By Eric Wilson-Edge
My wife had been in a foul mood all weekend. Emily is a happy person; she loves awful puns and non sequiturs. Her jokes are terrible but I enjoy watching her laugh as she tries to keep it together long enough to tell one. Her salty behavior didn’t make any sense. She didn’t want to talk and my purchase of Jenga didn’t help one bit (she’s a fan of non-electronic games).
Then she went to the bathroom.
Clarification came in the form of two pink lines. Emily was pregnant. Phew! The mystery of the egg shell weekend had been solved. Wait. What? It’s funny that we can be surprised by an outcome we actively pursued. Realization set in like a fog. Pregnant!
The first thing we did was – nothing. We must have stared slack jawed at each other for the better part of an hour. I think I was confused enough to actually ask “what happened?”
Emily’s best friend lives next door in our West Olympia neighborhood. I used my secret spy language to persuade her to come over and chat. Mandy knew before she reached our door. I’m not very good at being sneaky. I wish I could say we jumped up and down or slid across the grass like we’d just scored a fertility goal. Our conversation with Mandy had a lost quality.
We dialed our respective parents and organized an impromptu meeting that afternoon. Everything would be fine. True, we walked like zombies and I had a colony of flies living in my still open mouth. However, we retained our sense of humor. Somehow, despite our stupor, we made it to the store.
My mom opened the bag. She studied its contents then said “is this underwear?” This same woman runs a daycare and has, since the day I graduated college, asked when she could expect grandkids. Only when my mother-in-law said “baby clothes” did my own mother comprehend what was happening. She screamed then cried.
Then things got weird.
Emily’s first craving was for ground turkey, mixed with rice and topped with alfredo sauce. She couldn’t eat vegetables unless they were blended into a smoothie. Her lunch consisted of a mayonnaise and cheese sandwich.
Food lost its gravity. One of the first things we purchased was a journal. We wanted to chronicle the experience for future memory. The first months were a list of the places Emily had thrown up. The list includes such exotic locations as SeaTac and IHOP.
We’d read (in one of our seven books) that Emily’s “spidey senses” would be tingling. I remember the first time she sniffed the air, looked at me, and said “you stink.” I apparently reek of sour milk and garbage. My favorite was the time we borrowed her dad’s truck to do some yard work. She hopped in, took a whiff, and repeatedly said “no, no, no,” as she backed out of the vehicle.
I can deal with pee, poop, blood, snot. Vomit. Vomit is my bodily fluid Achilles heel. The sound is our way of scaring off wild bears. Poor Emily. The first trimester was difficult. She was tired, hungry, nauseous and creeped out. Who wouldn’t be? There are teeth growing in her stomach!
And what could I do? Nothing really. The best any partner can do is listen and offer comfort. Also, don’t even think about complaining. Your back hurts? Aww, that’s cute. At least you can take ibuprofen. Emily works full time and is finishing her master’s degree. I can’t in good conscious ask her to do anything but take care of herself.
We’ll soon know if our baby is a boy or girl. We’ve taken to calling it quinoa (pronounced qui-no, like in the beer commercial). The shock has worn off. We’re going to be parents. I’m equal parts excited and terrified.
Emily and I talk every day about the future. Should quinoa go to elementary school in the Olympia School District or to some kind of private school? Should Emily deliver at at an Olympia hospital or do we opt for a home birth? And these are just two of a million big decisions spread out over a lifetime.
We have figured out one thing. I’ve been talking to quinoa. We have an agreement that he or she will never vomit. I love this kid already.