I’m not going to make you read a whole page before I blurt it out—I’m going to have a baby next month in August. That’s the secret.
I’m not sure how it became a secret at all. Well, first I wanted to make sure it was really going to happen because last year we had a huge disappointment. I didn’t want the kids upset again, and I didn’t want to go through any more “public” mourning. So my husband and I decided to wait three months to see if there was still a strong heartbeat before telling them. Because I was so ill, I did end up having to confide a bit earlier in my middle children (17 & 14), but even that I delayed as long as possible. We waited until the four-month ultrasound before we told the extended family. After that, the secret seemed to take on a life of its own.
It was cold into June, so I wore a jacket whenever I had to drag myself from my bed. No one noticed my growing stomach. It “helped” that I seemed to contract every sickness available to mankind, so I was (still am) in bed most of the day, even after the nausea finally left right before six months (or mostly left). When I reached the mark that the midwife told me my baby really could survive if she had to be born, I realized I could finally tell people.
But after that, well, I was kind of embarrassed. How do you announce to your friends and neighbors that, by the way, you’re going to have a baby next month? Besides, these days many couples my age and younger don’t have more than four children and while some of my peers still have children at home, they are all in high school. My youngest right now is eight and this baby makes number seven, so I kind of feel like the odd-ball out (and maybe even a little greedy). Last year when I was expecting, one man in my neighborhood told us to “keep it on your side of the street.” (I’m sure it was a joke, but is pregnancy a disease?)
I’ve gained forty pounds, some of it water in my legs that makes it difficult to walk, and I also did something to my knee that makes every step torture. I don’t even want to get into the support nylons and the veins problems that prevent me from being on my feet for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Any of you who’ve had more than five or six children might have some inkling as to what I’m talking about.
Last week I was feeling well enough to go to church for part of the time (yay!). It was hot and I didn’t wear a coat. Two women noticed my stomach and said something. A few just stared. Surprise! Everyone who has talked to me so far has been really sweet and supportive.
So, yes, I’m having a baby. A little girl. Her name is Lisbon. She never lets me sleep at night, especially if I try to lie on my right side. She hates fireworks, but she likes being rocked—most of the time.
If you’re curious what brought about this momentous decision at this time in my life, continue to Part 2. I have divided this series into four parts: