Imagine that someone is able to predict to you the exact day you will meet one of the great loves of your life. Intense, right? Somebody is able to specify the exact month, week or even the precise day on which you will behold the face of your true love. Chilling. Thrilling.
I drifted to sleep the night before, running numbers in my head. Is it time? Would it show up? Should I do it?
The notion has receded to the back of my mind upon waking but, like a toddler placed in time-out, it refuses to stay there. It follows me, tapping me on the shoulder as I slide Violet's feet into her pink Chuck Taylors, whispering in my ear as I buckle Henry into his car seat. By the time I am driving the kids to preschool through the misty morning countryside it has, once again, gained my full attention.
The morning heats up as the sun climbs the sky, yet I barely notice the beauty of the day; cows plodding toward their breakfast, horses galloping across dewy fields, wispy mist-remnants wreathing the rolling green hills running alongside both sides of the road we travel each morning. Instead, I run the numbers for the hundredth time like some kind of demented bookie calculating the odds. If I were, then it would show up on the test.
Get a test!
Nah. I chide myself. You're setting yourself up for disappointment and do you really want to kick off this season of trying with a negative right out of the chute? Just wait.
I decide to wait another day, just to be sure. On the way home from dropping off the kids I remind myself that I need to get some more pull-ups for Henry and hey, while I'm at the grocery store maaaybe I'll pick up a test, but I won't take it for a few days. Or I'll at least wait until tomorrow.
After debating whether I would want to see two lines or a positive sign during the big reveal, I tuck the test under the other groceries in my cart. I've bought more than a few pregnancy tests and feel like an embarrassed high schooler every time; like the teenager I was when I bought my first box. I'm now a married mother of two children and a pack of pull-ups for my toddler is sitting right there next to the box of two tests, for crying out loud. Still, I wave my wedding-ringed finger around to make extra sure the cashier knows that all is good on my pregnancy testing homefront.
I drive home mentally berating myself for buying the test. It's going to be negative and then you're going to feel silly. But who's going to know? I reassure myself. Taking the test will be my little secret.
At home, in my bathroom, I attempt nonchalance in an effort to gird myself against the negative response I'm sure to see. I remind myself that I've always wanted a spring baby to avoid those first few months of being cramped inside to avoid the cold that I experienced when Violet and Henry were born. If this test shows up positive, I'll have another winter baby. So there's that -- the positive side of the negative I'm bracing for.
I don't have the patience to set the test on the counter and walk away while it does its thing; I just clutch it in my hand and stare, ready to stuff the big, fat negative into the plastic grocery sack and hide it in the garbage. And yet... Almost immediately I am gazing at the boldest blue plus sign that's ever appeared on any pregnancy test I've ever taken.
I look at myself in the mirror and burst into laughter. And I can't stop. The happy laughing stretches into a full minute as I stare at myself and giggle in wonder. Here we go again.
We drive to Target almost immediately. Grammy is picking up the kids from preschool and they'll spend the afternoon at the library and the park so we have the entire afternoon to revel in our news. In between marveling at the way our lives have so drastically changed course in a single instant, we excitedly talk gender, names, bedroom logistics.
Learning you're pregnant with a third is different, at least for me. The first one is a complete mind-blower. Terrifying, even. The unknowns loom large. The second one is overwhelming in its own way because you're going from one to two. One is one, but two?
This time feels different. Realizing number three has popped into existence and is headed our way this March (almost spring!) has been pure joy. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the details of pregnancy and parenting, I feel calm and excited. Because I've been there, done that as far as the whole "what car seat/stroller should I buy?" thing goes, I feel like I can focus more fully on the end result: The awesomeness that is welcoming a new person into your life forever. One more love of my life.
We roam around the store oohing and aahing at the tiny 0-3 month clothes. I want something I can hold. Something I can touch and feel that will tangibly mark the first footfalls of this life-altering journey. Something that doesn't feel frivolous, like the tiny Chuck Taylors we purchased when we learned Violet was on her way. Shoes we never even managed to get onto her itty bitty feet. I want something soft, cuddly and comforting. Something I know will be used every day and will become as familiar to this baby as our faces.
We settle on a soft, yellow blanket dotted with sweet giraffes, turtles, elephants and owls that I hope becomes The Blankie, the one clutched in dimpled hands and dragged around until the dimples melt away and a wistful Mama gently places this one in the box already containing big sister's pink polka-dot blanket and big brother's beloved Winnie the Pooh quilt.