April 04, 2006


"Could you be pregnant?"

Sometimes a question isn't a question. Sometimes it's the universe knocking on your front door.

I was in the ER with asthma trouble, and they had done an EKG. It looked a little funky, so they decided to admit me.

Chest X-Ray. "Are you pregnant?"

Sometimes the universe stops knocking and peeks into the mail slot and maybe even gives a little Yoo-hoo? Anybody home?

I remember when I was unknowingly newly pregnant with Sass, sitting in the hospital lab getting a pregnancy test to clear the way for another round of Clomid. The phlebotomist asked me what she should write down as the diagnosis on my lab slip. Infertility? I suggested. She wrote Pregnant. I remember lingering over that slip, seeing my name combined with that magical word. The universe rode the elevator with me that day poking me in the ribs as I shoved that paper into my purse. I can almost hear it sighing with frustration now.

Cardiac Unit. "Is there any chance you're pregnant?" Do these people ever let up?

"The thing is..I've already explained this several times..we can't get pregnant..um..at least without some help. Plus, I've already taken two home pregnancy tests in the last two weeks and they were negative."

M. and the nurse both raised their eyebrows. The universe fell over in a dead faint.

"Well, yeah, my period is late. So what? It's never regular, I'm still nursing, they were negative, okay?"

"I'll schedule you for that stress test," the nurse said and walked out with a smile.

Sometimes the universe mumbles something about how incredibly thick you are, pulls out the spare key you lent it when you went on vacation last summer and asked it to watch the cats, and lets itself in.

An hour later, the nurse came back with a funny look on her face. "Are you sure you aren't pregnant?" She could barely contain her glee. "Because we had to give you a pregnancy test before you could go in for the stress test...and....well it says you are."

Mark and I grabbed each others hands and stared at each other with mouths wide open.

"Umm..how..er...what? Are you sure? But we can't? How far along? Can I see that?"

Our words ran over each other. She held out the slip. "It seems you're 5-6 weeks along."

Happily stunned. There is no other way to describe the moment. We were pregnant, pregnant with our second child, already into the second month, by spring we'd be parents again. It was such a rush, such an incredible rush that we just sat there holding hands, laughing, crying, and not really knowing what to do next.

The good news is that the cardiologist cleared me almost immediately. A few more tests just to rule out some things the next day and I could go home. Apparently pregnancy makes you feel pretty crappy and generally they don't keep you in the hospital for that. Who knew?

We made some pretty funny phone calls that day. Hi. Bethany's in the hospital, everything's fine, oh, and we're pregnant. The reactions were priceless. And then everything settled down, Sass went to Grandma's, Mark went to feed the dog, and I was left alone, again clutching the pregnancy test slip in my hand and counting backwards on my mental calendar. She was conceived on our anniversary, on vacation, in a hotel room overlooking the beach. We's slept with the patio door open to hear the waves all night long and woke to the sunrise with Sass holding her pail and shovel, ready to start digging in the sand. A good place to begin, I thought to myself.

She grew and I grew and every time we took a car trip I threw up. Pretty soon I felt her flipping and flopping and elbows and knees started poking into my ribs. She was strong, and woke me up with her nighttime antics but quieted right down with a simple touch.

We decided to be surprised, just like with Sass. So at every ultrasound we squinted and tried to see and guess but told the technician No, no, no don't tell us! and she'd laugh at how ridiculous we were. Around 6 months they saw something wrong with her kidney and sent us to a specialist. The doctor opened up a little book of pictures and explained everything that could be wrong and I cried and cried and then she did the ultrasound and cheerily said, "Everything looks great!" and I mentally yelled at her Then why didn't you do the ultrasound first?

At 8 months they did another ultrasound to make sure the marginal previa they'd seen earlier had cleared. I was alone in the room with the technician and she was marvelling over the chubby rolls of fat that baby already had. I think I know what it is, I told her hesitantly. She didn't say anything. I think it's a boy. Nothing. Will you tell me if I'm right? I finally asked. She looked at me a minute. Fine, but only if you promise not to tell your husband. I laughed out loud. She'd let me ruin my own surprise, but not his. When she told me it was a girl I gasped out loud, so sure I had been it was a boy.

By the time I got home, I was so giddy with excitement at the thought of another girl, I could hardly contain myself. I semi-broke my promise and told M. I knew, but that I wouldn't tell him unless he wanted me to. He wanted to know this instant, so I was glad I spoke up. When I told him, he smiled that little smile of his and I knew he was pleased. It was hard to picture another baby before, he said, but now I can see her. We decided not to tell anyone but Sass. We sat her on our laps and told her all about her baby sister and where she'd sleep and how we'd feed her and about how one day she'd be big enough to play with. She was thrilled -- a baby girl all her own.

From that day on, whenever anyone asked Sass whether they thought her mommy was having a boy or a girl she'd answer A girl. And we're going to name her Party Girl. No one ever caught on that she knew, and thought it was so cute that she was so sure. When I woke her at 4 AM to tell her I was "going to get the baby" I was so worried that she would be afraid, or cry for me to stay. Instead, she said, "Ok, Mama." She started to roll over, then turned back, "Don't bring home a boy!" she said.

Then there was the business of the water breaking and the pitocin and the epidural and no one really wants to hear about all that right? And then they were putting her in my arms and saying Hold her, hold your baby. And for the second time in my life, my heart was changed again.

And now she's one. I swear with her birth the rotation of the Earth sped up and now so has time. Just 10 minutes ago she was a newborn sleeping on my chest night after night. Then she was 3 months old and rolling -- how can she already be rolling? And then she was 4 months and had enough of laying on the sidelines and she began to creep and time literally has marched on past in fast forward ever sense.

So in honor of her birthday, a few things I love about Party Girl:

Since she was old enough to, she's rubbed her own head as she falls asleep. Now that she has hair, she gently pulls it and the sides of her hair constantly stick out in sweet little duck wings, artificial collicks that I can't get to lie down. She pulls them when she's happy too, and I see her in the window when I come home, laughing and pulling, pulling, pulling her hair. Now that she's learned to wave bye-bye, she'll sometimes wave to me as she falls asleep. I'm off to dreamland now, Mama, I'll see you in a few hours for that quick little bottle I'm not supposed to need anymore but still do. Sometimes she wakes up too early, and all she really needs is for you to go in and lay her back down, like in her sleepiness she's just to tired to remember how. And sometimes in her stupor, she still tries to be her kooky self and smiles and laughs and makes crazy sounds through her pacifier even as her head is falling backward and her eyes are closing.

When I go in to get her in the morning, she shrieks at the top of her lungs and jumps up and down in her crib. She points at all of the pictures on her walls, and when she gets to the Winnie the Pooh bank on her dresser, she says "cat" but whispers it just like her sister used to do. "Pooh." I'll say. "Cat," she'll nod. As I change her diaper, she'll grab her toes and sometimes say "Iggaigga" and we'll play "This Little Piggy," and her sister will come in and stand over her and tickle PG with her long hair.

One hundred times a day, I hear he shout "NOOOOOOO! NO!" and I know that she's come across something she knows she's not supposed to have. Mostly, she'll leave it alone, but sometimes she goes for it, and when I come toward her to retrieve it she'll quickly throw it away. Better to give it up than to have it taken away I guess.

And when she sees the dog she'll shout "DAWG-GAY!!" which is her word of choice for anything fur covered. "DAWG!" she shouts at Little Bear on TV. "DAWG!" she shouts at her stuffed toys. "DAAAAWWWWWG!!!!!" she screeches at the squirrels outside while she eats her breakfast, and enthusiastically throws cheerios at the window.

Today was a banner day. Today she took six steps and threw herself on to the beanbag, clapping with pride at her accomplishment. She also learned to "roll 'em and roll 'em" while she played patty cake with Grandma, and I wish I had a digital video camera to post it here because it is that cute. She learns something new every day.

She's a girl who already has life by the horns. She greets each day with a smile and a shriek and you rarely see her without a big, drooly grin on her face. She laughs and chortles and sings and has a baby language all her own. "GribbACK! Yayingyingk. ToojooGAH." There isn't a room she can't tackle in under 5 minutes, and when I do the dishes I spend longer cleaning up the pots and pans and tupperwear and art supplies that she's gone through than I did at the dishwasher.

She loves to go out, and when we are headed into somewhere she'll call, "Ay! Ayay! IIIIIII!" Hey everyone, I'm hear. Let's get the party started!

But with all the gusto and all the apparent fearlessness, she's still my baby girl. When I pick her up, she tucks her head onto my shoulder and just lies very still, soaking in quiet mama time in a loud and busy world. She'll crawl out of the room, laughing mischieviously, but then look back to make sure I've seen that she's gone and wait for me to chase her. When I rock her, she sings to me, "Gah. Ahhyayayyyaa. Gah," in her whispered voice, and rubs my cheeks and tries to grab my lips. And when I've been gone and return to her, she always drops what she's doing and barrels across the floor to me, laughing and screeching and once in a while I get the golden nugget: Mama.

I look forward to watching my girls grow and seeing the people they become, but one is one of those magical ages I wish I could enjoy for a little while longer. One is so fragile -- a baby bird slowly starting to peek out over the edge of it's nest -- sometimes dreaming of taking flight, other times diving back in under the mama bird's warm and heavy belly. One is silly and kooky and crazy and one is cuddling and rocking and singing. One is chubby rolls and fat little bellies and one is learning to walk and learning to talk and falling and trying again and again and again. And one is amazing to watch because each morning the world is new again and if you spend just a minute looking at it through her eyes, the world is brand new for you again too.

Happy Birthday Party Girl, I'm so glad you're mine.


Blogger vasilisa said...

Happy Birthday to the Party Girl!

It is so amazing how fast they are growing. Time really speeds up. I feel like yestarday I popped my little guy out, and now in just two days it's his 1st birthday. Where did the year go?

May your girls grow happy and lucky...

April 04, 2006 10:43 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

She's a wonderful little girl. Boisterous and gutsy, but somehow sensitive and even shy at times. A contradiction in adjectives, is Party Girl. That great big baby-tooth grin can make your heart melt every time.

April 04, 2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Beautiful post, by the way.

April 04, 2006 10:57 PM  
Blogger The Catapillar said...

I truely enjoyed reading about Party Girl!! You are so eloquent with your words I really felt like I know her.

I wish her a happy birthday and a glorious future.

April 05, 2006 6:24 AM  
Blogger Christi Nielsen said...

That's a beautiful story. Thanks for making my day!

Happy Birthday Party Girl!!

April 05, 2006 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Party Girl! What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful, zany, delightful, can't-get-enough-of-the-world child. And, it was written by Mom who has dedicated herself, giving all of who she is to these amazing girls. I am proud to be their Grandma, but even prouder to be your Mom.

April 05, 2006 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Mrs Figby said...

Aw, what a great post. Happy Birthday, Party Girl!

April 05, 2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

wonderful post. just laced in love. Just beautiful

Happy Belated Birthday Party Girl... she's goregous!!!

April 05, 2006 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Carly said...

This brought tears to my eyes! Write out long hand and read it her every year on her birthday. What an exceptional gift.

April 10, 2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Her Grace said...

Thanks everyone! She had an awesome birthday and party and took the opportunity to start walking everywhere the day of her party, so her entire family got to see it.

Love my girls, yes I do!

April 10, 2006 10:17 PM  

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