Because of my age, and prior history of hypertension, it was considered a high risk pregnancy, so I had a wonderful fetal medicine specialist that I saw once a month for the duration.
Something about all that extra time with doctors gave me an added sense of security. If something went wrong, they would catch it. There would be no surprises.
At least, that’s what we thought.
Pregnant with Expectations
I was pretty convinced early on I was carrying a girl. I’m not sure why, really, maybe because I’m one of three sisters.
I also had dreams through the years about a little girl with dark hair that looked like me, and I guess I thought it was some sort of premonition.
So, on the day we went to find out the gender, I was completely dumbfounded when the image on the screen came up and it was clear — it was a boy. My historically camera-shy up to that point little one decided to really show off that day. (Ironically, he still is happiest running around without pants on.)
I just remember saying, “Are you sure?”
And then thinking, “What on earth will I do with a boy?”
OUR BABY BIRD
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled, and the thought of a miniature Jerry brought happy tears to my eyes. My husband and his father had been very close before his father’s death, and I knew he and our son would be just as close.
A perfect little combo of Jerry and myself: our own little Baby Bird. I imagined him being dark-headed like me (he’s not) and possessing his daddy’s musical abilities (jury is still out on that, but maybe.)
I immediately started a list of things he wouldn’t be allowed to do, such as play football and race cars.
I don’t think he’s going to want to play football, but there is not a chance on God’s green earth that he’s not going to want to race cars — he is already obsessed with cars and all things racing and just the other day, while riding with my husband, he said to his father, “Vroom the engines! Show us what you got!”)
And come on, have you seen little boy clothes? They’re the cutest thing on the planet. They look just like men’s clothes, but tiny. Itty-bitty skinny jeans, minuscule cargo pants, doll-sized vintage band t-shirts. To this day, I’m obsessed with my son’s wardrobe.
Luckily, he has an Aunt Amy with great taste and a bit of a shopping addiction, or we’d be living out of our car.
Stillness and Fear
I was about 8 months along when I was at work one day and started thinking that I hadn’t felt him move that day. A client happened to be there who was also pregnant (our boys later ended up in the same class even); she told me to go lie down somewhere quiet and I would probably feel him.
My anxiety was already at an 11 out of 10, though, so after a few minutes I just went straight to the hospital. I called Jerry on the way and tried to sound less frantic than I was, but told him I was going to get checked out of an abundance of caution.
Sure enough, I got hooked up to a monitor and there was that heartbeat, strong as ever. I felt silly but relieved. The amazing staff assured me I’d done the right thing and kept me there for a couple of hours just to monitor me.
The baby was fine but I was a mess. It was my first experience with realizing that even with the best care, the best doctors, doing everything exactly as I was supposed to… there would still be things that were out of my control.
All the preparation in the world could not guarantee a perfect outcome. That was a life-lesson a long time coming for me, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to learn it.
It was as if, that day at the red light, when I declared to God that we were ready, there was an unspoken caveat I didn’t even notice in my prayer that said, “We are ready as long as things go exactly as planned.”
Pregnancy and Personal Space
That last miserable month trudged slowly by, as I waddled around town the size of a double-wide trailer, and people regularly looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, “Twins?”
One woman had the audacity to say it in Kroger with her hands on my belly. Can we just take a minute and discuss the absolute decline of respect for personal space when someone is pregnant? Would you go up to any other total stranger in a public setting and lay hands on their stomach?!
No, you would not, so why anyone thinks that the red light turns green just because there’s a baby in there is beyond me.
Outside of the fact that it’s creepy and rude, what if you’re wrong? Do you want to be the person who touches a stranger in their midsection and say, “Twins?” forcing that stranger to have to say, “Nope, just fat! Please let go of me.”
The only time you should ever comment to a woman in a grocery store about whether or not she might be pregnant is if she is laying in the middle of the baking aisle, legs up, clearly in active labor, with an infant head visibly crowning, and then, and only then, should you say, “Is there any chance you’re pregnant? And if so, would you like me to call an ambulance?”
That’s it, y’all. That’s the only exception. (Sorry, rant over.)
So the big day came. Because of the aforementioned largeness of my little guy (already 8.5 lbs at my 36 week ultrasound) and because my blood pressure had started inching up, it was decided on a Monday I would have a planned c-section the next day.
Easy peasy lemon breezy, right? Are you starting to notice a theme, dear reader?
When does anything ever go exactly as planned?
Keep on going with The Unexpected Gift, Lesson 3: Great Expectations