I watched the first pink line form yesterday morning. It was 8:00 a.m., and I had just left my bed to take the pregnancy test. I had whispered it was time to my fiancé, and he had grunted and rolled over, but I knew he had heard me.
I made my way down the hall, test enveloped in my hand lest one of my fiancé’s parents woke up and happened to catch me. They were already dealing with their youngest daughter’s pregnancy and resulting marriage, who at twenty-one, was in her third year of university, and hoping to get into medical school. So far, she hadn’t given up her studies, but had opted to take online courses, in which she was doing rather well.
I wasn’t thinking the old line If she can do, I can do it when I saw the second pink line form. I drew in a deep breath, my lips curved in a tremulous half smile as I sat there on the toilet. I lay the test down on the counter, glanced once again at the two pink lines, and burst into tears.
Which was rather unusual. For the past six of my twenty-six years, I had been wanting a baby. I gazed longingly at the pregnant bellies that adorned my friends on Facebook, stared intensely at pictures of them in the delivery room after having the baby and thought to myself, “I’ll probably look even worse than that, but I don’t care!” I oohed and awed over the first baby pictures, became green with jealousy when most of my high school graduating class seemed to have started families, and melted when I walked through Wal-Mart’s baby section, gazing adoringly at the impossibly tiny socks and the little bathrobes with attached dinosaur tails.
We had names all picked out. Evangeline, after my grandmother, for our first little girl, and Harlan, after my fiancé’s father, for our first little boy. I don’t particularly like the name Harlan, but I’m big on tradition. When my fiancé’s sister announced her pregnancy, I cried. Just a little. I told my fiancé, with downcast eyes to hide my shame, that I was jealous. When was it going to be my turn, I wailed?
His attitude toward the whole thing was above reproach. He wanted a family as well, he wanted to make a little being that combined the best of both of us (or so we hoped). He couldn’t wait to begin. But, he felt we should wait. We were still in school, still had so many plans. What about his music, his band, the beginning of my journalism career, our backpacking trip across Europe? What about our in-the-negative bank account?
So I put the mushy feelings aside. I accepted the fact it was right to wait, responsible to wait. I pictured our summer in the European countryside, our nights in the new apartment we were moving into next month when the summer was over and we were going back to school. I pictured nights of booze and hanging out with the band, making new friends and chilling at coffee shops. It didn’t seem so bad. And then, when we were graduated and I had my own desk at an honest-to-goodness newspaper, and he had recorded his first demo, and we had a sensible amount of money in the bank, then we would have our first baby, our sweet little Evie or Harley.
Life had other plans. The one time in our three-year relationship that we were taking great precautions to not get pregnant, the one time we had agreed on our life plan, my period decides not to come.
When I walked back into our room, with the now completed test back in my hand, my fiancée was sitting up in bed, waiting for me. I looked at him, and couldn’t contain my smile. I nodded, and he jumped off the bed, twirled me around, placed his hand on my belly, and his grin was ear-to-ear.
It never occurred to me that he would be the happy one, and me the panicked one. It’s been two days since we found out, and ever since he’s been all smiles, with lots of belly rubbing and glances at me so filled with love it makes my heart seem to burst. He signed up on newdad.com and looked up guitar tabs of children’s songs online.
I take part in the cuddling, loving the feel of his hand on my skin, already so different from the way he used to touch me. I whine a lot, rub my belly in wonder, look up everything related to pregnancy I can find, and panic at every cramp I feel. When I cough, although I know it is not possible, and even laughable, I picture the baby getting jostled and simply falling out of my uterus. When we had sex the morning after we found out, I couldn’t enjoy it and kept telling him to go easy, lest he poke the baby. Again, laughable. When he lay on me afterward, I asked him to move, afraid of the weight on my body.
I know this is all normal. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty for being more afraid of the future than I am happy. I already love the new life growing inside of me so much, and am so afraid to hope that it will all work out. Somehow, though, I know it will. I look forward to the first time he or she is placed in my arms, and the three of us stand as a family.
I’m going to need to remember that next year, when I feel like a whale as I trudge to class all day, and then to my part-time job after school, and then to the homework that awaits. I’ll need to remember that when the next summer rolls around and I’m alone with an infant all day while my fiancé is at his summer job, and I’m cleaning up baby puke and grabbing sleep when I can instead of roaming the hills of Tuscany and eating fancy bread and cheese in some sidewalk Parisian cafe.
I need to remember that all the little things will make it worthwhile. The first time I gaze into those eyes, the first smile, the first giggle, the first word. The first moment that takes my breath away (not counting the labor). The first time my fiancé changes a diaper.
It will be all right. This, I know. I await you, little one.