As we were sitting on the couch in post-confrontational silence, my wife reached into her bag and pulled out a pregnancy test. I stared back at the plus sign. I hadn’t seen it coming. A slow buildup of stomach acid, mixed with other junk, churned in my stomach and rotated from my throat and back. My hands trembled as I handed the test back to my wife. Her eyes reflected the churning of my stomach. Four kids. Four kids in New York City. As far as New York standards go, you might as well be a Duggar if you have that many.
“What are we going to do?” my wife asked.
I had no words. My eyes looked up and searched around the room for an answer. But all I saw was our small home. My thoughts ran a million miles an hour.
“How are we going to fit? Where will the baby sleep? We’ve already outgrown our space. I’m 40. I will be 58 when the child turns 18. What about the other children? What will the oldest think? He hates change and this will be one more thing on his mind. College! We will be spending a million dollars in college tuition! My dream of being an actor is over and my hopes of being a playwright might be as well. A stay-at-home to 4 kids, how am I going to manage?”
The weight of my thoughts shoved my shoulders down. But next to me, the woman who once stood across from me inside a church and whom I promised to love through sickness and health had an even weightier problem. She too was getting older and the risks of pregnancy increase with age. The last 2 pregnancies were hard on her. She is at a good place in her career and wondered if this would set her back. Finances! The extra cost of another child. She is the provider for our family, this would mean extra pressure on her.
And so the two of us held one another. Broken, sad, scared, apologetic…. hugging. Hugging like we were the only two people in the world.
Before I say anything else, I know what many are thinking, “Duh, don’t they know how babies are made?” And I will answer, “Yes, yes I know.” But you know how in birth control commercials they never say something is 100% effective? Well, we are the reason that nothing is 100%.
Those next weeks were hard – reconciling ourselves to what was happening and feeling the guilt of being anything other than ecstatic about having another baby.
Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump – the heartbeat skipped in mountains and valleys across the screen. There’s a baby in there! There’s the heart beat! A little bean showed up on the monitor. There was our baby. Baby number 4. In my wife’s body, but seen on a screen. Baby number 4… hello, I’m going to be your daddy.
Am I scared? Yes, more so from this pregnancy than the others. But this pregnancy came at an opportune time. My wife and I were at a difficult point in our marriage. We were not on the same page. We may not have even been in the same book. But now we are talking and planning for the future. Something that we had stopped doing. Something that we seemed to have forgotten to care about. Life got in the way of loving each other, but new life has brought us back together. And we are ecstatic about welcoming that new life into our home.
40 isn’t too old to be a dad again. I see a lot of dads that age out and about with their kids. And space, space is relative. We’ll knock out some walls and put some in. No big deal. What we will lose in space we will gain in love. The world can always use more of that.