Until this time. I chose to make my picture the intro to my announcement, The Announcement I have been waiting for five Septembers to make and was altered from its original vision but no less exciting:
|Big, fat, happy smiles|
My assistant principal put the caption "Getting ready for l'il ____" (last name omitted), and some people I'm sure were a little confused as while I emerged from infertility a little fluffier, I don't look pregnant. But then I got to stand up after the slideshow and introduce my phone and how we will be pretty much surgically attached because my family is waiting for the most important phone call of our lives, and so that phone will be on and ringer up high everywhere, EVERYWHERE I go, even though that phone call could take its sweet time coming. I explained that I am basically in my third trimester for an indefinite period of time (I think I overuse that analogy, but it really is perfect and people smile and nod and go Ohhhhh! instead of looking at me cross-eyed), and that it's very exciting.
I sweated my way through the whole thing and somehow managed to make sense while simultaneously listening my subconscious demanding DON'T CRY! DON'T CRY! DON'T CRY!, which was quite the feat.
As soon as it was out there was a lot of clapping and joyful smiles and excitement, and it's spilled over into every day I run into someone new who either a) knew my sad sap story but had no idea we were pursuing adoption or b) is just pickled that we are adopting without knowing the context and had no idea, someone who practically engulfs me in a giant hug and tells me how excited they are and sometimes informs me that either they were adopted or their husband was adopted or someone they know adopted their children.
It is a little surreal, on two counts.
The first is that this time last year we were in the two week wait from the last cycle where embryos actually made it (briefly) into my body, I was a wreck, and a short week or so into school I had people who knew asking how things went and I had the first of two first at-school breakdowns, when it did not work out and the reality of our situation sunk in deep. This time last year, people weren't so excited for us. This time last year, we weren't so full of hope. This time last year, I wanted to believe that we were on our way to parenthood, but we were just playing out our last gasp in the most dragged-out and painful way possible.
The second is that even though I am super hopeful, even though we are putting things in motion (including the registering that happened for the first time in that picture I chose for the slideshow), even though I do actually believe that a baby is slowly but surely making its way toward us... I had this horrible niggling feeling that I had jinxed us. That by saying it out loud, by having all these people be so excited for us, that with every, "Let us know when things happen!" I felt a tiny lump of dread grow in my chest. Because I felt like a faker, just a little bit. I'm not ACTUALLY expecting, the baby is a huge mystery. I believe that I am an expectant parent, but when people ask, "so are you matched with a pregnant woman?" I feel a little like I jumped the gun, but I know that I absolutely will NOT be sharing that information until we are PLACED, not matched, because matching feels a bit like peeing on a stick. There's no guarantee you will hear a heartbeat or hold a wailing baby in your arms for the first time. But placement, that sounds more definite.
I know I'm not a faker. I know I am actually expecting, and that it's just a different experience than the baking of a baby inside my body. A more mysterious, nebulous experience. And yet one that causes so much joy in all my colleagues.
I guess I can't be too surprised that the announcement left me feeling a little conflicted. This kind of expecting comes without any physical awareness, any regular markers in the form of appointments and ultrasounds where you know the definite progress of your impending parenthood. We are in this space of waiting, and other than getting our home ready for our mystery baby, the FutureBaby that has eluded us for so long, we don't really have milestones anymore. The submitted profile books and approved home study were the last ones, until the matching begins.
One thing that I am so grateful for was the unequivocal excitement that I felt at school, palpably, from my fellow teachers and school staff. No one told me a horror story. No one was in any way disapproving. No one even said something like, "about time" or anything alluding to our twisty road to this path to parenthood. It was just joy, and love, and a shared anticipation. It was a great way to enter the school year, for sure.
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