I wrote this back in January when I flew to Utah for my sister’s wedding and I saved it until now because, well, I wanted to save it until now.
I’m standing in line, trying to think of what I will say when it is my turn:
“I need a hotel room.”
“I’m going to be here all night. Please help me.”
“It was not my fault at all that I missed my flight — the airline was responsible.”
There’s one thing that tempts me . . . but I cannot say the words. They cross my mind, creep towards my tongue a dozen times as I stand and wait. An explanation. An excuse. A card I think of playing for sympathy or favors, perhaps they will bring some extra attention to my cause, my plight, right now while I am stranded in an airport for 10 hours, having missed my connection by 10 minutes.
But I cannot say them. Even though I have been practicing them at home for months, first quietly, cautiously, careful of who was in earshot, and then more loudly and openly — though still careful of who was in earshot. Careful that they would not repeat my words. When we go out in public, I worry that my sons — the little pitchers with big ears — will forget, will slip, will spill what I have told them must be kept inside for just a little longer. I think that maybe they’ll mention “the baby” or talk about how I’m always tired, or suggest another name for their unborn sibling — like Tophie or Babyjuice, or better yet, Babypowderjuice, all of which have come up as possibilities — while someone else is present.
I have told them not to tell, that we want to keep it a secret. And it doesn’t seem right for me to go telling perfect strangers what I have told my sons not to tell perfect strangers. I will keep quiet.
I do my best to keep by body quiet as well. I suck in, although there is no threat of me showing for weeks or maybe months. I smile and chat even though doing anything with my mouth makes my stomach churn and my legs feel weak. In an effort not to draw any suspicion, we have kept our calendar full through the holidays. We have not refused invitations to go out, to mix and mingle. I’ve told myself it is good for me to to get out. I remind myself that it is really a joy and a blessing to have such a secret. I attempt to inflate this shell of myself, who only wants to curl on the couch silent and shivering, with warmth and excitement and anticipation as I wait for the baby to swell my body, to fill me with its own warmth and movement and life.
Right now, as I am waiting in line, I will not let my mouth betray what I have been hoping my body would not reveal.
I will ignore, pretend, carry on as if everything is normal. I do not need special treatment. I am pregnant, not broken. I am strong and capable. I will not play the pregnancy card for sympathy or favors. I will keep my mouth shut so my stomach doesn’t churn and my legs do not grow weak. And I will wait patiently in the airport for 10 hours until my flight departs.
Yes, it’s true. I’m pregnant. I’m 23 weeks along (just over 5 months). We just found out today that we are having a girl! (That’s what I was waiting to find out before I announced it here . . . and it took a lot longer to get an ultrasound than I anticipated.) I have lots and lots to say about the pregnancy, but I will leave you with just the facts tonight. I’m pregnant with a girl who will be born in late July (and, I hope, not August).