I can hardly believe it. I started this blog OVER FIVE YEARS ago. And then kids happened and voila... no more blogging for me!
Since then, a lot has happened. My first "precious preemie" (as she calls herself) is now nearly SEVEN years old and attends grade one at our local elementary school.
One week BEFORE she started school, I gave birth - early again - to our NEXT precious preemie.
It sort of sent our whole family into a vortex.
Here we were, a beautiful postmodern family with one kid, a decent income, and a perfectly sized home in a perfectly sized town. Soon my only child would start school full-time, and finally I'd be finished with daycare costs and diapers and potty training and breastfeeding - FOREVER.
But no, let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you believe in a higher power, you could say that said power was having a good old laugh at my presumptuousness.
Just as I started selling off all our baby items, a funny thing happened. Not funny ha-ha. Not really funny at all, to be honest.
In the early weeks of the new year in 2015, I started to wonder if - after four unsuccessful years of trying to get pregnant - I might be expecting. I dropped my twenty on the counter at Walmart and brought home the emotional roller-coaster in the pretty box, ready to urinate my feelings onto it in the hopes of a faint line in a tiny window.
I waited a few days. I tried again. No line. No period. No nothing.
I went to the doctor. I had another pee test and a blood test. Both negative.
Fast forward another week. I ended up in the emergency room with unexplained abdominal cramping. The first question they asked was, "Could you be pregnant?"
I flippantly retorted, "Only if the last four tests in two weeks were wrong."
So... another pee test. Another blood test. An ultrasound.
Just before my mother left at the start of March for her annual three week cruise to warmer climes, I confided, "I think I must have hit menopause." She gave me a big hug and promised we'd talk when she returned at the end of the month.
And what a month it was!
As a high school teacher, I've grown accustomed to stress in my life playing havoc with my monthly menstrual cycle. I've been known to go three months without a period - and not be pregnant.
But for some reason, this time felt different. I wasn't really very stressed at work. I was working part time and feeling like things were going well. I was also aware that having just turned thirty-eight in February, menopause was now galloping headlong towards me from the horizon. I honestly felt okay with the possibility that my time had come to give up buying "women's hygiene" products - hoorah!
I will never forget driving with my husband and our now nearly four-year-old daughter Gwyneth to have some dinner on the first night of March Break that year. From the back seat, a little girl voiced a request that I was sort of surprised hadn't come sooner:
"Mommy, I'm tired of playing with dolls. Can I have a baby sister?"
My husband and I just looked at each other.
"Honey, I can't promise you anything. Maybe you can ask God for a sister if you want one, and Mommy and Daddy will see what we can do," I responded halfheartedly.
I should have known right then that I was in for trouble. Gwyneth has always possessed a sixth sense that would make the stoutest skeptic believe in the supernatural.
The next evening, quite begrudgingly, I dropped another twenty on the Walmart counter. The cashier stole a glance my way and said, "Good luck."
"Yeah, not really," I retorted. "Not exactly what I was hoping for right now." I'm not sure why I was so grouchy, but perhaps part of me knew what that test would reveal.
I went home and blatantly ignored the directions to use my "first pee of the morning" for the test.
I peed on that stick, whacked it down on the bathroom counter, and went out to the kitchen to pace for two minutes while I waited for what I hoped - for once - would NOT be a line inside a window.
When I returned, I had to laugh in spite of myself. For only the second time in my life, I was looking at a home pregnancy test with a positive result.
As I marched downstairs to find Ian and Gwyneth watching TV, I clearly was still taking in the news. I looked at them and said, "Oh good, you're both sitting down. I'm having another baby."
Gwyneth jumped out of her seat and yelled, "Hooray! Hooray! God's giving me a new baby sister! I just KNEW he would answer me!"
My husband looked like I had shot him at point blank range with a bazooka.
My mom and I did have a talk when she got home, but it wasn't about hormone replacement therapy or how to manage hot flashes. Instead, while eating breakfast at a local diner, I watched her facial expression turn from confusion, to disbelief, and then to joy as Gwyneth told her, "Mommy's having a new baby sister for me!"
My pregnancy was another whole post (or two) in itself. But for now, let's just say that on September 2, 2015, we welcomed Gwyneth's baby sister, Kinsey Maeve Rowan Campbell, into our family.
And life would never be the same.