On Friday, August 24th, 2007, at approximately 9:30 pm in a private residence in Durham, NC, I was doing what so many other single women my age were doing. I was watching TV in my room, quite possibly enjoying a snack and a beverage, and thinking about what I had on my agenda for work the next day. A very quiet tap, so soft you could almost mistake it for the house settling unless you were expecting it, was heard on one of the double doors that opened into the spacious ‘boudoir blue’ room. I waited a polite few minutes before rising, crossing the space between my chaise and the doors and catching just a glimpse of the top of a head dashing back down the stairs as I grabbed the cup left on my doorstep.
The whole thing had an air of subterfuge and sordidness, but it wasn't exactly a commonplace situation. I went through it for just over 8 months, and every single minute of it felt surreal. A part of me still doesn't think it's possible, that it could actually work, despite the irrefutable evidence that is suppose to be sleeping upstairs but instead keeps trying to sneak into my room.
The next step, of course, was NOT what most women like me were at home doing. The next step involved dipping a needle-less syringe into the tiny precious droplets of goo in the gifted cup (still makes me gag slightly to think of it), and relaxing back on the chaise in the dispirited hope that lightening would strike twice. I'd had a very uncertain and relatively non-traumatic miscarriage a very short time earlier in the month, the kind of thing where I hadn't even really accepted the belief that I was pregnant yet so felt ok to plunge onward. Literally. Since I was doing another attempt immediately, I was totally unexcited about the whole thing. I didn't think it would work. I didn't really believe it had worked in the first place. Normally I was doing 2-3 attempts each month, but that week in August I only did that one-shot deal. I was already having difficulty pushing back the what-ifs; what if this whole thing didn't come to fruition, what if I miscarried again, what if I had to go another route.
Friday, August 24th 2007 Jellybean was conceived.
I would argue about this fact with many healthcare professionals in the next few months, who were unused to women being able to pinpoint conception with such absolute certainty. They said she measured bigger, older, younger, smaller, that it was earlier or later. I would smile and shake my head. Nope, sorry. I KNOW. I may not have known it at the time, or I would have paid more attention to the whole thing instead of whatever show I was watching or worries I had. I would have had a journal about what I was feeling, and thinking, and my hopes and wishes for her. But I know what I was feeling and thinking. I was discouraged, and watching my clock, and feeling things in the house starting to shake and shatter around me. Those first few months were filled with afternoon vomiting, and tears at night, as I rubbed circles on my stomach in the tub and wondered who Jelly would be.
I look back at baby pictures, and the person she was then. I looked down at her earlier today, listening to my heart with her toy stethoscope, declaring me sick and running off to make me some sort of pretend medicinal concoction at her play kitchen. I think I know her now, but she's going to change again in a second. It's scary, and bittersweet, and wonderful, and magical. Just like that night three years ago. Motherhood is the great unknown, always. But if I thought she'd understand I'd tell Jenny that my heart is just fine now.