Bianca and I got married on August 6 of last year. From that day forward, we began fielding this question semi-regularly: “So, when are you gonna have a baby?”
Bianca’s answer always came before people could even finish asking. “We’re going to get a Golden Retriever before we have a baby!” she’d say.
After a few months of listening to her answering this way, I started doing the economic math on the situation, which is this: We currently live in an upstairs apartment, and although I’m super excited by the idea of owning a dog, I’d rather wait until I can provide it some ground upon which to scamper freely. Given the reality of our lives and the trajectory of our careers, that could take some time.
I wasn’t telling Bianca that I wanted a baby right away; I just wasn’t sure I wanted to wait until we had a dog first, which was the plan we hatched together in the early months of our engagement. When I put it this way to Bianca, she fully agreed. It’s as if she had gotten caught up in her own Golden Retriever excitement. Or she just enjoyed answering the baby question this way. Either way, we happily moved forward in the absence of a plan (both in terms of babies, backyards or Golden Retrievers).
And then we went down to her family’s house in Orange County for a Christmas vacation.
We had been down there for more than a week, and although we absolutely love her parents, we were ready to go back home. We decided we would cut our trip short and head back up north for new years, via Big Sur, where we would camp for a night.
The evening before we left Bianca’s family’s place, I was standing in their kitchen talking to Bianca’s dad, Oscar, who was swirling a glass of red wine and conversing loosely. While we had this conversation, a 9-month old baby girl, Evelynn, was bopping around somewhere in the house (or she was sleeping). Evelynn is Bianca’s brother’s baby – Oscar and Nuria’s first grandkid.
With that being top of mind, Oscar initiated a very casual conversation about babies. Not my future baby; just babies in general. He probably doesn’t even remember the conversation.
He told me about his brother and sister-in-law, who had kids while they were quite young, although I’m not sure how young. He said that this allowed them to raise their children while they had plenty of energy and then, years later, it freed them up to enjoy their empty nest when they retired.
That wasn’t something I had never thought about. I’ve always been so focused on enjoying my life and furthering my education and doing my job well that I’ve always felt like I was just a few steps away from being prepared to support a child. I mentioned this feeling to Oscar, at which point he told me something I already knew, deep down: You’re never really ready. You just do it.
The bottom line is this: You work with what you have and you allocate your love and energy in the right direction. That’s it.
Now, before I get to the part where my wife becomes pregnant – Ahhh! – let me acknowledge that everybody lives life on their own timetable. My mom was 10 years younger than I am now when she had me. Many people wait much longer Bianca and I are. Others choose not to have children at all. Every option is totally legitimate. I can only tell my own story, so here it is:
We escaped Orange County early and were excited to drive up the coast, camp in Big Sur, and then have a low-key New Year’s back home in Davis. While sitting next to a fire outside of our tent-cabin and drinking wine from plastic water bottles that we had cut in half with a pocket knife, I told Bianca about my conversation with her dad, which made her laugh and smile. But it resonated with her in the same way that it did with me. We also laughed about the Golden Retriever plan. We fell asleep that night with a total openness to the idea of starting a family.
I’ll skirt the nitty-gritty details here and get to the part where Bianca suspects pregnancy. (Safe to say: This happened a bit faster than we had anticipated). She was sitting on a couch in our living room when she told me she was a day late with her period. She then added that she had a feeling she was pregnant, and that she hoped that was the case. We biked to the Co-op and bought a pregnancy test that evening, but decided she would take it the following morning, because that’s what the test recommended.
She woke up at 6 a.m. and told me she absolutely had to pee, and she asked if I wanted to come to the bathroom while she took the test. I told her to go ahead pee and to tell me right when she was done so that I could get out of bed and watch the + or – show up on the test. (I imagined her shaking it like a Polaroid picture and staring at it for a while until it showed up).
Shortly after she started peeing, she said, “Do you want to come see?”
The + was written all over her tone, which carried a blend of surprise, excitement and shock at how rapidly the test had delivered an answer. I popped out of bed and went in to give her a hug and to see the + for myself.
It was a very exciting morning. We went back to our bed and talked about the uncharted territory that now awaits us. She was almost a month pregnant at that point. At the time of this writing, she’s three months in, and just now feeling the first signs of pregnancy: She’s consistently tired. I keep assuming I have nine months to prepare for my baby’s arrival, but the truth his I only have six. And that’s crazy!
When we told Bianca’s parents about it, they were extremely excited to have another grandchild in the family. Her dad laughed when I told him that he was the one who nudged us in this direction. When we told my parents the following day, their excitement was more emotional, I think because this will be their first grandbaby.
Now we’ve seen an ultrasound and we’ve heard a heartbeat. Bianca told me yesterday that the baby is currently the size of a peach. When we took our first ultrasound the baby was the size of an olive. And when we took that pregnancy test, it was the size of a poppy seed.
Soon, it’ll be the size of a baby!