19 December, 2012
ONE YEAR AGO.
It was a Monday morning and--per usual--I was running behind, trying to get out the door to my gynecologist appointment before heading into another week at work. "Good luck with your job interview today! I love you!" I yelled to a still sleeping Justin as I ran out the door. It had taken me weeks to get the appointment and I remember entering panic attack mode as I started my car only to realize I needed gas. And then I couldn't find the address for the office. I finally found my way to the medical building, opting for the stairs because the elevator took too long. I ran down the hall as I was late to my appointment, but they still agreed to see me. "I'm here today because my birth control has been recalled and I'm going to need something new." So the prescreening process began and we reviewed my medical history. "You'll need to take a pregnancy test now; it's just standard practice before we move forward." I peed in a cup, then waited in my exam room for the nurse practitioner to return, checking my email and scrolling through my phone. I texted Justin: "They're making me take a pregnancy test... ha." "Ha" indeed.
Rewind a couple of days to the previous Friday. As Justin took the last philosophy final of his undergrad career, he received a voicemail from Duke Divinity School, letting him know that he had been accepted in the early round of admissions to their program. His first acceptance. This was huge! On the cusp of a lot of life change, we were feeling both excited and anxious for what was to come. We had months of waiting in our future as we anticipated hearing back from other programs followed by some major life decisions about where we'd end up for the next couple of years. We celebrated the acceptance by trekking to Julian, a small town in the mountains just outside of San Diego, where we spent the afternoon pulled over off the side of the winding freeway, sledding down the hills on boogie boards in true Southern Californian style. It was a perfect day. A weekend of calm before a complete storm of grad-application-waiting-game-chaos.
Fastforward back to the exam room. Down the hall, make a right, first door on the left. I remember it well. After a few minutes of waiting, the nurse practitioner entered the room again, closed the door, and said, "I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news, but the test came back positive."
"You're pregnant." I sat, stunned, in silence for a few moments. "You're wrong," I told her. She went so far as leave the room and double check the test. Of course she wasn't wrong. At some point, I went from silence to bursting with all of the reasons why it just couldn't be possible. "But my husband just got into grad school and we're moving and I have a really good job and I'm too young and I don't believe it and what?" Although I wasn't crying, she handed me a box of tissues. I looked at them in my hands. I suddenly burst into tears, realizing that that is probably what people do right about now. As I sat, scared and crying, she gave me an estimated due date and talked to me about my options. I knew that we would keep the baby but I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening. In the midst of so much life change, I could barely imagine what my life would be like in a week. There was no way I could think as far forward as next August and picture myself with a baby of my own. She offered to do my first ultrasound that day, but I had had enough for one day. I had to get out of there. I raced out of the office, through downtown, to the parking garage, with tears streaming down my face. Every time my body stopped moving, when I waited to cross the street, when I sat down in my car, it was like the news hit me again and again as if it were the first time.
Instead of driving to work, I drove home. To be perfectly honest, I spent the entire drive crying and screaming in my car, hitting the steering wheel while simultaneously feeling like I should never be in a car again, lest I hurt what was growing inside of me. It was terrible. I parked the car and ran upstairs, hiding my face when I passed people in the hall. I stood outside our front door for what felt like forever. I could not bring myself to walk through that door and tell Justin the news, to repeat what I had just been told. Life as I knew it was over, and I was so happy with the life I already had. I couldn't breathe under the amount of responsibility I already felt heaped on top of me.
Eventually I made my way into our house. Justin knew immediately, of course, not expecting me home after my appointment and never having received a follow up text from my hilarious one about the pregnancy test. What now? How do we live life now? Our lives changed forever that day. We were dumbfounded for basically, well, weeks. For a long time, I was ashamed of how I felt. It took me a while to get from terrified and sad and angry to sort of curious, and eventually completely, over-the-moon excited.
So why be so honest about all of this? Because it's real life and finding out about an unplanned pregnancy, even in the context of my marriage and family support, was hard to take and completely insane. In a moment my life became very much about a little someone else that felt like a stranger, and that was a hard pill to swallow. But you adjust, you reset your course, you reexamine your priorities. Life take shifts that completely shake you and from one moment to the next your reality completely changes. But now I have myself the most beautiful, precious little not-at-all-planned-for baby that ever was. He has taught me new things about life and selflessness and love since the day I knew he existed. Oh, I love that boy. I'm so blessed to have him. I would not change a thing, and I really mean that.