When I envisioned myself finding out that I was pregnant, I imagined the cute ways that women on commercials let their significant others in on the joyous news. I had narrowed it down to either an early morning gift of a "World's Greatest Dad" t-shirt or a romantic dinner followed by a pair of tiny booties presented as a surprise at dessert. When the day finally came, I went with Plan C: after reading the plus sign on the home test, I waited 15 seconds and called Jeff at work on his cell phone. He answered from the lunch line where he was buying a chopped salad. I screamed, "Oh my God! We're pregnant!" It was not romantic, but it was effective.
From henceforth, the sandwiches I ate every day at work had to be on white bread. The contents could be egg salad or tuna or a brightly-colored cheese. The sandwich had to be cut into two equal triangles and preferably purchased from a vending machine. These are not items I would have considered eating before, or even considered as a viable food category, but my dedication to them was solid.
This was not going to be a glamorous pregnancy.
The good news came two weeks before the "We Eloped" party we'd been planning since we'd gotten back from Vegas the previous month. In my family's tradition of piling on the baby weight, I was already having difficulty squeezing back into my wedding dress for the party. Six weeks in and I had jumped a size. All of that American cheese on white was doing its job. It felt odd to be celebrating one thing when we already had a secret other thing to be happy about. So we shared the secret.
There are so many clever ways to break the news at a party, but again, I went with "Oh my God, you guys! Guess what?' After the congratulations, there was always a moment where you could see our loved ones struggling with the math in their heads. We solved the problem for them by quickly adding, "It's a Honeymoon Baby."
Due to my age -- I was 40 -- our pregnancy was classified as "high risk." We found ourselves at the pre-natal specialist on a weekly basis, filling out forms and undergoing tests. In the waiting room, we became pamphlet scholars, memorizing the myriad things that could go wrong with these tests, this pregnancy, our baby. We made the decision that we would love our two-headed frog baby no matter what. We settled in, eager to wait.
I had always felt that there was something romantic about waiting until a baby's birth to find out his or her sex. It is one of the last great mysteries in a world where mystery is underrated, so I was prepared to wait to find out about the blue or pink of the new member of our family... until I found that I actually was pregnant. Then I wanted to know the sex as soon as possible. On the day that baby's tiny parts would reveal their secret, our perinatologist looked down at the tell-tale screen. Being a nice Jewish doctor, he exclaimed, "Rosenbergs! I hope you have the number of a good mohel!"
We were having a boy. We hugged. We cried. We called our moms.
As our little boy grew inside my belly, we exercised by taking lurching walks around the neighborhood, avoiding the sneezes or laughter that would cause my baby-smooshed bladder to let loose. As for fashion, I rotated my favorite pair of black (So slimming!) maternity sweat pants with my elastic-waist panel jeans, wearing whichever ones weren't in the wash from being recently peed in. I may have been the sight that created sore eyes, but so far my little internal hitch-hiker appeared to be healthy so I was hopeful, and grateful, and did pants laundry twice a day.
I had long admired the pregnant ladies who had the swallowed-a-basketball look. They didn't look pregnant from the back. I, on the other hand, was obviously pregnant from every angle. With my steady supply of sandwiches and apple juice, even my hair was obviously with child. At seven months, I started getting the, "You must be due any minute!" and "Twins?" comments from strangers. The only time I didn't feel seasick was while I was eating.
"I always thought I'd be one of those preggie-yoga-going women who feels beautiful in her new, 'ripe' body," I told Jeff as I jammed my doughy calves into compression stockings.
"The Whole Foods ladies?"
"Yeah. What went wrong here?"
"They probably don't buy all nine meals a day from the minimart at Arco."
"Those sorts of ladies always bugged you, anyway." Jeff reached out and patted my belly.
"They kind of did."
"You've never been more beautiful, Baby."
"Beautiful like a parade float."
"A sexy parade float."