I was lying on the exam table, stomach coated in warm, gooey gel, praying to the bladder gods for the will to contain the Aquafina inside of me. Too much sudden pressure at the hands of the technician dragging that receiver across my abdomen, and I would have unloaded enough water to fill one of those blue plastic kiddie pools.
With my eyes glued shut and lips pursed, I was hoping against hope that I could make it through this ultrasound.
“It’s a boy!” shouted my husband Scott out of nowhere.
I lifted my head, peered through my left eye, and I could see that Scott was, literally, on the edge of his seat. My eyes then flashed to the overhead monitor where, plain as day, my baby was spread-eagle and exposing his -- ahem -- unmistakable anatomy for all to see.
From that point on, it was like the train had left the station, and I couldn’t bring it back.
“Um…yes! It is!” confirmed the technician. “…didn’t you already know?”
“No…we didn’t,” I interjected quickly, although the cat was clearly out the bag. “We wanted it to be a surprise.”
And that’s how -- after being kept in the dark for six months -- my husband and I discovered that we were having a boy. A boy that, quite literally, is the inspiration behind this new column which chronicles all that my husband Scott and I will go through on the journey to become first time parents.
Some background on us: I am a writer (I author Plymouth Patch’s weekly “Exploring Plymouth” column and I’m a frequent Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor). I am also a devotee of Hatha yoga and, in April, graduated from yoga teacher training. Scott is a former professional football player, having played for the Detroit Lions from 1991 through 1997, and he is now a professional chef.
That we are a part of the increasingly popular trend of those who wait to start to start a family — I’m 34 and he’s (almost) 43, so we’re no spring chickens -- is not unusual. However, the fact that I am sidelined for the duration of this pregnancy (read: house-bound and teetering on bed-rest) makes our experience a little out of the ordinary. When I found out I was expecting — on New Year’s Eve, of all days; talk about starting the year off with a bang — I had fantasies of maintaining my go-go-go schedule which included doing and teaching yoga, running my requisite errands, and perhaps even taking a “babymoon,” you know, one last hurrah before the little one arrives.
Yeah, well, a fibroid outside my uterus put the kibosh on all that. Not to get too technical, but a fibroid is a non-cancerous tumor that is fairly common, particularly in African-American women, and doesn’t usually present any complications…that is, until it feasts on pregnancy hormones as if it were at The Last Supper. Worst case, they can cause a woman to go into pre-term labor. And nothing can be done about a fibroid during pregnancy.
I don’t remember what size my fibroid was when it was discovered nearly ten years ago, but now it is larger than a grapefruit. Put that in a five-foot-four body with a small frame and you’ve got problems. A-fibroid-that-pushes-on-your-spleen-and-intestines-and-causes-excruciating-pain-that-prompts-you-to-wave-the-white-flag-and-go-to-the-hospital-type problems. Last month, after my second trip to the ER (my doctor kept me overnight, just as a precaution), my OB/GYN rendered her verdict: “Very limited activity; absolutely no lifting.” Then she sent me to a specialist for a second opinion (it was at this appointment that we found out our baby’s sex), and the specialist took the limitations one step further. “This is serious business,” he said to Scott and I sternly with a healthy dose of compassion. “On the recliner with your feet up is the best position to be in…make sure everything you need is within reach…get up every two hours to keep the blood circulating, and then sit back down again.”
Forty-five minutes after the fibroid dos and don’ts lecture, Scott and I found ourselves in the elevator en route to the hospital valet. Our topic of discussion turned decidedly more optimistic.
“So we’re having a boy,” I said, both giddy and shocked at the same time. We would have been happy either way, really, but we had a hunch all along that the baby was indeed a boy.
I then spy a mother coming through the hospital doors. She is holding the hand of a little boy, her son, I presume, who is clutching the handle of a Happy Meal with his other hand. The boy looks to be maybe three, and he’s wearing a tiny Detroit Tigers baseball cap. He is absolutely adorable. I melted. I then realized that I, too, will be the mother of a son. This will be me.
“It’s a boy,” Scott repeated as a smile slowly crept across his face. Through his calm demeanor, I could undoubtedly tell that he was beaming.
Check back here every Friday at 10 a.m. for another “Waiting for Baby” entry.