Today I dared to pee on a stick. Actually, my bravery began a few days ago when I got on my bike and rode to the drugstore to pick up the pregnancy test. I did my best to ride slow and not to sweat and more importantly, not to fall.
I had to do a u-turn on an unpaved road because they were doing construction. Don’t fall. I rode to town and the Kruidvat was closed. It was the day of the worker; everyone’s resting but me. And of course, my in-laws had warned me about that last week but I forgot.
So yesterday I went again and everything was open and I tried not to make eye contact with the woman at the counter as I laid down six pregnancy tests. Have a nice day, she said.
I have done pregnancy tests before. Once at work, a long time ago when I wanted it to be negative and I was sure it wasn’t going to be. I’ve done it when my period was way too late and I was hopeful and ultimately disappointed. I know what it’s like not to see anything but confirmation you peed on a stick.
The double line showed up in the second minute. I would say faint, I feel like I should say faint, like all the blogging gals do. But it was kind of clear. At the five minute mark, it is there, not as dark as the test line, but there. I am strangely numb while I look at it. Detached. Like how a scientist must be upon some great discovery.
Afterwards, I go back to bed. Pet the Lilou’s belly, the little indent near where her stitches used to be. And slowly the possibility unfolds. I had given up on the baby name searches, the what to expect lists. But for the rest of the day, I allow myself to deliberate not over hormones and two week waits, but to read about what baby names are in fashion. What would happen next. What might happen next.
Like the weather here today, a dry gray sky- we remain cautiously optimistic.
I wrote the above five months ago.
We are 21 weeks this Friday and everything is well. Almost as a kind of reward for what it took to get to this point, there has been no morning sickness. A bountiful appetite, and now an impossible to hide waistline.
I confess it’s strange to finally arrive somewhere you’ve been striving for after so long. At first, it was like I had given all my attention to the getting pregnant, that it seemed I had nothing left for the being pregnant. I ran away from those exhaustive and exhausting shopping lists. I read symptom lists repeatedly, only to forget everything. I did a lot of sleeping.
Things are better now. I’m getting used to being a normal pregnant lady. It’s been interesting. I’m learning things about myself that I didn’t know before. Like, I’m vain. Really vain. I’ve never been thin, never had an hourglass figure, never felt I could trade anything for my looks. But I didn’t realize how much I took my body for granted, how much the physical changes of pregnancy would affect me. I always thought pregnancy would be the one time I would not worry about my weight, and it’s just the opposite. I’m trawling pregnancy fashion websites like it’s a new career (which I suppose it kind of is) in an attempt to maintain (and flatter) myself in an unfamiliar body.
The other thing I realized is that I’m not, at least not right now, a sentimental mommy to be. The expression bundle of joy kind of makes me gag. Little blankets with cartoonish animals made of flannel make me wonder if it isn’t too late to change my mind. I’m thinking grey and black as a nursery theme (ok, maybe not…). At an ultrasound we told the doctor the little person looked a bit like an alien; we’re calling me The Host. I think the most common expression on my face these days is one of total confused bewilderment. And maybe a bit of panic. How did I get here? Which is ironic, considering.
I’m figuring out what kind of mommy I want to be. Or don’t want to be. Probably not the one who dresses their children like dolls, who showcases and publicizes them in some idyllic photo shopped setting. Maybe it’s because our pregnancy journey felt so external, so public, that now I’m just trying to recover as much privacy and intimacy as I can. And while I don’t want to be the mom who grows her own organic baby food and who sanitizes every surface her child will touch, I am starting to have opinions on things- secret, stupid little principles about how I’d like to raise this little person, which will probably fly out the window in the face of reality. I’m learning the girl who likes to have it all under control is going to have to ask for help. A lot of it. From my mother in law, no less.
In a flurry of nursery images and lullabies and baby emporiums and bumptastic fashion and layette listings, both physically and mentally, I find myself fighting to define some core sense of the real me in all this. It’s silly, I know. Useless too. People keep telling me motherhood is going to change me, and I’ve no doubt about that (and probably no real sense of the totality of it either) even as I push against it. It’s like I’m bobbing on the mommy-to-be wave, which is a whole other kind of nausea than the one they talk about.
But I’ll be okay. More than okay. I can see the shore four months ahead and however rocky the ride, underneath all the sarcasm and angst and posh pregnancy frocks, it is holding me strong and steady.
Ready or not, here I come.