When we decided to leave our safe, comfortable world behind and head out into uncharted (by us) territories, I had no illusions that it would be easy. Come on. I read the Internet too much to think that. I settled in for a long stretch of disappointment.
By the time I started my new job, I was already certain that The Long Stretch was just barely underway. I also figured that New Job Stresses would further delay our travels into the unknown.
So the Monday that I took a detour on my way home from work and drove to the grocery store for the express purpose of buying a pregnancy test, I was confident that I was making a big deal over nothing.
Nonetheless, on the drive, I started writing a letter in my head to Future Baby: Dear Baby, I don’t know you yet, but I love you already. Let me tell you about the day I first learned about you.
But this was all just silliness. I knew that. I’d been disappointed every month so far. Why would this month be any different? Especially because we’d really just begun this journey. It wasn’t fair to think that I would be among the lucky ones, to be successful so early in the process.
That’s why I didn’t tell my husband that I’d bought the test. That’s why, when he spotted it on the counter (in a bag, still packaged), I laughed and shrugged it off: just me being silly, that’s all! That’s why I didn’t hurry to take the test – I put it to the back of my mind until we were puttering around getting ready for bed. I was very matter-of-fact about the whole thing: This is no big deal, just another exercise in futility.
When the two pink lines showed up I think my initial response was a blank, uncomprehending stare.
My husband and I shared a moment – okay, a moment that expanded to include the rest of the evening – of sheer disbelief that this major life change we’d planned for was actually happening. But it didn’t seem real. I felt like we were actors in a play, reciting lines. Nothing seemed different.
At the same time, everything seemed different.
The next night, I had a post-work dinner meeting with two colleagues. A meeting that was supposed to include drinks. At a place we had chosen specifically because I’d recently been there with a group of friends and had mentioned how great the happy hour wine and cocktail deals were.
But… I didn’t even think about the drinking until a waiter was standing in front of me, eyebrows raised, asking what I wanted.
Stammering – and bright red, I’m sure – I ordered a Diet Coke, claiming in what I hoped was a nonchalant and sincere way to be so tired that I needed the caffeine, so tired that a glass of wine would put me right to sleep. (I wasn’t joking about being tired, by the way. SO VERY TIRED. I fell asleep most nights by nine or ten – a big difference from my previous midnight bedtime. Perhaps my assumption that the working-outside-the-home thing was exhausting had been wrong.) My colleagues were perplexed, I could tell… but I was still very new to the position, and I’m hoping they thought I was trying to be on my best behavior or something.
While my colleagues discussed Important Work Things, I sat there, staring at the Diet Coke, suddenly in a panic about the caffeine. That was… a no-no for pregnant people, right? Were the few sips I’d had already wreaking havoc on the delicate little embryo floating somewhere inside my abdomen? And what was I supposed to eat? The goat-cheese pizza was out, right? Could I order the crab salad? Was crab on the Banned Foods List?
I started to sweat, outwardly participating in Work Talk while mentally kicking myself for not paying more attention to the Dos and Don’ts of Pregnancy and worrying that this meal was going to either harm the baby or out me to my colleagues or BOTH and OMG what the hell did I think I was doing?
One day in, and this baby thing was ALREADY way too complicated!
The next day, my in-laws arrived. We were all taking a road trip, that weekend, to visit my sister-in-law for her birthday.
My in-laws are of The Drinking Sort. And my husband and I are also typically of The Drinking Sort as well. So I immediately started to worry about the transparency of my “condition.”
My husband and I resolved that partially by deciding that we just had to… tell our parents.
Listen. I’ve had enough friends who had pregnancies end early and I’ve read enough heartbreaking blog posts to know that two pink lines do not guarantee a happy ending.
My intention was always to WAIT. To keep the beans carefully contained until the standard twelve weeks had passed. At LEAST.
But here we were, TWO DAYS into knowing I was pregnant, a month along IF THAT, determining that we needed to do some bean spilling already.
So we told our parents – all of whom were super surprised and excited. (This baby will be the first grandchild on both sides. And so spoiled, I’m guessing.)
I spent the whole weekend feeling so… different. And also exhausted. Like, falling-over-from-exhaustion exhausted. (I’m guessing that’s something I need to get used to?) My husband joined me in not-drinking, and we concocted some story that was semi-believable, apparently. But I don’t think my sister-in-law noticed anything out of the ordinary. We survived a total of twelve hours in the car with my in-laws. I started feeling a little nauseated here and there – nothing too bad. (Sigh.)
And… that was the beginning.
There’s more, of course. The months between then and now. (Most of which I spent on my couch, moaning in a way that I like to think of as piteous but which was most likely irritating and self indulgent.) Breaking the news at work. Registries. Anxieties. Anticipation. The picking of names. Itchy stomachs, restless legs, and excruciating foot cramps. Identity struggles. Planning. Excitement. Joy.
It’s not a lot, and it’s not terribly funny or remarkable – except in the way that a first pregnancy is remarkable to the people enduring it. But that’s all I have time for today.
Now, someone is kicking me in a not-unpleasant manner just below my (non-existent, these days) belly button and I must heave this newly cumbersome body off the couch and begin another week of work.