“I didn’t even have time to pull up my pants before my digital pregnancy test rendered a positive result. It didn’t just say, ‘Yes+’ it said, ‘B*tch, Yaaaaaaaas!’ The only words I could muster were, ‘Ha! Sure.’ As if to say, ‘Well played, Universe.’ You see, there wasn’t supposed to be a yes, there was supposed to be a NO!
There were drastic measures taken to ensure there would never be a ‘yes’ ever again. I sat there staring at that ‘yes’ that might as well have said, ‘Girl, you are sooo screwed,’ and everything got a little hazy like it was a dream. All I could do was laugh. I laughed out of shock, I laughed because I was right, and I laughed because what else can you do in a situation like that.
Let’s go back about 9 months to April of the following year. My husband was almost giddy as we walked into the Urologist office carrying our 3-month-old daughter. We had achieved white suburban perfection. Two kids. One boy. One girl. Nice house. Stable careers. Now, it was time to put the final nail in the coffin to ensure our dream remained intact and wouldn’t be disturbed by any unexpected, permanent visitors.
For me, there was excitement for not ever being pregnant ever again. The nausea, the weight gain, the labor that lasted for multiple days, the months and months and months of breastfeeding, and the feeling that your body will never again be your own. Needless to say, I was more than ready to be done.
For my husband, it was something he had been looking forward to for a long time. I had come into the relationship with a son from a previous relationship, and neither of us had ever been OMG-I-can’t-wait-to-have-kids kind of people. I love my kids, but if I hadn’t had them, I’m not sure I would have ever had them. So, when we decided to have one together, it was more about completing the unit. Having two kids with one being a piece of both of us. And I have to say, actually planning a pregnancy doesn’t suck. Feeling the joy of two lines instead of dread was a nice change of pace. Regardless, after our daughter was born and everything was all good, my husband was on the phone making that appointment like he had the number on speed dial.
He had his vasectomy in April of 2015. We went in knowing the odds, thinking there is no way we will be the 1 in 1000. My husband was less than a year away from 40. There is no way his old a** would heal itself. He went in for the procedure and had a little issue with the local anesthetic. Let’s just say when they pull the tube out to cut it, it feels like they’re pulling your belly button through your a**, according to him. Poor guy. Regardless, he made it through and even saw the inch and half piece of his baby-making tube laying on the table. All was good, or so we thought…
My husband, being the stickler for the rules as he is, was very adamant about using a backup form of birth control and making sure to go in for his follow ups. After all, most pregnancies after a vasectomy could have been avoided had the patient gone in for a follow up. And yet, most men don’t. Why? Hell if I know. Bunch of dummies. So, he went in at 4 months and then again that November. Both samples were negative. We had the green light to do it the way God intended, except he’d be shooting blanks.
Fast forward to February of 2016. I had just started a new job. We were a year into life with two kids. Everything looked great. My husband, the super planner, had all our finances set. Everything was going to plan…we should have known better. I was about two days late for my period, which to most people is no big deal. But not to me. I knew something was up. My husband told me to calm my tits, and that I always freak out when there is nothing to freak out about. He wasn’t entirely wrong, so as instructed I calmed my tits…for now.
I was exhausted, nauseated, bloated, b*tchy, and did I mention exhausted? I knew in my heart there was something going on. My husband, however, was balls deep in denial—no pun intended. ‘There is no way you’re pregnant. Maybe there is something else going on.’ Because me having some God-awful illness is better than having another baby. Thanks, babe.
Despite his fervent objections, I purchased a test while on my weekly run to the store. I was torn. Part of me really didn’t want to be pregnant, but another much smaller part of me really wanted to prove him wrong. I’m screwed up, I know. The next day I decided was as good of a time as any. So, I went into the half bath while our kids were taking a nap. My husband sat on the couch, reading his phone with a posture that said, ‘This dumb b*tch. Freaking out for no reason.’
So, there I sat. A small part of me saying, ‘HA! I was right. Who’s the dummy now?!’ Followed very quickly by a much larger part of me saying, ‘Oh…sh*t…’ As I stood up and washed my hands, I was overcome with a feeling of dread like when you had to tell your dad you wrecked the car. I walked out into the living room and just placed the test on the arm of the couch. My husband didn’t even move his head, just moved his eyes from his phone to the test.
Still pretty heavily shrouded in denial, he took another sample into the doctor’s office the very next day. I remember getting a call from him that afternoon while sitting in a parking lot entering my sales activities for the day. It was positive. He still had some swimmers in the pool. While I have never even thought of cheating on my husband because I love him, and also, who has time for that, I let out a sigh of relief. There is always stigma in this situation that the woman must have cheated because he had a vasectomy, and our friends are the kinds of a**holes to make fun of us for something like that. So, we learned two things that day. One, my husband needs to cool it on the protein shakes, and two, my reputation remained intact.
Now that it was real and confirmed by a doctor, we had to face the levity of the situation. We were both freaked out, but for very different reasons. I didn’t know if I had it in me to raise three kids. I was never sure I even wanted one, let alone three! Will I survive another pregnancy that knocks me on my a**? My fears were all physical, emotional, and mental. Yes, I was worried about how this would work financially, but there are always adjustments you can make, and you have to do what you have to do.
He, on the other hand, was completely freaked out about the financial aspects. We only had a three-bedroom house. We will never be able to afford a family vacation. How are we going to pay for childcare? The numbers clamored around his head day and night. He is normally the most level-headed person I have ever met. He’s able to shelve his emotions and focus on logic, but he found himself in a situation where he had absolutely zero control. A position in which he was not familiar.
We discussed our options. For me, there was only one. I knew if I had an abortion, I would never be able to look at him the same way again. I would feel nothing but regret and resentment, and I didn’t think our marriage could survive that. I figured we had a better chance of surviving an unexpected pregnancy than surviving that.
It had been a few days since I took the test. He was still not speaking. We were lying in bed one night and it all came out. He finally had his emotional catharsis and it was raw. I hadn’t seen him like that before, and I haven’t seen him like that since. I remember looking at him with a look like, ‘WTF is wrong with you?!’ I should mention, I don’t deal with displays of emotion very well. The idea of crying in public makes me cringe. I am terrible at comforting people who are feeling something real and expressing it emotionally. I call it Chandler Bing Syndrome. I will most certainly say something inappropriate and try to make a joke. I really shouldn’t be allowed around the general public. That being said, I sat there while he exercised his demons and got out two days’ worth of pent-up emotion not really knowing what to say or do.
I dug deep down to find my most empathetic self and said, ‘Are you done? You need to get your sh*t together. This is happening and there is nothing either of us can do about it. It’s okay to be upset, but from now on, we are focusing on moving forward. Also, you’re not the pregnant one. I’m going to need you to focus!’ We both chuckled and he calmed down. We lay there still scared out of our minds, knowing we had each other but also knowing this was not going to be easy.
The next few weeks were a blur as everything happened so fast. Because I had just had a baby and this was my third, I started showing before 12 weeks. We told my son relatively early because we had to talk about it, and he was going to hear it anyway. One day, he walked into our room and I was folding laundry and crying. I don’t remember why, but I was pregnant, so who the hell knows.
He said, ‘Mommy, are you okay?’
I said, ‘Yes, I’m fine. We’re just trying to get everything ready for the new baby and mommy is just a little emotional, but everything is just fine.’
Later that week, he went to school and told his class, ‘My mom is having another baby and she cried about it.’ Thanks, Bud.
Remember how I had started a new job about 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant? Well, due to my ever-expanding belly and constant vomiting, I was forced to inform my employer of the bun in my oven much sooner than I would have liked. I asked them to be patient with me because I am always very ill in the first trimester. They told me if I was late one more time, I would be let go, but they believed I could do it. Insert douchey white man winking and giving you the thumbs up.
A few weeks after being out on sales calls all day, the owner of the company came running out as I was heading to my car. Long story short, I was conveniently let go without cause on the 89th day of a 90-day probationary period. Awfully convenient, huh? So, there I was, knocked up with my post-vasectomy baby, unemployed, and left with a feeling of hopelessness I had never felt before. I was filled with anger and rage. How dare they do that to me?! I felt like a statistic, not a human being. I felt violated, like a pawn in someone else’s game. To this day, I can’t drive by that building without my stomach tying itself in knots. I think this was the hardest part for me. That feeling of being robbed because of something you can’t control.
At first, being home was okay because I got to finish out my pregnancy there and enjoy time with my kids before their little brother would show up and steal the show. We had the whole summer together, which was great. Financially, however, I was spread so thin I could barely sleep at night due to stress and anxiety. I hated every minute of feeling that way.
I remember people used to say things like, ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ ‘He was just meant to be here.’ And I really hated that. I would have much rather heard, ‘Man, that really sucks!’ ‘Let me know when you need to scream into a pillow.’ That generic, false optimism was a huge kick to the d*ck. Sometimes things don’t happen for a reason, they just happen. And that’s okay. You adjust. You power through. But don’t feed me a line from your predestination theology in an attempt to make yourself feel better because what you really want to say is, ‘Thank God that isn’t me!’
Finally, in October of 2016, our little man made his appearance. It was by far the easiest birth I have ever had. He was a beautiful, healthy baby boy…who slept for absolute sh*t. We had been spoiled with the first two. They slept great. Swaddle. Tittie. Sleep for 8 hours. This little man… It took him a solid year to sleep through the night. It was just salt in the wound. About six weeks after he was born, I went under to not only have my tubes tied, but removed entirely. If I end up pregnant again, I fully expect a call from the people at Guinness.
Being home with the kids all the time for the next few years were the hardest years of my life. I slipped into a depression I had never experienced before. I would cry constantly for seemingly no reason. My poor husband would come home and I would be sitting on the couch in tears. I had lost all sense of myself. I felt like a shell of the person I once was. I used to be cute, ambitious, and funny. Now, I was just fat, covered in breast milk, and poor. Within that time, my husband got a new job. A job he loved. A job he still loves. I remember being so proud of him. Watching him make a change in his life, a change for the better. It is hard for him to get out of his comfort zone sometimes, but I was so happy he did. But another part of me was extremely envious.
During those years, when we would tell people our story, they would say things like, ‘Well, now you wouldn’t trade him for the world, right?’ We would smile as if to agree, but deep down, we were thinking, ‘I might trade him for 8 hours of sleep, not gonna lie.’ I always thought once I saw him it would be this overwhelming love at first sight like it was with the others, but honestly, it took a while. I loved him, don’t get me wrong, but looking at him was a constant reminder of all the pain, anxiety, tension, and adversity of the previous year.
As time went by, we found our new normal. I got on antidepressants and got back to my old self. By the way, I don’t know how or why people think going on medication to make you more mentally and emotionally healthy is a bad thing. Let me rip a tooth out of your head and tell you you’re weak if you take ibuprofen. What a crock. Talk to your doctor, be honest, and get yourself better. There is no reason to suffer. There is no shame in doing what is best for you and ultimately everyone around you. I had an amazing support system that showed me it was okay to get help, and not doing so was so much more detrimental. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
A little over a year ago, I went back to work as a General Manager and Event Planner for an event space downtown. I absolutely love, love, love my job. I have found my purpose. My job has given me something that is just for me. It’s not for my husband or my kids. It is all mine, and it brings me such satisfaction and joy.
Some people refer to our youngest as a Miracle Man. We prefer ‘The Strong Swimmer.’ Either way, he just turned four a few weeks ago. It’s hard to believe he is already four, and yet, so much has happened in those four years. We have felt extreme highs and the lowest of lows. For years, it felt like life was holding us underwater and no matter how hard we struggled and gasped for air, we just couldn’t reach the surface. We learned at some point you must surrender to your circumstances. My husband, for example, has embraced the fact he cannot plan every single detail of his life. I have learned not to take the little things for granted.
Even as I write this, focusing on the pain, anxiety, and chaos that was our life, I can’t help but feel pangs of guilt. I know there is always someone out there who is fighting a fight much worse than the one I am fighting. I feel guilty because I have friends who have struggled with fertility. These are people who, I’m sure, would be a much better parent than I am. So, I feel bad sitting here b*tching about having a baby we didn’t expect. My mind and my heart go out to those struggling with the other side of that coin.
I was so fortunate to have a partner to go through this with. I am beyond lucky to have a husband who supports me. I work a lot of nights and weekends, and he doesn’t bat an eye. More than that, we feel like we have gone through a battle in this life and we have finally risen from the ashes of adversity to reveal newer, better versions of ourselves. It most certainly was not always easy, but we relied on each other. When one was weak, the other was strong. When one was struggling, the other stepped up. And when one felt intimidated, the other was supportive.
I guess if I had any advice after all of this, it would be to find the funny. No matter what, we always found a way to find the funny side of things. Even if our sense of humor had to get a little dark, we always found the funny. And just remember no matter what life throws at you, and it will throw a lot at you, you will make it out on the other side. Even when you can’t see it, the light at the end of the tunnel is always there. Find strength in your adversity, get help when you need it, and always find the funny.
And for the record, we most certainly CANNOT imagine this life without our Strong Swimmer. He has made our family complete.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Leah Powell of Bloomington, Illinois. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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