Today, I am 16 weeks and 4 days pregnant. And as I type that I feel like a liar, like I am posing as somebody I could not possibly be. It’s as if I am wearing a costume of a pregnant woman with a small baby bump and will need to take it off and return it to its rightful owner soon. In a month? A week? A few days maybe?
Who knows, because despite getting this far, I still feel like a ticking time bomb. I thought the feeling would go away at 12 weeks. Then at 16. But it’s still there, stronger than ever. It doesn’t help that I am now on my third subchorionic hematoma of this pregnancy and have had bleeding and spotting off and on for the last 3 weeks.
Nobody seems to be too concerned though. Baby is looking good, they say. HE is growing and kicking and squirming and showing us his little man parts on each weekly ultrasound. Dr. Kwak-Kim has taken me off lovenox because of the bleeds. And this has me more freaked out than anything. I’ve begged her nurse practitioner to keep me on it, but she has assured me that I’ll be fine without it – that she may not put me back on it, even when the bleeding resolves. So I cannot shake the worry that a blood clot is forming, getting ready to take all of this away from me.
So each time I say I’m pregnant, I feel like an imposter.
At 12 weeks, we told our families the news. Since they know parts of what we’ve been through, they were overjoyed, yet still cautious for us.
Telling other people has been harder for some reason. For so long, I’ve held this image in my mind of what it would be like to finally be able to say “I’m pregnant!” Yet each time I say it, it doesn’t come out how I imagined. It’s missing the exclamation mark on the end.
The recipient of my news always fills it in though. With excitement and questions about gender and the nursery and maternity leave. And sometimes, even, with happy tears. They don’t know any better than to assume what they would ordinarily assume: that I’m getting a baby at the end of all of this.
And I know far better than to assume that.
Every time I call a daycare provider and say I have a baby due in March, I feel like I am saying something terribly untruthful. And yesterday, my 5-year-old niece, all too familiar with the look of her mom’s pregnant belly, spotted my growing stomach and asked “Is there a baby in your belly?” I told her yes and that she was going to have another cousin soon. And immediately, I felt terrible. Like I had told her a lie bigger than Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy combined.
I know I need to crush those thoughts. After all, there’s daycare to be arranged. There’s furniture to be bought. There’s pediatricians to be decided on. And this is when most pregnant women do all that. Most normal pregnant women at least.
As everyone says, this is the time to be happy and register and spread the news and show off my bump. And I know, lord do I know, that I am one of the lucky ones. So I will. I will be happy and register and spread the news and show off my bump. And all the while, I will try my best to ignore the sound that’s resonating in the back of my mind. Tick, tick, tick, tick.