The signs have there over the past few weeks–mentions of being tired, not having had alcohol since November, not feeling well, having news that I wasn’t ready to share…
2019 was a ridiculous year. In order, my husband found out he was losing his job to Mexico (the transition is still in progress over a year later…), my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my niece was born, my dad died, and then, just when things got back to normal, I got pregnant!
A friend of mine was turning 30 and having a party at her house, my period was late, and I was sure I wasn’t pregnant. Bur rather than go to a party and drink, I figured I ought to be super sure. So I peed on a stick, got distracted by Paul calling me while running errands, and let it sit a little too long–I was that confident I’d get a negative. Instead, I saw a very, very faint second line, so faint that I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant. Erring on the side of caution, I didn’t drink at the party. I took a second test when we got home, and same thing–a line so faint that I wouldn’t have even seen it if I hadn’t looked closely.
It was Veteran’s Day weekend, and the next morning, we were meeting up with my mom, Brandon, Kelly, and baby Eliana to visit my dad’s grave and have lunch for Brandon’s birthday. As a doting auntie, I seize any opportunity to be all over Eliana, so when we were at the restaurant, I went right for her. Brandon has this running joke of saying to me, “Get your own baby!” so this time, when he did, I said, “Well…” and explained. Kelly happened to still have pictures of her positive pregnancy test and showed them to me to compare, and they were nearly identical. I figured I’d wait a week and retest.
And then, within 24 hours, morning sickness hit. Well, not morning sickness, exactly, more like evening sickness, but the typical pregnancy symptoms started appearing. Up to that point, I’d only had two hints that I was pregnant–one, my boobs hurt, which they normally do on my period so I dismissed it, and two, a sort of tight feeling in my stomach every so often. I did test again, mostly as a formality, and sure enough, that one was a very clear positive.
I’d been a little bummed that I hadn’t gotten pregnant up to that point, but man, getting a positive test is still kind of terrifying. My first thought, truly, was “Oh, fuck,” then, “I’m too young,” then, “That makes no damn sense, idiot, you’re 30.” It’s a strange mix of excitement and paralyzing fear that tend to alternate, although lately, excitement dominates, especially as we tell more and more people and everyone gets really excited. And then sometimes I feel like I’m not excited enough, like when I hear other women talk about miscarrying or infertility, like I’m taking it for granted. And then I think that this is probably some fucked-up thing that society does to women and that we do to ourselves–my kid isn’t even born yet and already I’m feeling pressure.
Similarly, I’ve thought a lot about the practice of not making an announcement until after the first trimester, when the chance of miscarriage drops dramatically. I understand the reasons for it. It allows you to control what you share, with whom, and when, which I think is very valuable and powerful. For me, if something had happened–and if something were to happen yet–frankly, I’d probably write about it anyway. And yet, with all that I knew logically, it hard not to think about if something happened that it would be my fault, that it would be something I did wrong, and that I’d be ashamed to acknowledge it, despite having zero of these thoughts when it comes to other women I know who have miscarried. It was so easy to get in my own head about it. Part of me wonders how much holding off on sharing the news might just be contributing to the stigma.
And, as it turned out, someone we know did miscarry and was just a few weeks further along in her pregnancy than I was at the time. I won’t go into details because it’s not mine to share, but someone, knowing this woman had just miscarried, chose to still tell them about my pregnancy. Paul and I didn’t know about it at the time, but I was livid when we did find out. It was about the most insensitive way to go about it, and had I known–and frankly, if she didn’t want us to know at all, that would be fair–I would’ve made it clear we wanted to give her time and space, as she deserved.
Otherwise, things have been going pretty smooth. I had a lot of nausea and some vomiting a couple times a week, and I’ve slept plenty, but over the past two weeks, I’ve felt more like myself. I was really knocked on my ass for a while, to the point that I wasn’t even keeping up with Netflix shows or reading. You’d think that those would be prime activities to enjoy in bed, but many times, I either just wanted to sleep or lie down and not focus on anything at all. Sometimes this was because of rough headaches, sometimes it wasn’t.
Looking ahead, I schedule my first ultrasound in two weeks. We do intend to find out the gender but will not do a gender reveal–we’ll probably just casually tell people. My mom is sure it’s a girl, as how I’ve felt so far is on track with how she felt when she was pregnant with me, and her pregnancy with me brother was different. Paul has been very, very picky about names, which I knew would happen. I’ve been joking from the start we’ll need the whole nine months to agree on a name. Of the dozens I’ve mentioned, he has liked two, both girl names, and singled out one as the frontrunner, but we still don’t have a boy name. We’re keeping the name semi-secret, mostly because I don’t want talked out of it. Not because we’re leaning towards the super weird and unconventional or a normal name with an absurd spelling, but just because I don’t want some people, like, say, certain in-laws, for example, talking us out of it if they dislike it.
All in all, being pregnant is scary and weird and cool and mind-blowing all at the same time.