I found out I was pregnant after I'd already poured myself a glass of wine.
I'd spent a chilly Friday night supervising a high school soccer game and was looking forward to a glass of red and some time on the couch with my husband. My period was due today, I recalled as I drove up the hill to our neighborhood, thinking that just to be safe, I could grab both a pregnancy test and wine at the drugstore.
So confident was I that I couldn't be pregnant, I poured myself a glass of Cabernet before I headed to the bathroom.
The wine, and my relatively simpler life, went down the drain that night, January 11.
Of course, I didn't feel immediately pregnant. I felt, instead, alternately disbelieving, giddy, panicky, hopeful, selfish, unprepared, worried, old, young, wary, nervous, excited, embarrassed, irresponsible, defensive, strong, determined, gleeful and guilty: conflicted.
I was 41, soon to be 42. I'd recently had a miscarriage. Only a week earlier, I'd half-purged the house of baby and toddler gear, ready to accept that we wouldn't have a third. Our house was small. Money wasn't growing on our big tree in the front yard. Husband didn't see this coming, now. No one would, I thought, though having another child was a not-so-secret long indulgent wish of mine.
The risks, all of them, and the potential of raising our little girls' hopes (one of whom had asked for a baby for her birthday) and having them ultimately dashed them made keeping this pregnancy secret paramount.
Meanwhile, I began feeling tired. And then, hungry. And then... blergggggghhhhhhhhaaaaggggghhhhhh.
Flu season had struck at school with a vengeance, so I fit right in, though I resisted curling up on the nurse's office cot and going home. I groaned through weeks of what felt like the flu and also like the world's longest hangover, bearing all the same characteristics, including internal wails of why oh why did I do this to myself? I never threw up, at least outside my mouth. But I entered many classrooms and meetings with an escape plan in mind. I conjured images of pregnant women around the globe, sicker than I felt, plowing fields and chasing toddlers. So I rallied.
But I lacked oomph.
And I could smell your breath, and your perfume, or lack thereof. Also your socks.
Nothing sounded good. And then everything sounded tempting until I put in my mouth or smelled it. I ate to fill my stomach with a feeling other than nausea. I craved sandwiches. I craved sleep. I spent most afternoons and evenings lying in bed, feeling like a terrible mother and wife. The girls grew used to me doing little. We read books together in bed, but I hardly wanted to play. Husband patiently tolerated and tended to me, tempering his excitement and unspoken anxiety.
I became a boring and absent and unavailable friend. I really did want to meet you for that beer! But. And I'm pretty sure I was in bed by 7:30 that night.
I felt duplicitous and sneaky as I engaged in conversations with others, including my sister-in-law, about their pregnancies. "Nope, nothing new or big going on in my life," I fibbed to unsuspecting and remote friends and family members. I kept Big and Little Sis in mind, figuring I'd ask for forgiveness and understanding later.
But here we are now at 12 weeks, with some assurance that a healthy little bean is sprouting inside me. And my growing belly (why yes, I have had a big lunch! A foot-long sub, in fact!) is ready for its debut. We have some very excited big sisters and new landscapes ahead.