So here we are at week 14 of our pregnancy, meaning we've officially crossed over into the second trimester. It hardly seems like it's been 8 weeks now since we first found out we were expecting a little one.
Mary was still in school that week, and we had both noticed that she'd been feeling really tired all week. Like, scary tired! Getting drowsy on the way to school (she has a 30-minute commute one-way), falling asleep at her desk while kids were doing classwork, and consistently dragging herself to bed within an hour of finishing supper each night.
Mary's fellow teacher and mentor, who has five almost-grown kids, suggested that Mary should take a pregnancy test. Mary was dubious -- she was just tired, she thought; the incredibly long school year was winding down, and the fatigue made sense. Still, Mary's teacher friend insisted, she needed to take the test.
So the next morning, Mary took the pregnancy test. I knew she was going to do it that morning, but Mary almost always wakes up before me in the morning, even with an alarm clock on each side of our bed. When she called to me from the bathroom that morning, I was quite honestly a little grumpy. "Wha-a-at?" I vaguely remember murmuring. Mary calmly repeated my name, adding, "You might want to come in here."
When I saw the "positive" test, I woke up very quickly. A thousand thoughts started racing through my mind at once. This isn't real. This can't be real. We can't get pregnant. Well, we can, but there's got to be a problem. Just like the first time. Just like the second time. What if we are? What if this is really happening? Can this really be happening? What are we going to do? We need a bigger house. We have to call the doctor. I need a better-paying job. What are we going to do about daycare? Is this really happening? Oh my word, we're having a baby!!!
The good thing was that Mary had not been in any pain by this point. We were alerted to the existence of our first two pregnancies after she'd already had significant abdominal pain. OB/GYN visits happened shortly afterwards, and bad news was given. And then we weren't pregnant anymore.
But there had been no pain this time. Looking back at the calendar also told us that, if we were really pregnant this time -- like, for real, this is going to happen -- then we were several weeks farther along than we had been the first two times.
Mary called her doctor that morning, but she wasn't able to get an appointment to see her regular OB/GYN doctor that day. We would have to wait till Monday.
We spent the long weekend only telling the people we had to tell -- Mary's parents, my parents, her sisters, her principal (after all, she'd be missing time from school that Monday), and each of our closest friends. These are the people who would want to know even if there was a problem afterwards. Everyone else -- no offense, everyone else! -- could wait until we were more sure that things looked normal.
I would have been able to go to the doctor with Mary that Monday afternoon, but she said that she would rather go by herself. If it was bad news, she said, she could handle it better alone. I went to work, but didn't get a whole lot done that day. I was on pins and needles waiting for the news.
Mary called me as soon as she left the doctor's office. She wasn't crying, which was the first good sign. She sounded like she was smiling, which was the second good sign. She told me the doctor had taken an ultrasound, which we'd expected to happen. She told me that she'd seen the tiny growing baby in the uterus -- not the tubes. Bingo!
And it hit me. This is really happening. We're actually going to have a child. After years and years of trying. After two heartbreaking disappointments. After almost giving up.
I heard the cracking in my voice, as I said something like "Holy crap!" over and over again into the phone. Then I felt the tears rolling down my face. Happy tears! I would have hugged Mary through the phone in that moment if I could have. But I had to wait two hours till I got off work.
That night, we called back our family and close friends to let them know that, for now at least, all was well.
Deciding to wait till the 12-week mark (as most people do) to "go public" with it, my first thought was (selfishly, I know): "Great! NOW what am I going to write about for the next 6 WEEKS! I blog every day, and the one thing I want to shout to the four winds is the ONE thing I can't talk about at all!" But I got through it, though not without dropping about a thousand hints and clues (that no one other than me would get) along the way.
Over the next several weeks, Mary battled fatigue and "night sickness" (only for about a week total did she have actual "morning sickness"). Though she felt nauseous almost every night, she never actually got sick, which we both considered a blessing.
At 10 weeks, we went back for an "OB Workup" -- this time I was present. We talked to the financial people ("And how will you be paying for this kid, Ma'am?"), talked to a midwife (we had tons of questions and she had plenty of good answers), and tried to listen for a heartbeat -- without any luck. The midwife assured us that this was fairly normal at 10 weeks, but I think we would both admit to a little bit of apprehension at the absence of that sweet, sweet sound.
The 12-week appointment actually happened three days after we went public with the fact that we were expecting, but we didn't want to wait another week till after we'd gone to the doctor. At that appointment, we again talked to a midwife, who listened for, and this time -- praise God! -- heard a heartbeat. We heard it too! I've never been so quiet in my life as I was in those few seconds. Ka-thunka-ka-thunka-ka-thunka! We heard it! It was wonderful!
As far as we know, everything is still going normally. We go back in about 4 weeks for the next ultrasound. At that point, assuming Baby cooperates, we may be able to find out if we're going to have a boy or a girl. And yes, we do want to find out. Neither of us has a strong preference either way.
We hope for a healthy child. If for whatever reason he or she is not healthy, we pray for strength and wisdom to do what's best for our child going forward.
Will we make mistakes? Of course. All parents do. But we will love him or her with all our hearts, and we'll do whatever we can to make their life happy, meaningful, and purposeful.