There was a 4.0 earthquake in southern Maine last night and I felt it in my house. It was kind of hard to miss, because my entire house was shaking.
At first, I thought it was a truck coming down our very narrow, one-way street. Sometimes, when something as small as a UPS truck comes barreling down our street, you can feel the windows rattle. But the rumbling just kept going, gaining in intensity. I felt my teeth rattle in my head as I panned my view around the room. It was surreal. After about five full seconds, I realized what was happening: earthquake!
Five more seconds of rumbling and then it rolled away like disgruntled thunder grumbling across a stormy sky.
What was particularly surreal is that I was on a conference call at the time of the earthquake. The call leader lives in Western Massachusetts. She stopped mid-sentence and was like, “I’m sorry ladies – my whole house is shaking. I don’t know what’s going on.” I unmuted myself and chimed in that my house just shook as well and that I think we just had experienced an earthquake.
We both left the call, each having very different reactions. Our call leader was unsettled.
I, weirdly enough, was exhilarated.
I didn’t know what to do afterward, so I walked outside. Many of my neighbors were in the street. You could hear front doors opening and people shouting, laughing, talking in amazement. You could hear dogs howling and barking. The little kid who lives across the street was laughing and jumping up and down on the pavement, trying to make an earthquake of his own.
My next door neighbor joked: “I’m so glad I just spent all that money on a new foundation for the house.”
Thankfully, as rough a rumble as it was, we are fine. I went back inside and the only damage to be had was a few crooked pictures still hung on the wall and one magnet on the fridge had gone crashing to the kitchen floor.
I also realized that my cats had gone absolutely apeshit just before it happened. When I joined the conference call, I immediately had to mute myself because my cats were running around the house like they were on crystal meth. Just zoom zoom zoom from the kitchen to the living room, upstairs, downstairs and back again – they were practically galloping around the house at the speed of light. As soon as the house began shaking, I saw both Toro and Saba stop dead in their tracks and slink down to the floor, frozen, while their tails puffed up almost three times in size.
Once the rumbling stopped and I jogged downstairs to go check everything out, Toro slunk into the kitchen, his tail like a bottle brush. I didn’t see Saba for a good 15 minutes.
I hopped online to the USGS website and sure enough – the earthquake was already live on their site. Originally, it was listed as a 4.5 earthquake, the epicenter near Lake Arrowhead, Maine. If any of you are Stephen King fans, I was immediately suspicious. Over the next few hours it got downgraded and shifted to Waterboro, Maine. (Relief, I thought. Giant primordial monsters should not be waking me up in the morning.)
Still, I felt it 83 miles away.
My friend Natalie left a very funny comment for me on Facebook after it happened: “Keiko, don’t you know you’re never supposed to shake a baby?”
I had this moment of clarity, the momentary pregnant lady fog lifted from my brain for a few minutes afterward.
I thought of Japan. And Chile. And Turkey and Haiti and China. “Thank G-d that wasn’t worse,” I said to myself. I mean, in the moment it was kind of neat but when you count out ten seconds – I mean, do that right now – that’s a long time. I can’t imagine if that had gone on for just five more seconds, or even double that time, growing in intensity. I realized how lucky we were.
In a way, it really did leave me shaken.
And I had this reminder that even though beta numbers are strong and my other host of symptoms are all signs point to knocked up – this pregnancy is still totally out of my control. It’s still very early. And that’s when I suddenly wished Larry was home from New York, where he’s been since Monday for work. (He comes home this afternoon.)
But I’ll tell you what: had I not gone through infertility, had we not done IVF with donor eggs, had we not spent the $11,000 that we have – this thought that it’s not in my control would have never occurred to me. I can shoot Crinone into my vag all day long but there are still no guarantees.
It’s an unsettling thought, one that I’m trying to push out of my brain for the sake of embracing joy right now.
But infertility… she’ll leave you with aftershocks, for sure.