Becoming Four

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Is that one line or two?

I thought to myself as I washed my hands, toweled them off and picked up the pink and white stick for a closer look.

Definitely one solid line, bright and prominent, but the second line looked faded, as if it weren’t sure if it wanted to make an appearance.

“There’s no way a second line would pop up, even if it’s faded, if I weren’t actually pregnant,” I reasoned to myself.

Unfortunately, it was the last test in the house so taking another one would have to wait until I made a trip to the drug store. Still, a small bubble of excitement began to build deep in my gut. Not too much in case the faded line was a sign of a false positive, but enough to give me hope.

Just last week I had taken another test and it had come back negative.

Trying to get pregnant is the pretty much one of the worst things ever. It ranks somewhere around the smell of grilled green bell pepper and getting fired when you thought you’d be promoted.

For most women, you spend the better part of your teen years and adult life trying to avoid getting pregnant at all costs. Then one day, you decide you want a baby and you think it will be easy because you remember your 10th grade health class teacher telling you over and over, “It only takes one time!” But it doesn’t take one time. It can take dozens and hundreds, and suddenly you’re obsessed with seeing two lines because deep down you’re terrified you’ll end up a woman who can’t conceive.

The mind game is a nightmare. The disappointment is worse.

For some, it’s easy. Calculate your cycle, plan a romantic date, drink a glass of Merlot and bam, the test has a plus sign less than four weeks later. For others, it’s impossible to get an accurate cycle track, even with the digital ovulation sticks that set you back $40 for less than a dozen. It’s a guessing game all month with no way to know if you got it right until aunt flo comes for a visit.

For too many I know, it doesn’t matter if the cycle is tracked, caffeine is cut, you sign up for stress reducing Yoga, or even if you've spent thousands treatments - that dumb test only ever has one sad little line.

Then there's those who see the plus signs multiple times, only to miscarry over and over. The
"pain is deep.

I was off the pill for 18 months before getting pregnant with my little guy, and nine of those were deliberately “trying”. I hated the head space trying to have a baby created in my normally anxiety low outlook on life.

But then I got a “Pregnant” splashed across an overpriced digital pregnancy test and the joy overflowed down my cheeks.

Yet, when it came time to try again, I was not looking forward to it. I’m older now, and I kid you not, doctors call women my age who get pregnant “geriatric pregnancy”. Thank you science.

I didn’t want to go through months of sticks and disappointments. But of course, I did because that’s a woman’s only choice if she wants to conceive.

And now the damn stick wouldn’t tell me if I should celebrate, or go make a mimosa with my bacon and eggs as a consolation prize.

My husband was still sleeping soundly next to our little guy, who had crawled into our bed around 6am to grab my iphone and “watch something”. YouTube Kids was playing in the background as I gently woke my husband and showed him the results.

“We’re pregnant?” He said with a tone that was a mix of both happily surprised and slightly terrified.

This is our second round. He knows what’s coming.

“I think so,” I answered, “if it’s two lines, but I can’t tell if that’s one line or two.”

“It looks like two to me, but go take another one to be sure.”

“I don’t have anymore. I’ll just go to the drugstore later today and take another one tomorrow morning,” I responded.

And that was that. No freaking out. No obsession over was, or wasn’t it.

I would love to get all spiritual on you and tell you after my little guy I have grown to trust in the Lord and believe no matter the outcome, my life is fulfilled by his love. I would love to believe I bought into the idea that a relaxed mind creates a better body for a baby. I would love to tell you I just wasn’t worked up as much the second time around because we are already so blessed to bursting with our little guy.

In reality, I’m pretty sure avoidance defense mechanism had kicked in.

But maybe, just maybe, deep down I already knew there was a baby already picked out and growing inside me.

I went to the store, and grabbed the cheapest off-brand test on the shelf. At least I’ve matured to the point of no longer being suckered into buying a digital reading for an extra $10. The next morning, I took it. Within minutes a plus sign appeared.

We’re going to have another baby. I showed it to my husband and this time we were both confident enough to celebrate.

As before, I immediately told my sisters the good news, but held off before telling anyone else.

I have grown calmer. So much of the first pregnancy is laced with the raw fear of what is happening. Naturally, there’s still some fear there that things could go wrong, but I no longer need to track every inch my baby grows each week to see what size it is in vegetable measurements.

But I’ve also grown more humble.

Within minutes of seeing my own plus sign I immediately thought of four women, all dear to me in their own way, who have either never seen a plus sign, or saw it only to have it disappear weeks later.

Trying to get pregnant is one of the worst things ever.

Perhaps that’s why the Lord showed such kindness to women like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth. He gets that bearing children does not make or complete a woman, but the longing for it is unique for women.

Each of us have our own wars to rage, but may we never forget to be grateful for the battles won.

We are so excited to see our family grow to four. We know each baby born is a miracle, and miracles are not something you earn. They are blessings and building blocks to a humbled and grateful heart.