WARNING: This post talks about periods and eggs and pee and biology so approach with caution.
Everyone always makes a big fuss about Baby’s one-year birthday (aka Mom’s one-year painday, may I remind you until you’re 35, son) and I suppose in the grand scheme of things that is the bigger deal. But I think that personally I have as vivid (if not more so) memories of this day one year ago, when we first found out I was pregnant. (The ensuing 9-12 months are a haze of “I’m tired and I want bread and my hip hurts and I want tuna salad and I have heartburn and I want a tuna salad sandwich and my hip hurts and I’m tired and MEMORY FOAM IS AMAZING and I want a tuna salad sandwich and I’m tired and when is this thing ever going to leave my body and OH MY GOD HE’S HERE AND AMAZING but when am I ever going to sleep again and I STILL WANT A TUNA SALAD SANDWICH aaaaand that’s pretty much where I am right now.” No, really, pregnancy is great, you guys! Guys?)
Let’s rewind first to two months before this auspicious day last summer. The week before the wedding, after obsessively following the calendar for months, I had performed a little bit of witch doctor magic to ensure a menstruation-free honeymoon, because in case you didn’t realize, menstruation puts a real damper on travel and typical honeymoon activities like snorkeling and ATV-ing and whatnot. (If you want to know about whatnot, talk to your parents, kids.) This involved downing a large amount of Vitamin C and ginger essential oil, which I’m not necessarily going to recommend but it had the desired effect.
A month after the wedding, we had returned from our honeymoon cruise and I was still learning to cope with the lack of stateroom attendant and buffet in our home. (“I have to prepare my own food? What is this, the gulag?!”) One morning, around the expected time, I woke up with terrible, roll on the floor and whimper cramps. Which is not typical for me as I have a pretty high pain threshold. Science Guy was very nice and fixed me smiley-face oatmeal to try to help me feel better.
Remaining absolutely rational in the face of severe pain, I ran into my acupuncturist’s office convinced I had endometriosis and would be infertile. After my session I promptly purchased basil and clary sage essential oil to fix my surely barren womb.
I didn’t have much time to worry about it because school started and with that came the usual roaring exhaustion that comes with suddenly having to make 150 new friends in three days. I’d come home from work and lay on the couch for two hours until Science Guy arrived and asked what I’d done after school, to which I responded with my face in a pillow, “You’re looking at it.” Being tired during the first few weeks of school was nothing new.
But being late was. My cycle had been clockwork for about two years before the wedding with occasional lapses induced by stress. When delays longer than a week occurred, I had always checked my gestational status and, upon discovering non-gravidity, did my little witch doctor routine to get things moving without too much fuss. As the days stretched on, I rationalized that my cycle was probably still off from the wedding, plus the stress of back-to-school threw another wrench into things.
But. I. Wondered. Being the paranoid Girl Scout dropout that I was, I had already run the nuclear scenario in my head, run the calculations for the intercontinental ballistic missile launch, assured myself that we would be fine, and rationalized my way out of worrying. But. I. Wondered.
I was almost two weeks late and ready to initiate project witch doctor, but I had to do one last safety check as I had always done. Surely it would be the same as before. I drove to Wal-mart that night, and looking back that was the last “normal” drive of my life.
Test in hand, I got back home and went to the bathroom. (If you don’t know how pregnancy tests work, ask your parents.) I waited to see the two single lines but instead saw this:
My brain stopped functioning, much as it did when Science Guy proposed. Except this time I regained composure much more quickly, quietly tucked the test in my bathroom drawer and started planning how to surprise my dear husband with the news.
Just kidding. I screamed bloody murder and started ugly-crying on the toilet. I don’t recall for certain but there’s a rather high possibility that the first thing I said to Science Guy was, “TELL YOUR ADVISER YOU NEED TO GRADUATE NOW!”
I think that moment is probably the most scared I have ever been in my life. I have a knack for recognizing the watershed moments in life and history, and this was no different. I knew that things would never be the same again. Science Guy was fantastic, and he was excited, and he was not scared, which helped tremendously.
You know how you’re not supposed to tell people you’re pregnant until you’re a few months along and have gotten confirmation from the doctor and such not? I’ll give you three guesses how long I lasted. I needed to talk to another mom, so I called my friend and former coworker and human cooling rod who had just moved to the Pacific Northwest, unfortunately for me because it would have been nice to have her around to complain to for nine months.
She guessed what was up immediately, and then she gave me a very wise reminder that cut through my fog of freakout: this was a blessing, and one that I had come very close to never having. I had almost married someone who didn’t want more children, and I had tried my hardest to convince myself that I didn’t need to be a mother to be truly happy. I’m sure Science Guy and I could have made a good life for ourselves without Fire Monkey, but motherhood is the most natural role I’ve ever held and both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done.
So here’s to one year since you made your debut, little man. We couldn’t imagine life without you.