July 13, 2017
I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. My period was a full five days late, and for someone whose cycles normally run like clockwork, I was starting to suspect that something was off. I’d promised myself that I’d take a pregnancy test on this particular day if “Aunt Flo” didn’t show up. But opening up that small, neatly-packaged fortune teller was a lot scarier than I anticipated. Immediately after taking the test, I set it down and fled to the other room. “It needs time to develop,” I reasoned…
After waiting a couple of minutes, I returned and looked at the results to find very strong lines indicating that our family of two was about to expand. Taylor was incredulous when I showed him the test; I expected an excited outburst, but he was cautious. “Can we really trust that?” he asked, “Maybe you should take another just to be sure??!”
I knew inside that something was different, and I immediately felt excited and nervous, all at once. A lot of change was happening in my life–I’d quit my job, we’d moved into a new one-bedroom apartment and we had a trip to Alaska looming on the horizon. Life was (and always is) busy, and now we had a new little puzzle piece to fit into the bigger picture.
August 10, 2017
My first doctor’s appointment. As I walked into the office, I realized that I was getting a glimpse of my life for the next nine months: monthly checkups (at least at the beginning), getting blood drawn and talking about all of these once-hypothetical concepts like epidurals and birthing classes. My first appointment included an ultrasound, where we learned that I was only carrying one baby (phew!) and that the little one had a strong, consistent heartbeat. I analyzed the photos of the scan afterwards; my eyes painstakingly attempting to find something human in the small, light-colored blob that the tech had identified as my baby. I saw a raspberry…no, wait, it looks like a pig. Ah yes, that’s the snout there, and there is its left eye. This is definitely a pig. But the doc says it’s a human?
After parading the scan around to show family and friends (sometimes using the phrase “I made dis” while proudly displaying it), I tacked the image to my refrigerator.
The First Trimester
…was uneventful. Some mornings, I woke up feeling sick. Soda crackers could dispel the nausea most of the time, but sometimes I had to call in the big guns: Sprite and other carbonated goodies. I could still stomach most foods, although the thought of Indian food or Chick-Fil-A made me want to hurl. Aside from dealing with lower back pain and stomach sickness, life went on as usual during my first trimester. I went to work. I went to the climbing gym. I traveled. I hung out.
There is one day during the first trimester that sticks out to me, because it’s the point at which I realized I was developing a bond with this small piglet/raspberry/human. I’d woken up to find a few spots of dried blood, and I felt instant terror. In my studious perusing of mommy blogs and baby-related Facebook groups, I’d learned that many miscarriages were accompanied by bleeding. To calm myself down, I took a shower. I was still for a few moments before bursting into tears. And these weren’t little whimpering boo-hoo style tears, these were full-on, convulsing sobs. I kept telling myself to calm down but it took me a few minutes to get it together. After that episode I called my doctor and we confirmed at a later date that the baby was fine, but I’d surprised myself with the depth of emotion that surfaced during that routine, early-morning shower.
The Second Trimester
…was like seeing land after days of being at sea. No foods felt off-limits to me now: even Chick-Fil-A, my mortal enemy in months past, didn’t frighten me. I ate Mexican food, I had Indian food…and finished every last bit of it. I snacked on all of my favorite pre-pregnancy treats. It was (and continues to be) a glorious thing.
I remember feeling baby’s first movements. It was a flutter in my stomach, just the dimmest flicker of life, and then silence for several weeks. Around week 18, baby was getting more restless. I started feeling consistent kicks and flutters. At the same time, my stomach began a slow and steady expansion. It was odd initially to look in the mirror and to see what seemed like fat, but then to feel my stomach and to notice its firmness.
November 2, 2017
I’d anticipated today’s appointment for months. This was the day when we’d finally figure out the sex of our active little one! My in-laws joined us for the ultrasound appointment, and we all gathered around anxiously as a blurry image emerged on the screen.
The first few minutes of the scan were hilarious and awe-inspiring at the same time. Baby was moving like crazy; batting its little hands, kicking its little feet and squirming into all kinds of positions. We saw a strong heartbeat, a healthy-looking brain and a well-developed spine. But baby wasn’t so quick to reveal other parts. With its little legs firmly crossed, the ultrasound tech jostled my stomach in an attempt to get baby to move. It took close to 10 minutes before we finally got a shot that said “girl” loud and clear. Baby is girl!! “It” is now “she”; “its” is finally “hers”. And my suspicions were confirmed: I’d felt all along that this feisty little fetus was going to be a female, but now I had proof.
At the time of this post, I am close to 21 weeks along. Anyone who knows me well knows that this pregnancy is a pretty huge deal to me. I don’t pride myself on being the nurturing type, and taking care of helpless things is not something that I’m particularly skilled at. Ever since I was a teenager I wondered if I’d get married, let alone have a child. But so far being pregnant, at least, has been far more rewarding and exciting than I ever expected. I haven’t yet faced the rigors of the third trimester or the terrifying process of labor, but I am looking forward to meeting my sweet little girl. I think about all of the experiences that I can’t wait to share with her and the important things that I need to teach her. I already can tell that being a mother is an awesome and daunting responsibility, and I feel so grateful to be embarking on this journey!