ever!
And then, like a movie scene rush of horror, I remembered that there could be a teensy, tiny, smallest fraction of a chance that something had happened … almost exactly two weeks ago.
Suddenly, I was convinced that I was 100%, absolutely pregnant. I needed to take a test like NOW. Luckily, I had hired a babysitter that day so I could work for a few hours and the second she arrived, I bolted out of the door and straight to the store. Casually, I picked up a pregnancy test and then a bag of floss picks as my “cover” and waited for 10 million hours in the self-checkout lane, which I loathe more than the sound of my children’s endless sniffling during cold season.
Of course, I couldn’t wait until I got home to see if I was, indeed, expecting another baby. So like a bad cliché, I took myself, the pregnancy test, and my floss picks into the public restroom and peed on the stick right there in the handicapped stall.
As I stared down at the lonely solitary line, I experienced relief, of course, but much to my surprise, there was something else. Could it be … disappointment?
Why, yes, yes it was.
Call me crazy, but I found that part of me almost wished that test was positive. Already in my mind, I had calculated a due date (my first December baby!), reasoned that another baby would make sense right now, before we remembered what it was like to sleep through the night, that maybe it would be better for me to have another kid sooner rather than later so I only had to work on getting back in shape once instead of twice.
I found myself spotting pregnant women at the checkout lanes when I walked (all alone) back to my car, feeling that familiar ache at their cute little bellies, wondering if they realized how beautiful they were.
I realized that mentally, I had already made room for this baby in our family.
Already, I had pictured this baby as the catalyst for our lingering indecision about selling our current house and building our dream home. Already, I had wondered if it would be a girl or a boy and pictured how great either one would be — finally a buddy for our only son or a playmate for our youngest girl, who will end up flying solo at home with me someday when all of the big kids are at school. Already, I had flipped through vehicle choices in my head that would be large enough to house a family of seven. Already, I had wondered if I would have complications with this pregnancy like I did with my last and if I should try formula feeding this time around, since I seem to be plagued with never-ending mastitis.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in the last week, two of my mom peers, all with kids around my ages, have announced their 5th pregnancies. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that my very favorite blogger makes adding #5 look like an easy, breezy adventure that laughs in the face of “stripes are a bad look for pregnant women.” Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m just not sure I am done having babies and maybe it’s more because I am one of those women who will just never feel ready to move past the baby stage.
But whatever it was, part of me wished that test was positive.
And now, in addition to realizing that I seriously need to lay off the Nutella, I’m left wondering …
What happens now?