A Writer Writes...

Our lives begin long before we take our first breath.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Butterflies in My Tummy

"Someday when you have children-"
"Ugh!  I'm NEVER having children!"

"Someday you'll have your own family"
"No, I don't picture having kids.  Too expensive"

"Congratulations on your wedding!  When are you guys going to start having kids?"
"We can wait!"

I am such a liar.

All my life (or at least my adult life) I've made it seem as though I never wanted children.  I reasoned that I wanted to travel.  I pointed out that I was not yet married.  I bragged about my love of being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.  Most people understood my choice.  Some even envied my freedom.

The truth is, I knew from the time I was 19 that I was not going to be able to have children.  The only other person who would know this was my doctor.  No one else would ever have to know if I told them I just didn't want kids.

I was told at 19 that there were cysts blocking my ovaries.  I was told that it would be nearly impossible to get pregnant.  In order to conceive it would take effort.  Maybe surgery.  So, not impossible, but highly improbable.  But at 19, who wanted to think of putting effort into conceiving?  I took it as good news.

10 years later I switched doctors.  Or, I finally went to a doctor again.  I usually find no need to visit one unless I feel sick.  But moving to a new neighborhood forced me to list new physicians on my insurance.  I decide I might as well check one out before putting down a name.

Dr. Kastner is unlike any doctor I've ever had.  I spend 10 minutes waiting, 5 minutes on the exam table, and 10 minutes in her office to "talk."

"You're about to be 30?"

"Yes"

"Are you in a relationship?"

"Uh, I guess so"

"Boyfriend?"

"Yes"

"Long term?"

"I guess...7 years"

"Any plans for marriage?  A family?"

Are these questions legal?  "I don't know"

"So if you got pregnant, it would be a big shock, probably turn your world upside down and change everything..." she seems to mumble.  Is she taking this personally?

"I don't know.  I don't think I can get pregnant.  My last doctor said..."

"Do you get your period?"

"Maybe 3 or 4 times a year"

"Then you can get pregnant."

"Really?"

"Listen.  You're about to be 30.  You're getting to the age where having a baby can become difficult.  I'm going to recommend you get serious about what you want in life.  Lose weight.  Eat healthy.  You'll feel better about yourself.  I'm going to write you a prescription for the pill.  You need to be on it."

"I... uh... ok... thanks." I stumble out of her office in shock.  Get my life together?  Feel better about myself?  I can get pregnant?  Did she even ask if that's what I wanted?  I clutched the prescription tighter.  Why take these if she seems to want me to get pregnant?

Next thing you know, I'm watching the movie "Up" (a kids animation movie mind you) and balling my eyes out. There's a 10 second clip where this sweet couple are preparing to have a baby, but then something goes wrong and they're crying in the doctors office.  The wife takes this huge sigh of disappointment...despair....and I can't stop the tears from falling! Cartoons really are not for kids....

So I ponder my future again.   Do I want to have kids?   Or do I want to be the aunt at every family gathering who's always alone?  Will I regret not trying?

A few years later, I've dumped my worthless, long-term boyfriend, lost (a little) weight, changed my eating habits to include more veggies and take the pill as directed.  And things just start to happen.  I meet the man who is to be my husband!

He tells me he wants to start his own family.  I almost choke on the delicious breakfast I've made us.  But the lying continues, "I do too."

Is it a lie?  I've been saying the opposite for so long.  Which one is true?  Do I want kids or not?  What if I really can't have any?  "How do you feel about adoption?"

"No, I want my own kids."

"Ok."  I don't ask anything more. I'm sure he suspects something.

"Why did you mention adoption?" he asks me later on that evening.

Because I don't think I can have any kids of my own, I think.

I say, "I just think it's something nice to do.  Save a child.  But of course I want my own kids."  I can't tell if I'm lying or not.  But as he hugs me tightly, I can tell he really wants kids and I'd do anything to make it happen.

We marry in May.  On June 1st the following year, I'm walking through the grocery store and suddenly I feel very, very nauseous.

At that exact moment my best friend Denise, texts me to meet her at the park, but I can barely make it through check out.

-I wish I could but I feel nauseous.-

-Sick nauseous or pregnant nauseous?-

-I don't know.  I'm going home to lie down.-

In fact, I make an appointment with my doctor.  I've switched to Dr. Moon the previous year.  I found Dr. Kastner's need to "talk" a bit too much.  Dr.  Moon was so laid back...I swear he's from Hawaii.

After I've peed in a cup and changed into a tissue paper gown, a nurse comes in and takes my blood pressure.  I look at her for an answer.  She gives nothing away.  Dr. Moon comes in and asks me questions, but gives me no answers.  It isn't until the ultra sound machine is turned on that I get my confirmation.

There's a baby in there!

I see a fluttering heart and imagine I can see a head and limbs, but I'm really not sure.  I start to tear up.

"Aw, you're crying!"

"It's just that I never thought I could have a baby."

"Why would you think that?"

"I thought there was something wrong with me."

"There was never anything wrong with you.  There was something wrong with everyone else.  It just shows that you've found the right person at the right time."

I never imagined this.  I had no idea how wonderful it would be.  Or how effortless!  I could've stared at the screen forever (if the table weren't so uncomfortable).  I cried when the doctor left me to change.  I cried driving home.  And I cried as I told my husband.  But they were the happiest tears ever.  After he washes the dishes, takes out the trash and picks up dinner from my favorite Portuguese restaurant, we settle into our happy news.

I can't lie anymore.  I love the kicks, the flutters, the hiccups and the maternity clothes.  I love the naps I know I will never have time for again.  I love the way he holds my belly and calls it his "Bambino" even though we're not Italian and could care less if it's a girl or boy.  I'm having a baby with my amazing husband and I have everything I never knew I always wanted!


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