The title of this post is a small homage (that very few will understand) to the title of the album my husband recorded with Garage Band, a four-track, and a host of per diem drummers during our days of basement apartment living, only to be distributed among friends and musical acquaintances in our private world. I dig it because it defies label and preview – seems to say, You’ll just have to listen and see for yourself. He really hates when people ask him what his songs are about. In kind, the reader of this blog might ask, Do I care about this? as she debates whether to click to reveal the “xxxx more words.” Well, my fickle online audience of the 21st century, it’s a laundry list of stuff and things, of life unfolding busily during my bloggy hiatus, and I’m having a hard enough time putting words on the page these days without the pressure of cooking up a clever title.
Announcement to Family and Gender Reveal
I mentioned awhile back that we wanted to restore some mystery to the baby-making journey by staying Team Green until the wail in the delivery room. Apparently I was bluffing. The decision to hunt down the gender portion of our CCS results bloomed from lots of discussion between me and the hubs, ultimately cemented by the reality the he, as a medical professional, can read ultrasounds and didn’t want to be shut out of that miraculous little piece of the pregnancy experience – watching the shadowy little thing wiggle and wave on screen. This catapulted Yours Truly into a whole round of phone calls, starting with my very lovely nurse at RMA, who then had to pass me off to CCRM because they had the information, and only I had the authority to request a release of that portion of the report. Unsurprisingly, my first contact was with an uppity receptionist, who attempted to shut me down by claiming, “We wouldn’t release that to you because you’re no longer a patient here,” at which point I introduced her to my Fierce Advocate persona, and she transferred me to a genetic counselor with a puff of exasperation. (Sidenote: CCRM is ultra-protective of this information because they are morally opposed to using CCS for gender selection, which I respect, particularly when the feminist in me thinks of rich couples coming over from India and China to avoid raising girls, who obviously rule.) Happily, said genetic counselor was incredibly sweet and released the report later that day with very little red tape aside from a simple fax from my RMA nurse indicating that I was already pregnant with the embryo.
It was sort of wacky and exhilarating when the envelope arrived in the mail, the creamy paper of it electrified with mystery and anticipation, and even more surreal as we stood at the bakery counter after the clerk had already taken our letter in the back to jot down which cake she’d be baking. What an outstanding poker face she maintained while we placed the order, “Lemon sponge cake, whipped cream, mm-hmm, and the filling? Raspberry mousse or fresh blueberries, great.” Oh you sly minx, you, bakery-counter-girl!
Of course the heavens dropped several more inches of snow on the already frozen and ice-laden Northeast on the day of the family brunch. (Not that this should surprise anyone since it happens approximately every three days!) Cue a flurry of texts and phone calls to cousins and moms, etc. to confirm that, yes, the brunch is still happening because I ordered a bunch of food and you live in the same town as me, for God’s sake, so lace up your boots and get your butt over here. Once everyone had trickled in, at long last, I brought out the gifts for my mom and my brother, revealing bibs that read “Spoiled by my Grandma” and “Awesome runs in my family,” wrapped lovingly in ivory tissue paper and nestled inside of keepsake boxes printed with “You are my sunshine!” in silvery lettering. My mother, who is a jerk, was too busy making dumb jokes about the way I folded my tissue paper to open the damn thing, so my brother got to his first, staring at the bib with a flicker of confusion-turned-awe as he sputtered, “Really?” When I nodded my head yes, his face turned cherry-red with tears, and all 200+ pounds of broad-shouldered muscle was reduced to quivering sobs as he hugged me and mumbled, “I’m so happy for you” into my hair.
Sometime after that, my mom caught on that something significant was taking place, and she finally took her bib out of the box and burst into tears herself, but that’s where all the appropriate reverence for this miracle stopped. In a conversation about how tiny my bump still was at 14 weeks, my mom turned my explanation (“I am literally big boned, so there’s lots of room to grow before it pops up out of the hips.” Truth, I am super tall and have a large frame) into a fat joke. Then as I mentioned that I have a tilted uterus and that this is also keeping me from looking obviously pregnant, she made another crass joke about how she has one too and that was supposed to make it hard for her to get pregnant (snort, snicker, scoff). Then she referred to my father as “Fertile Myrtle” and flaunted how quickly they became pregnant each time. This is how my mother responded to learning that her daughter is newly pregnant with her first ever grandchild after 5 years of failed IVF and pregnancy loss. There she is, folks, my mom – try to keep your envy in check, please. I extracted myself from contact with her after that to move on to more sensitive guests, and the outpouring of joy was really humbling.
And then we cut the cake!
Those are blueberries, friendly reader who lasted this long! Everyone asks me when I tell them now that we’re having a boy whether that’s what I wanted, but I know you will understand better than anyone that a baby, healthy and alive, is all that matters. It does, however, confirm mother’s intuition and all the male pronouns I was inclined to use from the ‘Jellyfish’ stage. Here we come, Thomas the Train, things covered in mud, diaper changes in which I get peed on, and driving cars too fast one day. It all suddenly feels so real.
Two things happened after the party: (1) We decided that we want to rip the roof off our house and build a second floor, and (2) I went to Florida to visit my best friend so we could do the registry together. I have been missing her so much in this special and unforgettable time. I had always imagined her here with me through all these rites of passage, and the distance makes me more than a little sad. There was also the two-prong bonus of fleeing the tundra for a few days of sun and grass and temps above freezing. I managed to steal one 85-degree day on the beach for girl talk and vitamin D before the cold followed me south and I had to dig out the one pair of leggings I brought with me to avoid having to shop for warmer clothes at the local Target.
The registry process was a bit overwhelming – so much stuff (things and things AND THINGS) and so many models of each individual thing to choose from. The sheer number of car seats and strollers and (accessories for the car seats and strollers) needed for one kid really bowled me over. Tackling BRU with my friend, who brought laughter and lightness whenever my brow furrowed and anxiety surfaced, was just the perfect thing.
Since then it has been full steam ahead on the house renovation, which is on a very tight timeline. We started with the bank, and I have been obsessively looking at MLS to determine whether comps in the area will justify the loan. It’s a scary time, with unpaid maternity leave ahead, to dive into this huge financial commitment, but the reality is that our house is barely big enough for the two of us plus one child, and we’d have to expand in order to have a second. I’ve had all these nightmarish thoughts about moving in with my mother-in-law (which we will have to do in order to do construction of this caliber) while pregnant again and working with a kid in tow. Do it now, my gut tells me, so the architect comes to measure tomorrow, and we’ll use those plans to get hard estimates from the contractors we’ve been in touch with. Then we compare that to the appraisal and submit the loan application. My hope is that construction will be underway in June? I will probably spend the first few weeks postpartum roughing it at my mother-in-law’s, but it’s not the worst thing that ever happened; it’s built-in help for the early weeks! She has been so sweet about the whole thing: we had to insist that we absolutely would not take her bedroom and would make the space in her guest room work. Needless to say, my Pinterest boards have been very active with nursery ideas, bathroom fixtures, staircase designs, on and on. What a thrilling time this is!
How I’m Feeling
Unfortunately, I’ve resigned myself to being one of those women who is sick for the whole pregnancy. I am not throwing up every night or struggling to keep fluids down the way I was at 8-12 weeks, but I am nauseous most nights and still throw up occasionally; I have virtually no pregnancy cravings because my stomach is always on a hair trigger, and I am eating more sugar and less protein than maybe ever in my life because of persistent food aversions. Que sera sera – pregnancy doesn’t last forever, and it’s a small price to pay. I just wish Bunny would start kicking soon so I can soak in some of the magic of this. So far it’s been all discomfort and dreams of what will be.
The bleeding, on the other hand, has stopped – hurray! My fourth and last gushing bleed happened at work toward the end of January, and I stopped spotting entirely around 12 weeks. As you can imagine, this has been an incredible relief. We also had a normal NT scan, which was the last time I got to see Bunny doing his watery gymnastics. I heard the heartbeat for some reassurance at my check-up around 15+ weeks, and my level II scan is scheduled for the end of this month. My bump is still very subtle, and my students tell me constantly that I could have kept it a secret for a lot longer. My not so secret wish is that I will look obviously pregnant by Easter (21 weeks) when we will be in Italy, because I am insecure about looking instead like a fat American in the land of svelte and honey-complexioned fashionistas. In the meantime, I live in leggings, tunics, sweater dresses and yoga pants because I’ve outgrown all my structured jeans and dress pants but am not yet big enough to graduate to the maternity store.