“I think I’m okay,” I said to Joan, “but no one else is. Motherfuckers are stressing me out.”
People have asked us where on earth we’re going to put a baby, that we better travel now, that we can’t possibly go on vacation for the next decade, that everything will be ruined. Except for one couple at Ikea. The line was long, I sort of leaned on their cart. They caught me, and told me I could just put my stuff in the cart with theirs instead of holding it because I’d done that stubborn thing where you think you don’t need one but then your arms get too full. When I put it down, they saw I was expecting, and told me how wonderful life was in their small apartment with their baby when he was little, years and years ago on the Upper West Side, and how much they traveled, and that I shouldn’t worry. I didn’t even ask. They just… knew to tell us. Maybe other people’s fears were starting to etch into my face? I love them.
Where will he sleep? In a bassinet next to me. But that will only work for, like, six months. Yeah, well. In six months, I’ll figure out what’s next. Duh? Right? No?
He’s kicking. Kicking and squirming. I think he’ll be fine, and so will I. Right? No?
We held our breath through all of it. At eight weeks, the doctor peered closely at the screen before turning it to us. My heart pounded in my ears.
Just one, she said, and showed us a gummy bear wiggling on screen. We celebrated our anniversary that night, in awe.
I told close friends right away. It felt stupid not to. Last time I held onto my secret and was so lonely, and then it was over and I was raw. We told more and more people. I wanted joy flowing at him to be maximised, as if love and well wishes could keep him firmly where I want him. This is not scientific, but hey.
A blood test at 10 weeks showed nothing wrong with any of his 23 chromosomes, and revealed the final one: XY. A cheeky sonogram confirmed it, and the tech giggled. “For sure a baby boy!” We made balls jokes for the rest of the day.
I bought all of his clothes on sales after Thanksgiving. Everyone who saw my haul quipped, “You’ve left nothing for anyone else to buy you.” That was my intention. I don’t want anyone else’s taste on my kid, really. When Marley and I got married, I slowly started buying all of his clothes. It’s how I love; it’s how he feels loved. I couldn’t imagine anything else for my bub.
You need this, you need that. Everyone has opinions. They’re overwhelming, and I try to be polite and smile through them. I’ve even asked for help, and people’s opinions, and then found myself both thankful and regretful, not because of them but because… its a lot. I hate when things are “a lot”. I think all we need are diapers, bottles, a good place for him to sleep, and some clothes. I bought a stuffed bunny, because I wanted to buy his very first gift, Marley bought him some books, because of course he did. Oh, and some booties, too. But other than that, not much else? A tub? Is the sink still okay? A changing pad (there’s no room for a changing table.)
We fold ourselves together in bed and place four hands in my middle, and talk to him. Now that I’m larger, I sleep in a pillow fort. I’m pretty sure we have 90% of what we need right there tucked into bed. I’m uninterested in this being much more complicated than the sex we still try to have, laughing as we rearrange the pillows over and over so we don’t squash him.
I think we’ll be okay. Right? Yes.