>For the last few months, I’ve been holding a secret nestled deep inside me. A tiny kernel that has shrouded me in a fog of nausea and sent me to the couch for deep naps every afternoon. About a week ago, the nausea finally ended, and I finally stopped consuming industrial quantities of cereal and crackers, and started really enjoying the life growing inside of me.
I had been wrestling for a while about whether we were done having children, torn between a continued hunger to once again feel a tiny hand in mine and the worry that our family would be stretched too thin. Finally we decided to just see what would happen, to let fate decide.
The powers that be have a pretty good sense of humor, as it turns out. Not only did I get pregnant fairly quickly after deciding to roll the dice, but I conceived a child with a due date on the birthday of two of my children. Thankfully, only 10% of babies are born on their due date. When my daughters turn 5 and 10, respectively, on October 3, their new baby brother or sister will hopefully already be born, or birthday planning going forward will get even more complicated.
Even though the kids had often told me that they didn’t want any more babies in our family, they shocked me with their thrill with the news. They immediately began debating names, trying out every possibility with theirs, “Bella, Jack, Juju and Jane. Nope, doesn’t work. Too many Js.” This is so different than my previous pregnancies, when my oldest was still in diapers and preschool. This is the family’s baby, eagerly awaited by three kids who can dress themselves and pour themselves a bowl of cereal.
I’m ten years older than I was when I carried Bella like a promise inside of me. Ten years wiser and 10 pounds heavier. The odds of complications and abnormalities are more than 10 fold higher, and I’m much more conscious of all that could go wrong. But when I stroke my belly as it stretches one more time, and I reach for my cache of maternity clothes again, I can’t help but feel as giddy as I did ten years ago.
I can’t wait to meet my ultimate indulgence, this bonus baby. Can’t wait to meet this person and see whether he or she will be a charmer like Juju, a joker like Jack, or a dancer like Bella. Can’t wait to hold his or her tiny head cradled in my hand and look into those trusting solemn eyes for the first time.