My Lord! My Lord! I praise Thee and I thank Thee for that whereby Thou hast favored Thine humble maidservant, Thy slave beseeching and supplicating Thee, because Thou hast verily guided her unto Thine obvious Kingdom and caused her to hear thine exalted Call in the contingent world and to behold thy Signs which prove the appearance of Thy victorious reign over all things.
O my Lord, I dedicate that which is in my womb unto Thee. Then cause it to be a praiseworthy child in Thy Kingdom and a fortunate one by Thy favor and Thy generosity; to develop and to grow up under the charge of Thine education. Verily, Thou art the Gracious! Verily, Thou art the Lord of Great Favor!
Eight months ago tonight, Sam and I experienced one of the greatest changes of our lives: we found out that we were becoming parents. That was the first night I said the above prayer, knowing that it really applied to me. (On pilgrimage, I said it for a number of pregnant friends, and even for myself, just in case… but didn’t really believe it applied to me.)
We had, earlier that afternoon, arrived in Honolulu after a couple of weeks away – going on pilgrimage in Israel, via New York and Zurich. I’d spent much of our trip expecting my period – it was the right time, I soaked my pajamas with sweating probably five nights in a row (a regular premenstrual thing for me, but never have I experienced it in three different countries), I had short bouts of intense fatigue…. But no period. Our last night in Israel was spent at the airport, waiting for the counters to open. I was exhausted and had the chills, to the point that I donned my down coat (complete with hood, as if I were channeling Sharie in Sideways Stories from Wayside School) and went to sleep.
Friday, the 11th, we arrived at JFK, took the train into the city and met with a potential employer. After conversation and what turned out to be the last caffeinated latte I had, we headed up to Westchester to turn in for the night. Early the next morning we left for home. I remember that, at the airport, I opted for a decaf tea instead of a coffee, but I can’t remember my rationale.
The afternoon of March 12th, we arrived home. I was exhausted, but determined to at least buy some groceries. I went out and bought some staples and perused the selection of laxative teas. Despite my constipation, I decided against the tea, since most of them had warnings against consumption while pregnant. I didn’t really think I was pregnant, but realized it was a possibility. I decided I would take a test in the morning.
After dinner, Sam and I crashed on the couch. I woke up around 11:00 pm and, though groggy, decided I didn’t want to wait until morning to take the pregnancy test. Still expecting it to be negative, I peed on the stick and was astounded when the pink line developed in both boxes. Was this real?! I hurriedly woke up Sam. He stumbled to the bathroom and took a moment to process the information I was presenting. We were so happy about this amazing surprise.
We then realized that the test was an old one. (Even if it hadn’t been, we probably would have sought additional confirmation.) So, Sam went out and bought another pregnancy test, which was also positive. The next morning, the calls began – sharing the good news with all of our family members.
Now as I come to the end of this part of the life change, it’s odd to think back to the first part – the part before we knew that we were taking our first child with us to the other side of the world, and then the discovery that we had. I think the trip was a part of the reason we didn’t hesitate in sharing the news: we figured if Bean had endured the numerous and long flights – both in the air, and of the stairs up and down the city of Haifa – surely s/he was here to stay.
I was blown away that night eight months ago. But I’m sure it won’t hold a candle to how I’ll feel in the next few days when Bean enters the world.