red flags and faint lines.

whether in our camper van in the back of a washington cvs parking lot or in the apres glow of big sky, montana’s mountainous sunset, at some point in the early weeks of january 2022, i became pregnant. over a year later, this feels like forever ago. and, just yesterday. 

no it was not an accident. and no it was not intentional. it was what i lovingly deemed my fear baby. 

after my older sister consulted a fertility clinic through her pregnancy journey, she suggested that although i was not yet purposefully trying to conceive, it might be good for me to do so as well. just to see what i was working with. i figured, why not? i was a “geriatric” mother (aka thirty-five or older) after all.

so i scheduled a phone consult. 

turned out i had “several red flags” working against me according to the fertility specialist…

i had been having unprotected sex for a year.

i had shorter menstrual cycles than normal since going off the birth control pill. 

i had a family history of low egg count.

i was old as fuck (again, aka thirty-five).

well then! i hung up the phone in a panic. i could feel the fear creeping into my psyche. did i want children? sure. did i need children? meh. my brain bounced through every possible scenario and emotion within minutes.

when my hubby got home from work, i immediately posed the question to him… 

you definitely want children right? 

yes, why?

i have several red flags and we should maybe actually start trying (instead of just pulling the goalie). 

we had been pushing becoming parents down the line as far as we could. perfectly content in the adventurous life we had carefully crafted together. as friends around us took the leap, we held strong, enjoying every child-free moment of ease. i mean, auntie life is truly the best life, am i right?!

but we always knew we wanted to try on the title of mother and father one day. and after that phone call, apparently it had to be one day soon.

so i whipped out the ovulation strips that a recently pregnant friend had suggestively sent home with me a few months prior. i peed on them until the lines confirmed what my body already knew. it was time.

and just like that, my fear about red flags dissolved and in its place a fear baby was born. and although a wise man once told me that “fear is a bad motivator,” this time it was just what we needed to finally take action. 

and that other age-old saying, “it just takes once,” well i guess sometimes it’s true…

while complaining about heartburn to a friend who had recently conceived, she jokingly mentioned i was probably pregnant. i laughed. i hadn’t even missed my period yet. but alas, she forced my to pee on a spare test she had laying around. 

boom. i was right. there was nothing. no line. i was not pregnant. 

she glanced at the test laying against the clean white porcelain sink and freaked out… that’s positive! you’re pregnant! she called my partner and broke the good news. 

i assured him i was not pregnant. there was no pink line. she was seeing things.

she strongly disagreed. just like a covid test, apparently even the faintest line equals a positive test. 

i was visiting family in chicago. ryan was back at our home on maui. i hung up the phone and left him in limbo. i couldn’t be pregnant already, could i?

she sent me home with a few more test strips and instructions to take one every day and see if the faint line darkened. turns out she knew what she was talking about…

and the universe had something else in store. my sister was pregnant as well. due the day before me. our family was about to change.

as the days went by, two naps per day and a bloated belly became the norm. first trimester was kind to me. no morning sickness. no weird cravings. no raging hormones. just an overwhelming exhaustion. sleep beckoned to me at all hours of the day.

as the genetics test week approached, we had to decide if we wanted to know the gender or wait. i’ve never been good at decisions. every day the capricorn in me battled the sagittarius in me. i needed to plan, but also, you don’t get very many true surprises in your life. 

like most major decisions in my life, i made a well-assessed game time decision. 

alone in the oahu specialist’s exam room, the doctor asked if i wanted his best guess. at that moment, with a 3-D image of the being growing inside me up on the screen, squirming and looking all alien like, why yes, yes i did. 

and then it was real. it was a she. the thing leeching all my energy would be a daughter. she would make me a mother. i let myself soak in the news. a special secret moment that would always be just between her and me. my hand on my belly. her tiny barely formed body swirling beneath it. 

it was easter when i told her father. he thought it was a girl. he wanted a girl. and yet, moments after confirming his wish would come true, he was already thinking about the next child. he now also wanted a boy. so much for living in the moment… 

which became harder and harder. 

time was flying by. second trimester came and went. with a renewed sense of energy, i picked back up to my pre-pregnancy pace. surfing, climbing, hiking, yoga, dance. i felt the activities that have defined me for three decades slipping away. the pause button was inching closer and closer as my toes disappeared below my belly inch by inch. 

my bump had finally popped. i no longer just looked like i ate too big of a burrito for lunch. i was halfway through seven different pregnancy and birth books. i was interviewing doulas and making overly detailed never-ending to-do lists. i was researching temporary disability insurance and maternity photographers. my instagram feed was suddenly filled with birth stories and parenting tips. 

motherhood was creeping in quicker by the day, and i had not yet come to terms with this new identity lurking for me come october.

october 12 to be exact. or rather, not exact at all. science’s best guess at mother nature’s timeline. 

in three months, i would be a mother. sure, i was already technically a mother to the human growing inside me, but i was still sara to others. i could still shake it on the dance floor until two in the morning. i could still fly to alaska and trek out onto a glacier. i could still hike out for sunny day waterfall parties. i could still tie my own shoe…

and then i couldn’t. 

we celebrated the two baby girls heading to transform the schneider sisters into mothers at the same time. a joint shower in illinois and a solo one in hawaii. this baby would be loved by all the people who had touched our lives, around the globe. very loved. and very blessed to have such rad humans awaiting her arrival.

sleepiness set back in as i entered my third trimester. i pleaded with ryan to massage my swollen feet every night. i planned my maternity leave and submitted my insurance forms. (although i am still unsure if i was supposed to check “accident” or “sickness” for my temporary disability cause.) i noticed our pup becoming more protective and snuggling even harder than usual.

as ryan built me bookshelves, i collected the necessities from as many second hand sources as i could. i sorted through the wonderful gifts and hand-me-downs we had received and watched my office/guest room quickly become overrun with baby stuff.

i finally decided on a doula and ate as many cinnamon rolls from baked on maui as my two hearts desired.

baby girl was on her way. were we ready?

4 thoughts on “red flags and faint lines.

  1. Hmmm… “were we ready” well after 6 months of watching a new Tilly… now in this strange new world, “I” know what she is telling her friends and higher powers, lets see….., She has been on 2-3 continents, 6-8 countries, maybe 20 US states. She has been in every conceivable environment, snow, heat, beaches, mountains, rocks to climb and all those corresponding temperatures. She has “learned” to snow board,, water ski, surf, fish, drive a boat, etc. She believes her Mom, Dad, & even Bowie, were indeed ready and she is looking forward to a life like no other especially, with her new twin cousin mentioned above. She has even been looking unsuccessfully, for a burger or peach… something solid, instead of this white liquid Mom has been forcing on me. {PS: Grandpa, Schneider, who she has enlisted to relay this info, has been known to exaggerate, and now also experiencing some dementia, but for the most part is pretty close to the facts.} LOVE all

  2. A lovely beginning to a new chapter in your life of joys and motherhood. I enjoyed reading how our precious one came to join our family.

  3. Sara, you will be a great mother! Congratulations to you and Ryan. Can’t wait to see pictures of her. Remember that I am not on Facebook anymore so send them to my email. Love you 💜

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