In our ongoing attempt to introduce new plot lines and fresh material to our blog, we have decided to have a baby.
Today, January 20, 2010, Erin enters her second trimester.
Here is a picture to prove it:
Two pregnancy tests were necessary because the first one, top, was purchased in bulk from a dollar store. (This was a money-saving tip from our friend Christine. We bought twelve. The winner was number nine.) But since it was a dollar store pregnancy test, we were somewhat skeptical of its veracity. Thus the second test below, the slightly more dependable Clearblue (loaned to us by Katie Andolina), which says either “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” For some reason we thought the napkin would serve as a nice backdrop.
(For the record, Gail Cicak also loaned us a pregnancy test. Thank you, Female Council of Elders!)
As you might imagine, Jon G. Beers was through the roof when he heard the news. We told him (and Susie) on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. They were just sitting down to dinner. After the news, they insisted we eat and refused to take a bite until we had done so. “Eat up,” Jon told Ben. “You need your strength.” (Later he clapped him on the back and said, “Good boy.”)
Ben’s parents, Steve and Donna, got the news on Thanksgiving. We were all sitting in a parked minivan. (This part was not planned.) After telling them about our visit to the Book Loft, Donna asked if we had purchased any books. “In fact we did,” Ben said. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Silence. Expectant looks. A double take. “You mean?” she said. “Yes,” we said. We then executed an awkward four-way hug in the confined interior of a Dodge Caravan.
This will be the first grandchild on either side. Jon G. has every weekend in the summer of 2011 booked for fishing expeditions, boy or girl.
Speaking of, we still haven’t decided whether we’ll find out the sex or not. Ben does not want to. Erin does. Our deal? Erin agreed not to find out … if we buy a weiner dog. We’ve still got six weeks to decide. (The due date is July 21.)
We used to think that parenthood meant you had to consent to becoming stereotypes: the doting, domestic mother-to-be who cherishes baby showers (think Jennifer Garner in Juno); the dazed, emasculated father-to-be, excited but aloof (think Adrien Brody in The Darjeeling Limited). Sometime over the past couple years, we realized how untrue that was. Perhaps this is the path all eventual parents travel. In our case, we have many friends to thank for correcting those misconceptions.
We are perfectly content knowing that we’ll probably be terribly inappropriate parents in many ways. After our second sonogram, for instance, we joked in the elevator that we hoped our baby’s “Cro-Magnon” brow might recede sometime before birth. And we’re still revolted by most of what passes for baby gear and apparel — which, we suspect, is what we’ll be receiving as gifts from well-meaning friends and family.
And yet we are learning to receive their excitement, in whatever form it comes, no matter how aesthetically displeasing we may find it, because there’s something about the anticipation of a baby that demands to be shared. Ben’s brother Dan has been telling random people he meets in Portland that he’s going to be an uncle. Erin’s sister Bevin, meanwhile, said that if it’s not a girl she’s “sending it back.”
Due to benign complications, we have already had two ultrasounds, the second of which was yesterday. (Mercifully, this one was external. No one told Ben what to expect for the first one.) The baby is about the size of a lemon. Remarkably enough, it mostly resembles a baby. The nurse took a series of pictures for us, and then turned something on so that we could hear the heartbeat. And not just hear it (a fuzzy sort of wumpawumpawumpa), but see it too, beating on the screen like a little, hyperactive cursor. Go!, we thought as we watched it. Do what it is that all hearts do! Do what hearts have always done since the beginning of time! Except that this particular heart, the one going wumpawumpawumpa — this one was beating because of us.