...but you knew that. I meant to post this a few weeks ago. A few days after learning I was pregnant, I wrote about how the...discovery unfolded. I wanted to remember it, but didn't want to wait for 12 weeks when I could finally write it here. So, I tried to make it entertaining, but feel free to skip if this is not the type of thing that interests you.
Every morning since January, as soon I am conscious enough to direct my body into action, I have been sticking a thermometer in my mouth so I could take my “waking” temperature (sometimes “waking” is a relative term) and chart it, thereby, theoretically, charting my fertility.
I won’t bore you with the details of the Fertility AwarenessMethod, or gross you out with how we’ve been employing it, but, obviously, Kevin and I have been trying to make a baby. On Wednesday, April 18th, I had an appointment with a midwife at Susquehanna OB/GYN just to make sure everything, you know, was in working order, and to see if she had any advice for getting pregnant. Coincidentally, I also happened to be 32 days into my normally 28-day cycle.
“Thirty-two days?” the midwife asked, looking over her glasses. “Do you want to go ahead and do a pregnancy test?”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
She directed me into the bathroom, where I provided a sample for the test. Nervously, I sat back in the examination room, thinking that I might actually cry if the test came back positive. A few minutes later, she came to the doorway, shaking her head.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I know we’ve only been trying for a few months. I’m not worried.”
We talked about what I should be doing to be healthy, and how long we should wait before coming back to consider interventions if I didn’t get pregnant. She looked at my temperature charts and confirmed that all looked normal.
Since my appointment was in the middle of the day, I had taken the whole day off and was meeting Kevin for lunch. We ate Indian kabobs and I filled him in on all the midwife had said. Partway through the meal, my cell phone rang, but I didn’t answer it quickly enough. I looked at the number.
“It’s the doctor’s office,” I said. I listened to the voicemail.
“Well?” Kevin asked.
I shrugged. “They just want me to call them back. I wonder if they realized they should’ve charged me – they didn’t ask for a co-pay, and I thought that was kind of weird.”
We finished lunch and Kevin went back to work. I sat in the parking lot and called the office. I listened to the answering service menu, frustrated. Why is there no option for “We called you and you’re calling us back?” I hung up, then tried again, in case there was an option that I missed. This time, I just held on the line, and someone picked up almost immediately.
“Um, hi,” I said. “I’m Tracie Ulmes. I was in for an appointment earlier today, and Lyn, the midwife, just called me.”
“Oh, yes,” the receptionist said, “just a moment.”
The midwife described to me how, when she went back into the lab room following our appointment, the pregnancy test had read differently. To be sure, she used another test in the remainder of my sample.
“I let it sit for 15 minutes,” she said. “And it turned. I was in too much of a hurry the first time. So, you are pregnant. Just barely pregnant.”
This was sort of weirdly anti-climactic for me. Here I was, sitting in my car in a strip mall parking lot, free of any expectations, and this is how I find out I’m pregnant? Not sitting nervously in a doctor’s office, or expectantly in my home bathroom. Over the phone in a strip mall parking lot. I wasn’t sure how to react. I was bewildered and excited, but not as surprised as I thought I’d be. Come on, I was four days late! I think a part of me guessed that I probably was pregnant, and just needed more time for it to show.
“Wow,” I said, stumbling for words. “Um, wow. Thank you! Um, now what?”
She told me to set up a follow-up appointment, and that was that.
So, now what? I went to the grocery store, as originally planned.
I decided on my way to the store that I wanted to see for myself. I almost didn’t trust the way I got the news, so I wanted my own evidence.
At the store, again, I wondered how I should feel. Should I be giddy? I’m wasn’t, really. I was amazed at how this little piece of news will change our lives so completely, but everything seemed the same right then. I noticed that, at 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, many of the store’s customers are moms. I’m going to be a mom.
I got home and tried the pregnancy test. It’s one of those super-easy ones that reads, “PREGNANT” or “NOT PREGNANT.” I was expecting to wait three excruciating minutes, per the box’s instructions. I worried that, if I was so barely pregnant that the doctor’s office barely caught it, would this take longer than three minutes? If it did, would it ever even show?
I hadn’t even washed my hands when I glanced at the stick, and it read, “PREGNANT.”
“Seriously?” I thought. “The doctors’ office needed 15 minutes to figure out I was pregnant, and this little over-the-counter stick figured it out in one?”
I did normal things the rest of the day. Cooked. Read. Waited for Kevin to get home.
I knew how I wanted to tell him, but I wasn’t sure when. I had stopped on the way home to get the book I knew I wanted to surprise him with: Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad.” At first, I tucked it on his side of the bed, on top of his pillow. After a few minutes, though, I realized that meant waiting until bedtime to tell him. So, I placed it in our breadbox under a loaf of bread. As dinner was almost ready, I called out, “Kev, could you cut a few slices of bread for dinner?” I’m really terrible at cutting bread. I always slice it crooked and have one really fat side, and one almost non-existent side.
I hoped he wouldn’t dawdle. Sometimes he says, “Sure,” and five minutes later, I’m like, “Um, could you please cut the bread?”
He didn’t. He opened the breadbox. I stood by the stove, serving pasta. I froze, watching waiting. He lifted out the loaf of bread, and paused. For a long time. In my head, I was thinking, “WELL????”
“Were you trying to hide this from me?” he asked.
“Didn’t I ask you to come cut the bread? Do you think I was hiding it?”
He was thrilled. He gave me a big hug and kiss, exclaiming that “This is awesome!” and patted my belly, saying, “Hi baby, hi baby.”
“So,” I said. “Are you going to cut the bread?”
“Oh! You really wanted me to cut the bread?”
We toasted our impending parenthood. Him, with a glass of Black Box Cabernet, and me, with a cherry juice/seltzer blend. Hey, it looked like red wine.
...and if you read this far, here is a bonus 8-week sonogram picture. I'm pretty impressed we could see anything. The baby is the little peanut-looking thing with a dotted line drawn across it. At the time, Baby was literally peanut (without the shell) sized. We could see the little heart fluttering, and I said, "It looks like a bug!" Only the technician thought I was talking about the baby, not the heart, and said she'd never heard anyone say such a thing. Sigh...