And so, I find myself at the age of nearly-39 with a baby on the way in 21 weeks...
Perhaps I should step back and explain.
Paul and I decided when we were first married to wait to start a family. Having children was always a plan for us; we just wanted to enjoy one another's company first. Plus, we were living 5 states away from our families, and just didn't want to put either us, our children, or our parents through the strain of not being able to see one another as often as we would want to. So, we waited until we moved back to the Midwest to begin trying for our family.
That was eight years ago. We did several rounds of infertility treatment, stopping short of in vitro fertilization because 1) we had no money left to pursue it and 2) I was just done with the emotional ups and downs of the whole infertility roller coaster. The doctor told us not that we "couldn't" get pregnant, just that we "wouldn't." We just planned to enjoy our nieces and nephews and leave it at that. We looked briefly at adoption, realized that we weren't in a financially good place to pursue that option, and just moved on.
So, exposition over.
We went to Maine in late June and early July of this year for the wedding of a friend -- he married a Maine girl, and Paul was honored to be asked to be one of his groomsmen. We thought, "Cool. Maine. Never had any thought to visit, but it sounds like a pretty cool place." It was -- an absolutely gorgeous visit that reminded us a lot, topographically, of upper Michigan and the Piney Woods of Wisconsin. Of course, staying practically on the Atlantic Coast made the experience a little more unique for us. We took a tour on a lobster boat, drove down the coast looking at lighthouses (for what seemed like FOREVER -- my husband is FAR MORE INTO lighthouses than I will ever be.) It was a nice vacation, especially considering that we hadn't taken one since our trip to the UP of Michigan four or five years ago. When combined with our earlier trip to Washington, D.C. this spring, we considered ourselves pretty lucky to be able to log two trips in one calendar year.
I enjoyed Maine, even though a nagging part of me hadn't wanted to go -- the trip was pretty expensive, and it wasn't on my top 10 list of "Places I'm Willing to Spend a Lot of Money to See." However, we had a nice mix of time to ourselves and time with friends of the bride and groom who had also made the trek from Missouri. I did find myself tired by the end of the day -- almost like a power switch that would flip off at about 7:00 each night. One evening, we were taking a car tour of Acadia National Park, and we got to the lookout point for Cadillac Mountain (the first place in America to see the sun rise every day). It was a short 1/4 mile hike to the summit, and I just refused to go with Paul and the others -- I just wanted to stay in the car and read the guidebook. This is SO not like me -- I'm usually the one scrambling to find every hysterical...erm...historical marker and scenic overlook possible. I just didn't have the energy. I chalked it up to let down from the excitement of getting ready for the big trip and tiredness from having spent that afternoon walking all over Bar Harbor and visiting the tourist shops.
And then we came home to Missouri. I didn't have the energy to unpack -- I took a few things out of the suitcase each day and listlessly threw in some laundry now and then. My mom had taken care of the house and critters for us while we were gone, and the place looked wonderful -- I couldn't keep it that way to save my soul. The only thing I could muster up the energy to do was shower in the mornings (eventually) and plop my butt on the couch to spend the day watching reality TV marathons on the Bravo channel (pausing, of course, for a 3 hour nap every afternoon). Paul was less than thrilled at my lack of gumption, and just gave me holy hell one night for being lazy and unproductive, which was true. However, I didn't care and couldn't explain to him why -- I just told him I didin't feel good, to which he replied, "Then go to the doctor and get it taken care of." Good point.
I had to work at the library the next day (but not until noon, thank heavens -- I could still indulge myself in a relaxed mornning), and I woke up feeling just icky and queasy. The feeling didn't go away, and I thought back to realize that I'd been off for a while -- I didn't eat very much while we were on vacation (and again had just chalked it up to excitement from the trip) and hadn't felt much like eating since we'd been back (took too much effort to cook anything, so I existed on cold cereal). I went to the pharmacy while on a break from the library and told the girls working there that I wanted some Pepto Bismol to calm my stomach. In our conversation, they somehow came up with the hair-brained idea that I might be pregnancy (I scoffed) and that I should take home a pregnancy test just to make sure (I disagreed -- I've had a long-standing belief that I have a bad gallbladder, and I was pretty sure that it was just time for the sucker to come on out.). They pretty well forced the test into my sack, and I laughed at them for their silliness.
And then I peed on the stick. Since it was a cheap one (I stopped spending money on the good ones years ago), I had NO IDEA how to read the results. I'd have thought a degree in English would qualify me to decipher the fine print on a generic pregnancy test, but no such luck. I finally called Paul (who had no idea I had even bought one) into the bathroom to help me try to interpret. He couldn't tell either, but from what we were both reading, it looked as if it MIGHT be a positive result. Holy cow. Neither one of us even allowed ourselves to think that it might be a possibility, though, and I decided to head into the doctor's office the next day to start talking seriously with the doctor about getting the gallbladder yanked. I was, by this time, pretty tired of feeling like poo all the time.
The next morning, I popped into the doctor's office and peed on another little stick, then stepped back to let the doctor tell me that I was NOT in fact, pregnant, so we could have the "remove the gallbladder" chat. Yeah. It wasn't the gallbladder. Her fancy little test showed one pink and one blue line -- positive for pregnancy. Holy cow.
I refused to believe her, and told her it must by a chemical or hysterical pregnancy (I'd been watching the television show Glee, in which hysterical pregnancy was one of the major first season story lines). I challenged her -- "Well, if I'm pregnant, the spot where I used to get pain from ovarian cysts hurts -- it's probably a tubal pregnancy, right?" She did some math after asking me a few pretty personal questions (although she is the doctor -- you kinda' have to answer those honestly) and let me know I was a little far along (six weeks) for a tubal -- I'd have noticed it a long time before now if that had been the case. However, knowing my history of infertility and my refusal to believe that I was, in fact, knocked up good and proper, she sent me into town for an ultrasound. An hour later, I was laying on a table watching a little fluttery heartbeat on the screen and thinking, "Holy cow." Savannah, the lovely ultrasound tech with the ready box of Kleenexes, printed me off a picture of the blob and kindly marked it with an arrow that said "Baby." I took it to Auto Zone to show it to my flabbergasted and slightly disbelieving husband.
That was 13 weeks ago today. Since then, we've had 3 more ultrasounds (during which times we've seen him hiccup, grab his toes, and flip himself completely around) and are scheduled for another one (the big one) next week. We have a pretty good idea that the little booger kicking me (I can't feel it, but my innards feel like they've been beat with a blunt instrument) all the time is a baby boy. As of 2 weeks ago, his heart beat was strong and sure, and considering that my belly is growing every day, I'm guessing he's still in there getting bigger. According to this week's entry in "What to Expect When You're Expecting," Buddy is the size of a mango and is covered in vernix. That's a lovely thought -- a cottage-cheese covered tropical fruit with legs who does flip turns like Michael Phelps. Yesterday, I bought a used crib on Craigslist, and this afternoon, I picked up a brand new changing table that I found the same way. More and more each day, this whole situation is seeming less like a made-for-TV movie and more like reality -- it's going to happen. We're going to have a baby.
And I can't wait to meet him.