At the moment, I’m rather smugly enjoying the fact that for 7 solid minutes, Husband thought we were going to have another baby.
You see, for the last week I have been terrified that I am pregnant. I say “terrified” because another baby is not a part of our plan. We are done with that phase.
Like, done. We were done about 2 minutes after our second child was born.
Regardless of our stance on the subject, seemingly all signs were pointing to our family of four becoming a party of five. My boobs were hurting. All my pants were suddenly tight. (In retrospect, this could be food related but whatever. I choose not to dwell…)
I was exceptionally moody and emotional. My gag reflex kicked into high gear and just brushing my teeth in the mornings had me thisclose to vomiting. Yet possibly (definitely) the scariest sign of all: my period was late.
No. Just no.
What the freaking what were we supposed to do here? Pretend like everything is totally fine when on the inside we are short circuiting? Not possible. I walked around like a zombie for a full week. Every conversation, every trip to the grocery store, every bedtime story with the kids all I could think was “I don’t care! You don’t even know! Nothing else matters right now because I might be pregnant! With a baby!”
This may sound harsh, but our babies kind of suck. I mean, we love them. Of course. We love them so much it makes our stomachs hurt and our hearts explode.
But for the first few months, they kind of suck.
There, I said it.
Obviously I am treading very lightly here. I fully believe that every child is a gift from God and being a mother has been one of the deepest joys I’ve ever known.
But let’s be real here. Between the dangerous deliveries, the colic, the acid reflux, and not sleeping through the night until they were two years old, our tinies very nearly killed us.
From the minute they entered the world, to the minute we left the hospital both of our children cried. Nay-they screamed!
And then they continued to scream for the next 2-6 months. Our babies had colic. Have you ever looked up the definition of colic? It’s hilariously, devastatingly accurate. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, “Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer. Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief. Colic can be distressing for both you and your baby.”
Reading this definition now, as I peacefully sip coffee in a quiet house while my baby (who is now 5 years old) watches cartoons- I can laugh. It’s important to laugh, otherwise I’d cry. Colic is the worst. I didn’t even know what colic was until my newborn daughter screamed bloody murder for 5 hours a day until I rushed her to the pediatrician in tears because clearly she was dying. Something was horribly wrong and she must be dying. Because the screaming! My god, the screaming.
They sauntered in calmly in their ridiculous white jackets and said “What you’re experiencing is colic, dear. There’s really not much you can do, except ride it out.” And then they went back to their normal lives as if they hadn’t just literally ruined everything.
This was supposed to be the happy, easy, precious part of parenting! I’m supposed to love this part of it! I felt indignant and guilty and defeated.
I can’t tell you how many hours I spent pacing, and bouncing, and rocking, and singing, and sobbing, and shooshing, and losing my freaking mind.
I was never good at walking away or taking a break. I knew there was nothing I could do to help, but seeing her little face squish up in agony and her little fists shake as she wailed, it bruised my heart. I just couldn’t bring myself to lay her in her crib and step away. She cried until she was sweaty. Until her face was purple. I would hold my breath in fear as I held her because I thought surely this was it.
This would be the first time in all of history that a baby actually died from crying.
It was a bittersweet time. Our hearts were flooded with joy and love and fear and worry.
Having children opens up chambers of the heart that one never even knew existed. You feel all the feelings on a whole new level. The tenderness of new life both terrified and comforted me during those first turbulent months.
Ultimately, we survived it. Our daughter’s colic and reflux lasted for only about 2 or 3 months. I say “only” because while this is plenty long enough to suffer, it would turn out that our son would be much worse.
When I was pregnant the second time, everyone told me that my next one would be a totally different experience. “You always get one of each!” they said. “You’re next one will be so much easier!” they said. Like a fool, I believed them.
Lies. All lies!
Our son’s colic and reflux lasted well past 6 months.
Oh wait, we didn’t talk about the reflux? Back up the trolley. We missed a stop.
Because both of our babies had severe acid reflux, feeding them was a whole thing. It was a nightmare.
While my other mom-friends would smile and get a dreamy, faraway look in their eye while they snuggled their sweet bundles and nursed in peace (or “bonded” as they called it), I would literally wrestle my 7 pound newborn while they writhed and screamed and committed all manner of evil against my nipples.
Once I was able, against all odds, to get the milk into their tiny bodies, it immediately came right back out. Exorcist-style. Catching vomit mid-air became an olympic sport.
Why? Just why?
Welcome to motherhood. Nothing is fair.
While Husband and I cherish those early days (we promise we do), we also can’t lie.
We don’t ever want to do it again. So with a nervous and possibly pregnant stomach I left the store with this.
And yes, I bought the generic brand. Because clearly saving 35 cents is important when one little stick might change the course of your entire life.
My hands shook while I waited. I really, honestly thought I was pregnant.
I can now tell you that I am not.
Ignore the fact that I peed on that very stick and focus on the fact that there is only one blue line.
I sat down, exhaled, and then immediately decided to prank Husband.
Now before you accuse me of being an evil calculating hag, please understand that he in every way, shape, and form had this coming to him. He has duped me thousands of times during our marriage, and often over genuinely important things that could affect our very lives. The trouble is that I just never think to get him back. Plus I suck at lying. Generally every thought that crosses my mind is visible on my face. On the rare occasion that it’s not all over my face I will usually blurt it out anyway.
I locked myself in the bathroom so the kids couldn’t bother me (totally routine occurance-don’t judge) and dialed Husband.
“I’m pregnant” I blurted.
Very slowly and emphatically I repeat myself. “I’m PREGNANT.”
(Me, making general sounds of panic and starting to cry.)
This is obviously God’s plan for us! It’s gonna be fine! FINE! We’ll get excited!” He spoke in all exclamation points and his voice was oddly high. Bless him.
I then carried on for a bit about how we are so unprepared for this, we don’t have a bedroom for the new baby, it will be born at Christmas-time of all times, I will surely gain 50 pounds like I always do, and what if I’m just too tired to lose all the weight a third time? What will we even do? How is this possible?
You guys would be so proud of me. I really committed. My armpits were sweating and my face was contorted with mirth but he didn’t know that. He couldn’t see me squirming.
Finally after a few minutes of him taking it like a champ and reacting surprisingly well, I started to feel guilty.
“There’s one more thing we haven’t even thought about,” I said.
“What?” he asked with dread.
“I’m not actually pregnant.”
I proceeded to laugh hysterically (and a little maniacally) for a while, as Husband began to pull himself together and clean the poop out of his pants.
Had I actually been pregnant we would have “gotten excited” as Husband so dearly put it. I should clarify that. Ultimately it would have been a joyful thing. At the same token, we were decidedly relieved.
Husband was quite proud of his valiant reaction and says it is now only a matter of time before he gets me back. He says it was a ‘good one’ on my part but if I wasn’t such an amateur I would have let him simmer in it all day, believing I was pregnant, adding layers to his agony.
It is because his mind works this way that I will now live out my days in fear of the payback that he will surely deliver.
May God have mercy on my soul.