I remember telling my single moms group years ago that after 3 unplanned pregnancies as a single mom, I wanted to experience a pregnancy where dad was excited to hear the news and excited to hold my hand all the way through the journey. After I turned 35, my hopes for another pregnancy began to dwindle. Then I met Terry Bryant, a man who wanted to be a dad so that he fully embraced my two grown sons and sixteen-year-old daughter as his own. He was just as excited to be a first-time uncle when we married in 2017. After 4 years of marriage and two miscarriages, I am thrilled to be carrying the baby of a man who is excited to be a dad and who is ecstatic to have me as his baby momma. A man who has held my hand through every excitement and disappointment of the last 4 years.
In 2020, we decided that we would put an end date our quest to conceive a child together. That end date was January 2021. Both of our birthdays are in January and Terry turned 50 while I turned 42 this year. When January came, Terry’s excitement of his milestone year was overshadowed by the fact that he knew our self-imposed deadline loomed. He broached the subject letting me know how he wanted to extend our deadline. I thought if I had not gotten pregnant in the previous 12 months, it was unrealistic to think that I would get pregnant in the next few months. That was partially the reason why I agreed to extend the deadline. God has a sense of humor because less than a month after extending our deadline, we conceived.
I did not want to take a pregnancy test at first. I had all the symptoms of pregnancy, but I feared that the test would start a timeline of obligatory events like calling the doctor and saying the words, “I’m pregnant”. I just wanted to delay the emotions which followed the two blue lines confirming things. I made Terry wait a few weeks before I went ahead and took a home pregnancy test. By this time, there was no doubt in my mind that I was pregnant.
Terry is never outwardly expressive, even when he is excited. When I showed him the positive pregnancy test, there were not any tears or even a smile (imagine that), but I could tell his wheels were spinning. He was probably mapping out every detail of my pregnancy and the baby’s first year of life. I knew that Terry was ecstatic about the news and that he would hold my hand throughout every phase of our journey.
Terry has stepped up his level of “Terry-ness” during my first trimester. I was tired a lot. After work, I would come straight home and sleep for about an hour then wake up to eat the dinner Terry made. Typically, I would wash the dinner dishes, but Terry would say, “I’ll get the dishes, you get off your feet”. Terry has given up half of his half of the bed because I cannot seem to get comfortable with just half. Most importantly, he has been there to calm me when my mind begins to race, and fear tries to claim this season of joy.
Being pregnant at forty-two automatically makes me “high risk”. There are some extra precautions which the doctors take which means I have more doctors’ appointments than the average pregnant woman. Prenatal doctors’ appointments during a pandemic are not fun. Terry wants to be at every appointment, but right now he is only allowed in the office during sonogram visits. That does not stop Terry from coming though. He sits outside of the doctor’s office while we video chat throughout the appointment.
Thankfully, we are past the first trimester and the 3-month period of exhaustion has passed. The morning sickness has stopped, and I feel more like myself. The second trimester brings with it different phases. My baby bump is growing (sooner than it did with the first 3 kids). I am already starting to waddle when I walk, and my breathing is labored. We are looking forward to feeling the baby move in a few weeks. We also get to find out the baby’s gender during the second trimester. Terry says he (only) wants a healthy baby. I want a baby girl! I want to fill the nursery with pink, purple and hair bows. Also, with Davion’s three boys, I think it is about time for some more girl power. Plus, I think Terry would make an awesome girl-dad!
Girl or a boy, the baby will be named after my husband. Either Terry with a ‘Y’ or Terri with an ‘I’. Rather a girl or a boy, we thank God for this gift of life, and we will love either one.
Over 30 years have passed. The moment that I have dreamt about, thought about, prayed about, fasted about, and waited for had finally manifested. My wife is pregnant with my first child. I had been down this road before, but never reached the point to where I began to feel comfortable about the prospects of the pregnancy going through to live birth after 9 months. Emotionally, I was all over the place from happy and excited to concerned and apprehensive. Yet, on the outside, I maintained the same disposition and demeanor. No one could tell what I was going through on the inside. No one, except one person…Fred.
Over the past 15 months, Faith and I became close to a couple who retired early and had moved down to Florida. During this time, I developed a relationship with Fred. I recognized that he was slowly becoming the older brother that I never had, yet always wanted. I had always been that one who was looked at as an older brother, but I wanted to have a brother that I could talk to who would advise me based on their experiences and not judge me on my questions. Fred became that brother. During one of our talks, he shared his experience of his journey to fatherhood. It was amazing how some of the feelings that I had and was having, he had when he was younger. As I listened to his experiences, I began to understand that I should cherish this experience and soak it all in. As I was now 50 years old, the chances that we would attempt to have another child after this pregnancy were extremely slim, so I should enjoy the experience.
With this now firmly placed in my mind and heart, I began to relinquish the apprehension and concern about the pregnancy and enjoy the process. As we began to hit certain milestones of fetal development, the excitement that I had repressed began to build. I was actually going to be a father of a child that would share half of my genetic material. As a self-professed “nerd” who had a desire at one time to work in the medical field, I knew a lot about biology, anatomy, and physiology (those were my favorite classes in college). As we got closer to the end of the first trimester, I could feel more and more confident and secure about sharing the news of our pregnancy.
Faith had come up with a brilliant idea to tie our announcement with Star Wars day (May 4th) as this would be her 4th child, but I was also a huge Star Wars fan. Once she came up with the idea, I knew what needed to take place to make it a reality. For 2 weeks, deliveries were arriving at the house to help make the vision a reality. I contacted my friend, Bryant, to coordinate the photoshoot at a location that would perfectly encapsulate our journey and the anticipation of the birth of the newest member of our family. When the day arrived for the photoshoot, it was one of great emotion and pride as we were going to announce to the world that a new member would be joining our family before the end of the year. This was a moment that I longed for, but as a person who likes to keep their personal life personal, it was one of that would have me come outside of my comfort zone.
Once the announcement was made, I was surprised at the response that we received. A few people were surprised that we were embarking on this new journey, but the vast majority were positive and happy. As the sentiments came in, I began to recognize what Fred was telling: enjoy the ride. To that end, I began to embrace the feelings of joy even more. Even when things would try to come to cast doubt, I would speak words of faith and lean on those prayers and words of faith from others to reinforce what I believed and know would come to pass.
As we come closer to the day that we learn the gender of our future member of the family, I begin to recognize the feeling of pride and joy that my father had when I was a child. There is a picture of him holding me in full winter gear (I was about 1 year old in the picture) and the smile that my father had on his face continues to speak volumes to me. I had always wondered what he was thinking when that picture was taken. Now, I look forward to creating my own picture that our child will see, but I’ll be able to relay to them the feelings that I had when the picture was taken. Will it be a challenge, of course, isn’t all parenting a challenge? Yet, this will be one challenge that I freely take up and want to pass with flying colors. By the strength and grace of God, I know it will be a wonderful and glorious experience. Although I know there will be some ups and downs, as an adult, I don’t remember many of the downs, mostly the ups reside in my mind. I plan on creating as many “ups” in our child’s mind that not only do they know that Mom and Dad love them, but God loves them more. It’s going to be special in a few short months.
Stay tuned for what happened the day of the gender ultrasound and my reaction to the news of either Team Terry or Team Teri.
And the gender is….
Epilogue (Terry’s Thoughts):
Our arrival to the doctor’s office, my mind began to race about the results we would receive in a few short minutes about would shape the next chapter of our lives. We would know which chromosome made the connection: X or Y. As we travelled up the elevator, thoughts began to race on what should I say or if I could say anything when we found out. Externally, I was cool as the other side of the pillow (in the words of the late Stuart Scott), but internally, my emotions were raging an internal struggle with the exterior and the emotions were gaining. Once we were directed to the sonogram room and the lights went out, it was just like being in a movie theater, rather this time I was playing a lead part in the production. As the technician began to prepare us by showing us the little one’s heartbeat and movement, the tension rose. “Would you PLEASE get to the part we have been waiting for!” I said in my head. The technician then began to describe what we were seeing on the screen…the umbilical cord, the left leg, the right leg, the little leg. “Wait, that’s not a leg, that’s…” I said in my head. Just as the thought crossed my mind, the technician said, “It’s a boy!”
At that moment, my entire thought pattern changed from maintaining neutrality, as I truly didn’t care if it would be a boy or girl at that point, to now knowing that it would be a boy. The smile on my face was covered by the mask and the gleam in my eyes were masked by the darkness of the room. It was at that moment, that I truly began to understand the sense of pride that my father had regarding me. There would be another male coming to the Bryant household and the balance between estrogen and testosterone would begin to level…in due time. I was thanking God that our son was moving and being active and knowing that I would play a substantial part in helping develop a relationship with God for himself in the coming years put a smile in my heart and on my face that may not come off any time soon.