“I Never,” as you may know, is a game that high school and college students play, daring each other to share their sexual exploits. “I never made out with another girl,” a coquettish undergrad might say seductively, and then all the girls who’ve had token lesbian experiences take a shot of whatever’s on tap: Malibu Rum, say, or Peach Schnapps. Maybe a wine cooler.
Well, today, I’m introducing a new kind of “I Never” — the pregnancy edition. Prepare your glasses of Chardonnay.
Before I was pregnant, I never wore pajama bottoms outside the house, hoping they’d pass as normal pants, because they were the only pants I was comfortable in. I never snored, and I never crab-walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night because the pressure on my bladder was so excruciating. I never had cankles. I never lusted for sugar with the intensity of a fiending drug addict, like Ewan MacGregor in “Trainspotting.”
Before I was pregnant, I never felt a baby move inside me. I never watched my husband’s face light up like a Christmas tree when he felt our daughter kick, or punch, or dance, or whatever it is she’s doing in there. I never watched my abdomen undulate with the life twitching about within.
I never researched cribs or diapers or breast pumps. I never knew that people wrote “birth plans” more detailed than the Constitution of the United States of America. I never sat in a room full of strangers watching a video of a woman’s naked vagina, or saw pictures of newborns covered in “vernix” and “lanugo” (translation: a gooey white substance, and hair — think, baby werewolf dipped in yogurt).
I never had so many people tell me, “this is going to be the most amazing experience of your life,” and “get ready for a sleepless existence in which you are a shell of your former self and can’t remember what it was like to be able to do things in the world,” all in the same breath. (Though, when I got married, I do remember people telling me, “You’re so young!” in the same breath that they asked, “So, when are you having kids?” — that was 13 years ago. I’ve never been one for convention.)
Before I was pregnant, I never felt such an intense mix of absolute bliss, giddy excitement and sheer terror, all at the same time. And I never, since I first laid eyes on my husband, felt such an immediate connection to another human being.
She’s due May 7. Will she show up early? Late? What will it be like to finally hold her? To lay eyes on her? I can’t wait.
What new “I nevers” will she bring to my life?
And who’s pouring the shots?