Therese’s Baby on Board: Honeymoon Baby
April 23, 2016.
The day we tied the knot.
Said “I do.”
Strapped on the old ball and chain.
You get the picture.
Sometime within days of what, at the time, we thought was the biggest day of our lives, something even bigger happened.
I can’t quite pinpoint where or when, and I won’t delve into any of our suspicions, but when you find out you’re pregnant just about a month after your wedding day, people’s initial response is usually followed up with “Ooh! A honeymoon baby!”
I guess you could say that.
My parents are BOTH considered to be “honeymoon babies.” My mom was born nine months and a few days after my grandparents tied the knot. My dad was nine months TO THE DAY from his parents’ wedding!
Back in the 1950s, it was the norm: Marriage, immediately followed by three, four or more kids. These days, young adults are getting married later and later – typically focusing more on careers than building families. While I have invested years of effort into my career, and do plan to continue seeing that through, having children at a reasonably young age has always been important to me. I want to have enough energy to keep up with my kids, so I figure the sooner I start, the better. And trust me, with morning show work hours, I need to salvage all the energy I can as young as possible!
So the “old school” definition of “honeymoon baby” doesn’t quite apply to our situation. When I tell most people my husband and I found out we were pregnant ON our honeymoon, their face is usually either one of immediate joy, suspicion, or they simply look at us like we’re crazy and in too much of a hurry. But unlike most couples, we didn’t take off for our honeymoon immediately following our wedding.
Working in news, we adhere to Nielsen ratings periods, or “sweeps,” which come up every few months. During that time, we’re expected to be at work while a select group of viewers submit information to Nielsen on what shows they watch in each time period. May is a particularly important month for our entire on-air staff to be present.
This can make it especially difficult for a bride and groom-to-be to choose a wedding date outside of sweeps, and in Florida, one that doesn’t fall too close to either “busy season” or “rainy season.” No easy task. For newsies, that means certain days, weeks and months are out of the question for major life events. In our case, we ended up getting married five days before this year’s May sweeps period…just in time to tie the knot, enjoy a brief period of relaxation post-wedding, and then get straight back to work in time to show up, smile, and deliver the news for the next month.
My husband and I did take a few days to decompress after the wedding – what we called our “mini-moon.” We made a stay-cation out of it, and enjoyed a couple of nights at a hotel only 10 minutes from home, but right on the Gulf in Naples.
By Wednesday, it was back to work and just in time to buckle down for May sweeps. For the next month, we punched the clock, wrote out about 200 thank you notes and enjoyed a few weeks of newlywed bliss in our own condo.
By Memorial Day weekend, we were ready to get away and ready for take off. We were lucky enough to have a two week honeymoon fully planned and ready to enjoy, and of all places, in Italy. We had every day of the trip mapped out – taking us from Venice to Florence and through Tuscany, down toward the Amalfi Coast, and ending in the historic and scenic capital city of Rome.
It was sure to be the trip of a lifetime. And boy, was it ever.
Just six days into our trip, while staying at a beautiful villa hotel in Fiesole, overlooking Florence, I started to feel a little off. I knew something was up when I woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick to my stomach. But I had to put my sickness aside. We had big plans the next day to visit two wineries in Tuscany for pre-arranged food and wine parings. Admittedly, I was looking forward to this excursion more than anything else on the trip. I woke up the next morning feeling a burst of energy and ready to take on Tuscany.
After indulging in an array of sliced meats and cheeses, fresh bruschetta, homemade lasagna and some of the best Chianti I’ve ever tasted, we were headed back for our hotel when I suggested a pit stop at a local grocery store. Unbeknownst to us, most grocery stores in Italy (at least the smaller ones in Tuscany) don’t have a pharmacy section like we’re used to at our local Target or Publix. We asked the woman in the deli section where we could get a pregnancy test. This is the part where you can picture us trying to translate “pregnancy test” using a lot of hand gestures toward our stomachs. Needless to say, she looked at us like we had ten heads but eventually understood enough to point us in the direction of the nearest “farmacia.”
We tracked down a two-pack of generic looking, Italian brand tests behind the counter at the farmacia. It wasn’t long before we were back at the hotel, staring blankly at a test with two VERY clear pink lines staring back at us.
“There’s no way this can be right. Can it? No. No way.” That was a lot of our conversation the rest of the night.
Mind you, we weren’t surprised the test showed up positive, mostly just shocked that it happened so soon. As in RIGHT AWAY soon.
Over the course of the trip, we had purchased and taken FIVE tests…JUST to be sure.
After the initial shock wore off, we woke up the next morning, headed off for a day trip in San Gimignano, where we climbed a gorgeous historic housetower, ate gelato and visited a “torture museum” (yep, that’s a real place). We also came across a small linens shop with a man seated at the front door, hand-stitching original pieces for a group of families gathered around to watch his skill at work. While there, we picked up a pot holder and had it hand stitched to say “Nana O’Shea,” figuring it would be a great keepsake for my mom, and ended up serving as our big “reveal” to tell my parents that they would soon become grandparents.
The next eight days were spent traveling farther south, stopping in some of the most amazing cities I’ve ever seen, eating about as much Italian food as I would during Christmas at home in New Jersey, and sadly saying no to the wine list and fresh limoncello.
While I may not have been able to fully indulge in EVERY bit of the finer things on my honeymoon, I knew we were returning home with something so much sweeter.
Once we landed back in Florida, it took everything in us to hold our secret in a little longer. That next weekend, we were able to surprise our immediate families and reveal the big news to them.
“I know you guys said not to bring you home any souvenirs from Italy… but there is ONE thing…” we told them, grinning.
Unlike most old-school newlyweds, our “honeymoon baby” made it from Florida to Florence and back again, traveling with us every step of the way.