News

We told the girls that I’m pregnant on Christmas Eve. I’d wrapped up a sleeper for Susanna to open, and a onesie for Belén. While they were tearing off the paper, I asked Stan to start videoing but unfortunately the footage is rather dull, what with all the blinking and stupefied silence.

“Doll clothes?” they ask me flatly.

“Nope. Read the note again!”

Susanna reads so slowly I think I might burst…

I know you wanted a puppy but this year you’ll be getting something even better. Open the package for a hint.

“What else do you think it could be?” I prompt, rocking back and forth on my heels.

They are stumped. So is my brother when they try the same trick, which isn’t really a trick, on him. Apparently the connection between infant wear and the right answer isn’t as obvious as I thought it would be. The guessers assume “baby” is out of the question so they grope for other responses; “Clothes for a puppy?” Tim queries.

Once the news sinks in they erupt with questions. How will we play board games with more than four people? Will the baby still like me if I’m ten years older? Can we name her? How do you like “Jimmy John” if it’s a boy?

A little more than a month later we arrive at my first ultra-sound appointment. Belén and Susann insisted on missing school for this and when they see the sign on the front desk: Children Under 10 Not Permitted in Ultra-sound Rooms, we have an emergency team-meeting. By their reaction you might think the sign restricts the expectant mothers themselves.

“Sit straight and look mature. I’ll ask if there are any exceptions to the rule.”

“Come on in,” the technician responds, smiling at all three of us.

Stan isn’t here–he forgot about it–but I’d told him not to worry. From what I could remember, ultra-sounds were nearly incomprehensible and I knew that even though the initial shock had worn off he was still overwhelmed by our news and demands at work.

On our way to the room I tell Belén and Susanna to stay out of the way and keep quiet, but my warning is soon forgotten. The baby kicks and we all gasp. It lifts its fingers to its mouth and each of us cries out. Ultra-sound technology has clearly improved in the last decade.

“How old is it?” Susanna wants to know.

“How big is it?” Belén asks.

“It’s alive,” I say once, twice, and then 5 times after that.

It turns out I’m farther along than I thought. I’d noticed I was exhausted in early December but chalked it up to a virus I couldn’t seem to shake off. By the time I figured out what was happening–that the virus was actually a ball of cells organizing themselves into a beating heart and finger tips–I’d long forgotten the date of my last period or any memory of how this miracle might have occurred.

The ultra-sound technician answers the girls questions and Belén writes the important details on her hand to report back to Daddy: 8.5 cm long, due date July 27. I’m reminded, again, although my body is hosting our newest family member, I’m not the only one invested in this. Of course at this point, all of us (well, except Stan) are imagining the perfect infant; one that sleeps when we’re tired and coos at strangers, an innocent mini-human incapable of turning into a stubborn toddler or reclusive teenager. The image is almost as dreamy as the one I had while anticipating my first child.

Bonnie reminds me of this when she remembers what happened with Belén. “The problem,” she points out during one of her frequent calls to check-in with me, “is that you were expecting a house cat; something that would show up on your lap when you wanted it, but fend for itself the rest of the day. Instead, you got a baby.”

She’s right. I thought I’d be back to my regular schedule two months into motherhood–I didn’t realize it would be another six years before I was sleeping through the night, twenty years until I was independent of them, and that I’d never be the same again. Undoubtedly, it’s much easier now that the girls can entertain themselves for hours, make their own breakfasts, strap on their cross-country skis or even a paddle a canoe by themselves. In fact, some days, they are a lot like house cats, which is why this pregnancy feels almost as surreal as the first one.

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If I think about it long enough I can pull back the sheen of excitement to remember the details of my own narrative: how the grip of exhaustion and a screaming 10-pound creature can drive a 130-pound woman to the edge of her own sanity. But instead of heading toward the precipice today I’m choosing the story with the glossy cover. The one where I putter around my tidy home, stopping now and again to gaze at my non-projectile-spewing baby. We cuddle and I finish nursing in 10 minutes, or less. Then, while the baby dreams on it’s sheepskin, I get a great deal of Important Things accomplished. After it awakes, I wrap the baby next to my bosom and have time to whip up a meal before the kids come home from school. Can you smell the aroma of fresh gluten-free bread? Can you see my serene face, clean counters and stack of freshly-washed cloth diapers? Surely you can picture the baby’s chubby cheeks and button mouth pulled back into a contented smile.

Ah yes, you’re nodding your heads. But wait, I know that look of amusement mixed with pity. It’s the same kind of nod I give when a first-time mother enthuses over a fail-safe technique that could put a whole orphanage of crying babies to sleep. For now though, I’ll pretend I don’t recognize your knowing smile with the raised eyebrows. I’m happy to incubate my delusions for just a little while longer.

Expectant,

Tricia

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12 thoughts on “News

  1. I’m just so excited for you. It’s so great to see how excited your girls are too, and for sure, with two helpful, doting sisters, this time around will be so much easier. And you won’t care as much about messes or perfection because you will know how quickly time passes so there will be more time to just drink in this precious little one. So excited!! You were meant to mother hundreds, I’m glad you get one more. 🙂

  2. Ahahahah! I had exactly that face when I read your post!! You are hilarious! And congratulations! My girls are as big as yours, so I can put myself in your shoes… ! Exciting… except for the sleep deprivation part… I was much better at functionning on minimal sleep 10 years ago!

  3. I so enjoyed this post Tricia! I chortled throughout the final paragraphs especially. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations again!

  4. Congratulations Tricia, what awesome news!! My sister had a baby this past year…10 years after her son, and it’s been amazing for everyone! Hope you are feeling well!

  5. Can’t believe I haven’t responded until now to say CONGRATULATIONS!!! SOOO surprised!! So many questions! How did you convince Stan?! :) How fun to have a wide spread…all of our friends who have 3 seem to have them all close together. That did not sound very fun to me. But a ‘late’ third does sound almost tempting. You get to do the baby years over again, with a mellower, more mature perspective, and with two more helpers. I am thrilled for you. I hope you are feeling well.

    I don’t have much time right now to say much more, but I hope to write more soon! We are doing well, just got about a foot of new snow after NONE since December! Its been weirdly icy and some warm weather. Now we are back to winter. Svea is doing Junior Nordic, which has been awesome despite the thin snow. Joe is going on a guys ski vacation in a couple of weeks. Then we’re all going to Mexico in April.

    I am drinking some tea which I just made in the french press. We have always had a french press but never use it so I was thrilled to see your idea for making tea in it! I have always used little tea balls, I have no idea why I never thought of using the french press. Any way, I am amazed at all of your gathering skills. I just got a huge package from my aunt (who is a health nut) with tons of herbs and spices…some familiar and some not. I will have to channel some of your herbal remedy energy to get into using them. She also sent a few good books, The Family Herbal, The Complete Medicinal Herbal, and The Healing Herbs. You probably have all of these, but they are new to me. :) I don’t really use medicine much or have many needs for medicine, so we will see if I get very far! I do have a gigantic coconut oil container from Costco so perhaps I will try some of your salves. One idea: have you ever tried melted coconut oil on popcorn? We usually do a family movie night on the weekends, and I typically put Braggs Amino, and nutritional yeast on the air-popped popcorn. A few weeks ago I melted some coconut oil with Agave and it was SO good. Try it.

    Okay, got to get back to Soren and check the woodstove. We bought one in December and we are loving it! So cozy.

    Thanks for the great news… love, kj

    • This is the best comment ever!!!! I feel like we had a little visit! Only it was too short.
      Lots to love about your little letter–the wood stove, Svea skiing, your herb package–and the fact you don’t even need medicine! Mexico in April sounds fabulous. I can’t say I’m not jealous:), the popcorn idea–never tried but I like the Agave idea too.
      Why is Alaska so far away!
      T

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