I bought a test with Mom a few hours before we left for the airport. Our flight to England, a whirlwind surprise trip for me, would take off at 9:00 that night. An entire week spent in one of my favorite places in the world with one of my favorite people. I hadn’t seen my granny in over five years, hadn’t been back to England in nearly ten.
“Do you think you are?” Mom asked me as I tossed it in the cart. She picked up a bottle of shampoo.
“I don’t know. Maybe. It might be too early to tell.”
On Wednesday, two days before my flight back home, Mom and I went to Market Day in her hometown. Braintree has changed a lot since the last time I saw it, especially the market. There used to be tons of stalls, people selling all kinds of things every Wednesday and Saturday. Now, there were only a handful, most of them selling crappy cellphone covers and cheap leather purses.
Near Tesco’s, one stall caught our eye and made both of us gush. One woman sat beside the racks full of her merchandise, carefully knitting a tiny, pastel baby sweater. There were hundreds of baby outfits hanging up, all of them knit and all of them gorgeous. I fell in love with a mint green sweater, a yellow romper and a sweet, white cardigan.
“If I knew for sure that I was, I would so buy one of these right now,” I told Mom.
“Should I buy one just in case?” She asked me. I shook my head no. It didn’t feel right. I wanted two pink lines before I bought two perfect sweaters.
The next morning, I took the test. I hadn’t told anyone but Mom that I was planning on taking it. The entire idea came from the fact that this was the first time I would see Granny in forever and, because plane tickets aren’t cheap, I had no idea when I would see her again. I desperately wanted to include her in this moment, if there was one, because she had missed so much already. I carefully unpacked the test from my suitcase and went into the only bathroom in the house.
I waited three minutes.
It was negative.
I was heavy with disappointment, which I feel almost guilty saying. I know there are couples who try for years, who go through invasive medical procedures, who spend tons of money, patience and faith for no results. But when you want a baby, when you want to be a mother so much that your heart physically aches, even one negative test seems unfair.
I came downstairs, fixed a cup of tea and told Mom that it was negative. “Maybe it was too early,” I said, reminding myself of all the other months I had said the same thing.
When I came home from England, I had a whirlwind weekend with Chloe, Trey and David. My first night home, Trey and I passed out on the couch around 7:30. The next night, I was ready for bed at 8:00 again.
“This jet lag is killing me,” I told my dad on the phone. “I don’t remember having this problem before.”
“Yeah, well, you’re old now,” he joked.
I flew home on a Friday, but by Tuesday, the jet lag hadn’t gone away. Instead, I was exhausted and feeling light-headed constantly. Not dizzy, but like I had chugged a glass of champagne, except without the high pitched “I LOVE YOOOOOOU” squeals to David every five seconds.
“It’s probably the change in pressure,” he told me. “It’s been a while since you took that long of a flight.”
I figured he was right and shared the feeling with Mom on the phone as I sat in the Toys ‘R’ Us parking lot.
“Do you think you are?” She asked me.
“I doubt it. That test was negative. Maybe I’m getting a sinus infection or something.” I shook my head hard in the car, waiting for the excruciating pressure a sinus infection always gives me. Nothing.
“Well, feel better,” she told me.
I did some Christmas shopping at a few stores before stopping in Target. I picked up a new glass jar for our flour, a few more small Christmas things and a new bottle of shampoo and conditioner. While down the ‘personal’ aisle, I saw a big SALE sign next to a display of familiar pink boxes.
Hmm. I should pick up a few for next month.
When I got home, I put on Christmas Vacation and relaxed for a bit, willing the light-headed feeling to go away. After a few hours, I got up to use the bathroom and thought, Oh what the hell. I think any woman hoping for a baby can tell you that the call of a pregnancy test from the bottom of a Target bag is like a siren. There’s no escaping it.
This time, I didn’t have to wait three minutes. In fact, I whispered “This is so stupid” as I took the test and laid it on the bathroom counter. “Oh well, I’m not wasting one. I still have two for next month.” I glanced in the mirror for just a second, and when I looked back at the test, there they were: two blazing pink lines.
“Oh my God. Oh… oh my God. OH MY GOD.”
I did exactly what a slapstick comedy heroine would do… I freaked out. My legs and hands started shaking, I clapped my hands over my mouth and said “Oh my God” about twenty more times. “I need to call Mom. Oh my God, I have to call Mom.” I literally ran out of the bathroom, but when my fuzzy socks met the hardwood floors in the hallway, I nearly busted my own head open. I have no idea what time it was in England, I had no idea if her phone was on or charged or what, I just knew that I was going to explode if I didn’t tell someone this news NOW.
(And, for the record, David has always told me he wanted to be surprised by a pregnancy announcement, so calling him was not an option.)
The phone rang a few times and I could feel the happiness literally bubbling up in my chest. You know those pure euphoric moments where you can not control the burst of laughter that comes out of your mouth because you’re so happy? Yeah, that. It’s like indigestion, but giddy. Giddygestion.
“Hellooooo?” Came Mom’s happy voice.
“MOM?” I choked out, nearly in tears.
“What? What is it?” She asked, her voice immediately becoming concerned. I mean, I guess when your daughter calls in tears and chokes out a hurried MOM, you kind of freak out.
The rest of the conversation was kind of a blur. I remember her shouting to Granny and several of her childhood friends visiting that I was pregnant (And then they were all sworn to secrecy, of course), before saying “Oh, I have to go back to Market and get you that cardigan!”
But telling David? Oh, that was magic. I rushed to the store immediately to find something to surprise him with, and to buy him a card. A couple of months earlier, I had bought him a Groupon for his birthday, but had to be refunded when the business closed. Insisting that I get him a new birthday present, I bought him a birthday card and a three pack of the sweetest yellow and gray onesies.
When he got home from work, the bag was on the table and he scoffed at me. “I told you not to buy me anything!”
“I know, but trust me, you’ll like this gift.”
He smiled, ripped open the bag and pulled out the card. Inside, it read “You, Chloe and Trey are the lights of my lives, but you’ll have to share the spotlight when your real gift arrives in July.” Smiling, he reached farther in the bag and pulled out the onesies, along with the pregnancy test. He gave his trademark smile and under-the-breath laugh before pulling me into his arms.
You guys. I had no idea I could feel that happy.
And now? Here we are. I’ll be twelve weeks on Thursday and I am brimming with happiness. This baby occupies my thoughts every second of every day, especially when I’m ready for a nap every afternoon and can still go to bed at 8pm. My pants are officially unbuttoned, I’m loving all kinds of random foods like buffalo tenders one day, fruit salad the next, but always pizza. ALWAYS PIZZA. And Brussels sprouts, oddly enough. Hello, British baby.
I’ve had two appointments already, including the first one with all of that blood drawing where I almost passed out. So far, this has been a supremely good, easy pregnancy. I’ve felt sick several times, but it only lasted about two weeks. I would feel nauseous, get sick and then immediately feel better. Luckily, that seems to have subsided (As she knocks on all the wood she can find).
But the best part is how excited we are. How excited everyone is. Chloe and Trey can hardly stand it. The other day, Chloe was trying to perform a patronus charm with her wand and asked how it worked.
“You have to think of the happiest thing you can think of,” I told her. “Just focus on that really hard, and then try.”
She stood still for a moment, thought, and then scrunched up her face with all of her might. “EXPECTO PATRONUM!”
“What was the happiest thing you could think of, Chlo?” David asked her.
“I thought about that baby coming out of Sam’s belly and singing ‘IT’S THE BEST DAY EVERRRRR’,” she said, dancing around the room.
Yep. That’s the happiest thing I can think of, too.
Oh, and our due date? July 31st. Need I remind you that that is Harry Potter’s birthday?
You come on out when you’re ready, baby. No need to be afraid. There is so much love waiting on you.
From your head down to your toes,
You’re not much, goodness knows,
But you’re so precious to me,
Sweet as can be,
Baby of mine.
(PS. Do not watch the “Baby Mine” scene from Dumbo, especially when pregnant and already crying over episodes of “The Brady Bunch”. This is a PSA.)