When you take the time to reflect on the present, as I have upon the commencement of this blog, you inevitably begin to reminisce about the past as well. As such, I thought I’d take you on a journey back through time and bring you up to speed on some of the major moments of my pregnancy. Of course, there’s the first ultrasound, where it’s confirmed that you are, indeed, having a blob. And who could forget the first episode of peeing while vomiting? Good times. And then there’s pregnancy brain. Dear sweet pregnancy brain. Like the time my best friend sent me a toy for the baby and I couldn’t figure out why the company had decided to make the car so unnaturally long. (It was a limo.) But some moments are simply more monumental than others and, subsequently, warrant greater attention. Like the time you peed on a stick and got a big fat positive, for instance.
I hadn’t been feeling right for about a week. I had been experiencing some pretty bad pains in my lower abdomen and so, naturally, I decided that I must have uterine cancer. I began taking mental notes on how I’d assign the assets in my will. The complaints continued for about 7 days, before my then-fiancé suggested that I were pregnant. Silly male. What were the chances that I had uterine cancer AND was pregnant? Men. Still, in the days that followed, he continued to make the claim, so I eventually bought a pregnancy test, just so that we could put the matter to rest and focus on finding a good Oncologist. Awkwardly hovering over the toilet, I peed on the stick, set it on the counter to marinate, and rejoined my husband in the bedroom. I had just finished telling him for the umpteenth time how ridiculous this whole charade was, when I walked back into the bathroom to check the test. “See baby, it’s neg…”
I looked down at the test and did a double take. Then looked again, blinking a few times prior, just to ensure optimal eyesight. When that didn’t work, I shook the test a few times, thinking it might work like an etch-a-sketch and the words inside would rearrange themselves into an entirely different message. Still not working. At this point, I decided that the inventor of First Response was just a first-rate prankster who clearly designed it so the “Not” would only materialize until a minute or so after the “Pregnant” did. Well you’re not going to fool me, First Response Man; I’m on to you. Only, minutes later, the “Not” was still noticeably absent and my test continued to display just one word: Pregnant.
I panicked. This couldn’t be happening. I was not ready for this. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I thought my entire life was over. Just the good parts. Of course, that feeling lasted for all of thirty seconds before I became elated, which marked my first encounter with what I’ve scientifically labeled “Prenatal Bipolar Syndrome,” a close sister of “Postpartum Bipolar Syndrome,” wherein you decide that you miss being pregnant after having previously been miserable for those 9 months. Thanks, hormones.
By this point, having overheard some muffled cursing from behind the bathroom walls, my husband had deduced that the test had concluded exactly that which he had hypothesized, and I emerged to find a wide-eyed man sitting on our bed. Sure, this was going to be problematic, as we had a wedding to attend in 9 months, but even more pressing was our own wedding, a wedding that was a mere 3 months away. The deposits had already been paid and the plans set in motion long before my uterus had ever decided to play house with a tiny embryo, and so I began to mourn the vision I once had for my nuptials and the honeymoon to follow. No champagne toasts or wine tasting for this girl. I was checking in to rehab, where I’d be forced to remain for 9 months, lack of alcoholism notwithstanding. I couldn’t wait to be sober at my wedding, stuffed into a non-refundable, trumpet-style dress that would now look like a sausage encasement. That sounded like a nice little Saturday. Nonetheless, with no other option before me, I proceeded with my wedding plans.
During this time period, it became evident that we were going to be able to find out the sex of the baby the week prior to our wedding. And after much thought and consideration, we decided to make the big reveal on the big day, as it seemed only fitting to do so at a time when we’d be surrounded by our closest friends and family. But first, we had to find out ourselves. So we made the trek to the 3D/4D elective ultrasound provider, excited to get a glimpse of our sure-to-be baby boy. You see, Patrick and I both had been eagerly awaiting a son. I, having grown up a tomboy, decided long ago that I would have no idea how to raise a girl, and Pat, being a masculine, red-blooded male, was excited for some father-son bonding. It was all but a foregone conclusion that God was going to bless us with boys and that I would finally have my little quarterback to mold and brainwash into being a future Miami Hurricane. That is, until the technician spoke and shattered my world.
“Congratulations, you’re having a girl!”
“See right here; there’s the proof! It’s a girl!”
“Are you sure he doesn’t just have a really small penis?”
“No, it’s a girl.”
“No really, you don’t have to shield me from the truth. It could get bigger over time.”
“No really, it’s a girl.”
After roughly 3 more minutes of back-and-forth questioning about my daughter’s nonexistent phallus, I left feeling a bit dejected and cursed my inability to have a conciliatory beer. Of course, Prenatal Bipolar Syndrome would make her appearance a day later, causing me to become super excited about having a girl and start researching all things pink, but for now, I was content to linger in the denial stage of grief. Kubler-Ross would have been proud.
The week of our wedding quickly approached and I found myself having more bridezilla moments than anticipated. I so badly wanted to blame the hormones, but considering the fact that I had had a major meltdown over sugar flowers before ever getting pregnant, I felt that such a claim would be intellectually dishonest. That didn’t stop me from making it though. Still, my husband and I powered through, eventually making it to our wedding day.
I woke up that morning to the worst hemorrhoids I had ever seen, prompting my husband to make a last-minute trip to CVS for Preparation H. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought if my husband were to visit the Swiss Alps the week of our wedding, it’d be on our honeymoon, not while applying petroleum-jelly to my backside mere hours before walking down the aisle. I wondered if we’d still be able to consummate. Then there was the dancing. I thought maybe since I was sober, I would be less apt to make a fool out of myself, but apparently I thought wrong. This pregnant bride was twerking so much that I began to wonder if it were possible to get Shaken Baby Syndrome while still in the womb. I danced less after that. Later, on our honeymoon, I’d also wonder if I had given my baby Fetal Alcohol Syndrome after accidentally consuming an alcoholic beverage that was distributed at our resort pool. I just assumed that if it was free, it was nonalcoholic. Touché, Cabo San Lucas. Touché. In any event, we eventually made it to our reception and the moment of the big reveal. Pat gave the lead-in and our guests were surprised with bursts of pink confetti while “Girls” by the Beastie Boys played in the background. People laughed. People cried. Mothers screamed at such decibels that only the mammals of the Galapagos Islands could understand. But there was one universal result: bliss.
Looking back on it, I’m happy that everything turned out the way it did. Sure, I didn’t get to toast with my friends as much as I would have liked at my wedding, and I vomited up all of the good food I attempted to eat on our honeymoon. And yes, I think I caught my husband Googling annulment periods on our honeymoon when he caught a glimpse of my air-travel-induced cankles. But in the end, I can’t think of something more special than what ultimately resulted. I got to walk down the aisle that day with my daughter in tow. Years from now, when she looks through our wedding album, I can tell her that while her grandpa may not have been alive to walk me down the aisle, she was. And having the opportunity to share not only our wedding with our friends and family, but the moment of her gender reveal was an experience unlike any other. I will forever have the professional pictures of all of our loved ones’ reactions as they realized they’d be having a granddaughter or a niece or a female cousin. The joy on their faces will serve as proof-positive to our baby girl that she was loved long before she ever set foot on this Earth’s ground. And, because of this experience, I take with me an important life lesson that will no doubt serve me well in parenthood: Things may not always go according to plan, but everything happens for a reason, and if you’re able to find the silver lining, you’ll live a life marked by love and happiness.
Though I still could have done without the cankles.