14 weeks.

There is a human being growing inside my body.  At 14 weeks, I am still surprised everyday by the wonder of the miracle and the importance of the job we've been given.  What started as two microscopic cells will emerge in 6 more months as a living, breathing human being with thoughts, a personality, and a future - our daughter or son!  Will he or she have Steven's Asian eyes?   My bent towards creativity?  One thing I know...right around Independence Day, we will welcome our first child into the world, and our lives will never, ever be the same.

The understatement of the year: pregnancy is an emotional experience.  It started on a morning in early November when I woke up, peed on a stick, and before I could even put the stick down on the counter, not-one-but-two pink lines appeared.  "Oh my God..." I said as my heart started beating rapidly.  "It worked!  It really worked!"  No matter how many times you imagine yourself pregnant, you are never really prepared for the moment when it is happening to you.  I vividly remember the next thing I said aloud as I stood inside the tiny, locked bathroom with one hand on my belly: "Lord, I receive this baby.  I receive this baby into my body and into our lives."  

Then, I ran into the bedroom and shoved the stick in Steven's face with the instructions so he could verify.  "Look at this!  Look at this!"   For the next several minutes, we just lied there in bed together speechless. What else is there to say at that moment?  We had been given one of the greatest gifts. It was really happening.

For the next nine days, we had our own little secret that left us giggling all day long.  After we awoke in the mornings, Steven would greet me with a glint in his eyes, “Hey, Baby Mama...”  We were bursting for everyone else to know but had no idea how far along I was. So on November 19th, the day before we left for our annual fall vacation to New Jersey, we had an early ultrasound.  The ultrasound tech rubbed the gel around for a few seconds as I shifted nervously.  Then she said, "Yup!  There it is!"  And I saw it - a cute little being with stumpy arms and legs, and a tiny blinking light on the screen - the heartbeat.  Then, tears in my eyes, and a flood of relief.  Because no matter what the pee stick says, you really don't know what's going on in there until you see it with your own eyes.  I was already 7 weeks and 4 days along! 

The next two months of my life were dedicated to vomiting, gagging, and sleeping.  I barely made it on the plane to New Jersey for our annual trip at the end of November.  Nestled nervously in the aisle seat next to Steven {in case I needed to run to the bathroom, of course}, I clutched my bag of snacks - trail mix, pretzels, crackers, and bottled water - as if they were my flotation devices.  I concentrated on crossword puzzles and those Mensa games in the on-flight magazine to pass the time.  When we finally arrived in New Jersey, we excitedly shared the news with my parents over lunch at On A Roll.  For the rest of the 10-day trip, all the strength I could muster was to arise in the morning, hug the toilet, force down breakfast, and then stumble back into bed at about 9am for a 3 hour nap. Afternoon: same thing on repeat. Remember how much I was looking forward to Thanksgiving?  Let’s just say I might never be able to touch green bean casserole again. 

But I am thankful, so very thankful, that this, my first pregnancy, has knocked me down with sickness. Because the midwife tells me my hormones are “strong” and that means the baby is in there securely. I’ve never been so happy to be nauseous in my entire life.   What I realized during that trip to New Jersey when I had hours and hours to myself in bed: my body is not my own right now.  I am hosting another human being.  It just seems right that you have to suffer a bit in the process of bringing new life into the world.

"Had any weird food cravings?" people ask.  Thankfully, even my cravings have been pretty healthy, like fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, for example.  I never could stand grapefruit juice before. Now I absolutely must have it.  Everyday.  I go through an 18-pound bag of Texas Star's in about three days and have kept Whole Foods' condiment aisle in business with the amount of crispy dill pickles I've consumed. 

Then there was a three-day stint when the only thing that sounded appetizing was an Italian sub sandwich on a hard roll with oil and vinegar.  Thank goodness I was in NJ at that point, where there's a sub place on every corner {I love you, Main Street Subs}.  After the sub stage, however, for days and days I insisted to Steven that our car smelled like a sub sandwich.  Bizarre.

And the aversions, oh the aversions.  I can barely even type the words oni_n or gar_ic.   So many things I loved to eat are now Repulsive with a capital R, and vice-versa.  Poor Steven.   He has endured my neuroses with such grace and fortitude {or perhaps just resignation}.  About a month ago, I woke him up in the middle of the night announcing that he would have to move to the guest room. "You smell like oni_ns!"  I exclaimed.  I had been lying there, frustrated, wondering what to do.  I couldn't sleep.  All I could do was smell them.  That horrid pungent smell.  Even though there were no oni_ons to be found.  But my sweet husband didn't even hesitate.   He just quietly grabbed his pillow and wearily shuffled off to the next room without a comment.   Now that is love.

So here I am, finally able to start experiencing the beautiful, fun part of pregnancy, and ever so thankful to be healthy, to have the opportunity to be a mother, to raise children with the love of my life. For awhile there, I was wondering if it would ever happen for us.  But at the risk of sounding cliché, His timing is always best.  It just takes patience and a surrendering of my own desires - two qualities I have a feeling I'm going to need quite a bit in the coming months and years, anyway.