The first time I took the pregnancy test in early February, it came up “Not Pregnant” and I genuinely thought to myself hmm, that’s not right. This was different. I re-read the instructions on how to take the test and oops there it was, I messed up. I opted to go with the cup of urine sample method but missed the detail about how large my sample needed to be. The test also advised that if you’re testing early, it should be done first thing in the morning, not late in the afternoon like I had done. I did more research online for the test and it was recommended that if you still think you’re pregnant after a negative result, test again in 3 days…
1.5 days later I was taking the test again, first thing in the morning. I watched intently as each square of the progress bar on the screen of the digital tester lit up and blinked, begging me to stay patient.
My reaction was completely unexpected: I sobbed so hard I couldn’t breathe. I remember thinking to myself why are you crying so violently?? But also I knew it I knew I knew it I knew it I knew it I knew it.
Oleg doesn’t like to make a fuss about anything, especially when it could mean celebrating too early. He would take low-key and private over a grand display, always. As down as I was to get fireworks and a 7-tier cake to tell him the news, I opted to place the pregnancy test inside his accessories box on the dresser. Everyday, soon after he comes home from work he puts his watch in there, so it was a good spot where he would stumble upon the pregnancy test on his own.
That gray box on the left, that’s where I put it.
I greeted him at the door when he came home and he sat down to take his shoes and jacket off while we briefly caught each other up on our days. I didn’t want to hover and make him suspicious, so when he started making his way to the bedroom I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Before I even finished filling up the cup, I heard him scream, “AMY!!!! WHAT IS THIS?!?!”
He sounded angry. I’ve never heard his voice sound like that. I rushed over to the bedroom almost thinking maybe it’s not about the pregnancy test lol but there he was standing there, holding it.
Is this real? How does it know? How many times did you take the test? How do we know for sure? Is your pee on this? I’m touching your pee right now? You have to go see a doctor. Are you happy?
Yes. Are you?
Ok. This is good.
We hugged, and I watched his face go on a journey. He stayed silent, but I knew what he was thinking because I thought the same things. All of our conversations about whether we were ready for this came back to mind. We knew the impossibility of preemptively feeling prepared to raise a child, we knew there was no way to be in control of timing everything right, and what even is “right”? Everything is about to change. There’s a sense of loss that accompanies charting new territory, no matter how great the excitement may be. It’s not going to be just us two anymore, and that deserves to be mourned.
He broke the silence by pointing at his crotch and said, “Wow, so this thing works ok?”
The rest of the night carried on as usual, except we hugged more than we normally do. We made dinner and ate it while watching the latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The excitement of that day’s news grew and created vibrations in the air. Everything was funnier, happier, and he finally touched my belly with both hands and asked, “WhAt’S iN tHeRe??”
The first time we saw our baby was at 9 weeks. Like everything else during this pregnancy, it made me cry. It looked like a peanut!!! For all I knew there might not have been anything in my uterus and all the fatigue and nausea and food aversions were a coincidence, but the grainy black and white ultrasound photo made it real.
At 11 weeks I got back some test results, one confirming that it’s a boy! I can’t keep this a secret either!! Since by this point shelter-in-place was instated and our ideal plan to celebrate with our family and close friends together in person wasn’t going to happen, we decided we wouldn’t do a gender reveal, also because we were too excited to find out and tell everyone right away. Before I was about to click the button in the test results that would tell us boy or girl, I asked Oleg if he’d like me to do something fun to surprise him later that day, like our own little gender reveal for us two except I’d already know because I’m the one putting the surprise together, and he said no let’s find out together immediately. I could have predicted that response, but foolishly held out hope that maybe we could drag this out, ha.
We told our families via Face Time calls that we were expecting. My mom’s joking disappointment over the baby being a boy (all the babies on both sides of our families are boys) and subsequent happy crying made my face both laugh and melt. Oleg and I talked about how it would be cool to have a girl so that there would be at least one girl cousin in the family, and I also just love the idea of him raising a girl (we ultimately didn’t care what the baby would be) but I had a gut feeling it was going to be a boy. That might have been influenced by all the old wive’s tale tests I tried for predicting the gender and I kept getting boy! Once it was confirmed, I kept imagining a miniature version of Oleg, and my heart bursts just thinking about it.
At 12 weeks, I heard his heartbeat for the first time and I weeped. He was kicking, turning, and stretching out his arms during the ultrasound and I was in awe over how much he had grown in just 3 weeks since the last time I saw him. The biggest emotion I felt was relief, that he was healthy and looked pretty comfortable in there, and that everything was progressing normally.
We continued telling close friends that we’re expecting, which we hoped would be some good news during a time where it felt like there wasn’t much good news being shared in the world. There’s more than enough worry and stress to go around, and I know I’m lucky to have felt largely at peace with this great pause mostly because it’s what I want for my baby. If I can remain happy and calm, perhaps my baby will be even more.
This pregnancy has been an even greater blessing during a time where staying hopeful and looking forward to the future are helping us get through the challenges of the current reality. Despite all the horrible things going on that my heart hurts for, the silver lining of gratitude I carry with me is that slowing down has been good to me and my changing body, and that this extra time I get to spend with Oleg is something to be cherished as I can imagine it’ll be a while before we can spend this kind of time together again. His regular check-ins on me throughout the day when he takes breaks from work, sharing all our meals at the table, working out together in the backyard, going on long walks around the neighborhood while talking about anything from what we want to eat tomorrow to our plans for the future near and far, there actually may never be a time like this again. I both wish for our world to resume normality while also savoring what’s left of this abnormality to be at home together so much.
We bought this house and picked this neighborhood for our future children. We moved closer to my parents to redeem their offer of being free babysitters, and so that they could have a close relationship with their grandkids. I often sit in different spots of our home envisioning our kids running around and enjoying the shelter we worked so hard to provide them. What helped me take the leap for self-employment years ago was thinking about how if I succeeded, it would allow me the flexibility in my schedule to be there for my kids. It’s all for them, and it feels surreal that they will soon see it and know that we loved them long before we even met them. Our dream of having a bigger family is happening.
We get to meet him in October!!