I came home from work one hot June evening to find JT on the deck, soaking in some sun and calming down after a busy day. I went out to join him, and he filled me in on all the chaos he’d dealt with - juggling multiple assignments, interviews, deadlines and meetings.
“Blah,” I said. “That’s a lot. But you did it! Gimme a hug!”
He did and as I pulled away, a throbbing scorched across me as if I’d just taken a wrecking ball to the chest. The surprise of pain paused my breath, but it quickly subsided.
“What the hell was that?” I wondered, as JT continued his story. I hadn’t done any pec exercises since, well ever. Why was I so sore?
I knew with absolute certainty.
I was pregnant.
The next day, I stopped at the drugstore on the way home from work. Twenty minutes later, the digital reader on the test spelled it out for me: Pregnant, 3+ Weeks.
A smile I couldn’t even try to conceal slapped itself across my face. I wanted to tell JT right away, but I knew he’d had another doozy of a day and needed some downtime after work to get into a good headspace.
So again, I joined him on the deck, though I won’t even pretend that I listened to a word he said as he recapped his stressful day. I waited until I could tell he’d relaxed.
“Well,” I started sitting upright in my chair. “I hope you won’t mind finishing that nice bottle of wine in the fridge.”
He looked at me quizzically. Allowing him to tap into my stash usually required much more than a stressful work day.
He froze. Then, as realization washed over him, he broke into the biggest smile and rushed over to me.
“Careful!” I exclaimed and guarded my chest as he scooped me up into a hug.
Since finding out, I’ve been keeping notes on how things have been going. I’m 19 weeks right now, so some things have changed since I started the following recap. Stay tuned for a second trimester check in coming soon.
And thank you to everyone who has shown JT and I so much kindness as we prepare for this amazing change in our lives. We love you!
First Trimester: Round One!
How I Feel:
Contrary to every chick flick I've ever seen, I did not immediately start vomiting during inconvenient moments ( important business meetings, celebrity interviews, etc.) the instant I peed on a stick. I actually never got nauseous at all, except for once when I was working on a story about butchers and found myself in the middle of a narrow freezer stuffed with moldy chunks of aging beef hanging from metal hooks. And I'm fairly sure that had nothing to do with pregnancy.
This was good because had I been getting sick, I would have likely not had the energy to drag myself to the bathroom. Or hold back my own hair. Because while I was not sick, I was EXHAUSTED. I permanently felt like I'd pulled an all-nighter. Which was ironic, as most nights I was in bed by 10 or, if I was forcing myself to stay up, asleep on the couch by 10:03.
Other than becoming a functioning zombie, I felt pretty great. The realization that what I put into my body actually really mattered now meant clearer skin, less eye puffiness and a sharpened focus. Plus, prenatal vitamins are magic. Within a week of introducing them into my daily routine, I had shinier hair. And for the first time in my life, my nails grew past the quick. As a chronic biter, I never dreamed of nails strong enough to be manicured minus an acrylic applique. I felt a little like Bella in that one “Twilight” movie – not the one where the baby crushes all her bones from the inside (that comes later, right?). I felt like Bella after Edward turned her and she woke up looking like herself, just more alive, despite technically being dead, but whatever. Lusher hair, laser-sharp eyes, general sultriness she definitely didn't have before. I felt like that but without all of the I-hate-everything attitude that seeps into every Kristen Stewart performance.
How JT feels:
I would never presume to speak for him, but he seems cautiously happy. He keeps saying the goal for this stage is to keep me healthy and him sane. I think he’s afraid he’ll end up breaking the baby, but I’ve tried to reassure him that he will be fine. I’m thinking giving him diaper duty for the whole first month should eliminate any initial fear on his part, right?
How other people feel:
So many people had such lovely reactions to the news of my pregnancy. We got lots of well wishes, thoughtful cards, assurances that we'd be great parents. It was so fun to tell our families and all our friends, see their genuinely sweet reactions and bask in all the love and joy.
Yet when it came to telling some people, there were a few reactions that sucked the wind out of my sails faster than you could say “diaper genie.” A quick glance at a few mommy-to-be blogs proved I was not alone in not loving some common responses people (usually relative strangers) have when first hearing your big news. Some universally loathed reactions include:
Reaction #1: Your life is over.
Generally delivered by parents we barely know who still remember the carefree existence they had before the days of early mornings and children's programming.
Here’s the thing: I've heard this a million times. I know my life is going to change in ways I can never even begin to understand right now. I know whatever that new life is will pale in comparison to my current situation in many ways, particularly in the arenas of sleep and social life. I also know that I’m nearing my mid-30s, have had a really great life so far, and am ready for a new chapter that’s not so much about me. Bringing something I love more than myself into the world will be scary, for sure. But I don’t see it as an ending. To me, it’s the beginning. (God, I can hear the people who love to say this laughing at me right now. Again, I know you're right. Just do everyone a favor and quit saying it, OK? It's a huge bummer. K, thanks.)
Reaction #2: Thank goodness! I was starting to think something was wrong. It's about time!
Mostly from people who also asked me about how many children I planned on having before I'd even had my engagement ring sized.
To these people, all I have to say is relax. No one on this planet will ever do things the exact way you want them to, when you want them to, in the exact manner you would. People do what they want to do, when they want to do it. I know you want people to be happy. But they’ll get to that happiness when they’re ready, not when you decide they’re supposed to. OK? We good? OK.
Reaction #3: I knew it.
This reaction was my least favorite, as it dissipated any excitement at the news. And made me feel like I looked like a whale when I was barely showing. When you’re abundantly aware that your body is gearing up for some major shape shifting, vanity is king, people. A bit of advice: even if you’re not surprised, fake it.
Other than those few less than pleasant moments, it’s been a really sweet experience so far filled with little pockets of extreme excitement and anxiety. I met a student doctor at my first appointment, who seemed genuinely pumped to tell me they’d be taking me in for my first sonogram that very day.
“You’ll get to hear the heartbeat!” she squeaked with an enthusiasm I hope she doesn’t lose during her career.
I was so happy, I couldn’t form words so I opted for a goofy grin instead.
“And,” student doc said, leaning in toward me. “You’ll get to find out if there’s more than one.”
The hell? More than one? I felt my grin flip over as the realization washed over me. More than one? Why had I never thought of that? Oh, this does not bode well. I’m going to be a terrible mother! I’ve been so busy being happy at the thought of one, I never let myself think there could be more!
Student Doc saw my expression and immediately backtracked.
“I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to upset you! I just thought…..”
I know what she thought. She thought she was talking to a competent human being who would, I don’t know, have at least a passing thought about the possibility of multiple births.
But then, just as I was making a mental list of all the baby books I should buy seeing as how I knew literally nothing about being a suitable pregnant person, the ultrasound technician scrolled over my belly and a quick whooshwhoosh came through the speaker. It was my baby’s heartbeat, strong and healthy and right there where it was supposed to be. I looked up and saw my (single) little Love Bug for the first time, right there on the screen above me. I couldn’t have kept the smile from returning to my face and after the tech printed out a picture of the sonogram, I carried it around all day and stared at it, already so so in love.
And that’s pretty much how I felt through the entire first trimester. Happy, content, tired, overjoyed, anxious. Round Two started a few weeks ago, and it’s been equally wonderful and scary. (post on that coming soon)
For now, I’m just really trying to savor every moment both because I know how fast this beautiful experience will go and because I know my life will never be the same once it’s over. For right now, it’s all about enjoying what I can, when I can.
Assuming I have the energy to stay awake.