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Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Beginning - Whitney Pt. I

The Beginning 

Whitney Pt I

I’ve kept a log of my thoughts and theories as I went through 40 weeks of pregnancy. It wasn’t anything I ever planned to share. It was just a way to document this experience I was going through, to preserve it on “pen and paper” I suppose. I always enjoyed hearing other people’s birth stories and found it incredibly helpful to read through or listen to other people’s experiences and stories. It was helpful to hear stories, where everything went according to plan or just about everything, went wrong.

It was the mental prep I needed as I made my way through the process, as the slow countdown to his due date began. Eventually, I got there myself, at 39 weeks and 2 days and my story was the one where everything went off the rails in a way I had never imagined and ultimately feared. That’s when I decided it was a story worth sharing, that there was something cathartic in getting all of my memories and emotions down before they faded with time. That maybe this story would inspire someone, maybe it would scare the living shit out of someone, or maybe it would just give another angle to the unpredictable process that is birth. But, before I go into details on the best and hardest days of my life, the sequence of events that brought Whitney into my world, it’s best to start at the beginning.

I always knew I wanted kids. I knew in a way that was definite but wasn’t demanding. I wanted kids but I wanted them conditionally. It doesn’t always work out like the movies, rarely ever does really, but I wanted it with the perfect partner after we said I do, at a point where we were financially and emotionally stable. I spent my 20’s in a long-term relationship where kids always seemed attainable but just out of reach for one reason or another. I hit a point in my early 30s where I started to acknowledge and accept that it might not all happen for me, at least not in the way I had envisioned. You start doing the math in your head as you put together a timeline: find someone, get to know them, date, get engaged, plan a wedding, get married, enjoy married life, try to conceive, go through 40 weeks of pregnancy. Never mind if you want more than one kid and oh, best to do this all before you turn 35 when you are considered “high risk”.

You hit 30 and you are a ticking time bomb of a woman really. So at 31, I was at the point of acceptance that this may not be in the cards for me. That was until I met Adam. Adam was turning 36, definitely wanted kids, and was surrounded by adorable nephews and the children of childhood friends. As his friends used to joke, with every birthday they celebrated he was walking farther into stepdad territory. Time has blurred some of the details but I am almost certain that before Adam and I even met, we discussed futures in the sense of what we wanted for ourselves. We had the same values and a similar idea of what our lives would look like and we both felt the want and the pressure to have kids sooner than later.

It was February 24th where we both “swiped right” online and February 28th when we met for our first date over pizza in New Haven (these dates are important, I promise). I remember our first flight together in May when we headed to Florida and swapped “I Love You” along the water on our last night there. It was December when we started talking about a wedding and by February we were engaged. It was at this point where we started to put the idea of kids on the timeline. We agreed to start trying “as soon as possible”, a date we decided to be after the wedding. As we watched friends around us share their struggles in the fertility department, we were scared into thinking this would be the outcome for us as well. It was May when we looked at the calendar and decided to start trying with the attitude it wouldn’t happen right away with our ages and my thyroid condition. We said it was so unlikely to happen - until it did.

We found out we were expecting just at the 4-week mark. We were on our way to Maine to check out our wedding venue when I passed out cold in the car at about 7 pm. As I pride myself in being a great co-pilot (one who stays awake) I was taken off guard by this sudden slumber while en route to Portland. Sure, it could have been the chaos of the new house, the renovation, and the whole move in general. I wasn’t sure what the culprit was but I just had a feeling. It was father's day after all so if there is ever a day to find out, this felt like it. I had Adam stop at a CVS on our way up north and we waited until we arrived at our questionable Motel 6 in Portland to take the test.

I took the test in the bathroom of a sketchy hotel while Adam laid down and just about passed out in bed. I nervously waited for the outcome and then the 8 letter word "PREGNANT" started to show up on the screen. I was in complete shock as it had happened so soon. The plan was to start trying after the wedding, which was soon thereafter moved to one month before and finally two months before, and then it happened.

I walked out with the stick that I handed to Adam. He glanced at it and dismissed it, disappointed, not fully reading what it said until I told him to look again. Finally, he focused on the 8 letters in front of him, reading the same word I saw and immediately burst into tears, sobs really. Something he had wanted for so long, something we both wanted, something we talked about, it had just.... happened.

We spent the weekend in Portland celebrating in our little bliss. We stopped to get a few of the books to quickly jump on board of “what to expect when you’re expecting.”. We smiled at each other constantly and talked about the baby, our future, and what life would look like from here on out. We kept the news from our parents, only telling our sisters for now as we schemed ways to break the news. Back home, things started to get more real as we downloaded the apps, learned more about our first trimester, and finished packing and getting the new house ready. It all seemed like a form of organized chaos - how in one year we planned a wedding, planned a backup wedding, bought a house, sold two houses, completely renovated a house, I quit my job and started a business, and now a baby was on the way. All in the middle of the craziest year with COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement, a political nightmare and election, and so much more. We laughed that we really crammed our major life events in one of the hardest years. We mourned the ability to celebrate with friends and family, ultimately learning to adapt along the way, not knowing just how much the virus was going to change this pregnancy and his birth.

Part II is all about pregnancy (spoiler alert - not a person who "loved" being pregnant) so stick with me. 

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