So yes, we have embarked on the journey known popularly as “having kids,” and known in our household as “making copies of ourselves for fun and profit.”
Stream-of-consciousness discussion about why, when, etc. follow:
We had been lazily floating toward addressing this topic for a while, and I think that though we both like kids a lot and wanted kids in theory, the already-packed lives we lead made us pause and consider the implications of bringing a third (innocent) party into all of this. The added responsibility seemed really foreboding to me, and still does. And yet, our parents’ baleful expressions and the prospect of not having any reasons to buy tiny Converses seemed to indicate that we wanted to do this thing. And of course the problem with “deciding later” is that you don’t have infinite time to decide. What if we’re 60 and we’re like “Welp we probably should have looked into that creating descendants thing”? And I’m sure that’s the question that it boils down to for lots of people.
In the meantime, I looked around at a lot of friends and acquaintances who’ve had or are currently having major struggles with trying to conceive, and figured that even if we did decide to go for it, it could take years to get pregnant. They tell me of doctors tried, pills taken, herbal adventures, temperatures gauged, regimented affection-having schedules, etc. — and it sounds like it can become a very mechanical, tiresome pursuit of defense against this fuzzy deadline that hangs over their heads. And it’s not like they do this because they just feel like being control freaks, it’s because they have a deep love for a creature they haven’t even made or met yet, and this love makes it all worth it. I relate to people in the midst of this struggle, but I also see how hard it is and want to try to avoid it. The words of a friend giving advice at my bridal shower (in 2009) echo in my ears: “DO NOT WAIT. HAVE KIDS IMMEDIATELY.”
And yet, I also hate that our culture tends to assign second-class citizenship to people who choose not to have children or who cannot have children, and I don’t want to play into the pressures for and against having children. But they exist, and they affect me. It’s like when you’re in school, people are like “Why won’t you grow up already?” and when you’re a grad, they’re like “Why don’t you have a good job yet?” and when you’re single they’re like “Why don’t you get married?” and when you’re married they’re like “Why don’t you have kids yet?” and after you finally have one this chain of forced expectations couldn’t POSSIBLY be over so they’re probably going to be like “Why isn’t your kid composing symphonies yet? Mine was at 3 and a half.” And so it goes, on and on. Because we like to torture each other.
So all of these thoughts were swimming in my head just like every person ever, and the fear of it taking years to conceive probably ended up being the loudest thought. I’m so bedraggled and exhausted now, I can’t imagine being the mother of toddlers at the age of 40. We decided not to launch into what everybody refers to as “trying,” but to just ditch birth control and “see what happens.” “Maybe we’ll get pregnant soon,” we said, “Or maybe in a couple of years. Maybe we never will. And it will be okay with us either way.” So of course I got pregnant immediately.
I actually wasn’t really watching closely or anything. But I’ve been revisiting Malcolm in the Middle via Netflix, and I got to an episode where the mom thinks she might be pregnant so she gets a home pregnancy test and hilarity ensues. In the midst of the hilarity I was like “Oh yeah…That reminds me, I think I should probably look at the calendar.” Next time I went to Target I procured a couple of these magical tests and they both agreed that a baby was impending. Okay! What now? I avoided googling one thousand questions, and instead just googled how to calculate a due date, and mine came out to June 13.
Then a few days passed where because of our work schedules and other commitments, Dan and I didn’t really see each other at all. So that was inconvenient for news-telling. I started reading What to Expect anyway. Finally when he was sleeping in too late one morning (and I knew that if he slept in much later he’d have to rush out the door without any conversation at all), I woke him up and presented him with the evidence (the test) and said, “Look!” He was like “What? What does it say?” and then he got excited.
A few weeks later we went to the doctor (because yes, it takes that long to get an appointment), the pregnancy and the due date were confirmed, and I was asked a zillion questions and given a folder full of stapled-together information packets. It was official. Dan’s mom was called immediately with the news (she would have to hear it over the phone anyway), and she cried but seemed delighted. I broke the news to my family in person by suggesting that we all watch Father of the Bride Part 2, which Megan decoded easily because of our tradition of watching Father of the Bride whenever one of us got engaged. They’re all thrilled but I think Megan is the most excited person EVER for her little niece or nephew.
In this corner, it’s been hard to get very excited because I’ve been ridiculously ill the entire time. It’s like a hangover that never ends, and you never even got to enjoy an awesome party beforehand. Pretty much right after I found out I was pregnant, I would wake up every day, start feeling ill, and feel ill all day with varying intensity. Even when I wasn’t feeling really bad there was still a sort of vague feeling of nausea. So, from about week 6 or 7 to about week 11, I couldn’t work out, I ate pretty much bread and soup and junk food because everything else seemed gross, and I drank a bunch of ginger ale. I feel bad when people want to know all this Exciting Pregnancy News and I have none to given them, but that’s the way it is for some people (except my mom, who apparently never got sick, not once, with any of her three pregnancies).
I went to New York twice for work during this lovely stretch of sick weeks, and though the trips weren’t bad at all, the flights were not so fun. The tiniest bit of turbulence, which used to be almost entertaining, is now the devil’s perfect nausea-inducer. But the second time I was in New York, it was right after Hurricane Sandy and the office was having a belated Halloween party, which was fun. And then I got to walk back to the hotel after the party in the falling snow, which was beautiful. Then I met up with Karen, Talia, and Ryan and had drinks and snacks and told them the news. So those are some really happy memories in a mostly-sick few weeks. I’ve also gone on some nice walks when I wasn’t feeling too awful, and Dan has happily vegged out with me some evenings, with my ginger ale and my rapidly expanding belly.
A little over a week ago I started feeling a little better, and last week I had more good days than bad days. So far this week has been almost entirely good, and I’ve even started eating vegetables again. I’ve done yoga a couple of times, as well as some strength and cardio today. So things are looking up. This is week 12, and according to the internet the baby is about the size of “a ripe plum.”
Katie gave us a funny baby names book, which Dan is reading in the picture below. I crocheted a pair of maroon booties yesterday and today, and they didn’t turn out too bad. No roommates fell into our lap after Lianna moved out, so we’ll probably turn that room into the baby’s room. Right now the only baby things in it are a couple of board books: one is a baby version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and one is about Virginia tourism. Not much is sure in our kid’s future, but those two things will doubtless prove to be constants in their life.
We’re looking forward to finding out the sex of the baby hopefully pretty soon, and of course I will share it here.