The first person we told was the cashier at Trader Joe’s, though it was completely unintentional. We were still getting used to the idea that we would soon become three, and the feel of the word “baby” on our lips still had a foreign taste, like the first time you taste sushi, or the first hot cup of coffee every morning; you know you love it, but you can’t quite articulate why you like it… yet. All I knew, from the beginning, was that I was in love with this little bundle of rapidly growing cells. So when we were talking about the food we were buying and whether it was healthy for the “baby,” we didn’t realize that we were talking loud enough for the woman bagging our groceries to hear.
Of course, we laugh about this woman being “the first” we told; though I reflect back and see that there was joy in that moment- she had recently given birth herself, and her joy amplified our joy.
In fact, that has been one of the most amazing things about sharing this wonderful news: the more we share, the more magnified our own joy becomes!
When E and I found out about our little nugget on November 16th, I confess that it did take a little while for it to sink in. Perhaps it was shock; this happened incredibly, blessedly fast for us. We have many people in our lives who have struggled, and still struggle, with fertility, that while we weren’t necessarily worried it would never happen, we were prepared for the long haul, which would have meant at least a few months of disappointment.
We gave thanks to God for this gift, mindful that the story is not the same for everyone.
And then the first trimester (which is gloriously coming to a close!) brought along worries of its own. Never have I been so careful in hugging another person in all my life!
But then last week we had our 12-week check-up, and then the genetic screening ultrasound. At the first appointment, we were able to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I cannot believe how unbelievably beautiful that little whooshing sound is, and I don’t know that I’ll forget it for the rest of my life. To hear our little one’s strong heart working away made my heart soar, and I confess that my eyes tear up a bit as I type about it.
Yet this joy continued to surge at the ultrasound just two days later. We went back and forth on whether or not to keep this appointment. We were unsure if E’s insurance would cover it, whether it was something we even wanted, and so on. Ultimately we decided that if there was something of concern (the main thing they screen for is the risk of Down’s Syndrome), we would want to be as prepared as we could for the little one’s arrival and any special needs that would be required. As of this writing, we have yet to receive the results, but E and I are both pretty relaxed about it (well, as relaxed as we can be with six months left!).
While the ultrasound technician was trying to get the measurements she needed, we had about a half hour of simply watching our baby on the monitor: and boy was s/he active! I think baby knew we were watching, because the little one would not stay still (showoff! Clearly my child!).
I cannot get over the miracle this is; the joy that continues to wash over me like waves, sometimes when I least expect it. This is our child. Our baby. We made this! Those little hands, folded and held up as if in prayer; those little knees drawn up, then extended, then drawn up again; every piece of this wee one, wonderfully and fearfully made.
As I said earlier, we found out on November 16th, and the doctor was able to confirm the next week (though that in itself is another post for another day). In my church, we celebrate communion the first Sunday of every month, so it was a couple of weeks later when I found myself celebrating the sacrament with my congregation, in the middle of battling a pretty nasty cold that was slowly stripping away my voice.
In the middle of this Advent communion liturgy, mention is made of Zechariah, the priest who lost his voice for his lack of faith in his wife, Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud at this mention with the parallels I was seeing in my own life.
As I reflect back on this, and think about how difficult it has been to articulate my joy (our joy) in this baby- the words joy, celebration, and excitement seem so lacking! – I realize that maybe words cannot capture this spirit; it is a spirit beyond words, beyond articulation. It can only, simply, be felt in the heart.
And mine is full.