I was always afraid that, because I’m skinny and petite, I would start showing early on. I was lucky winter went on and on into March that year since my warmer, winter specific dresses tended to be looser than my summer dresses. My closet was also full of colorful scarves my mom had made me over the years, which made it easier to shift attention to my neck. Between them and my coat, no one who didn’t already know knew.
Originally, I had intended on telling my classmates once I passed the 12 week mark, but, having miscarried, I was afraid I would lose this, too, if I shared my happy news. Irrationally, I decided to wait until 14 weeks. And then 16 weeks. And then I figured I may as well just wait until 20 weeks after the 20 week scan so I could also announce the gender. Not finding out the gender wasn’t something my husband and I ever considered. We’re two people who really, really, really want to know everything.
My 20 week scan was, of course, at the start of my 20th week. Since it had to be that week and since the weekend was coming up and since my husband had a tight schedule, I had to miss my afternoon class. I, faithful and dutiful student I was, cringed at having to miss class, but at least I would have a fun story to tell the following week when the class met again (each class only met once a week) and I would finally tell everyone I was pregnant.
I was nervous, afraid something had happened to my baby. Even the movements I felt couldn’t reassure me. Ever since I’d hit 14 weeks, I had been singing the same set of songs to my baby every night, wondering if I carried a girl or a boy. I couldn’t wait to find out, but was also afraid I’d been singing to a baby who could no longer hear me. Fortunately, we saw our little boy kicking around and mostly being good. I must admit I was a bit disappointed we weren’t having a girl. As a girl and firstborn, I had part of my heart set on a girl, but, 5.5 years later, that little boy tickles me silly and I’m so glad he came first.
At 21 weeks, I walked into that afternoon classroom after having carried around a platter of blue sugar cookies all day. I’d carefully carried it around, draping it with whatever I had on hand so it would at least be half hidden. I was actually a little terrified of telling everyone I was having a baby, but I was getting to a point where the weather was warming up and my belly was showing. Luckily, I’d run into my friends (we all had different classes in the morning) and they helped me break the news and provided the excitement I needed to go through with my announcement.
I can’t tell you how relieved I was to finally get that weight off my chest. Pregnancy had been become increasingly more difficult to hide. For the past two and a half years, I hadn’t been one to snack during class, but now I felt like I was constantly hungry. My feet were starting to hurt whenever I had to stand too long. My back was just a couple of months away from wanting to kill me. And I was just looking forward to being able to dash off to the bathroom in the middle of a lecture.
For a few weeks, not much changed. I was happily snacking away while taking notes. Then I started getting hot all the time. For two years, I’d spent every fall and spring slowly freezing in every classroom. That year, I felt like I was in the furnace. I was constantly fanning myself with something and gulping down water. My adviser even commented that he hoped I had a good air conditioner at home. Thank goodness I did! I felt like I was melting.
As nervous as I had been about telling everyone, I couldn’t have done it at a better time. I’m just still amazed I was able to hide my little bump for so long!