The day my youngest child turned 7 was also the day I took my first pregnancy test since the one I took at the doctor’s office when I shockingly found out I was pregnant with him.
I’m not an irresponsible woman. I haven’t just left the status of my uterus to the wind. I’ve tracked my cycles since birth control destroyed my insides, and for seven full years, I was successful. I never patted myself on the back for it, or touted my knowledge of ovulation and luteal phases to friends and family. I did what worked for me, and it always worked–but something this cycle felt off.
For the first time in seven years, right after my tracked ovulation, I spotted. After that came peeing when I sneezed. After that came extreme bloating. Pangs in my lower abdomen. Aching in my lower back. Then came extreme breast tenderness. I thought– maybe– just this once, I was wrong. Maybe I wasn’t as responsible as I always prided myself on being. So, when My 7 year old’s birthday came, which also happened to be the day my period was due, I took a pregnancy test.
I breathed a momentary sigh of relief, and waited for it to arrive. I’ve never had “clockwork” periods like some women. I’ve never really been able to count on a certain number of days as my cycle, but I’ve almost always been confident in my tracking. These symptoms had to be just me looking for them, right?
Once again, I waited for the inevitable eruption of my uterus. It’s not like I’d never been late before, but I couldn’t shake that feeling that something was off. I’ve never been the “pee when I sneeze” mom. I’ve never had an achy lower back before periods. Could it REALLY be?
I started really thinking about the possibility that I might be pregnant. I didn’t do it right the last time. I didn’t plan, nor did I expect Parker. I spent my entire pregnancy absolutely miserable, and dreading being the mother of a baby I didn’t plan. I missed out on so much. If I was pregnant this time, I wanted it to be different. I wanted to do it “right”- whatever that was. And what that felt like to me was being happy, enjoying it the best I could– because if I WAS pregnant, it would absolutely be my last.
Never in my life did I imagine, plan, nor want to be a mother of three. It’s never been something I dreamed of, or even secretly desired but never told anyone because people love to make ugly comments once you pop more than one kid out (or even if you don’t. You just can’t seem to win either way). We don’t have the right vehicle, or any of the gear– and we finally, FINALLY seem to be getting our lives to the “happy” place people dream of– where you can travel, and go out on a whim, and not have to worry about a diaper bag or all the scary “what-ifs” moms of babies have to worry about. The thought of all of that going away because I miscalculated ovulation was terrifying, but if it was true, I didn’t want it to be negative. I refused to let it get me down. Instead, I was determined to be happy no matter the result.
I’m not going to lie- I even started getting a little excited about the WHAT IF. Since I never imagined being a mom of 3, this would be a new adventure. What if it was the little girl I always dreamed of? What if it was an easy baby? What if it really completed our family in a way I hadn’t even thought of?
I envisioned our possible future. I thought about how we’d make it work. Slowly, it didn’t seem so terrifying anymore. It didn’t even seem like it would be a bad thing. A miscalculation, sure- but definitely not a disaster. I could do it. I could totally do it. I was prepared.
6 days went by since my expected period. Cycle day 42. Still nothing. Still more aching, breast pain, weird dreams. In all of my lateness, I’d never been THIS late. I became more sure than ever that I was carrying our third child.
And then…. I wasn’t. My period started 7 days late, in the middle of a comedy night at a mom blogging conference. Sitting there in the convention center bathroom, looking down at what I knew was the beginning of what I was sure was going to be a really angry 7 days, I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t pregnant.
I should have been relieved. I didn’t need a new car. I didn’t have to worry about moving the office, or the kids having to share a room. No sleepless nights. No baby bags. We continue on this path of traveling and being free to do whatever we wanted without having to worry about bottles or diapers or sleeping schedules, or all of the other things that come with having a baby. I should have been happy. But I wasn’t. I’m not. Not really.
Bittersweet doesn’t even fully encompass the feeling I’m experiencing right now.
This, although unplanned, and never dreamed of, was my last chance for a third child. We never planned one, never wanted one, but never made the decision absolute. The only way we would ever have a third child was if it was on accident. This was that accident and it didn’t happen.
These past 7 days wondering and worrying and thinking– about how if it would be it would be, and if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be so ‘careless’ again– solidified our future. This makes it official- there will be no more children for us.
I know what some people must be thinking– it seems like you really want another baby, why not just have one? Thing is, I honestly don’t. Not really. At the same time, I wasn’t completely prepared for the slight possibility to be gone. For it to be absolute. There was always this tiny chance it might happen, no matter how small. This minuscule window that it could happen. I didn’t want a third child, I still don’t, but watching that door close and lock has been a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. It’s hard to put into words.
It’s closing an entire chapter of my life, locking the door, and throwing away the key. I may have never wanted to go back through it, but now I have to walk away from it knowing I can’t, and it’s not easy.
I’m not pregnant. I won’t ever be pregnant again. That time in my life has come to an end. I should be happy. I AM happy (other than the fact that not being pregnant means that I’m just gaining weight and losing control of my bladder), but I’m also sad to know it’s really over.
I wanted to end this blog with something important. Some kind of big realization. Words to perfectly wrap this up and make it all make sense–but I don’t have them. Being a woman is difficult. The decision to have children can be just as hard as the decision to stop. That’s where I am. I’ll wake up tomorrow and my life won’t appeared to have changed to anyone but me.
I’m done having children– and I know it will be okay, but I’m not okay. Not yet.
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