Over Thanksgiving, my parents took all of their children, plus a grandchild, plus a son-in-law, plus a boyfriend out for dim sum. We ended up in restaurant that was decorated in the style of a depressing office–gray carpet, fabric covered chairs, white walls. The only difference between the restaurant and the website I used to work for was that the restaurant didn’t smell like burnt popcorn. Also, there was no man with a glass eye telling me to MARKET MORE!
The food was amazing. Twenty minutes into the meal, as I scooped buttery clams into my mouth, I stopped.
“WAIT! CAN I HAVE THIS FOOD?” I yelled. Butter pooled in my mouth.
My family just stared at me.
My mom shifted in her seat. My dad rolled his eyes and swallowed some octopus. They have eight children and aren’t easily impressed by people who complain about pregnancy or insist that peanut butter will harm their fetus. Actually, after having eight kids, my parents just aren’t really impressed by a whole lot. They kept eating.
“Well, if damage was to be done, it has already happened,” my sister’s boyfriend Mike so helpfully offered.
That was good enough for me. I kept eating.
Last week, I was baffled why I kept waking up at night with an aching back. “I’m so tired,” I whined to Dave. “What is wrong with me?”
He looked up from his nightly routine of reading all the conservative pundits. “Um, I knocked you up. Remember?”
I keep forgetting I’m pregnant.
With Ellis I was obsessed. I could not stop reading about what was happening to me and my body and my baby. I was addicted to the message boards and the email updates and the magazines. And perhaps it was because I was so sick and when I stopped being sick I grew a hormone tumor and then when that was gone, I blew up like Violet Beauregarde and I had to hire Oompah Loompahs to roll me around everywhere I went.
This time, I’m not so sick. This time, I’m not gushing rivers of blood from my back. I’ve only gained five pounds. I’m also in denial. Not because we didn’t plan on this child. On the contrary. This child is planned and loved and wanted so very much. But mostly because back in September I had a miscarriage. And then, boom, pregnant. In order to not go crazy, I’ve just tried to move forward and eat queso. It’s how we Midwesterners survive: cheese and repression.
But last week, little baby queso kicked out my uterus and was like, “I’M HERE! BUY NEW PANTS!” And we went to the doctor. I swear I could hear the heartbeat even before the monitor was on my belly. The heartbeat was so loud and clear. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here.
“It’s here!” I said to Dave. He smiled.
My doctor wiped the goo off of my stomach and said the most beautiful words I’ve heard in a long time: “Now that you’ve finished the first trimester and we’ve heard the heartbeat, your chances of miscarriage have dropped to less than 2 percent.”