What to expect when you weren’t expecting

Don’t you love when life throws you a curveball?

Several weeks ago, on a hunch and a pregnancy test four-pack, that’s exactly what happened. Sure, my husband and I have always wanted three kids, and we had even planned next year as The Year to Start Trying. But what happens when next year comes early?

Here’s what I did, at least: I panicked. I snapped a pic of those two smug pink lines and e-mailed it to my husband with subject line “!!*$#&%^!!”. Within about 40 seconds, my husband called, voice cracking, and all I could eke out was “I know. I know. I know!” over and over.

It’s not that this was an unwelcome event, mind you. Actually, quite the opposite: I’d been getting the newborn itch every time I saw a wee one in the checkout line or in a heavily armored Bugaboo/Uppa Baby Vista/Baby Jogger. And it’s no secret that I’ve been pining for a daughter. A friend had recently bought me a copy ofHow to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. Other friends swore by theChinese lunar calendar and had me convinced to go by it during The Year. Clearly, I was poised for the pregnant life… just not now.

And it’s funny that Now has a knack for showing up when I don’t feel ready-when I’m just getting the hang of juggling two. When we finally managed to get our 3-year-old to stop stumbling into our room at night. When I’ve gotten used to being diaper bag-free and really, really enjoy it. Three just sounds so formidable, like it requires a caliber of motherhood that I don’t think I have just yet.

But is this pregnancy an inconvenience? Far from it. After the initial shock wore off, the familiar sense of wonder settled in. The miracle of life is no small cliché to any parent, and the mystery of housing a human being is one that never gets old for me. Last week I went to my first trimester ultrasound and saw the baby show off its amnio-gymnastic moves. And there’s just something about seeing them for the first time, isn’t there? It was in that moment, with goop on my belly, that I knew that Now had perfect timing after all.

What about you? How many of your pregnancies were “pleasant surprises”? And what’s harder – going from one to two, or two to three?

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