Amanda and I are one of those bizarrely fortunate couples. We partied way too much for our own good when we were younger and, prior to the pregnancy, both of us smoked, drank and lived on a diet of caffeine (I still mainline energy drinks, I must admit), too little sleep and an excess of stress without enough physical activity. Not only that, but before we started trying to conceive, we were both over the age of 30. So why in the heck did we have such an easy time of it? This is something I’ll never understand, though I am thankful for it and feel more than a twinge of guilt when I hear about super healthy couples who have such a tough time with it.
Still, even though we’ve had an easy time, every story has a beginning and I thought I would share ours.
The decision to have a baby had been set six years before. It was almost something of a pre-serious relationship criterion for her. I was on board with the general notion of parenthood back then, but the specific timeline seemed entirely unimportant to me, something to be considered in the indeterminate future. Both Amanda and I have adventurous appetites that we feed by being nomads (perhaps gypsies) and changing locales with the growing seasons. This is a big part of why we’ve lived in four states in six years. I knew that this would have to end at some point, at least for a little while, if we had children. This was always a consideration for the future…and then Amanda’s oldest friend, Tami, had her first child. The debate was all over for both of us after that. Seeing that little lady sent both of our biological clocks into ticking, whirring overdrive.
Amanda and I decided not so much to try to have a baby as we decided to stop actively preventing pregnancy. We calculated the ideal time to conceive and hoped for the best. Since Amanda had been on Depo-Provera for a couple years, we knew it would take some time for her cycle to get back to normal. We were told that this would take at least six months to a year and, in spite of this information, we worried when things didn’t happen immediately. In July, six months after the expiration date of her last shot, her cycle returned to normal perfectly on queue.
Around 9pm on September 27th, I was downstairs in the basement refinishing our dresser when I heard the toilet flush followed by a sudden shriek from upstairs that was either my name or an obscenity. I rolled my eyes a little as I turned off the sander, sure I was going to have to unclog something, and jogged upstairs. I found my wife at the top of the stairs, not in the bathroom. She had a look on her face that was…well, I’d like to tell you that it was joy and elation, but that would be a lie. She was delicately holding an object out in front of her, staring at it like someone might look at a three-headed dog that just happened to wander into one's house. I looked at the test, which read “Pregnant” on its digital readout, then back to her, then back to the test, then back to her before finally saying “well, that’s that!” and giving her a big hug.
That initial moment of shock began to subside slightly, but only enough to trigger Amanda’s desire to take another test. Off to the store I went, getting a multipack of tests and a non-alcoholic champagne substitute. That second test also came up positive, the champagne substitute was consumed, parents were called and we attempted to suppress our enthusiasm enough to keep proper perspective on the important note that many early-detected pregnancies are lost. Yeah, that worked about as well as you’d expect.
We scheduled an appointment at the ob/gyn the next day, but they couldn’t oblige us in our desire for instant satisfaction until October 22nd. Those were three VERY long weeks.
The first few days after we found out were basically terrible, even if exciting. You see, the moment we found out, we both quit smoking and Amanda went off of caffeine. I don’t think the nicotine withdrawal caused my attitude to change all that much, but let me unequivocally state that Amanda was subject to a fascinating hormone/nicotine withdrawal tango that focused its attention squarely on me. I’m not sure how, but I’m relatively certain that absolutely everything that could go wrong did go wrong and it was unquestionably my fault. Luckily this didn’t last much more than a week and though we both still face temptation (especially here in Ohio), we’ve stayed away from the cigarettes.
As we waited for the ob/gyn appointment, Amanda became overwhelmingly drowsy, had an insatiable desire for cookies one night (we spent $20 on them on that shopping trip), became super sensitive to my sometimes aromatic and spicy cooking, and seemed to become a little more sensitive than usual. Otherwise everything was basically business as usual, except for the almost palpable sense of impending change.
Next up, Part II: Wait, What, Twins?