It was just a year ago that I discovered I was pregnant for the third time. I was a proud mama of two young boys, then 4 and 2. But this pregnancy was different. Was I ecstatic, like I was with my first two pregnancies? No, I wasn’t. What I felt was more like terror. My two boys are the lights of my life, but my husband and I hadn’t planned on having another. I’m ashamed to say that in the early weeks of my pregnancy I did not want this new baby.
I overwhelmed with fear. My husband was working seven days a week and we were barely scraping by. How would we ever be able to afford another child? And, with one son months away from starting school and the other a few years behind, I had just started to think about my impending return to the working world. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but I was ready to get my career going again. With another baby on the way, those plans would have to wait another five years. Could I wait another five years? I was almost 42. I would be closing in on 50 by the time I went back to work, when most people start thinking about retiring. My brain was so wracked with guilt and worry I couldn’t sleep at night.
And yet it didn’t take long for me to start loving the tiny life growing inside me. This pregnancy may not have been planned, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to happen. My husband and I recovered from the initial shock and started to prepare ourselves. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy journey, but we were confident things would somehow work out. Come what may, we knew we were meant to be a family of five.
As my due date neared, I had no expectation that this baby would arrive right on schedule – especially since my first two babies were both a week late. But early on the morning of my due date I awoke to the whoosh of my water breaking. For the next few hours I finished packing my bag for the hospital and packing bags for my sons before we dropped them off at my sister-in-law’s house.
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm October morning. On our drive to the hospital, my husband and I chatted excitedly about the child we were about to meet. My husband predicted it would be another boy, but I never felt strongly either way. In fact, for the first half of the pregnancy I swore it was going to be a girl and for the second half I was certain it would be a boy. I didn’t care, really. I just wanted a healthy baby. Now I couldn’t wait for the big reveal!
When we arrived at the hospital at 10am, my contractions were not only faint but at least 7 or 8 minutes apart. It was already shaping up to be a long day! I was starting to regret coming to the hospital so early; since my water had already broken, I was stuck there until the baby was born.
Walking endless loops of the maternity ward did nothing to move things along. My contractions had all but stopped. Determined to make my hospital visit a short one, I went back to my room and told the nurse I was ready for pitocin. I wanted to see my baby, and I didn’t have the patience to wait for nature to take its course.
By 1pm I was started on pitocin. An hour later the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. I soon realized the epidural was only working on my left side. It took lying on my right side (which didn’t work) and two more doses to be close to pain free. I was able to drift off to sleep, but an hour later I was awakened by intense pressure in my pelvic area. It felt like the baby was coming out! I alerted my husband, who called for the nurse. Sure enough, the baby was close and it was time to push.
It took just over 30 minutes to push my baby out into the world. My doctor shouted, “It’s a girl!” – followed by, “No, it’s a boy!” Yes, he was all boy and, boy, was he beautiful. Everything about him was perfect. I was in love.
How could I ever have thought I didn’t want this baby? Those feelings seem so foreign to me now. All the fears and doubts I’d had nine months earlier melted away as I held this tiny soul in my arms (well, not so tiny – he weighed more than 9 pounds!). I knew as I held him in those first moments that there had always been an empty place in my heart, waiting for him to come along and fill it. I cried as I held my new son – tears of joy, gratitude, and overwhelming love.