And then it happened.
It was a Sunday afternoon. My kid was napping, my husband was out, I was shaving lint balls off the couch. I began watching a repeat of a talk show, and it was a doozy. I won't go into much detail because if I do I may start crying.
I'll just say that the topic was siblings and the lengths to which they will go to protect each other. Never mind that I grew up with two brothers whose idea of affection was to fart on my head simultaneously; the episode was so moving it left me a heaving, sobbing mess. When my daughter awoke from her nap, in order to calm down I had to pinch my arm flab and imagine the worst thing I could think of, which was the time I accidentally caught a glimpse of my dad bending over in his bathrobe. (P.S. It worked.)
My husband and I "did it" that night. Afterward, I stuck a pillow under my rear and tried to will the smartest of the sperm (move over, dum-dums!) to penetrate either of my last remaining eggs.
I awoke the next morning in a panic. "Another kid? What about my career?! My time?! My life?! My boobs?! What the eff was I thinking?!" Then I reminded myself that it had taken us more than a year to conceive the first time, so I figured chances were slim that this one would stick.
A few days later I felt a twinge-y/cramp-y ping! in my lower abdomen. Nooo... I suddenly regretted having mocked those hippie chicks who claimed they could feel the moment of conception. In that instant I was hit with the reality of what we'd done. It was sharper and more startling than stepping on a Barbie shoe in the middle of the night. Our lives were about to be ruined. I convinced myself that since we'd used up all our good genes on the first kid, #2 would be a disaster of epic proportions.
Before I knew it, a strange set of symptoms appeared. First up: a hot, red rash that started on my arms, then migrated across my chest and stomach. I checked in with my old doctor friend (WebMD) and learned that many women experience hormonally induced hives in the first trimester.
Then came the vertigo. If you've never felt it, vertigo is like the bed spins you felt the first time you got drunk, but without that lemon-gin aftertaste.
So not only were we about to destroy our perfect little family, I was going to spend the next nine months stumbling around as a rashy, dizzy, gassy mess. (I may have neglected to mention the gas as I'm not entirely certain that was a pregnancy symptom.)
My husband suggested I pick up a pregnancy test, but I thought it was still too early for that. A few nights later came the most graphic proof: bright-pink spotting. I didn't need to surf the Web for this one, it had happened during my first pregnancy. It was time to rewrite our future. No longer would we be the mobile, relaxed trio. Now we would be the harried, overstressed, financially unstable family of four.
But as I lay there spotting I reminded myself that even if #2 was a disaster, it would be nice for our daughter to have someone else. A friend, a confidante, someone to fart on; a partner to lean on when her parents grow old, decrepit, and demanding. As I felt the boulders of long-held notions being rearranged in my mind, another unfamiliar sensation took over, as the light spotting became heavy spotting, and the pink turned a deep, dark red.
This was serious bleeding. Heavy, worrisome, almost like...