In a way, it's hard for me to believe, and I even now wonder if I'm jinxing myself by saying it: I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant!
I'm starting this blog privately before putting it out there in the world, and hopefully, knock on coffee table, by the time my second trimester is underway, I'll feel confident enough to make it "live." It's not that we're keeping it a secret--who, me? Turns out as lousy a secret-keeper about other people as I was in high school, I'm even worse in adulthood when it comes to my own news.
No, the delay isn't about discretion, since I basically have none. It's because of how tentative I still feel about this pregnancy, despite my intention to feel only optimism.
You mean I have to try?
That this pregnancy is going to be different than my first--or at least, that I'm going to be constantly comparing the two--is apparent from the get-go. With my now 2 1/2 -year-old, Sylvia, this is how it worked:
- My husband, Aron and I decided to go for it, after I spent a couple of weeks lobbying him on all the ways it would be a piece of cake. We'd figure out money; we'd figure out my graduate school; we'd figure out everything--just let's make this baby!
- One month later, with a lot of focus and interest and carefully mapped-out frequency, we start "trying."
- Two and a half weeks later, I take a home pregnancy test, and voila! Pregnant.
Not exactly a "trying" experience. And this is how it went this time:
- Aron starts talking about how our previously decided-upon age difference of four years (between Sylvia and the sibling-to-be) was starting to seem a little... long. For us, and for her--doesn't she deserve a pal? And won't going back to Planet Newborn (where sleep deprivation and house-boundness are the rule) be so much more shocking once Sylvia is practically a grown-up? He's got a point, but I find myself agreeing with him only in the rational, out-loud way. Irrationally and somewhat silently, I don't know if I'm ready yet. I haven't been craving a baby, the way I did with Sylvia. Aron points out that I may never crave a baby in that way again, since now we have... Sylvia. Oh yeah.
- I sit on our bed one night, and try to imagine another child. Another child, a not-Sylvia child. I am suddenly, in some basic way, flabbergasted by that idea. We could have another child? And she or he wouldn't be Sylvia? I try to picture a baby, a baby who is specifically not Sylvia. That's too hard. Instead, it's like I glide over the chasm between being "Sylvia's Mama" to the mother of more than one child. I have a strong image, then, of putting my arms around Sylvia and another child; corralling them, giggling with them the way I giggle with her these days, being sturdy and there for both of them.
- A few months later, I'm officially off birth control. But then we need to wait a couple of months more, to make sure my cycle is normal. I start paying special attention to friends' newborns. It's been strange to both relish every stride Sylvia has made towards language and independence, and now start thinking about a tiny baby. How could I be as in love with a little amoeba in a sleep sack, dozing 20 hours a day and attached to me at the boob, as I am with my marvel of a toddler, who runs everywhere she goes and knows when I'm telling a joke? I hold a friend's baby, and have a gasp of recognition. I had forgotten how easy it is to hold a six-week old, to feel that little body nestled against my shoulder. So I guess I'm getting there.
- Okay! Here we go. Trying! My cycle is pretty regular, so I think I've got it all worked out. Amazing how much more thought has to go in planning our rendezvous this time around--we're both a lot busier than we were a few years ago, with work and Sylvia.
- Halloween night (pictured) and a day late with my period. That means I'm so totally pregnant, right? I'm surprised by the intensity of my disappointment when I get my period the next morning. This didn't happen last time. So does that mean something's wrong?
- Next month: Ditto. But wait--did we even have sex when we were supposed to? I frantically check the calendar, looking for some clue to jog my feeble memory. I think we did; I'm pretty sure.
- Next month: Ditto. More disappointment and upset this time. What's wrong with us? Are we even doing this right? Why was it so easy last time, and not now? Does this mean that we're not trying hard enough, and if we're not, why not?
- A week later: New Year's Eve. After a week of holiday travel, we're home, our house is slowly warming up, Sylvia is snoozing in her bed, and Aron and I have time to talk. I unload, saying how I had started to wonder if my body was trying to tell me something--that I'm not ready for this second baby. "But then when I actually allow myself to think about a new baby, I just know that's not true," I say. Aron thinks my body-sending-me-a-signal train of thought is hogwash, though he says so very sweetly. He thinks we just need to try harder. Which I point out is a pretty convenient theory for him. All I get in response is a sly smile.
- Three weeks later, I notice that when Sylvia jumps in bed with us in the morning and does her customary elbow-to-my-chest as she leans over to kiss her Papa good morning, it hurts--more than in my usual, "Hey, Syl, watch the elbows" way. More like, "Whoa!" Later that day, I remember that sore breasts was the first symptom I felt when I was pregnant with her, over three years ago. Could this be?
To be continued...
Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.
Next week: Finding out too soon?