I want to remember things. And I want Charlotte to know everything one day, if she’s curious. Many months ago, I wrote about the day we found out Charlotte was a baby girl. Tonight, I’ll share some of my memories and thoughts about my first pregnancy with our precious girl.
Even though nothing in life ever goes according to plan, somehow this did. Chris and I got married relatively young (before 25) and had no desire to have children right away. We both wanted to find jobs, further our educations, get a dog and a new car, and generally just enjoy being married in our twenties. When I was 24, I remember thinking that 27 or 28 sounded like a nice age to have a baby. I also remember thinking that it was a good thing I had so many years before I hit 27 and 28. When I turned 25, I realized 27 was only two years away (English teacher here), and that somehow, I was going to be much older in two years than I was right then because I’d be ready to have a baby. That sounds really stupid, but I was actually right.
I contracted Baby Fever when I was student teaching in Fall 2009. Luckily, Chris was into the idea, too. We had to wait a few months because I was taking a medication, but when I came off it, voila! I was pregnant. Magic.
Actually, right before we found out in late March 2010, we were in Florida visiting Chris’s grandparents for Spring Break. Hoping for a baby, I didn’t drink any alcohol all week (okay, just one glass of wine), and I wondered whether Margaret and Carl would think that was strange. I don’t even remember what reason I gave them for passing on the wine at cocktail hour every day. I wonder if they suspected?
Sure enough, as my pee-on-a-stick pregnancy test revealed about a week after our trip, little seedling Charlotte had already taken root. I called Chris into the bathroom and we stared at the stick together. Then we laughed in that nervous, excited, I don’t know what else to do way, hugged, then stared at the stick some more, just to make sure. We were totally thrilled, but also we couldn’t believe it happened so quickly; I was expecting to have to pee on at least two or three sticks before seeing the double pink lines. Since I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out, the pregnancy test sat on top of our toilet for probably a month. Eventually, the lines faded, which was a very polite way of telling me that a pee stick probably doesn’t make the best keepsake.
I was co-teaching a science class at the time and we just so happened to be knee deep in our animal unit at that time. Just a few days after finding out our baby news, the dreaded “reproduction” lessons began. I remember sitting in the back of the classroom, wanting to jump up and shout, “Like me, right now!” every time Mr. Kluber mentioned fertilized eggs and fetuses. Because yeah, I had one of those.
We waited a week before we told anyone, and then I called my mom from work one morning during my prep period. It’s funny how even revealing a good secret can make you nervous. I paced around my classroom as I gave her our news. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mom was very happy (and surprised!). She told me she could cry, and then I wanted to too. That phone call put me in the best mood all day.
Telling Dad was a little different. He found out later that day on our way home from Menards. His first reaction was simply shock. There were a lot of oh-wow-oh-ok-wows. Then he told me, “Just don’t have too many kids, okay? You don’t want to be like those crazy people on T.V.” Um, ok Dad. The next day he called me back and expressed his excitement about our news. It just took a night to process that his kid was having a kid. I can understand that.
The next eight months were a blur (like everything else these days). I loved being pregnant. First of all, I was carrying a baby inside of me! A real baby. Growing. In me. Whoa. I loved feeling her kick and squirm and watching myself grow with each passing week. Also, everyone smiles at you when you are pregnant. I love that. It’s like we all share this wonderful secret about how perfect life is. (Luckily, people still smile at you after you have the baby [as long as you have it with you, of course]. This is good if you are like me and got really used to being smiled at all the time.) I didn’t have any awkward experiences with strange people touching my stomach, so that was good I guess. As long as I knew you, I wouldn’t have cared if you touched my stomach though. That never creeped me out probably because my pregnant stomach really felt nothing like my actual stomach. It was like an alien body part that I was happy to allow others to pat away.
Okay. I know I’m bragging when I say this, but I had a perfect pregnancy. No morning sickness, nausea, high blood pressure, heartburn, or strange food cravings (though I will admit that I kinda hoped for those). I didn’t get stretch marks or varicose veins or cankles or a big swollen face. I was also able to sleep well all nine months, which was glorious. Besides being very tired and feeling a little blue for the first ten weeks, the only negative symptom I had was some back pain for the last two months, which really only got bad at the very end. But all that’s just the superficial stuff. Most importantly, I had a healthy, developing baby girl growing inside of me, hitting all her little fetus milestones.
Being pregnant, giving birth, and raising a child has been awe-inspiring since the moment it all started over two and a half year ago. But now, watching Charlotte run around our home, hearing her laugh, and witnessing her learn so many new things every single day, I am even more humbled by it all. How lucky I was. How lucky I am. How lucky. How lucky.