Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Telling our families: Pregnancy – week 11

My husband’s family is much smaller than mine. We each have one sibling, but I have tons of cousins who create a close knit bond of … “extended siblings” who I see at all major holidays and a few other times a year whereas I’ve only met one of his cousins (at our wedding) and he hasn’t seen any of the others since we met 5 years ago. So when it came time to tell our families about the baby, it seemed like it was probably fair to tell his family first. They live near us so we could tell them Thursday night before making the road trip up to NJ to tell my Mom on Friday. His Mom might get to tell a few people in that window, but likely my Mom would be the 4th person to hear our news. Whereas if we told my Mom first on Friday and waited till Sunday to tell his family, they’d be lucky to be the 34th people to hear. And despite my hormones I even managed to stick with that plan as fair, but put in one caveat….

My husband is the worst liar / secret keeper in the world. Women may say that they know their husbands well enough to know he’d never cheat or lie to them or whatever other sin we’re attributing to men these days. And I feel like I know my husband well enough to know that those things just aren’t him, but more to the point, he’s incapable of getting away with a plausible lie or probably even of fully covering his tracks. He thinks I’m somewhat clairvoyant in my ability to guess things at times, but the truth is he often just leaves a lot of clues. So, though we’d agreed not to tell anyone – not our best friends or coworkers or some secret old college roommate we haven’t talked to in years who wouldn’t have anyone to tell – I wasn’t all that sure he would be able to make it without telling his best friend, Dave. So I told him that we could tell his family first as long as he didn’t tell anyone, including Dave. If he did tell Dave, all bets were off and my Mom heard first. I felt pretty secure that this meant I’d get to tell my Mom first.

But the week of our planned trip to NJ came and my husband still hadn’t told Dave (yes, on his word, but I’m telling you! He really can’t tell a lie convincingly!). So Thursday night we decided to meet my in-laws for dinner and brought them a little gift (ostensibly for watching the dog for us AGAIN this weekend). The plan had been to frame a picture of our 12 week sonogram, but, unfortunately, mathematical whiz that I am, I was only 11 weeks along at this point and hadn’t had that sonogram… (to be fair, this isn’t just pregnancy brain. The doctor had actually moved my due date out 8 days at the 6 weeks sonogram). So instead, we framed the 6 week sonogram picture – which essentially just looked like a black and white Rorshach test (what does the fact that I was seeing a baby in that ink blot say about my mental state?!) – with a note that said, you may not see the family resemblance yet, but I hope you will in February. Looking forward to meeting you [insert appropriate grandparent reference here]. We handed the package to my in-laws and waited for their reaction. His Mom opened it and got it pretty fast and started crying. They were very excited! I worried how many baby things (and books and outfits and whathaveyou) she might have bought by the time we got back from NJ on Sunday.

My Mom was not so quick on the uptake. She looked at the frame and said – oh, thank you and started to put it away. As the image was black and white, she thought it was the insert that came with the frame! I told her to look at the picture a little more careful and then she laughed and cried – and ran upstairs to get to be the first one to give us a baby gift. She had a hooded baby towel that apparently she’d been bringing back and forth with her to FL (she snow birds) for a couple years waiting for someone to give her this news! (I later found out that she had a different baby gift for my brother that she’d gotten in Ireland – given his obsession with all things Irish – so this one was specifically waiting news from us.)

So now that the parents knew, we could begin telling the friends. First came my cousin, and another friend. We had brunch planned with them the next morning. Unfortunately morning sickness was just really starting to set in with me, so the idea of going out for food was not sounding like fun at 10:30 when we were scheduled to meet them…. We ran a little late for me to toss my cookies in the bathroom before we left and we met them at a diner nearby.

My friend was apparently immediately suspicious when I didn’t order coffee, but they were all still overall surprised. My cousin couldn’t believe that I had been able to keep it a secret for 12 weeks (well, 11…). She had been one to tell everyone the second she finished peeing on the stick. In fact, we all knew the second she’d been trying. (She’s a little older than me and was married fairly young, so it was so funny to hear her express her disappointment each month when most of my friends were still trying very hard NOT to get pregnant! I know funny is a terrible word to use, but it only took 3 months in any case.)

I won’t go through the details of every friend we told, but will give you some of my favorite highlights. One friend who was 3 months further along than me looked at the picture and immediately knew what it was! She put my Mom to shame with the speed at which she got it – but then again, she looks at them more often these days! Another told me that now that I said it, she knew I had a glow about me – I never knew the glow was a greenish color…

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