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Parenthood, Young Married Mom

April 18, 2010

Shark vs. Peanut

When John and I were engaged but not yet married (and I was thus not yet pregnant), I had already decided that when we had our first child I, at least, would call it “Shark.”  Boy or girl, I didn’t care.  We’d give it a proper name, sure, and when time for school came, we’d use that.  But in the meantime, I would call it Shark.  As I would be spending more time with the baby than John would, I figured that I had some kind of power I could exercise. And exercise I would.

The story goes back to many, many moons ago (before I knew John and his family, so this is hear-say, but I have it all on good authority) when one of John’s younger brothers requested that he no longer be called by his given name.  He wanted to be called Shark.  I’m not sure it lasted more than a few days, or even more than a few hours, but when I heard this story, it struck me as pure genius.  As far as I know, no one else in the family has more successfully claimed this as a (nick)name, nor has anyone even tried.  That in mind, and with the absolute certainty that nothing related to marine life would end up on a birth certificate, I was sure I would call the little one Shark for as long as I could.

Now I’ve known I was pregnant since about four weeks in—for those not familiar with pregnancy arithmetic, that means the baby was only two weeks in utero, (and yes, I am kind of proud that I knew so soon).  I’ve surprised myself with my struggle to call this little one Shark.  It was somewhat easier for the first few weeks; I still had to think about it a bit, but it came semi-naturally.  Then we saw the first ultrasound, and everything changed.

I mean that in more ways than one.  Seeing that ultrasound was hands-down one of the most amazing moments of my life. There was this little person that didn’t even look much like a person yet—it looked like a peanut. But it was very clear to see that it was something, someone, and I knew in a way I can’t explain that it was our very special little person.

We heard the heartbeat a few weeks later at another appointment.  The volume on the Doppler was turned up so loudly, I thought it sounded like the baby was trying to beat a door down!  Experiencing that sound was wonderful, but it didn’t affect me as powerfully as the ultrasound. Already, being a parent is full of surprises, and I’m looking forward to what else is in store.

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