Confessions of a “Bonus Baby” Mama

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At the insistence of my husband, I agreed to take a pregnancy test (but not until after inhaling my second muchaco of the night). He had picked up the test on his way home after being tipped off by my sudden NEED for large quantities of fast food (something I ordinarily detest…outside of pregnancy).

“I’m not even really late,” I argued. Although breastfeeding made it a little less predictable.  I took the test to humor him, knowing I was NOT pregnant.  I was halfway annoyed at the sure to be waste of a pregnancy test, but not even a minute later,  I was staring at the word “Pregnant”, as if trying to decipher a foreign language.

Our first two pregnancies were planned for…hoped for. SPACED. OUT. My mind raced as I thought about my newly turned one year old- my BABY.  Then it flashed over the last seven months we had spent becoming licensed as a foster care and adoptive home, a calling I was SO sure about.

I rushed down the stairs and blurted out to my husband, “I’m pregnant. I’m stinking pregnant.”  I kept repeating it, still processing it myself.

This announcement was a FAR CRY from the elaborate Pinterest-worthy celebrations I planned to announce the news of our first two babies. My husband was instantly thrilled. I, on the other hand, was shaking, scared and angry. “How?!!” I wondered. I mean, I KNEW how, but I was in complete disbelief.

You see, I had spent the whole nine months of my second difficult pregnancy telling myself I would never go through it again: the unrelenting nausea resulting in exhaustion, medication and IV fluids, the changing of my body, anxiety, and the pain of childbirth. My mantra for nine months was “never again.” Yet, here I was, just over a year later: a responsible, grown and married woman with an unplanned third pregnancy. 

Full Disclosure: I am a recovering control freak. I’m no stranger to anxiety, but I had never felt less in control of my life than I did in that moment. 

We went to bed, and I hoped and prayed I would wake up feeling rested with the familiar joy and anticipation that comes with knowing there is new life growing inside of me. The reality was, I was woken up by my toddler several times to nurse, and each time I remembered that positive test, I was hit all over again with disbelief, then guilt, then worry, then tears and more guilt, until I fell back to sleep.  

Guilt for my friends who were struggling with infertility. How would I tell them?! 

Guilt for my still-very-much-a-baby one year old who wasn’t even close to done nursing, much less ready to give up his title of “the baby”.

Guilt for feeling anything but love and joy for the life I was carrying. It surely deserved a mother that welcomed it with a happy heart. 

Guilt for the excessive screen time and zombie of a mother I knew would become our reality due to all day/all night vomiting “morning sickness”.

Guilt for the child(ren) I knew we wouldn’t be fostering anytime soon. 

Guilt for selfishly not wanting to feel the discomfort of pregnancy and childbirth again. 

I wish I could say my attitude had a quick turnaround, but, honestly? I didn’t feel better the next morning. It was not days or even weeks, but months before I truly accepted my pregnancy. 

But what came next was beautiful. My  “bonus baby” pregnancy forced me to surrender the idea that I knew how best to orchestrate my life. With that surrender came a peace I hadn’t known. Not just about my pregnancy, but about my entire life. My unplanned pregnancy ripped away the illusion of control I had felt burdened to fight for and protect, and replaced it with a faith I could find rest in. And that is a good good thing.

Photography Credit: Stephanie Ralls Photography

My daughter got the little sister she had prayed for, the most perfect addition to our family. Every financial need we had for our out of pocket birth was met. My husband made the move to a more family friendly work schedule so he could be home more. My pregnancy and birth were everything I could have hoped for but had been too afraid to attempt. 

Sometimes I wish I could re-do the first months of my pregnancy. I even secretly wonder if my daughter’s SEVERE RBF (Resting Baby Face, of course) is because of the cranky angry hormones I sent coursing through my veins during my first trimester. (I mean…are there studies on this?!) I wish I could do it again knowing that she was and is the absolute best surprise of my life.

One year later, our family doesn’t look like I thought it would. We still hope to foster and maybe even adopt in the future, but for now, we are preparing to celebrate our bonus baby’s first birthday and rejoicing in thankfulness for our foiled plans; for the gift of her life: unplanned, but not unwanted; unexpected, but beautiful.

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Becky Walker
I fell in love with my husband, Dustin, when I was a wide eyed 15 year old. I have been a mostly loving wife since June 5, 2010, and a mom since February 16, 2012. I live right by Tinker AFB, and I have three little ones- Lyla, 6, Karrick, 2, and our bonus baby Juliet, almost 1 year old! Along with serving as Community Engagement Manager for OKCMB, I work part time from the closet under our stairs teaching English to Chinese students early in the morning! The most relaxing part of my day is when I drink my whole cup of coffee -HOT- while it’s still dark, and the rest of my house is still and quiet. During the day, the kids and I are out and about, exploring the city and avoiding the laundry. I do my very best to run a happy and healthy household for my husband and the little people God has entrusted to me.

1 COMMENT

  1. I love this. I struggled with infertility and brought home our twins in June 2015. When they were just shy of 14 months old, I learned that (despite several doctors’ agreement and my suspicion that we didn’t need to do anything to prevent a surprise pregnancy) that we were indeed pregnant with a surprise “bonus” baby. She was born just before the twins turned 22 months old.

    So much screen time. So much exhaustion. And Resting Baby Face is perfection – I joke (perhaps too readily, though anyone that knows my baby-child will readily agree) that #3 can communicate all the middle fingers and four-letter words through her facial expressions alone. Notwithstanding this, she is generally calm and very flexible, so long as she can nurse and be carried in my arms through high school, which seems reasonable enough to me.

    Congrats on your happy family!

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