The story starts months and months ago–almost a year–but that part’s like the prequel, and the prequel is short and too dark and the critics didn’t like it, so we’ll come back to that later maybe. Or never. The current version of the story starts sometime around Christmas…Eve, Day, maybe a few days before or after, but at least one internet guess-site connects them exactly, our projected due date and a Christmas “party”–or at least a little Christmas hanky-panky after we put the little boy to bed. Yes, the code-words, when perfectly normal terms for deadlines and idea-generation turn instead into instant dollar-sign rolling cartoon eyeballs and boxes and boxes of diapers: we’re pregnant. Not that this is going public until we get to the mostly-safe date, assuming we get to the mostly-safe date (ask me later about the prequel), but the lock on the posting options at WordPress means I can write what’s happening and then not flip the switch until later. So you won’t know until late March that I wrote this in January. The picture is, in some odd way, supposed to be proof: here I am, in January, totally not looking pregnant. Not that that’s a picture of my belly or anything…because if it were, it would be a picture of me looking fat–carrying extra water and extra weight from having to nibble food constantly to keep from wanting to hurl every time I take a breath. And I didn’t really need a record of that look, thanks. Later, when there’s a belly to see, I’ll angle the camera differently.

Me, in my windowless office between classes, poking around the internet because the graded work doesn’t start to come in until Thursday.

For now, it’s just us in the know; as far as we know, Caleb hasn’t come to any actual scientific conclusions. He did say, 2 weeks ago, lying on my stomach in bed one morning, “I hear babies in there!” But what he actually heard was the want of breakfast, and he’s just got babies on the brain because his mom is having one in May, so that’s what gurgles mean in her belly. Also, according to yesterday’s ultrasound, there’s only one in there anyway, so it looks like that was not one of his occasional completely creepy and amazing flashes of prescience–it was just a kid guessing (and being told he was wrong, which was technically true: one cannot “hear” a cluster of cells the size of a pea). The little mite accompanied me to the OB/GYN yesterday, but I parked him in a corner with my phone to play with and an audiobook on Daddy’s iPod in his headphones, so I think he missed the salient parts of the doc’s and my conversation, and what was on the screen was just a tiny flickering light anyway: at 7 weeks, we’ve moved past pea to (according to the internet) raspberry, but in a grainy sound-image, that’s just a raspberry-sized-squiggle that winks. (7 weeks, for those of you who don’t know, is more of the lingo, and no, it doesn’t make any sense with what I just said about Christmas until you know what people who plan, have, and talk pregnancy know: that the countdown starts at the start of the last period a woman did have–week 1 is the last week you were 100% certain, aches, mess, and all, that you were not pregnant. Week 2 is when you’re also not pregnant. But somewhere in there around the end of week 2 and the start of week 3, there’s the perfectly timed round of boom-boom, and thus the microscopic fireworks begin. By the end of week 4, you might be able to find out about it, but it’s usually into week 5 before you know. Which means I, counting in at 7 and whining this much (see below), have actually only been feeling this crap-tastic for 2 weeks yet, and there are another 7 to go before, allegedly, it will “probably” start getting better.

Crap-tastic means I feel hungover, continually exhausted, cranky, hungry all the time, sick all the time, and sick and tired of being hungry, sick, and tired. Also, I’m awake half the night for no reason other than that early pregnancy is inherently perverse: you need nutrients, so your body tells you to get rid of food, and you spend all day looking forward to bedtime only to lie awake, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the instant, loathed nightly shift from “omg my entire skin feels stuffed like a sausage already, and I’m so full of dinner that if I even breathe too deeply I’m going to be swallowed whole by heartburn or heaving” to “omg starving will die if not fed within seconds.” Seriously: last night it happened at 1:48am. At 1:47 I was pretending to sleep propped up on pillows so that gravity would keep the food down. Too much food: too many delicious, delicious fish tacos. And then boom, 1:48, I realized it wasn’t so awful after all, and I could probably slide down into a normal sleeping position. So I slid. And then the belly growled, and kept growling, and I was too hungry to sleep, so I had to go downstairs and pour almond-milk into it. Matt says nice things about the belly, that immense, seasick walrus around my waist right now, but I have nothing nice to say about it. It keeps me up, it argues with me, it makes constant, illogical demands, it’s ruining my sex life, and it will make me look like an idiot at Lisa’s wedding. A fat idiot. Who then falls asleep propped up on pillows feeling overstuffed and miserable instead of sexed-out and dreamy-eyed later that night, when Matt and I should be celebrating our anniversary but instead will really just be celebrating surviving another day of my feeling like this and his having to do way too much of everything else (cooking, cleaning, snow-shoveling) to compensate. Cuz really, people, I’m the queen of the wussies: other people manage to do this with full-time jobs and multiple full-time children, and I’ve only got a part-time job and a single part-time child, and it’s kicking my ass up, down, and sideways. Also, it’s kicking my boobs. And in case you ever wondered, kicked boobs hurt.

But it’s exciting, or at least it will be, in 7 more weeks, if we make it for 7 more weeks, because then I’ll be able to start thinking about it as something likely enough to be actually going to happen that it would make sense to be excited about it (this type of thinking is why Matt’s not the first person in my life to call me a Vulcan). Because there was a little flicker of light on the screen. Which means we have a heartbeat.


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