I really don’t know what came over me. Sleep deprived, with scraggy hair and wearing deeply unattractive ensemble of jogging bottoms, granny knickers and old T shirt, I suddenly fancied a shag.
Every part of my rational, conscious mind lectured “Now, remember what we said: you still haven’t sorted out proper contraception, you’re just getting your life back together after having Mia and where on earth would you find the energy for a third child when you’re pushing 44?” Yet my animal subconscious was howling at the moon and growling “Do it! Rip off my granny pants and take me to paradise!”
You see, deep down, despite my carefully considered decision to stop at two, I really want just one more. I loved being pregnant. I found it the most liberating time when I let my big, round belly hang out with pride; when I felt those kicks and butterflies inside; when I spent hours poring over baby name books and rubbing gorgeous smelling oil from Mama Mio on my bump.
And now, in the cold hard light of day, when my toddler is up again at 5am asking for a boobie and waving her Moomins book at me, I’m suddenly convinced that I’m pregnant.
I’d forgotten the Two Week Wait was like. The constant self-checking for symptoms is relentless, and seems to confirm all my suspicions. First was the wave of tiredness that came over me the other day. I’ve kind of accepted being tired as part of the joys of motherhood but this is different. I’m bone tired, like my whole body is ready to drop and I could happily go asleep standing up in the kitchen. I racked my brain as I knew I recognised this tiredness from… Oh shit yes –accident when I was pregnant.
Then there’s the crazy, vivid dreams I’ve been having, dripping with fertile symbolism. Last night on the train I felt sick and my mouth filled up with water. I’ve had two days of period-type cramps – are they implantation pains?
Suddenly I’m noticing women everywhere wearing Baby On Board badges or pushing tiny newborns in shiny new prams. I’m starting to regret selling my old baby car seat, Jumperoo and BabyBjörn sling on eBay. What if I have to buy all that newborn paraphernalia all over again?
I’m looking at my two girls, Olivia and Mia with fresh eyes. They are perfect together, a cosy twosome, as they squabble over Happyland figures and sing the songs from Trolls in their pyjamas. How would a new baby affect them? Mia, my 21 month old, would lose her prized place on my knee, which she guards like a jealous Jack Russell. She would become a middle child. And how could I still give Olivia, my eldest with special needs, the attention she deserves? I already feel I don’t have enough time or hands or energy for two. How would I cope with three?
I asked a few of the mums I know who have gone that extra step. “Never have more children than you have hands,” advised Lucy, who has a 5, 3 and 1-year-old. “It’s been so bloody hard I can’t even talk to you about it or I’ll cry.” My friend Danielle, who has a 4-year-old plus 2-year-old twins, pointed out the extra financial cost of having three. “Everything is designed for two kids. You need a bigger car, a bigger pram and you have to pay more on days out because family tickets are always for four.” These are practical things I’d never even considered.
You may think I’m smug – what a ‘problem’ to have eh? Some people try for years to have just one baby and here I am, blathering on about a third. And you’re right, if I was pregnant I would be bloody lucky. If I didn’t want a third, I really should have sent OH for the snip or got myself a coil (shudder). But as Freud says, “There are no accidents.” I think a little part of me didn’t sort out contraception because I wasn’t ready to close the door on giving birth one last time.
So now, after a week of worrying and griping at OH about how he should have been more sensible and wrestled me off when I jumped on him with wild abandon, here I am in Boots, buying a handful of expensive pregnancy tests. You know how this story goes: first of all you think “OK, I’ll fork out £7.99 for one of those early pregnancy tests.” But then you notice it’s cheaper to buy a pack of two, and then there’s a special offer and all those Advantage Card points to think of. Before you know it, you’re staggering home with a carrier bag full and you’ve already weed on four tests since yesterday.
Sitting on the loo, waiting those three minutes to see the test result is a delicious kind of torture. After two and a half minutes, you give in and have a peek, but there’s still only one line in the little window. You spend the next ten minutes squinting, turning it this way and that, convinced you’re going to find a second line. And then, still nothing and kerching! – you’ve blown another £7.99.
After another negative test I feel a mixture of relief, disbelief and even a little disappointment. Although a third baby would be a total curveball in our lives, I would love to have another go at the water birth I always dreamed of. I’ve had a sneaky peek at Nameberry, checked out the latest Bugaboo and even calculated what my due date would be.
So, am I pregnant or not? I’ll just have to wait… and wait.. and see.
©Rebellious Mum 2017