Courtesy of Olivia Hinebaugh

I'm Pregnant Again — And It Was A Complete Surprise

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I'm pregnant with my third child. This baby is very wanted, and I didn't prevent the pregnancy. This pregnancy wasn't a result of any birth control failure. My partner and I had practiced natural family planning, but did so very loosely, knowing that a third baby would be welcome. All that said, however, this pregnancy was a surprise. Seeing that positive pregnancy test was complete shock, and I was immediately nervous to tell my partner the news. Our first two children were intentional. We were actually trying. We timed sex as close to ovulation as possible. I happily tracked my cycles, took my basal body temperature, and charted my fertility signs.

In those pregnancies, I was counting down the days until I could test to see if I was pregnant. My partner was in on the waiting. He was the first person to look at my tests and confirm that what I saw was correct: two faint lines; a "yes." We had it all mapped out. We spaced our kids out by three years, exactly as we'd planned. It's a luxury, I realize, to be able to conceive easily enough that we could plan like this. But because it was so thought out, there wasn't a lot of shock when the tests came back positive. There was happy adrenaline, but not shock.

Courtesy of Olivia Hinebaugh
Ad failed to load

This time around, I knew we had sex when I was fertile. I knew the odds were pretty good. I took a test right around when my period was due. And I was pretty sure there was a line. But I was positive. So when I saw my mom, I showed her the test. I didn't want to tell my partner that I might be pregnant. I wanted to tell him when I knew for certain. I took another test, which was pretty clearly positive, and sent a picture of it to my best friend. I needed confirmation that it was real before I told my partner.

Then the logistics of having three kids started to sink in. We'd need a new car. I'd have another two to three years at home with a kid full-time. I had been looking forward to the fall, when my daughter would finally be in preschool and I'd finally have alone time. Now I'll get one month of me time until this new baby is born, and then it'll be time to do it all all over again.

And when I did finally tell him, it was far from the ideal way I'd pictured it. I wasn't sure exactly what his reaction would be, so I framed the news with, "so... I had an interesting day..." But he was thrilled when I told him. And when he was so happy, I mostly felt relief. I realized then how anxious I had actually been that he would be unhappy.

Ad failed to load

In the next few weeks, as the nausea and exhaustion set in, my partner was the one who was most excited. I, on the other hand, was suddenly filled with doubts. How would I deal with all the morning sickness while dealing with two kids? Do I really want to go through childbirth again? Can we afford all the expenses of a new baby? Then the logistics of having three kids started to sink in. We'd need a new car. I'd have another two to three years at home with a kid full-time. I had been looking forward to the fall, when my daughter would finally be in preschool and I'd finally have alone time. Now I'll get one month of me time until this new baby is born, and then it'll be time to do it all all over again.

Courtesy of Olivia Hinebaugh

I physically felt worse during the early weeks of this pregnancy than I had with my first two. And I wasn't as healthy at the start, either. I recently had to increase my antidepressant dose because it was becoming less effective. When I was pregnant with my first, I was able to wean off antidepressants before conceiving. With my second, I was able to go down to a minimal dose while pregnant. This time around, my anxiety wasn't as well controlled with my previous dose. I had to increase the dose not once, but twice. I felt horribly guilty. Even though the medication is relatively safe, I felt selfish that I had to put my health first even if it meant increasing the risk that my baby might have certain defects.

Ad failed to load
The unplanned pregnancy had put me in an emotional tailspin. My family was so excited about the new baby, but I was fearful. I didn't doubt that I would love this baby. I knew I would. But I doubted that I'd handle the pregnancy and birth and infancy with the same ease I had with my first two.

Aside from my mental health, I had developed a digestive disorder after the birth of my daughter. I had to be on gut anti-inflammatory drugs to keep my severe chronic diarrhea at bay. I worried that I'd have to stay on that drug as well, or that my gut disorder would be out of control and I'd have trouble retaining the nutrients I needed for pregnancy.

Surprisingly, my pregnancy hormones actually seem to be helping the gut stuff. But my anxiety was worse. The unplanned pregnancy had put me in an emotional tailspin. My family was so excited about the new baby, but I was fearful. I didn't doubt that I would love this baby. I knew I would. But I doubted that I'd handle the pregnancy and birth and infancy with the same ease I had with my first two. Soon enough, all of those doubts swelled together.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Olivia Hinebaugh

I realize that so many women with kids have unplanned pregnancies. And really, I'm very fortunate to already be in the "parenting young children" phase of life already. I'm fortunate to be in a secure living situation and to have such a supportive family and partner. But the truth is, the brunt of the responsibility and difficulty are still going to fall on me. No matter how much my family is excited about this baby, I'm the one who is going to feel sick for a few months, the one who is going to breastfeed this baby around the clock and still be responsible for getting my older two kids to school on time. I'm happy to be a stay-at-home mom most of the time. But the thought of handling all that on my own in the fall scares me.

As my pregnancy has progressed, I've had time to wrap my head around what's coming. My partner has been nothing but reassuring in his belief that we can handle it, that being a family of five will be wonderful. I've had time to bond with this baby and get excited to meet him or her. I've had time to shop for tiny pajamas and remember what a joy it is to have a newborn. I've gotten to talk about the pregnancy and birth with my children and see how excited they are for all of it.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Olivia Hinebaugh

Motherhood is full of complicated emotions. I know I can feel both pride and sadness when your child reaches a milestone. I know that I can be angry at my child's disobedience while also being amused at their little acts of rebellion. And that means it's OK for me to be anxious and excited for the future. In fact, what mother hasn't felt that at some point during pregnancy? The important thing for me is not feeling guilty about being anxious. Because the one thing I know for sure is that when this child is born, I'm going to love him or her, and he or she is going to fit into our family perfectly. We've made room for them already.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack