I can be a little bit Type A. I like to classify, categorize, organize and create systematic, logical ways to do things. Now that you know that about me, it should not surprise you that I stressed out about with whom and when to share the news that we’re expecting. In partnership with my equally nerdy husband, I created the following system.
Tier 1: Immediate family and our closest friends; those we can most rely on in the event the unthinkable happens (these people already know the news).
Tier 2: Need to Know — This group (who also already know) is very small — not even a group. Really just a couple…and includes my group fitness instructors (so they can give me the appropriate modifications) and my manager. I’m simply not a great employee after 2:00 p.m. these days. I get cranky, my brain power is well under one-hundred percent, and the only thing keeping me awake is my trip to the restroom every 30 minutes. We’re also starting to plan for our fall season and it will be easier for my manager if she knows that she has one less resource to rely on.
Tier 3: Extended family, friends, and co-workers: This group will not be informed until about week 12 because I’ve been programed to think “It’s not wise to tell people before that. Just in case.” After listening to Pea in the Podcast “Week 12: Time to Tell?” I know I’m not alone. There’s actually a good historical explanation of why women feel like Week 12 is the ’safety zone.’
You might be thinking, “How can you tell your manager but not your grandparents or aunts and uncles?” Fair question. For me, it comes down to this. I’m a high performer – if I slack at work, there has to be a very good reason. I’m coming in a bit late, leaving a bit earlier. It’s just easier to be up front than to have to spin a web of lies. My extended family, and friends live in other counties or states and do not see me on a daily basis. As far as they are concerned, everything is fine unless they hear otherwise and I wouldn’t want to have to call with the “otherwise” news. It would be too painful. I’d rather just call with the good news in week 12.
Based on the very scientific Tier System, I’m going to have to do a bit of lying as soon as this weekend. Saturday is Girl’s Weekend. I accepted the invite about 2 weeks before I knew I was pregnant and I was super excited because it’s my first invite to this quarterly event by this particular group of ladies, all of who have known each other since forever. To be invited to Girl’s Weekend with this group is kind of a big deal. It’s like being initiated into a sorority.
You’re right if you guessed the event will involve girls behaving badly and copious amounts of alcohol. So that leaves me fibbing and hoping that the gals (Members of Tier 3) buy it.
This is my cover story as it plays out at a bar: Bartender: “And what can I get you to drink pretty lady?” Me: “How about a cranberry and soda water?” Friends: “You mean cranberry and vodka, right?” Me: “I’m training for a half-marathon; my long run is tomorrow and I don’t want to be hung-over.” Of course this story will work for the first few rounds of drinks . Then the lightweight of the group will feel so good she’ll order shots for everyone and here’s where it will get tricky. In real life, one shot isn’t going to create a hangover. Everyone knows that. I’ll refuse to take the shot and at that point, someone will jokingly antagonize…”Are you pregnant???” I’ll turn bright red and deny, deny, deny to maintain the integrity of the Tier System.
Maybe I should just volunteer to be the designated driver.
Let me set the scene for you. It was a long day. I was in training from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Got home and was neither hungry nor in the mood for cooking. My husband was not in the mood for cooking either, just hungry. Knowing that he dare not ask me “What’s for dinner?” he ran down the street to our favorite Greek restaurant and brought home a lamb gyro, soup, French fries, and a Greek salad. I opted for the salad because the fruit and veggie food group is the only one that appeals to me right now. I plowed through about half of it, enjoying the contrast of the crisp cold lettuce with the soft sharp taste of the feta. Feta…FETA! Noooooooo!
What have I done! I was just with the OB Coordinator last week. I can hear her. “Now honey, no soft cheeses like brie, blue, or feta.” How much had I eaten? Was the bacteria from the cheese attacking the baby as I was sitting there staring at the half empty take-out container? What if this one total brain dead moment caused permanent damage to my baby?
Sensing my panic and in a state of disbelief, my husband stopped mid-bite, a bit of sauce hanging off his lip. “Uhh – I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” (Bless his heart – he’s so sweet and I wasn’t angry with him – it was my careless eating.)
Think. Think. OK. Calm. Let’s be real – at the price of the salad, we’re probably not looking at imported feta. Call the restaurant.
So we did, noting it was probably the strangest call they took all day. Husband on the phone: “Yeah, hi. I have a question about your food. Is your feta cheese pasteurized?” Pause. “Really? OK” To me: “She said they get this question a lot. She’s double checking with the kitchen.” Me: “They get this question a lot?”
Good news friends. The cheese is domestic and made from pasteurized milk. Let’s face it: if the cheese was unpasteurized, the likelihood of any damage resulting from this one incident is probably minuscule. But the whole incident makes me think of how my entire life is not about me anymore.
Every decision I make or thing I do, consciously or unconsciously, affects a tiny human who is relying on me to nourish and protect it. This is serious business.
I know babies don’t come with instruction books but pregnancy sure does. Went to my first OB coordinator appointment and came home with enough literature to keep me busy for nine months. I came home with flyers and booklets on just about everything from genetic counseling and breastfeeding to shaken baby syndrome and post-partum depression.
The information, no matter where I find it…Baby Center, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, magazines, the backs of Tylenol and vitamin bottles, is all the same and yet I am just as compelled to read each one as if it were my first bit of information. I scour the pages of each source and hungrily eat up every word, however predictable they are.
My favorite thing to do each day is use the pregnancy tracker function of some of the websites I visit. What’s hilarious about the idea that I do this everyday is that the information only changes once a week when I hit my milestone. Fridays are the official beginning of a new week for me. This past Friday, for example, I was officially 6 weeks and 0 days pregnant. That means my trackers will roll over to the 6 week mark and I’ll get a whole new set of bodily symptoms and baby progress notes. What that also means is that on Monday, when I am six weeks and 3 days pregnant, the information will be the same as it was Friday. What a bummer!
To get over this downer and when I know my current week off by heart, I skip ahead to the next week. Since I’m officially 6 weeks pregnant, that means I’m in my 7th week so it’s OK to look at week 7 notes, right? I had some time in the car over the weekend so I took the opportunity to download some podcasts; I listened to Bonnie Petrie and Dr. Laurie Swaim talk about prenatal blood testing in the pregnancy week 7 podcast. Ah! Information delivered straight from the expert’s mouth — kind of like hearing if from your own doctor without the guilt that you’re taking up too much of her time.
If information is power, I’m in good shape. What’s that PSA say? “The more you know…” But when does information become too much? Is it at the point where you start to worry because the book said that by now you should feel exhausted and you’re not? Is it the point where the pamphlet tells you that at your first prenatal appointment you’ll have a pelvic exam and you stress out because your practitioner doesn’t do that? What about the point where you innocently scan a message board and can’t help but read the post about “No heartbeat”?
So this week, I come to the conclusion that information is like spicy food. In moderation, it’s fine. But too much is just going to cause heartburn.
The past few days have been full of firsts; most of which haven’t been the most pleasant experiences! And in spite of my first soirée with the toilet at work, among other things, I couldn’t be happier to be experiencing them.
Each first is a rite of passage, an initiation of sorts, into the pregnancy club. As one of the newest pledges, I find a certain satisfaction from getting through each hazing incident because it means that I’m officially qualified to nod my head in agreement and compassion, sympathy and empathy.
My rites of passage this week include:
Unwarranted crying: I called my insurance company to enroll in the healthy pregnancy program. At the end of an impersonal call verifying my address and other insurance particulars, the agent said to me, “Good luck to you and your pregnancy.” Tears welled in my eyes and I could barely eek out “Thank you” and hang up the phone before they started streaming down my face.
A near bladder explosion: I learned the hard way that if attending an organization-wide meeting, do not sit in the front, center section. Sit as close the exit as possible and know where the nearest restroom is located. By the time I finally got to the bathroom, I peed for 45 straight seconds. I’m not joking. And I had to go again in 15 minutes.
Throwing up with little warning: One minute I was fine and the next, I was kneeling over a toilet gagging.
Telling our families: By far, the best part of the week! I got my first positive the day we left for vacation. While on vacation, we took a picture with my husband holding a sign over my head that said ‘She’s pregnant!’ We put this picture at the end of all of our vacation pictures and had the parents over for a slide show — something we usually do after traveling so no one suspected anything. When we got to THE picture, my mom read the words but it was clear it didn’t register. It took about 5 seconds. She looked at the screen, read aloud “She’s pregnant,” looked at me, looked at the screen, looked at me, jumped off the couch, screamed, turned in a circle three times and then hugged me and jumped up and down. My in-laws were more incredulous. My mother–in-law even asked, “Is this real?” After ensuring her that we wouldn’t joke about such a thing, more hugging and jumping and screaming ensued.
I know that out of all the firsts, I will most cherish the moment we told our families. Unlike the others, which will turn into seconds and thirds, we only get to announce once that the first grandchild of the family is on the way!
We are proud to introduce Emily, a new mom-to-be that will be journaling about her pregnancy on Pea In The Podcast! Click here to subscribe to Emily’s pregnancy journal.
My name is Emily and I’m addicted to peeing on a stick. Now this is probably not uncommon for someone who is trying to conceive. But for someone who already has, it’s a little bit strange. Or is it?
I think the addiction stems from the thrill that comes from seeing the two blue lines and knowing they confirm something amazing is happening inside of me. After all, other than a few tell-tale symptoms, I have no other way of knowing that I really am pregnant until I see that first fetal heartbeat a whole month from now.
I called my OB after taking the third positive test. The conversation went something like this: ME: “I’ve taken a few pregnancy tests and they’ve been positive. I’d like to come in and have it confirmed.” Receptionist: “You want it confirmed?” ME: “Well, yeah…is that not what usually happens here?” Receptionist: “No ma’am – if your home pregnancy test was positive, you are pregnant.” Silence. “Uh – well, I’ve never been pregnant before…what am I supposed to do now?”
I stewed about this conversation for quite sometime. Was I crazy to ask for confirmation; a blood test, anything more advanced than plastic and paper made in China?
Turns out, I won’t have any confirmation that I’m truly pregnant and that things are progressing well until I see the doctor at 10 weeks. The best I can get before that is an appointment with the OB coordinator, some sore breasts and nausea, and more blue lines from home test kits.