Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The secret is out!

Saturday, February 25:

I meet my two friends for lunch. We haven’t all been together in some time. We’re going to one of our favorite places. Tucked inside my wallet is the latest sonogram, folded in half.

My friends order sensible salads. I spy their healthy lettuce and beautiful fresh fruit. I wanted three different items on the menu but chose a turkey melt because I felt I needed the protein. The sandwich turns out to be open-face -- impossible to eat! -- and comes with fries.

My lunch doesn’t look so healthy compared to theirs.

Fortunately, I had ordered a side salad.

We catch up while we eat. We all bring something for show and tell. One friend shares her beautifully scrapbooked photo album. (She’s the one who said she might be pregnant. Turns out she’s not. So we can exhale now.) My other friend -- who is my age but has a 16-year-old daughter -- brings back a resort brochure I gave her, and I tell her it’s hers to keep. I bring two tiny bags of truffles, each with their respective names on the bags.

Somehow, menstrual cycles come up. This is my chance.

But I miss it. The conversation has already turned. Our lunch is over, and it’s time to pay the server.

That means my wallet is out.

“I can’t let you go,” I say, “without telling you something big.”

Now, I don’t remember what I said or exactly what happened after that. But I finally feel the relief of telling my friends about the baby.

Oh, happy day!

And they are just as excited as I am relieved not to be keeping this secret from them.

I open my wallet, and the excitement builds. Funny how a sonogram will do that. That image could be anything or anybody. But it has my name on it. It’s proof of something, right?

This news extends the lunch longer than expected.

We have to use the restroom.

My friends insist I use the unoccupied stall first.

“I don’t want any special treatment,” I protest, but they won’t budge even though they are holding their legs together.

Turns out the other stalls are free, so no one has to wait.

And then it’s extended even more as we stand outside the restaurant. My friend with the teen daughter says she wants to have a baby shower. She starts the planning right on the spot, right in front of the door where people are going in and out.

We must talk about the baby for at least another 15 minutes.

My other friend and I go down the street for a coffee. She treats me to a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks. It's our new favorite.


I’m so glad my friends are happy and excited. And they aren’t upset I didn’t tell them sooner. The only thing my friend with the teenager said was, “I don’t know how you could wait through lunch to tell us!”

And I didn’t even think about squirming this time.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The sound of waiting

Friday, February 24:


That’s the sound of frustration.


That’s the sound of losing one’s patience.


That’s the sound of both together.

I’m becoming a professional pregnant person.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent almost four hours at the genetic counselor’s office. This is a physician who specializes in genetic disorders. Because I’m past the magical age of 35, my OB/GYN said I should get a 3D ultrasound and a blood test to see if the baby might possibly have a disease like Down’s syndrome, trisomy 13 and other problems. (There is a chance of the test giving a false positive or a false negative.)

That alone took almost four hours. And of course, that doesn’t include getting the test results back. Most of it's just waiting.

Today, my OB/GYN appointment took more than two hours. One of those hours -- one entire hour -- was spent waiting in the exam room by myself after the nurse had taken my “vitals,” plus used the Doppler device to check the baby’s heartbeat. I finally went into the hallway to see if they had forgotten about me. The FBI weren't forthcoming with information -- if you don't ask lots of detailed questions, you won't know anything over there -- but at least they seemed a little nicer.

I am glad everything is checking out to be normal. The 11 blood tests from last month, urine samples (sorry if that’s too much information), the back of the baby’s neck from the ultrasound yesterday (measured as an indicator of certain genetic diseases), everything is so far, so good. My doctor doesn’t think my back pain is caused by the pregnancy, though. She told me to pay attention to what shoes I was wearing.

But all this waiting around is driving me up the wall. Waiting accounts for most of the time spent in these doctors’ offices today and yesterday. Almost four hours at the genetic counselor's office = 20 minutes of time spent with genetic counselor. Two hours at the OB/GYN office = 10 minutes spent with the doctor. This doesn't happen when I visit the dentist or my eye doctor.

Next time, I’ll bring some work with me.

On the plus side, my husband said it was nice to spend (almost all) the day with me yesterday. We got to see the baby doing flips with the 3D ultrasound. And today, I treated myself to the special at my favorite café down the street, when usually I never eat lunch out.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Every war needs a strategy

Wednesday, February 22:

So apparently, there's this thing called the "Mommy wars": to stay home with your child, or not to. Good Morning America had a segment about the Mommy wars today. I guess the Mommy wars have been in the news before, though, because I found a post about how the stay-at-home moms vs. working moms get stirred up over the subject.

I have been working from home for the past three years, so maybe some of the issues here don't apply to me. Or do they? Will I be able to handle working in my home office with my child crying and needing to be changed and fed? I've never done this before, so I really don't know.

If I follow the advice of the woman at the center of the Mommy wars, Linda Hirshman, I suppose I would put my child in daycare even though I am working at home. Or, perhaps, hire someone to take care of my baby in the next room.

That seems weird, though, just thinking about it. I'm at home; the kid is at home; why should I bring someone else into the scene?

Besides, Ms. Hirshman's beliefs are based on a study she did of Ivy League-educated women and where they are today after having had children. I'm sorry if it tarnishes my image, but I didn't go to an Ivy League school.

So once again, maybe this doesn't apply to me.

I guess I'll see what kind of work opportunities unfold the closer I get to the Big Day.

Maybe I'm naive, but I figured mothers of any flavor and employment status would respect one another for their decisions. After all, we aren't all the same. Our circumstances aren't all the same. Priorities change. Every person has to make the work-or-not-work decision for herself. And there are a lot of different factors that go into that decision. We should just be glad we have the freedom to make these decisions.

So if there is really a war going on, who are the soldiers? Who are the generals? And are there any casualties?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's just a "You've lost your chance to..." kind of thing

Tuesday, February 21, 2006:

The universe is conspiring against me.

Since finding out I’m expecting, I’ve received three Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalogs in the mail. Reminders of what I might never look like again. Is a gold-studded triangle bra bikini in my future? Hmmmm. Truthfully, I wouldn't have worn that bikini four months ago. But the idea I may never wear something like that gives me the impression that certain doors are closing on my life.

It seems only fair, my husband says, that Victoria’s Secret make maternity clothing. After all, their products can lead to pregnancy.

Fantasy child

Tuesday, February 21, 2006:

I guess I can get a little linky here ....

A Tampa, Fla., 12-year-old girl created a media stir with her science experiment that apparently shows ice from fast-food restaurants is dirtier than the water from a toilet.

Student Jasmine Roberts (do a search of her name, and you’ll find she’s rather media-savvy) logically explained her hypothesis and experiment, and she claims 70% of the time, the water from your toilet would make healthier ice than what you’d get at fast-food chains.

Why am I bringing this up?

Jasmine Roberts is the kind of child my husband presumes we’ll have. After all, he was a school science fair winner himself many years in a row.

To tell this story right, I have to go back a couple years to a nature festival we attended. During one of the presentations, a girl who couldn’t have been older than 7 nearly showed up the presenter with her knowledge of the subject -- I think it was bats. She made quite an impression on us. And this was way before we thought about having a child.

Today, my husband and I have this shtick in which we impersonate the precocious bat lover. We put on our best little-girl voice and announce all kinds of scientific facts we have just learned from the news or from reading. Over time, my husband has broadened the shtick to include one of my hobbies (because he claims if we have a girl, he wants her to be just like me, which I doubt would happen), which is sewing -- yes, I said sewing, so sue me for trying to save money on couture and window treatments. Now the little girl not only knows loads of facts, but she sews pants -- for spiders. Every time one of us starts talking like a little girl, we know what the other is thinking: somewhere in the future, there may be a fact-spewing, spider pant-sewing, squeaky-voiced child in our house.

It could happen.

I realize every parent thinks his or her child is a genius. But it would be OK if our child weren’t. In fact, the real child growing here inside me will surely delight my husband and me even more than this fantasy child we have pieced together.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that truth truly is stranger and more interesting than fiction.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It all comes down to sex

Sunday, February 19, 2006:

You can really get caught up in all the baby stuff. It's just so tiny and cute.

I indulged just a little yesterday, when I bought a few things at Target. A package of onesies and some matching caps. (My husband calls them "sleeping toques" because he actually wears a ski hat or a skullcap to bed. Supposedly thinning hair and all that.) A soft fleece blanket. A package of washcloths. And a two-pack of plain white fitted crib sheets.

I don't even have a crib!

The distressing thing -- really, really, distressing -- is how many of the outfits on hangers on the rack are so defined by sex. I found only one outfit on the rack in the newborn section that was either/or. I don't know if it's just Target, or if all retailers think parents want to define their kids this way. If I knew what the sex of the baby was, sure, I'd buy some little girl or little boy clothes. But a lot of the designs are kind of stupid. So until I know the sex, I guess I can't stock up very much.

So that's why I bought only the unisex package of clothes in yellow and green.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Give my regards to TP

Friday, February 17:

My new hobbies are taking naps, preparing healthy food and eating it, and going to the bathroom.

It’s especially fun to sing, “Pee,” to the tune of Give My Regards to Broadway while jogging to the restroom. “Pee pee pee pee pee pee pee . . . .”

Unfortunately, my lower back is killing me. It seems worse toward the end of the day. Sometimes, it almost feels as though I’ve broken my tailbone.

Also, I’m getting forgetful. Last weekend, I left the oven on for hours (it was only set on “warm,” though), and I left a window open for almost two days while the heat was on. I think it was the TV show Yes Dear that discussed “momnesia.” Is that what this is? Already?

Mmmno, I think instead I’ll just declare I have a lot on my mind right now, and I’m preoccupied.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What's in a name?

Thursday, February 16:

I bought a baby name book today.

Is this even worth the time and money? I mean, I already know names I like and don't like.

And yet I go to the local bookstore to buy a name book. It's like a ritual.

And let me tell you, there are as many baby name books as there are stars in the sky. It was hard to pick a book, much less a name. Do I get the one with 50,001 names, or the one with 100,00 names, or the book that boasts only "thousands" of names but seems to include more relevant information?

If you ask me, the book is more for my husband.

So, of course, that means I read it practically cover to cover before I even showed it to him.

More FBI gripes

Wednesday, February 15:

I missed a call from my doctor’s office and had to call back. Seems they want to reschedule my appointment next week.

“Hi, this is [My Name], and I’m returning your call to reschedule my appointment.”

The FBI put me on hold.

“You want to reschedule your appointment?”

“Yes, you said the doctor would be in surgery.”

“Who is this?”

Are they hearing anything I say?!

I got put on hold again, gave my information again, and finally got a chance to barter a different appointment time.

What is with these front desk people?

My husband says people usually tune out the first few seconds of every phone call because they are expecting chitchat. But come on, if you’re calling a doctor’s office, how much chitchat can you really make?

The more I think about it, the more I believe it’s not just my OB/GYN’s office. When I think about the other physicians I visit, nearly every one of them have nasty front desk people.

It really makes physicians look bad. Listen up, doctors!

Everybody say, "awwww"

Tuesday, February 14:

My husband has a long day on Tuesdays and comes home really late. Practically right after dinner, we are crawling into bed, ready for some sleep. He finds the Valentine’s Day card I left on his pillow. I’m sure that, after my anniversary experience, he hasn’t gotten me even so much as a card.

“Do you remember in high school when you gave me 14 carnations for Valentine’s Day?” I ask. “Now we’re married, and you don’t even give me a card.”

Well, it’s true he didn’t give me a card.

But I found a gift under my pillow.

“We said no gifts!” I say.

They were actually gifts for the baby. My husband bought a two-CD set called “The Most Relaxing Guitar Music in the Universe” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007M220C/002-8314905-8435229?v=glance&n=5174) and “Guess How Much I Love You?” a great picture book. This might be too much information, but we actually took turns reading the pages of the book while we sat in bed.

My husband is a good reader.

I point to the sunflower seed still on his nightstand.

“You need to replace that with a walnut.”

Whale dress

Monday, February 13:

My first maternity item arrived today. I told my husband it was a whale dress. I keep saying I am going to be the size of a whale. I guess I didn’t think about how I would feel about my body getting stretched and pushed and pulled until I actually start looking at these pregnancy magazines my doctor’s office sent me home with. Some of these women are huge! I simply cannot get that big! And yet, I keep eating -- and of course, you have to eat healthfully, which I have been.

Anyway, I got this dress on eBay. I told the seller it was the first maternity item I’d purchased. She was so sweet that, in with the dress, she put a cute little card wishing me and my baby a long and happy life.

The little tingles go up and down my arms.

It's a great dress, though. It has leopard-print trim. And it's one of the few I've seen that doesn't look like a muumuu. Not that I need maternity clothing yet.

You can't always get what you want

Saturday, February 11:

Today is our friend’s birthday. He is having a party at another friend’s house where the guy is known for making excellent margaritas and daiquiris.

Man, it’s so true that you really want what you can’t have.

Keeping secrets

Monday, February 6:

My friend tells me she is going to see her doctor because she hasn’t had her cycle in a long time, and she thinks she might be pregnant.

“Really?” I say.

Oh, man, what am I doing? I don’t remember what week I’m on, but I’m keeping this huge secret from my friends. I wish I knew what to do. If I can just hang on a few more weeks -- and if they will forgive me . . . .

She tells me not to tell anyone, and of course, I won’t, but I break the rule just slightly and tell my husband. Does he think we should keep waiting? He desperately wants to tell some of his friends. Maybe the three-month rule is stupid.

But still we tell nobody.

Are you ready for a new sensation?

Sunday, February 5:

My husband’s parents call right around bedtime. They want to know how our anniversary went.

But, really, what his mom wants to tell us is that we created quite a stir when we told his family.

First, his sister picked up our adorable nephew from preschool and went straight to their parents’ house on Friday to discuss the baby news. I don’t know what they talked about. They are great people, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were gossiping about me.

Then, my husband’s aunt called his mom and talked on the phone until 2 a.m.! His mom told me she practically recounted my husband’s entire childhood. His aunt and uncle never had children, but they doted on my husband and his sister as they grew up. All I can say is, I’m glad it was her and not me on the phone until 2 a.m.

My mother-in-law also said they talked to Grandfather’s second wife, who was still shaken up and happy about the news.

Who knew we’d create such a sensation?!

It's our anniversary

Saturday, February 4:

Today is our anniversary. We have agreed not to give each other presents for our anniversary or for Valentine’s Day because my husband wants to get a video camera.

He has been wanting a video camera for at least five years. He has always said, “Especially if we have a little one.”

It’s my idea that he pick out and get the one he wants this year and go without exchanging gifts.

But I got him a card, and he didn’t even give me that much.

He tells our friends we’re going to Burger King to celebrate.

But we really go to microbrewery. Funny place to go when you’re not supposed to drink, huh? But the food is really good. I get a veggie burger and eat the whole thing. I’m stuffed. My husband eats a whole rack of ribs.

This kid is going to be a good eater.

Telling the family, part 2

Thursday, February 2:

I don’t know why, but my husband picked this day to tell the rest of his family.

Maybe it’s because we called them on our cell phone on the way out of town in the evening, so they wouldn’t feel they could take up our whole evening going on and on about the baby. (We are traveling for something I have to do for my work the next day. He decided to tag along. Or maybe he didn’t want me to go by myself. He is getting so protective.)

His grandfather’s second wife is first. She is an old family friend who married his grandfather a few years after my husband’s grandmother passed away. Now his grandfather is gone, too, but of course we still embrace her as family. She knows my grandmother -- the one boasting about this being her fifth great-grandchild -- and starts crying when she thinks about how this has made her happy. But she isn’t making sense. She jumps from one conversation point to another. She says my husband’s grandparents are looking down from heaven and are happy about the baby. I think that makes her cry, too, because she misses both of them. We’ve obviously shaken her up with the news.

Next are my husband’s aunt and uncle. I make him break the news. I have my own family to deal with -- and it makes me nervous. His aunt is known for being a long-winded phone talker. When I get on the phone, she seems to want to talk mostly about what room we will turn into the baby’s room and how we are going to decorate it. And, wow, isn’t that great, that we had a kid to give my husband’s adorable nephew someone to play with? Why, yes, that’s exactly why we are having this baby! We are thinking only of our nephew’s happiness in everything! I know she means well, but I just wonder about the things she says sometimes. Then her husband comes home while I am talking to her, so I have to tell him, and he seems happy. Why does this make me squirm? The call is over soon, I guess because he works long hours and they need to eat dinner.

Even though it makes me squirm to tell them, it’s good to know the baby has family who are happy at just the thought of him or her.

Telling the family, part 1

Wednesday, February 1:

I come home late from a band rehearsal. This is going to be a very musical baby if I have anything to say about it. Which of course, I will. At the very least, the baby is going to be a singer.

My husband is talking on the phone with his sister. I don’t know how I know this, but I know. I also know he has told her.

He tells me about the conversation later. She took it pretty well. He also got to talk to her husband. He said we will wish we would have had a kid sooner.

It’s their kid who has the August birthday, the one everyone adores.

One parent to go

Sunday, January 29:

My husband has been harping at me to get a new car for three years. He hates the idea of repairing the same problem again and again. Today we get a new car.

I may be a mom-to-be, but there’s no way I’m driving a minivan. SUVs are on the way out and use too much gas -- besides, my husband drives an SUV, so we don’t need a second one. I searched the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety site (http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx) and also bought a book about cars from Consumer Reports. I narrowed it down to three cars, took them for a test drive, and today we are picking up my favorite of the bunch -- an Infiniti G35.

We had to have the car shipped, and now we’re finalizing everything. It all goes smoothly -- but my husband and I are keeping an eye on the time because of our dinner date with his parents.

An hour later, they arrive with a tree, and for a split second, I’m afraid they already know. Don’t people plant trees when there’s a kid?

But no, thank goodness, the tree is a gift for our upcoming anniversary, and to replace one of the many we lost in a hurricane this year.

They have to take a ride around the block in the new car, and then my husband and I lead the way to an Italian restaurant we “discovered” a few months ago. The food is always good, and everyone’s order tonight is perfect. I realize I’m eating like a lumberjack and force myself to slow down.

When we finish and insist my father-in-law order dessert to celebrate, my husband brings out a birthday gift. I’m waiting, and I’m waiting, and he still keeps the second card -- the baby card -- in his hand under the table.

Our leftovers are getting packed up, and we are some of the last people in the restaurant. What is he waiting for? I think I might really be sick.

Then he hands the card to his dad.

“What’s this?” he asks. “You already gave me a birthday card.”

It’s just some regular stationery I have on hand. But inside is one of the sonogram printouts.

“Well, it’s a sonogram of some kind,” my father-in-law says, turning it this way and that. “I’ve had lots of sonograms, so I know that’s what it is.”

My mother-in-law is just staring.

My husband instructs his dad to look under the sonogram, where he’s written a brief note about “the newest member of the family.”

Now his dad is speechless, but his mom says, “You’re expecting?” and she starts to cry.

She asks me if I feel OK. They say they won’t plan any traveling near the month of September and will do whatever they can -- just let them know.

Then we really are the last people in the restaurant. The very last. We say goodbye to my husband’s parents in the parking lot and drive my new car home.

Three parents down. One to go.

One parent down

Saturday, January 28:

My husband and I are going out to dinner with his parents tomorrow night to celebrate his dad’s birthday, and I agreed to let my husband tell his parents the baby news then.

That means I have to face my stepmother before tomorrow night.

I told her if I ever got pregnant, she’d be the first to know (after my husband).

I couldn’t reach her all day. Finally around 9:30, I got her on her cell phone. Luckily, she was with the whole family (brother, grandmother and family friend), waiting for a table at a restaurant. They’re an hour behind me where they live, but that’s still a late dinner. She was tired.

“Well, as long as you’re all there, when you get a table, you’re going to have to get a drink or a dessert to celebrate,” I say.

“Celebrate what?”

“Well, I told you you’d be the first to know.”

“First to know what?” she says. Then she gasps. “You’re pregnant?” she whispers.


The cell phone made the rounds. My brother, who has been the most outspoken about wanting my husband and me to have a child since the day of our wedding, was happy and kept saying congratulations. My grandmother informed me this would be her fifth great-grandchild. My stepmom just kept saying she was in shock.

You can’t blame her. I told her for years I wasn’t going to get married. Then I told her for years I wasn’t going to have children. Because of my age, I’m sure she’d given up on the idea altogether. Her generation didn’t wait until 35+ to have a child.

One parent down. Three to go.

Yep, now she's a mom

Friday, January 27:

A package from Gap arrives. I got an e-mail about an after-Christmas sale some weeks ago and noticed Gap sells maternity and baby clothes. So I found this cute set of “onesie” outfits that are decorated with the days of the week -- just like the panties when you’re a little girl. They also have little teddy bears on them. Either a boy or a girl could wear them.

What’s happening to me?! I’m buying baby clothes!

My husband comes home and see the package sitting on the table. He points, and his mouth opens and his eyebrows shoot up, but he can’t say anything for a while.

“You bought baby clothes?!”

I just laugh.

“Well, you brought home a stuffed animal.”

It’s true. It was a little giveaway at his office a couple days ago. Some company promoting something. But it’s still cute.

No rabbits were harmed in the making of this blog

Wednesday, January 25:

The last time I had a checkup with my OB/GYN, the waiting room was overflowing with women. I mean, there wasn’t even room to sit down. Today, it’s a ghost town.

The FBI now has a face. It’s not smiling, no surprise.

“Is this your first prenatal visit?”

“No,” I say, “I’ve been here before. I’m a patient. I have the same insurance, address and everything.”

“But this is your first prenatal visit?”

“I’m here to find out if I’m pregnant.”

We go back and forth like this until another agent appears.

“Do we have a problem here?” she asks. I swear I’m not making this up.

“Look, I don’t know your terminology,” I say. “I’m here to find out if I’m pregnant.”

“So this is your first prenatal visit.”

Like I said, I want to scream.

Now, if there’s something I hate to do, it’s fill out forms. Even though my doctor has all of my information up to date, because this is my first prenatal visit, I have to fill out the same paperwork plus some, which goes in a separate file from my regular one. What a pain in the ass. (Forgive me, God.)

On top of my contact information (on two or three separate forms), insurance information, health history and other goodies my doctor all has, I get a special form from the state asking questions like:

Do you go to bed hungry?
Do you ever fear for your safety?
What education level did you attain?

This is part of why I hate forms. Yes, sometimes, I recall being hungry but being too tired to do anything about it -- but I had already eaten a nice dinner. Yes, sometimes I fear for my safety -- who doesn’t? Why does my education level matter -- can only smart people have children?

Later, I find out the state won’t do anything with my form. What a @#*! waste of my time! Waste of my taxpayer money, too.

I turn the stupid forms back in and wait. I’m too tense. I tell myself to relax despite my reception from the FBI. It’s an hour before I get called. Even though the office is a ghost town.

The first person I see is a nurse with my mother’s name. She asks me if I have already peed in the cup. I tell her no one told me to. She looks at my file. Once again, I say I am there to find out if I’m pregnant.

Apparently, the FBI didn’t tell her this vital information.

Now it’s a whole different ball game.

So I get to pee in a cup. I get weighed (which I hate -- I don’t keep track of my weight because I don’t care about numbers, only how my clothes feel) and heighted (hey, it should be a word). I answer a half-hour of questions about my medical history, family medical problems, everything down to when I broke a bone in a car crash. I happen to mention I might -- might -- be a tiny bit Native American, and the nurse writes this down with interest. She has no problem answering my questions and seems very on the ball. I like her. I tell her I don’t know anything. Anything. This doesn’t bother her.

Now I meet the nurse practitioner, who is like a nurse plus. She is a mature woman, but not stuffy at all, and I like her, too. She examines me and I’m instantly aware of a little device on wheels that turns out to be an ultrasound machine.

This might be too much information, but apparently the only way to do an ultrasound this early is to stick a wand inside you. The screen looks like static to me, but the nurse practitioner finds something, and shows me. Something like a dark kidney shape. There’s a little cursor blinking rapidly. It’s the heart, she says.

I cry just one tear.

She prints out a couple different angles and gives them to me. Souvenirs.

“My husband is going to be so jealous he wasn’t here for this,” I say.

Using some kind of little wheel, the nurse practitioner estimates the due date at Aug. 31.

“No!” I say. “It can’t be in August.”


“Because there’s already a kid in the family -- everybody’s favorite kid -- with an August birthday.” I have a sudden, crashing daymare of my child always competing with this kid -- a nephew, the first grandchild in the family -- and possibly being required to share a birthday party with him. Blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, a kid who seemingly can do no wrong when the family gets together. I just don’t want any comparisons.

“You know babies come whenever they come,” the nurse practitioner said, smiling.

“I know,” I lament. “But it just can’t be August. I thought it might be more like Sept. 11.” Come on, I was the one there for the conception, wasn’t I?

“OK,” she says. “We’ll put down Sept. 1.” She writes in a file. “It’s official, Sept. 1.”


Now I get my blood drawn. I go to the lab area of the office. I’ve never been here before. The lab tech reminds me of Marisa Tomei. I cannot watch, so I look around the room. She draws blood for 11 -- 11! -- different vials.

“Congratulations,” she says when it’s over.

She’s the only one to say that to me that day. Actually, the first person, ever.

The nurse with my mother’s name appears with a goody bag. It’s full of pregnancy magazines, free samples and prenatal vitamins. The bag weighs 10 pounds. I tell her about the vitamins making me sick. She says to try these new ones.

She also tells me to set up my next appointment in one month, and also another one with a genetic counselor the office recommends.

See, I’m over that special age of 35. Apparently, I’m old and high risk.

The FBI aren’t pleasant when I make my appointment. They also refute the nurse’s direction for me to make an appointment with the genetic counselor, telling me instead that someone will call me for an appointment later. Whatever. I’m just glad to be outta there.

When I go home, I put one of the ultrasound printouts in a frame that’s sitting empty on a shelf, a gift from last year some time. Then I put it in a leftover gift bag for my husband.

He puts the frame on the nightstand with the sunflower seed.

Of calendars and sunflower seeds

Saturday, January 21:

I do some more searching online. There are a million baby and pregnancy sites. Most of them are cheesy. One of them shows you a calendar where you can see day by day how the baby is developing.

Now, I’ve had to guess at when the conception took place. If it’s not too much information, I think it was about a week before Christmas. Which -- yikes -- I think means the due date would be Sept. 11.

I print out the calendar and show my husband. The calendar says the baby is starting to develop nerves. He feigns jealousy. “He’s making nerves? That’s more than I accomplished today. Little show-off.”

The calendar also indicates the baby is about the size of a sunflower seed. Luckily, I feed birds in the backyard, so I have one. I show it to my husband.

He is keeping the sunflower seed on his nightstand now.

My husband’s father’s birthday is coming up. He wants to tell his parents then. I tell him we’ll wait and see; I want to go to the doctor first.

It's the vitamins, I'm telling you

Monday, January 16:

The prenatal vitamins are making me sick. On the days I take them, I feel queasy -- not nauseated enough to throw up, but kind of unsettled -- I also have to take a one- to two-hour nap, and I cannot sleep through the night without having to get up to pee.

Now, apparently these are normal symptoms for the first three months -- the first trimester. But on the days I forget to take the vitamins, I feel fine. I don’t feel pregnant at all. Maybe I’m not. I resolve not to take any more vitamins until my appointment with the mysterious nurse practitioner next week.

Dos and don'ts

Saturday, January 14:

Today is the first day I don’t feel sick anymore. I actually got through a cold without taking any medicine! No fun. I hope it didn’t hurt the kid. What if I had a fever while I was sick? Isn’t that supposed to be bad for a baby?

I’m also finding out the other things I’m not supposed to do or eat, courtesy of Internet searching: no uncooked hot dogs or deli meat (they might have the listeria bacteria), fish (too much mercury; some people say a little is OK), caffeine (supposed to be bad, but some reports say an occasional cup of coffee is fine), alcohol (big duh, except again, some reports say a rare glass of wine won’t hurt anything), nuts (the baby might develop allergies to nuts, which doesn’t make any sense to me), hot tubs (because they baby gets cooked?) . . . No sushi (not that I ever eat that), no scuba diving (not that I’ve ever tried it), no jumping out of airplanes (at least on purpose). And it’s best if you lie on your left side at night because that’s supposed to give the best blood flow to the baby.

The kid’s not even here, and s/he’s already taking over my life.

The temperature is still cold. How nice that it’s a long weekend, though.

Dealing with the FBI

Monday, January 9:

I finally remember to call my doctor for an appointment.

Now, my OB/GYN seems like a great person. But her front desk people make me want to scream. They are rude. They disconnect me. I have to call back. I explain again I think I’m pregnant and need to come in to see for sure. They don’t care. People get pregnant all the time. I’m not special. They are cold. They are the FBI: Frosty Bitches of Ice. (Forgive me, God.)

The FBI begrudgingly give me an appointment. I cannot see my doctor; I have to see the nurse practitioner, whom I’ve never met. And I have to wait two and a half weeks.

When to tell?

Sunday, January 8:

My husband and I are supposed to go out with some friends today, but I have been feeling so sick, and the temperature has been so cold, that I tell them I have to reschedule. I told everyone they could go without me, but they wouldn’t.

When do you tell your friends that you’re expecting? I’ve always heard you wait for three months. I don’t know if that’s because you’re showing by that time, or if there’s a greater chance of miscarriage during the first three months. Whatever. I still feel like a traitor.

Even though I’m sick, when I think about having a little person to hold, I get these little shivers up and down my arms.

Is that a vitamin in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?

Friday, January 6:

I go to a local health food store. There must be something I can take. Extra vitamin C something-or-other. Super immune-boosting stuff.

I also pick up the store brand’s all-natural prenatal vitamins.

When I get home, I see these vitamins are the size of Mini Coopers. And you’re supposed to take three of them every day. So I resolve to take one after every meal.

Still miserable

Thursday, January 5:

This cold is making me miserable! And I can’t take anything for it! And I can’t even remember to call my doctor.

Miserable cold

Tuesday, January 3:

Now I’ve done it. I’ve caught a cold. Should have known not to be around all those sick people on New Year’s Eve.

And because I’m expecting, I know there are medicines I’m not supposed to take. But I don’t know what they are.

I realize I don’t know anything about being pregnant. Nothing.
A pharmacist tells me I can take regular Robitussin and regular-strength Tylenol until I can get an appointment with my doctor. Neither one of these things will clear my head, though. I guess I’m just going to be stuffy.

Proof positive

Monday, January 2:

You cannot just go to a store and buy a pregnancy test. You have to buy several other things with it. That way, you look nonchalant. And you hope the cashier and bagger won’t say anything. Either this time, or the next time you go into the store.

You’re supposed to take the test first thing in the morning. I tell my husband that’s what I’m doing. I follow the instructions to a T. I cannot breathe as I see first one line, then two, appearing on the stick. It’s very fast. There’s no faint coloration. There’s no maybe. I’m pregnant.

I carry the stick back to my husband. He’s now cleaning the cat litter box. I can’t get his attention. Sulking, I put the stick down on his nightstand along with the test instructions. He can look at it for himself.

And why is cleaning the litter box more important right now?!

He finally sits down to look at the stick. He reads the test instructions.

He’s impressed the instructions claim the test is 99.9% accurate.


We don’t get out of bed for a long time after that. It’s a holiday, anyway.

What a way to start the new year

Sunday, January 1:

Happy new year! It’s now been more than a week. I think I’ll get a home pregnancy test tomorrow. What a way to start the year, huh?

What about the three drinks I had last night to celebrate the new year? I don’t even know if I’m pregnant, and I feel guilty already.


Monday, December 26:

I should have had my regular cycle by now. It was nice to celebrate Christmas without starting it, but now, I’m beginning to wonder.