The Mothers

Kira and I found out we were pregnant about two weeks ago. There’s a little back-story to this, so bear with me for a bit during the recount because I think the story is wonderful, and you’ve got to sit for a good story whenever it presents itself.

Thirty years ago, Kira’s mom Bev was pregnant with Kira along side her best friend Dettie, who was encumbered with Megan. (Dettie may be familiar to some of you; she is a religious scholar and shaman and happened to be the officiant at our wedding two years ago.) Megan and Kira were born not a month apart, and the families have since made a practice of summering together. It’s a regular Great Gatsby tale of friendship.


Somewhere down the line, I’m sure the girls were still young, one of the mothers had the bright idea that it would be nice if Megan and Kira ended up pregnant together one day and "wouldn’t that be funny" and "oh what a coincidence that would be" and ;quot;oh, be careful, we wouldn’t want to give the girls a complex."

Thus, the complex was born.

Years passed. Megan and her fiance moved to Boston. Kira and I married and settled here in Portland. After so many years apart, we get word through Kira’s mom that Megan and Ted are engaged and moving to Portland too. We were sort of thrilled, but not really. We didn’t really know these people, after all, and had no reason to want to make a great deal of room for them in our busy lives.

Then they came, and it was good.

More years pass. Two, actually. Over those two years, Megan and Ted marry and become The Strands, I sing in their wedding (the hit tune "Love of 100 Lives by B. Dodge Rea — A cappella remix), and we all become the most bosom of friends.

Cut to sometime three weeks ago. We’d known that they had been off birth control, but had not been actively trying to conceive. For those who think it’s easy to get pregnant, a few quick searches on the net will show you that couples in "baby-making sex" mode spend a great deal of effort in strange positions comfortable only to the Great Vishnu working tirelessly to plant the seed. We were actually told that, after sex, Kira would have to stay on her back for up to an hour with her legs above her head, every time. It’s a lot of work, this "baby-making sex."

So, we’re standing in the Strand’s kitchen, right by their fridge, and they tell us. They’re pregnant. Then the depression set in. See, we were in the same mode, having kicked the birth control, though not yet in the baby-making sex. And now, to find out that our friends had beat us to the fertile punch, that they’d managed to conceive without even doing the legs-over-the-head thing, well, we were devastated.

We painted on the smiles and gave the hugs. Of course, we were happy for them, they are great friends. We went home, much too tired to actually have sex, and went to bed.

That Sunday, Kira said she wasn’t feeling well. Said she was dizzy. Said she was a little nauseous. Hmm. At that point, we hit too-good-to-be-true mode. We didn’t want to talk about it because, you know, she was probably just ill and if we treat it like a disease we can fight it and everything will all be back to normal. We certainly didn’t want to jinx it with a test. Nope; no tests.

Three positive tests later, we were on the phone with my friend Jane Wilson, RN and Nurse Manager for the family maternity ward at Providence Portland Medical Center, looking for a recommendation for a good OB doc.

According to our calculations, we were only at about six weeks then, still far too early to tell anyone thanks to some strange rule that says you can’t say a word because if you do, you’ll spontaneously not be pregnant anymore. For the record, that’s bogus. According to the books and backed up by our doc, chances for miscarriage are about 20% for all women, but if she’s healthy, eats well, doesn’t smoke or drink, that drops to about 3% through the end of the first trimester, then to 1%. Kira’s healthy as a horse. A really healthy horse. Anyhow, we told the parents, who both said they knew anyway of course. My mother crawled out of her skin from excitement sometime last week and has yet to even try to get back in.

Next came Megan and Ted, the point of this tale, who hit cloud nine. Ted and I agreed to sublet one of our houses to the girls for the duration of the pregnancy, while we live in the other, eeking out the last bit of bachelorhood that hadn’t fled when we’d married on a PlayStation 2 drinking a fine microbrew. Thank God, I have someone to share this whole process with.

We had the first doctor appointment and did the big ultrasound. We?re not as far along as we thought, seven weeks as of yesterday (Saturday). The fetus is not really formed yet, but the heart is there and it’s beating like a badass. BOOM * BOOM * BOOM 143 beats per minute and nine millimeters long. Apparently its eyes are still on stalks and the brain isn’t quite formed; of course, if the brain were formed, maybe it would know to pull its eyes in. At this point, it looks as if I’ve fathered an alien baby. I’m not sure how people can find the movie ALIEN horrifying and pregnancy so natural. It’s the same damned thing: My Wife has Two Heartbeats.

And again, for the record, choosing to have a baby and then getting someone pregnant is sublimely rewarding for your masculinity. The ego thing does eventually subside, but for about a week there I was running up and down stairs like Rocky; sweaty arms raised and all.

I’ve included a few pictures of the ultrasound. There’s not much to recognize yet, but I wanted you guys to meet him/her first. I’m hoping to be able to keep up something of a journal for the next 39 weeks or so as this progresses which will be on my website. I’ll forward the link later.

Next week: Couvade. In French, it means "to hatch." For me it means sympathy sickness, weight gain, cravings, lethargy. Don’t be fooled, Couvade is very, very real.