When my gynecologist asked me what I’m using for birth control, I held up a photo of my kids, ages 6 and 2. They are total cock blockers! Somebody is always needing more water or freaking out about shadows or getting an ear infection and by the time that’s all been handled, I’m passed out in my super sexy flannel PJs, snoring from my super sexy allergies. Marriage, it’s hot!
However, over Thanksgiving break, my husband and I found ourselves in the unusual position of being home alone together for a few hours. We got so excited about the idea of having non-silent, regular speed sex with the door unlocked that we threw caution to the wind and went at it with no protection. Please don’t tell my eighth grade health teacher — she’d be so disappointed in me.
“Where are you in your cycle?” was my freaked out husband’s first question after we did the deed. He is well schooled in my menstrual cycle, since we had some fertility challenges and spent years using ovulation monitors. I wasn’t sure, so I dashed naked to kitchen wall calendar where I routinely scrawl “F” (as in Aunt Flo) on the first day of my period. Wouldn’t you know, I was exactly 14 days into my cycle. Holy ovulation, Batman.
“Should you take the morning-after pill or something?” asked my husband, now fully panicking. But it was out of the question, since I still nurse my toddler before bedtime and couldn’t risk dosing her with all those hormones. “You’re totally pregnant,” he moaned. I understood his anxiety. Parenting is hard (duh) and with two kids, we seem to have reached the limit of what we can handle. Plus, I am pretty much a nightmare when I’m pregnant.
I calmed my man down by reminding him that I’m old AF, that trying to conceive was never easy for us anyway, and that it was only one time. “That’s all it takes!” he wailed. Was he right? Could we have just changed the course of our entire lives with one careless roll in the hay?
As I pondered that big question over the next few days, my body started messing with me. I felt brutally tired and nauseated — surely early signs of pregnancy! — never mind that a stomach virus was going around. What if it was really happening? Pregnancy. Birth. A third child. Oh. My. God.
The crazy-lady hamster wheel in my brain ran full tilt. Where would we put another baby? Our girls already share a bedroom, and neither of our cars has a third row. How could we afford another baby? Say goodbye to all those extra curricular activities, kids! What about our marriage? Would we survive the stress of another sleepless year? What if all three kids wanted to hold our hands at the same time? Not enough hands!
I worried about our youngest child suddenly being displaced and becoming a middle child. Would she get lost in the shuffle and resent us? And holy sh*t, what if we had a boy? With two daughters, we’d have no appropriate hand-me-downs, unless our hypothetical son could be convinced to worship Disney princesses.
As if all those worries weren’t enough, I also took an ugly trip to the dark side. I’m seriously geriatric in the pregnancy world — what if something bad happened to me? What if the baby wasn’t okay? Why was I so stupid and careless?
Meanwhile, my maternal instinct waged the opposite campaign. Like Homer Simpson dreaming of doughnuts, a little voice said, Hmmm….baby. A smooshie baby to love and hold. An uncomplicated, sweet-smelling delicious little baby. “Shut up!” I told my brain. And then I fantasized, briefly, about names.
When I finally got my period, my husband did a dance. (Picture Snoopy scoring a touchdown.) I’m not going to lie, a tiny part of me was disappointed.
But mostly I’m grateful I won’t need a minivan.