Finding myself pregnant with a third child in four years, I was very nervous about how I would stay sane. With one still in diapers and one barely sleeping through the night, my anxiety was overwhelming.
My gynecologist found it humorous that a woman who had battled infertility and miscarriages for years could end up pregnant while on birth control... but I was living proof that the pill is not 100% effective.
It wouldn't be long before a friend would ask if this child was an accident. While I knew that the term was the popular way of describing an unplanned pregnancy, the wording still seemed cruel.
One time, I dropped a tray of ice cubes on the floor and found puddles later because I had missed a few pieces. That was an accident. An accident was when my 3-year-old ate his brother's poop, thinking it was candy. But I couldn't wrap my brain around why anyone would call a child, any child, an accident.
During nine excruciating months of nonstop morning sickness, my little man decided my sciatic nerve was a great pillow. The random numbness that would follow put me flat on my back for days at a time. As a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers, this was not a good situation. But still, I held to the belief that there was a purpose to his timing.
Even though I had left my career to be a stay-at-home mom, I still had plans and aspirations. I wanted to be a writer. My dream was to have my name on the New York Times Bestseller list, but I felt like this unexpected child pushed that a little further from my sights. My countdown to Kindergarten had just been reset.
Ready or not, my little man came screaming into the world two weeks early and weighing in at 10 pounds, 6 ounces. The doctor expected a large baby, but this child ripped through three newborn diapers in the delivery room before nurses wrapped him in a blanket and said they'd have to find a Size 1.
I'll admit it, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I quickly forgot what my own bed felt like or even that I had one. Three kids that young meant a lot of butt wiping, snotty noses and midnight screams. Bodily fluids flowed freely.
Six weeks into this new-found role as the mother of three, I headed back to my doctor for my post-op visit. During routine lab work, my doctor made a fascinating discovery... at 32 years old, my ovaries were shutting down.
"I'm glad you got pregnant when you did because you probably couldn't again if you tried."
And that's when it hit me, my third little amigo was not an accident at all, he was my Bonus Blessing.
Watching this Bonus Blessing grow has been an amazing event. He has tested limits like neither of my other two children, and he takes nothing at face-value. He has to prove everything for himself. A pan on the stove, for example, soon becomes a science experiment. I told him "No, don't touch. No fingers. Hot. Don't touch." Then I walked to get a serving platter and, rather than touching it, he kicked it.
Today, my Bonus Blessing celebrates his fifth birthday. He has taught me a lot about myself during those years. He has taught me how to balance my time and set my priorities. He has taught me to admit that I can't do it all alone and to accept help when it's offered. He has taught me to not put off anything that I can do today because the opportunity simply may not exist tomorrow. And he has taught me that motherhood doesn't have to kill your dreams. Just yesterday, I finalized my first novel manuscript and will soon begin seeking an agent.
More than anything he has taught me that sometimes the best things in life are completely unplanned... but that doesn't mean they're accidents.