Unexpecting

Anna Lea Jancewicz

(for David (not Lee Roth))

Finally, one afternoon, in a fit of desperation, you fish one of Husband’s plain white undershirts out of the Semi-Clean Pile and with a Sharpie make a custom maternity shirt.

I’m not just getting fatter, ok? There’s another human in here.

Husband says you shouldn’t count your chicken before it’s hatched. And in fact, when folks begin to ask What are you hoping for? You find yourself replying A human. Husband prefers We’re hoping it’ll be Asian. Asian babies are really hip now. He also lets them know, in a confidential tone, that werewolf does run in his family. On my father’s side he whispers, sotto voce. You think this may be true.

Husband proposes naming the baby David Lee Roth, Jr. You make a counter offer. Only if we can go with Anna Lita Ford, should it be a girl. Stalemate.

You love Fern. Also, Opal. Husband decrees: No naming babies after plants or rocks. Why beat around the bush? You may as well name the kid Bongwater. You scowl.

Ulcer Hellhammer, Husband says, beaming. That’s gender neutral. You agree to disagree. What about Agony Hellhammer? he asks. Is that more girly?

This baby will be Irish and Jewish, he says, You know that means it’ll have a tail and horns. You add to the gift registry: lots of little kilts, lots of little hats.

You attend childbirth classes, the kind where the instructor wears a large pendant around her neck that resembles the Venus of Willendorf. She plays tranquil New Age flute music at the end of each session, and urges you to visualize rainbows and waterfalls. Husband elbows you as you both sit cross-legged on the floor and whispers I think I have dog crap on the bottom of my boot. You smell this to be true. You both agree you are out of your element.

You decide to just have the baby in your own bathtub. Your birth plan goes something like: “Play Whole Lotta Love on repeat, very loudly, and yell fuck a lot at the top of my lungs until we see a head.” Amazingly, this works really well, and none of the neighbors call the cops. Husband says Led Zeppelin is for queers and losers. You’re the one who is shitting a broadsword, so he can eat it. But you love him so much more now, somehow.

The baby has no Asian features, of course. And surprisingly, no horns or tail. You do note upon waking, after the first postnatal full moon, that your wee darling is spattered with a fair amount of blood, chicken feathers stuck to rosy cheeks. Ulcer Hellhammer is still the cutest baby you’ve ever seen. It’s true. She really is.

ANNA LEA JANCEWICZ lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where she homeschools her children and haunts the public libraries. If she could fistfight any historical figure, it’d probably be Martin Luther or Herman Melville. Also, she has no familial feelings toward her dog. Her writing has recently appeared at Bartleby Snopes, The Citron Review, Rawboned, Squalorly, and elsewhere. Yes, you CAN say Jancewicz: Yahnt-SEV-ich. More at annajancewicz.wordpress.com