Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Population Two and a Bean

Written on August 25, 2010

A few weeks ago, something amazing happened. And over the course of the next six months, more amazing things are likely to happen. Please check back and prepare to be amazed.

The End.

No! Of course not! It’s more like, “Once upon a time” these days. For this, THIS is a beginning if ever there was one. This is the start of a journey, the journey of a lifetime. Three lifetimes, actually: mine, Matt’s, and the little person we hope to bring perfectly into the world sometime in March 2011.

I found out that I was pregnant exactly 12 days after I became pregnant. Which for those of you who are counting at home, is about 6 days before most normal people know that kind of thing, and made me exactly 3.9 weeks pregnant. I called my doctor immediately, because despite the fact that I had a perfectly clear answer sitting right in front of me, I was certain that something would go wrong, and I wanted her to reassure me that it wouldn’t.

She did not do that.

Instead, she scolded me for taking the pregnancy test too soon, and told me to wait through the weekend to come in for a blood test. It was a long weekend, made longer by the three additional pregnancy tests I took, with that second pink line growing pinker every time.

By the time Tuesday rolled around, I was not surprised that the blood test confirmed that I was pregnant. Instead of surprise, I was simply filled with abject fear. There wasn’t even a hint of giddy excitement, because the fear took up all of the emotional room in my brain and wouldn’t make any space for things like joy and delight. The fear spilled out in obvious and not-so-obvious ways: crying into Matt’s chest every night before bed, cursing while putting together a wooden filing cabinet, anxious and restless sleep, and trying to run over unsuspecting Newton residents on their way to 4th of July fireworks shows.

The problem was the problem that is always my problem: I cannot balance rational thought with emotional thought. I try to, I really do, but it hardly ever works for me. Which isn’t entirely true. I am both a rational thinker and an emotional thinker. I spend my days rationally and methodically convincing elected officials to do the right thing because it’s in the public interest. And I can cry with delight while I watch my best friend fall in love with the perfect person. I am Rational and Emotional and good at both, capital letters intended. But what I can’t do is reconcile both of those things around a single personal issue. So the rational side of me knew that I had just as much of a chance of having a miscarriage this time around as I did the first time around, maybe slightly higher, but only slightly. But the emotional side of me was convinced that this wouldn’t work, that this baby wasn’t going to be mine to love, that this pregnancy wouldn’t be mine to experience, that I should probably prepare myself to walk through the tunnels of grief that I walked through from January to June.

And as it usually happens, time marched on.

A few things have happened in that time. Most importantly, we saw our little bean. We saw its little heartbeat, beat, beat, beating as fast as it possibly could. And we saw it moving around, moving and shaking and dancing around, almost as if we’d caught it in a private moment. We also told some very important people. And those people cried and laughed and hugged and asked questions and reassured us and smiled fondly at us when they thought we weren’t looking. We told some not as important people, and those people asked practical questions about work and daycare and plans for after March. And some other amazing things happened in the world – dear friends started to fall in love with amazing people, parents were healthier than we worried they might be, babies with delicious thighs took their first tentative steps. And somehow, between the dancing bean, and the love from our favorite people, and the practical questions from the practical people, and the happy things that were unfolding all around us, it started to feel real for me. I started to believe that I am pregnant. I started to believe that in a few months, we’ll be falling in love, struggling with practicality, and living a totally different life.

Of course, I take myself wherever I go. And wherever I go there is doubt and fear and concern. I ask Matt 100 times a day whether or not he thinks I’m still pregnant. And he always tells me that I am, always without wavering, never rolling his eyes, just looking at me and sending clear, pure love for me and for our bean. I hear sad news about a loved one’s trials and my heart almost bursts because I want to make it better for her and her family and because I so desperately want to have a different experience. I toss and turn at night, partly because my vivid dreams don’t make any sense, but mostly because I can convince myself that any twinge or cramp is a sign that something is wrong.

But there is that pesky time again. Marching on. Moving me and Matt and the Bean steadily towards March, through fall and winter, through birthdays and holidays, and first-spoken “I love you’s,” through more fear and more doubt and tremendous excitement, through six months of a life that’s about to be so different, so absolutely different, that I just can’t wait to live it. Except of course, that the waiting is part of the story.

So welcome to the beginning of this story. I can’t promise that it will have a happy ending, but I know that the journey will be one for the ages.