I remember so little of my pregnancy with Emily, which is unusual, I think, since she was my first. I know for certain that I signed up for weekly emails that compared my growing little stomach gnomes to various fruits and vegetables and I recall being so proud to exclaim to the world that I was the proud owner of my very ownÂ avocado. Maybe it’s because that pregnancy carried me through the majority of 2000 and a little bit into 2001; it seems a lifetime ago. Maybe it’s because I was working at the time, and between work and the copious amount of sleeping I was doing to stave off the morning, noon and night sickness, there’s little to remember. Maybe it’s because there exists but one photo of me while pregnant.
Back in the days before I was the proud owner of my very first digital cameraâ€”that didn’t happen until the child already was an older sister, the end of 2002, I believeâ€”moments in our family weren’t documented they way they are now. And, even then, I was the photographer and everyone else was the photograph-ee. But there’s one picture in existence. It’s from late December, 2000. My hair is long, very long and in need of some serious root touch-up. I am wearing a sweater that is not dissimilar to something Heathcliff Huxtable would have worn, circa 1989. Maternity clothing, then, was not like it is today. The choices were tent #1 or tent #2. Shirts came down to my knees in lovely potato-sack formation. Pants were always too long, too wide, too big. Attractive, I was. In my hands I’m holdingâ€”nay, graspingâ€”an entire box of holiday-themed Oreo cookies.
It’s a lovely picture, really. So lovely, in fact, that no one will ever see it.
(And this should tell you something, but I have let you behind the curtain and shown you this.)
So, other than the actual birth of my first-born, and the time at 27 weeks when I took a tumble down a Jerusalem-stone staircase and spent three days of my vacation in a Hebrew-only speaking Israeli hospital, this is the only vivid memory I have of my first pregnancy.
Christmas at my uncle Don’s bachelor pad.
Uncle Don is the most wonderful man. Really, he is. He invited all of usâ€”the gantze mishpachah, if you willâ€”to come spend Christmas Day with him in East Tennessee. His bachelor pad is an interesting place, to say the least. As its name would suggest, it’s a wonderful place for single men. My uncle Don, however, is happily married. And the reason for this, likely, is because he has his very own man cave. It is a beautiful home, decorated with nothing but antiquing finds. There are rooms with multiple television screens, there are bathrooms with no toiletsâ€”only urinals, there are cabinets filled with nothing but beer andÂ Cheetos, and there was homemade moonshine.
Of course there was.Â
I remember watching Jackass while everyone was eating deep-fried turkey.
I remember trying to hoist my giant person up onto the four-poster raised-too-high bed.
I remember driving around Kingsport, Tennessee, in search of something, anything with a flashing, neon OPEN sign that would sell me food that wasn’t covered in powdery cheese or that wasn’t, well, a deep-fried turkey. Oreos. Holiday Oreos. We bought three boxes and I ate my way through them.
I remember how excited my Uncle Don was to watch us open his present to usâ€”the Souvenir Canadian coins he found antiquing, of course.
I remember laughing. There was so much laughing. It was the gut-bursting kind, which, when you are due to give birth in seven weeks, gut-bursting is not recommended.
I remember is being one of my most favorite times with my family, ever.
And seven weeks later, I got to reap some rewards in the form of snuggles and that amazing baby smell.
I guess if I am going to have only one memory of those nine months, it’s a good one to have.
But, still, you’ll never see the picture.