I knew I was pregnant for Kinley before the pregnancy test knew I was pregnant. I had a sinus infection. There I stood, with Chris and our seven month old Caitlin, in Target trying to get up the courage to mention the fact I had a sinus infection to him, wondering if his brain would calculate the equation so I didn’t have to for him. It had been an excruciatingly difficult year, and the past month had just been unimaginable. I really didn’t want to have to spell it out for him right then. “Chris, I have a sinus infection.” Do you want something for it? No, I mean. I’ve only had a sinus infection one other time in my life. When I was pregnant for Caitlin. …Okay? I think I’m pregnant. Oh.
Needless to say, me, one who never gets infections unless hormones play a part, getting a sinus infection didn’t make a connection. So we got pregnancy tests, two packs of two, and took them home. I took the test, and waited for the three minutes, slightly impatient, hundreds of thoughts running through my brain.
God, could I really be pregnant? Again? Already? I was on birth control AND breastfeeding. Yea, I wasn’t exclusively breastfeeding anymore, and true, I could hardly remember to brush my teeth some days, forget about remembering to take a pill at precisely the exact same time everyday. And plus, Caitlin had slipped through the birth control force field. She was our .1% baby….
I look at the test….Not Pregnant. I bound out of the bathroom, reporting to Chris, that the test says nope. We’re clear.
Two weeks pass and I keep trying to discuss this scare with Chris. We need to talk about babies and kids and times and planning. All that adult stuff. But the subject keeps alluding us. Finally, we’re in the car and I have him cornered. I turn down the radio and ask him, when should we start trying for a second? I figure when Caitlin turns one, we can start discussing it. Okay, agreed. Thank God we agree on that one. But what if I end up pregnant before we intend? What do we do then? Then we celebrate, and we’re happy, and you start taking care of yourself and Caitlin is a big sister. Okay.
Later that night, after Caitlin is in bed, I’m in a fetal position, crying in pain. Something isn’t right with my body. Am I finally starting my period after over a year of not having one? Was the test wrong? Only one way to know for sure. I sneak away into the bathroom and take another test. I wait the three minutes. Pregnant. I walk out of the bathroom, less pep in my step than one might expect, and lay down on Chris’ chest. Are you okay? Yea. I’m fine. Are you sure? Yea. Hey, do you remember that conversation we had earlier? About when to start thinking about a second? Yea. It looks like we might not be waiting that year…I start to cry. I start to sob, actually, hysterically. Guilt washes over me, how can my heart possible expand for one more right now? It’s just been so beaten lately…
We agree to keep it to ourselves for a little while, but agree that my mom and good friends from work can provide support. So I tell them, and they are more than surprised when they realize I’m not as excited as they may be…it’s just not the right time. I’m scared. Caitlin’s not even a year old yet, she’ll hate me for having another while she’s still so young. It’s not the right time, things aren’t good right now. But I’m pregnant, and there isn’t anything I can do.
We tell everyone in our families by Christmas, but I’m still not excited. It’s hard to pretend. It’s hard to feel excited. It’s hard to go to the doctor’s appointments, and get the ultrasounds. It’s hard to feel my heart hurt for not being excited. It’s hard to not feel guilty for not feeling excited. It’s hard to not feel like I’m taking away from Caitlin. It’s all around hard. But finally, I start warming up to the idea of being pregnant again, of Caitlin being a big sister, of having a baby boy and sharing my heart with more than just her and Chris. I feel him kick, I hear his heartbeat during the appointments, I see his head and his arms and feet on the ultrasound. I have a son.
Today, I decide to take a bath. I’m normally not a bath person since by the time the tub is usually filled, Caitlin has decided I have been away for long enough and starts to scream and chase me down. But today, it hurts to stand for long periods of time, so a warm bath it is. Chris is making my buttons, and Caitlin is taking her nap in her swing. As I’m soaking, I lean back to wet my hair, my ears underneath the water, and my hands on my belly. As I rub my growing stomach, I suddenly feel something. Not kicking or punching, but thumping. A very steady, but quick, thump, thump, thump. I close my eyes and hold my breath and then I hear it. My own heartbeat, thump, thump, thump. And in the background, a steady, but quick, thump, thump, thump, in time with the thumping I can feel. I call Chris into the bathroom, this is something we never managed to experience with Caitlin, she hid her heart, and this is something I want to share with their father. I tell him to place his hand exactly where mine is…”Do you feel that? That’s his heartbeat.” And as he smiles at me, I feel connected to all of them in a way I never have. I feel connected to Chris. And Caitlin. And Kinley.