The ticker on my pregnancy blog said I had 90 days to go. I could scarcely believe it.
I was still battling depression, but the ticking clock added anxiety to my list as well. I wanted to be a mommy so bad, and I loved my baby and her kicky little feet. But I wished things were different. I wished people were more excited about my baby, like I was. I wished I could have a baby registry and plan for darling little baby announcements and everything. From my journal: “But the world is a mean place. It's okay. I'll love you enough to make up for it, I promise.”
My baby started to hiccup, and I got such a kick out of the feeling. It was crazy to think that there was a tiny little person in my belly, doing all the things a non-belly person would do – wiggling and stretching and hiccupping. Pregnancy had always struck me as sort of an experiment in science fiction – grow your own human in ten months or less! But I’d grown to love having my little alien baby kicking around in my belly.
I went to the eye doctor. She told me I was tiny for how far along I was. I loved her for saying that. The Relief Society president and one of her counselors came by to see me. They said the same thing – that no one would ever guess I was due in three months. I have never been a particularly slim person, and I’d worried that pregnancy would attack my stomach and hips with the efficiency and prejudice of a B-29 Superfortress. So it did my ego good to have maintained some semblance of a normal figure so far. I knew it would catch up with me in a few months and I would be roughly the size of an oil rig. I decided to enjoy it while it lasted.
I got back the results of my blood glucose test. It’s a routine sort of test pregnant women get, to check for possible gestational diabetes. The number to shoot for was 130. Mine came back a 131. Which could be a lab error. I was anxious about going in for what would likely be suggested – the fasting 3-hour blood glucose test. I decided to ask my doctor about it.
I made the mistake of researching the Rhogam shot I was scheduled for. I should have learned my lesson when I researched laproscopic gallbladder removal the night before that surgery, but I didn’t. There were all sorts of side effects and risks, including Mad Cow Disease. I don’t react well to shots as it is. I tend to pass out, so I made my mother go with me to my appointment.
The doc said my blood glucose looked great (her word, not mine), and she seemed pleased with my weight gain (or lack thereof) and belly measurement and with my baby’s heartbeat. My little girl could sure kick. I got the dreaded Rhogam shot, which made me weak and lightheaded, but I stayed conscious, which was a first for me.
There was more talk from my sister and her husband about adopting my baby. It made me uneasy. I couldn’t imagine my baby being my niece. It felt too weird. My mom’s younger sister is actually her niece (whom my grandparents eventually adopted), and it always made things sort of confusing when I tried to figure out her family tree. I didn’t want my baby to be tangled in my family tree’s branches. And I figured, if I did choose adoption, I would choose a local couple, so I could actually see my baby every now and then.
My baby’s feet were in constant motion. One day I took a break from my SuDoku book, setting it on my belly. I closed my eyes for a moment, and suddenly my book went flying. My baby had kicked it off! It was the first time I felt her kick from the outside, and I laughed out loud. It was glorious. I thought to myself in that instant that I had to keep my baby.
And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to make a final decision. I wrote in my journal, “I love feeling your little kicks. I love knowing you're happy and safe. I wish I could keep you happy and safe in my belly forever. The world is such a big, scary place and I still don't know what's going to happen with you. I want you to be happy and healthy and loved. I want you to have the very best things life has to offer. I hope that means keeping you. I don't know yet.”
I was tired of keeping my pregnancy a secret – I was excited about my baby and I wanted the rest of the world to be, too. But I dreaded telling my dad’s family that I was pregnant. We have a family dinner with them every Easter, and I think my mom thought I might break the news then. But I lacked the fortitude. The timing didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to ruin Easter. My (slightly irreverent) thoughts were, “So, family, it’s Easter. Jesus died for our sins. Guess which ones I’ve committed?”
I couldn’t do it. I dressed carefully. I wanted to just look fat, not pregnant. I wasn’t sure that would work – I was seven months along at that point – but I got away with it! No one suspected a thing. The downside, of course, was that everyone probably thought I’d really let myself go since my dad died. I considered doing the cowardly thing and just posting a belly shot on my Facebook page. I probably would have done so, too, were I not concerned about who, other than family, might see it. I moved to the Phoenix area from a small town, and I was Facebook friends with a number of people from the town I left. I did NOT want to be the subject of small-town gossip. I would have hated that more than anything. Not just for my own sake, but for my mother’s. I didn’t want people to think of her in a pitying fashion – like, “Oh, poor [insert my mom’s name here]. One more thing to deal with after her husband’s death.” But I knew I had to tell the rest of my family at some point. What if I kept my baby? What would I do for Thanksgiving – just show up with a four-month-old baby?
"Oh, Jill ... um ... you've got a baby."
"What? Oh, right. Yeah, that's my daughter. Had her in July. Didn't I mention it? Oops, sorry. I could have sworn I told you."
My other, much more selfish motivation to tell people the truth, was that I would almost rather have had people think I was cheap and slutty than fat. I’m not sure what that says about me. I think that, if you’ve ever had a weight problem, you probably understand that sentiment a little.
I continued to correspond occasionally with the two couples I’d met earlier in the year – and with one of the couples in particular. I liked them, but I wasn’t sure if they were the right couple for my baby. And I still hadn’t made up my mind! I tried to, but I couldn’t.
I hadn’t heard from H in two weeks. I wondered if he’d finally decide to leave me alone. If only he had.