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Published on March 3, 2020

The secret first trimester

By Stephanie Johnson / The Bulletin

The first trimester of pregnancy is a physical and emotional roller coaster. My emotions were all over the place, and I was never sure when I was going to scream, cry, be excited, or have my stomach flip and my digestive system fail at the most inopportune moment. Add secrecy on top of all that.

This blessed condition has its surprises as the body starts making room for the baby. It’s my first pregnancy, and I have read up on what to expect, but things never go exactly as the printed word indicates.

Because this is my first one, we had been extra cautious, which included not telling anyone about my condition until after the first trimester. I hadn’t changed on the outside, but a lot of things were going on inside, from head to toe. It was going to be a task to hide that part from relatives, especially at major events like a family reunion and a wedding.

All I wanted to constantly do was to tell everyone that I was expecting. That would explain everything. But we agreed. Why is she so moody, they probably wondered. Why is she always tired? Why did she just throw up?

The first test was David’s family reunion. His entire family gets together in a lodge for the weekend every year, and we all have a great time, but being secretly pregnant complicated things.

Sharing a cabin with his family didn’t help, but I managed to hide the secret. When I was tired, I disappeared and took a nap. I brought my own tumbler and filled it with water. Nobody knew what I was drinking.

And, this secretly pregnant girl eliminated all suspicions once and for all by winning the coveted egg toss contest for the second year in a row.

That’s right. I won it fair and square, and secretly pregnant.

Every year there is a competitive egg toss at this reunion, and the winner gets his or her name on the trophy. It’s a big deal. I was the winner in 2018 and had no intention of losing in 2019, no matter what surprises my new condition managed to kick up.

The second big test was my sister-in-law’s wedding, in which I was a bridesmaid. This was going to be interesting. What could go wrong?

The reunion was easy compared to the wedding, although the egg toss victory came close. I had to switch to double-secret secrecy. It was a big day that should not be remembered as one of the bridesmaids having a mishap right in front of everyone.
The rehearsal dinner was laid-back, fun and easy. I stayed up and laughed the night away. The morning was smooth. The ceremony was beautiful, and I made sure it stayed that way.

I managed to keep myself together, except for crying when they read their hand-written vows. My waist had expanded some, but nobody really paid attention. All I had to do is behave normally and stay awake. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

The reception was too much fun for this freshly pregnant lady. I got the bartenders on the same page, and every time I walked up to the bar, they handed me a non-alcoholic Topo Chico, poured into a glass with a lime wedge.

Everyone kept asking what I was drinking. I told them it was their signature drink, and no one questioned it. Someone even tried it and joked that it was “too strong.”

My body then decided to reward me for taking good care of it and let me dance the night away like Cinderella. It was like it was saying, “Have some fun, little momma. I’ll give you a little break - until 9 p.m.”

When the clock struck nine, my entire body felt like it had gained an extra hundred pounds. It was time to say goodbye to the glass slippers, sit down and watch the fun and excitement from a distance.

But I succeeded. The secret was still ours. I did fall asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel, but that wasn’t all that unusual. I do that without being pregnant. Nobody even noticed as the party continued on the bus.

I continued to party in dreamland.

(You can reach Stephanie at stephanie.bulletin@gmail.com. Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)