Obligatory Reflections on The Year of The Belly

Best Day of 2003: Wednesday, May 28, the day we found out I was pregnant. We’d bought a pregnancy test and were holding on to it, trying to wait long enough to use it after my missed period to ensure an accurate reading. And we were going to try and wait seven days, but about 36 hours after buying the test, neither of us could sleep, and like two ten-year-old kids digging through mom’s closet to find Christmas presents, we broke out the test at 4:30am that morning. That second pink line on the test showed up within about four seconds, before I could even set it down on the countertop in the bathroom, and Jon and I nearly killed each other with hugs and screams and flailing gangly arms. It was a moment I had fantasized about since the first 30 seconds of meeting him. For the next three hours we sat in bed resisting the urge to call EVERY SINGLE PERSON we know and trying to come up with names and ways in which we could guarantee that the baby never grows up to become a Republican.

Best Song of 2003 that wasn’t officially released in 2003: “NYC” by Interpol. Jon and I didn’t start listening to Turn on the Bright Lights until mid-January when we were living in my mom’s basement, and it became the official soundtrack to a four-month bout of severe depression. The whole album sounds like a Utah winter: cold, dirty, gray, unforgiving, and overwhelmingly beautiful. If there were a Mormon God, the song “NYC” would be the official song of the second coming, specifically the part at about two minutes and eight seconds, right after he sings, “Somehow I’m not impressed,” and the guitar starts to tremble furiously, building and ramping in tandem with the drums, and the guitar just starts to cry and ache and plead You shall have no other Gods before me, and then it just sits there screaming and burning the flesh of all the unworthy, and it doesn’t stop until the end of the song, when the world has been cleansed of its sins. I find religion every time I hear that song.

Purchase of 2003 after which life cannot ever possibly be the same: TiVo

Most Awkward Moment of 2003: My Granny telling me that she loved my new beautiful breasts.

Best Food of 2003, and Official Sponsor of The Armstrong Pregnancy: Nacho Cheese Doritos, the only food other than Rice Krispie Treats from which I have to be physically removed by a third party in order to stop eating.

Best Drink of 2003: Tropicana Premium Pulp Free Orange Juice, Calcium Fortified, the only thing I could drink from the middle of May through the beginning of August without having my head spin around and projecting the contents of my stomach all over the face of the exorcist sitting at my bedside.

Best Movie of 2003: Lost in Translation. Totally refreshing, thrilling, gentle, tender, unexpected, restrained, and magical. The ending scene when Bill Murray is sitting in the back of the cab looking at the skyline of Tokyo set to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” gave me a full two-minute case of the chills. No other movie came close to doing that to me this year, but I haven’t seen 2 Fast 2 Furious, so this determination may be a bit premature.

Most Anticipated Moment of 2003: When the ultrasound technician pointed at the monitor and said, “See that cheeseburger? That means it’s a girl.”

My husband’s most memorable quote of 2003: “You’re going to have to teach our daughter about her cheeseburger.”

Best Niece/Nephew Moment of 2003: My five-year-old nephew, Britton, coming down the stairs with a terrified look on his face, unwilling to say anything or explain what is wrong. My sister spends several panicked minutes getting him to calm down and finally convinces him to tell her what has happened and he says, “I just swallowed a penny, but I promise it will stop hurting tomorrow.” The following day my sister’s two-year-old twin boys both puke in the middle of the living room floor, and when she cleans it up she finds four quarters, a handful of dimes, and at least $.15 in pennies.

Most Traumatic Television Moment of 2003: The final few moments of the season finale of “Felicity” as seen in syndication on the WE Network. I TiVo’d every episode of this series and watched one every day at lunchtime. By my six month of pregnancy, the month when I started to cry at least twice an hour every hour for no particular reason, I’d reached the final season of the series. For ten straight days I soaked my lunchtime peanut butter and jelly sandwich with tears as I knew it was all about to come to an end. On the day that I watched the final episode I didn’t even attempt to make lunch because I knew that the combination of sobs and peanut butter might permanently lodge in my esophagus. I called Jon at work the moment it ended, paused the TiVo on Keri Russell’s disgustingly cute face, and bawled It was just a dream! She still loves Ben and Ben loves her and I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! And then I ate an entire super-sized bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Most Surprising Food Craving of 2003: All those fucking hot dogs.

Best Suggested Baby Name of 2003: Sprongker Armstrong

Best Line from a piece of hate-mail directed at this website in 2003: “I can’t believe you would compare the soreness of your boobs to the plight of the baby seal, you total fucking bitch.”