Growing up, I was your stereotypical girl. I wanted to be a babysitter and loved ballet and gymnastics. Everything I owned had to be pink and sparkly, and I loved being the mother when I would play “house” with my little friends. A lot has changed since then; I don’t bedazzle my accessories, and my high career aspirations are no longer to be a babysitter. Yet one of my goals has remained; I have always dreamed of having a baby of my own and becoming a mother.
Jeff and I got married in the Spring of 2018, and moved to Israel a couple weeks later to study abroad. We were both students and were in the throes of acclimating to the new language and the new land. A couple weeks in, early pregnancy symptoms started popping up and I decided that it might be time to take a pregnancy test. We were on an extremely tight budget and were back and forth whether it was just a waste of time and money to buy the test at all. Finally, after a week of hemming and hawing, Jeff brought one home. It took me several days to even bother to take the test as I was so convinced that we were being overly cautious.
When the pregnancy test turned up positive, we were shocked! At first, we were in a daze. We had just gotten married and thought we would be able to have some fun before the responsibilities of having a child would bear down on us for the rest of our lives! Once we processed the enormity of the situation we were ecstatic. This was going to be my parent’s first grandchild and we couldn’t wait to tell the grandparents-to-be.
Too soon, morning sickness kicked in, and I was finding it very hard to be across the world from my friends and family. I spent many hours in bed, lonely and nauseous just wanting to be with my friends and sisters back in America. I was so emotional that my poor husband had no idea how to make me happy, he just thought I was homesick and sad. Next came the big discussion if we should have the baby in America. We weren’t familiar with the Israeli healthcare system, and everything in America seemed to be more clean and friendly.
There were many complications with having my first pregnancy abroad. Israel has socialized medicine, so I was able to be on the best medical plan for only around 20 USD every month. The only catch was that I would have to use the health insurance’s doctor, who barely spoke English. We had our first doctor’s appointment when I was around 8 weeks pregnant. It was close to impossible to even get our basic blood tests done, we just couldn’t communicate with our OBGYN. Needless to say, we started getting very excited about our surprise blessing.
We started telling our family at around 8 weeks because they could all tell something was different about me. Everyone was always commenting how tired I looked in pictures, and I’m sure I sounded like a wreck on the phone too! We thought everyone would be just as shocked as we were, but to our surprise, the resounding response (along with excitement!) was that they all just assumed we were!
I didn’t start showing yet, but since I was so excited I started buying some cute maternity dresses that I couldn’t wait to fit into. The idea that soon I would be sporting a bump was literally a dream come true.
We were supposed to get an ultrasound at around 9 weeks, but we still couldn’t figure out how to make an appointment. By the time we finally made our way to our first ultrasound we were already up to 12 weeks. I had started feeling much better and assumed it was because I was nearing the end of my first trimester. We were so excited to finally get to see the 2-inch little wonder inside me. Little did we know we were in for the second-biggest shock of our lives.
Sara’s pregnancy journey continues here.