Today I’m six months pregnant.
I’ve been pregnant for half a year. 180 days. Longer than My So-Called Life was on air.
Like my baby boy, this post has been incubating for some time.
My sentimental soon-to-be-brother-in-law recently asked me to write something emotional about pregnancy.
“I want to read your feelings on the subject,” he said.
I told him I’d get around to it.
So here goes:
Pregnancy is a strange and beautiful thing.
For eight bucks I purchased a stick at CVS. I peed on it and I took a bath.
I shaved my legs and I read an issue of Vogue. I let the stick sit for a while on the bathroom counter because I was too nervous to look at it.
When I emerged from the tub, I tiptoed past it as if it were already a sleeping baby and I closed my eyes because I was too nervous to look at it.
I walked into my bedroom and slipped into a pair of PJ pants. I headed for the living room and as I passed the bathroom, I turned my head away from the door because I was too nervous to look at it.
I sat on the couch beside my husband and thought about the work I had yet to do.
Pregnancy tests develop in three minutes. Yet I let mine sit for half an hour; long enough for Joe to watch The Daily Show because I was too nervous to look at it.
I was nervous it might be negative. Nervous it might be positive. I had only been off the pill for two months.
Had our little science experiment worked that quickly?
I got up to get a glass of chocolate milk. I walked past the bathroom. On the counter the pregnancy test grew cold and impatient.
I turned around and walked past the bathroom again. And again. And again.
I made six passes before I stepped in front of the sink and picked up the stick.
I admit I’m an idiot who’s easily confused by most tests — even pregnancy tests.
There were two windows: one circle, one square. The square showed a vertical line. The circle showed a plus sign.
It doesn’t get more obvious than that.
Yet I was befuddled.
An idiot, remember?
I couldn’t fathom why both windows weren’t showing plus signs. I fumbled for the EPT directions, but the box was empty.
I called Joe into the bathroom and then I started shaking.
I’ve never been so nervous.
Joe looked at the stick. Considered its implications. A smart, level-headed man, he told me I was pregnant, that plus signs are plus signs are plus signs.
“But why is there only one plus sign?” I asked. “Why does one window show a vertical line?”
“Because all you need is one plus sign,” he replied.
I ran into my office. I Googled EPT results. I needed to see an image of a positive pregnancy test. I found what I was looking for in less than 10 seconds.
Joe walked into my office. I swiveled around in the chair to face him; a pregnant wife, trembling, too stubborn to admit to her husband that she was nervous, adamant that she needed further proof, for what reason, I’m still not sure.
Joe was eerily calm.
“I guess it worked,” he said, a smile spreading across his face.
“Yup,” I squeaked.
The room fell silent. The pug walked in and grunted. The Daily Show flickered off and the air conditioner kicked on.
Our house still smelled like dinner.
I tried to imagine what our silhouettes in the front window looked like from the road.
Did we look like a couple that had just learned they were having a baby?
As nervous as I was, I committed the moment to memory.
You won’t get this back, I thought. Burn it to your brain.
See your husband’s calm, cool expression? His big, brown eyes? His amusement over your nervousness? His smirk that suggests pride in knowing his boys can swim? His delight in accomplishing Step One in Mission Baby?
Burn it to you brain.
In the weeks that followed, I got sick and exhausted.
But since this is a post about emotions and not nausea, I’ll spare you the sickness and exhaustion details. As topics, they’re boring. And the reality is, most women get sick when they’re pregnant. It’s debilitating and frustrating, yes. But it’s life. You develop a relationship with hard candy and saltines and you deal.
I’m not sick anymore and I’m not nervous.
I’m a combination of awestruck and easy-going. My nerve endings are coated in estrogen and chocolate. Everyday routines have taken on a poetic cadence.
As I write this post, I’m eating a Lindor truffle and daydreaming about the sandwich I’m going to make for lunch. I’m on our new couch, wrapped in a blanket and not feeling guilty about drinking coffee.
Our baby is kicking. He’s always kicking. He feels like popcorn in my stomach. The first time Joe felt it he looked at me in adorable amazement.
“I can’t believe you’ve got a baby in there,” he said.
“Believe it,” I said with the steely conviction of a mother-of-eight, although really, I couldn’t believe it either.
At the moment, Joe is working from our bedroom on his laptop. The pug is curled up beside him under the covers. It’s raining out and my coffee tastes like Buffalo.
The Man Cave, which will soon become The Baby Cave, is filled with boxes of baby stuff from last weekend’s shower. I can see the loot from my nest on the couch. As I look inside, past my husband’s framed Phish posters, I imagine myself sneaking in and out of this room to steal glances at our sleeping kid, a plush monkey hanging from his crib rails, a homemade mobile dangling over his head.
Pregnancy is a strange thing. Don’t let them tell you different.
But it’s also beautiful, even to those of us who in moments of uncertainty, abandon pregnancy tests in our bathroom sinks.
By June there will be a baby in this house who was made in this house, whom I carried in this house, nourished in this house and am now picturing in this house.
Right now though, he’s underneath this computer.
I wonder if he’ll be a writer.
While doing balance poses last night at yoga, the teacher asked the class to stand facing the wall.
She told us to imagine bright orange sunshine emanating from our cores.
“It’s where we carry our life force,” she said.
Since this is not a prenatal yoga class, I found her description to be especially amusing. Apparently so did the woman one mat over. Her name is Jane.
Jane looked at me and smiled. I’m the only pregnant chick in the class. The life force thing takes on a whole new meaning when you’re with child.
I pointed to my stomach and made a mock sunshine gesture. Jane giggled.
The teacher led us through a series of poses: mountain, tree, dancer, standing pigeon and eagle.
I nailed them all. I’ve never felt so sure and sturdy.
During savasana the baby kicked. I thought about my neurosis over reading that pregnancy test and I came to the conclusion that we’re pregnant for nine months because some things take a while to sink in.