Really? You had to wait until I got dressed up in my special "Welcome Aliens!" outfit to tell me that the aliens decided not to attack?

It’s the fall of 1985 and something unexpected comes Lorna’s way. Hint: it’s not an alien invasion, although that would’ve been just her luck…

I’ve never prided myself on precision-timing, so getting pregnant during the first semester of my Ph.D. program shouldn’t have come as a shocker. Chuck was ready for his pre-arranged family, feeling confident that the mother of his children wouldn’t lush-out on him. I just didn’t expect Mother Nature to take him so seriously and disregard my plans so completely.

You know how pregnant women “glow?” Chuck glowed. He was happier than I’d seen him since before he knew he married a drunk. I was terrified chagrined subdued cautiously optimistic happy. I really liked “Happy Chuck” and didn’t want to do or say anything to break the spell. To him, I became a precious vessel–the woman who would bring forth his descendants (mine, too, but mortality was more my issue, not immortality). I had a person growing inside of me that had to come out of someplace not large enough to pass a decent sized lemon without major contortions, mystical expansion cream, and major opiates sedatives relaxation techniques.

You do the math, or physics, or whatever. Do YOU have an oriface that this object would easily fit into or come out of? Now picture a watermelon...

The welfare of the child concerned me greatly. S/he would have me for a mother. Pegasus, Tinkerbell and my maternal instincts could be classified in the same category: comforting to believe in but mythical.

My canine instincts, however, couldn’t be beat. Humphrey came to me an ill-mannered adolescent, but soon I had him behaving like an Old English gentleman. He even did impressive tricks at a mere hand signal from me. But infants and children? Forget about it! Being one myself, you’d think I’d know something; but living in a house doesn’t mean you’re good at home repairs, right? I had an inkling babies needed repairs from time to time. If only I was having a puppy…but that would make me a (begins with a “b” ends with an “itch”) and we’re not going there…

I could probably manage these guys. But notice, some of them are naked and apparently passed out or inappropriately dressed.

The worst parts of the 1st trimester were:

  1. giving up caffeine. I had a week-long withdrawal headache–no DTs from 10 years of drinking, but my body rebelled when the caffeine got yanked.
  2. adjusting to the shock of my new role as mother in light of my other new role as Ph.D. candidate.

Chuck took great care of me. He watched what I ate and made sure that every food craving was satisfied. Even mine. As I grew in girth, so did our mutual anticipation of our arrival. The turning point for me when the baby first moved, well flutter-kicked. I felt, for the first time, privileged–not just pregnant. Little Bugger and I bonded.

During the 2nd trimester, I started reading “parent-to-be” books, which I never finished. They were more convoluted than my quantitative research methods texts. With my newfound affinity for Little Bugger, I figured we would figure it out. How hard could it be? I learned one thing from those books: reading aloud to your unborn child is good for its cognitive development, so I read my sociology texts aloud. This child was destined for greatness social consciousness.

Yo, Mommy. Before I lead this march for Civil Liberties, I think I'm gonna need a refill on the apple juice.

Little Bugger was due on May 10, 1986, just a few days after my second semester at GWU ended. At least timing was on my side for once and I wouldn’t have to miss classes to force a multiple pound living being from my body deliver the baby.

During that second semester, Chuck and I went to Lamaze class with the silly notion that we would attempt natural childbirth. It was all the rage in Medieval Europe and everything old, apparently, was new again. We were told we could breathe our way through anything. Maybe the “coaches” could. I had my doubts about all the walrus-sized women with aching backs on the floor. Chuck remembered everything about those classes–even the name of the nurse who taught them. I remember this:

  1. Focusing on my protruding belly and wondering how I was going to get Ever-Bigger-Bugger out of me without dying.
  2. Our stop at Baskin & Robbins for a Butter Pecan ice cream cone after the class. It calmed me.

I'm sure I saw her at good old B & R for an ice cream fix. We agreed and horizontal stripes in maternity tops were a cruel joke but that our belly-shelves came in quite handy.

What happens to Lorna and Ever-Bigger-Bugger as the due-date approaches?