I was twenty-two years old and had been married for nine months when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.
It was my first week at a new job with the local newspaper. I was finally using the writing degree I’d spent so much time and money on. The paper was run out of a historical house in our quaint downtown. My desk looked out the front window onto the yard shaded by massive trees. I had a brand new computer and a coffee cup filled with pens and highlighters. I took breaks to walk to the coffee shop around the corner for a latte and muffin. It was all very grown up.
I’ve always been able to trust my gut, and by Friday afternoon my gut was certain that something was up. On my lunch break I sped to Target, searched the aisles frantically, paid as discreetly as possible, and rushed into the bathroom to do something I’d never imagined I’d be doing. While I waited for the results I picked up the box to re-read the directions. That’s when I realized my mistake. I’d just taken a test to find out whether I was ovulating. I threw the entire box away, marched back to the aisle, and this time carefully selected exactly what I needed. My lunch break was almost over so I paid quickly and shoved the tests in my purse.
An hour later I was alone in a quiet office and knew that I couldn’t wait any longer. Five minutes later I was back at my desk, and I was pregnant. It was something I’d never wanted to be. It was certainly something I never expected to be at this age or stage in my marriage. I spent the rest of the afternoon scouring Google for someone that would tell me that false positives were extremely common. No luck there. On the way home I bought another box of tests. All three positive. I, of course, went out to buy more. A different brand this time, surely that was the problem. Fifteen tests later, I was still very much pregnant.
Certain there could have been a mix up, I decided I’d take one the next morning before I really believed it. Somehow even in my deep denial I wasn’t surprised when that test too affirmed my delicate state. Suddenly all the inexplicable crying of the previous few weeks made sense. I didn’t know it then, but a lot more inexplicable crying was in my future.
In a daze I got myself ready and made it to work on time. I lasted ten minutes before breaking down into hysterical tears and begging my one female manager to let me go home. I spent the rest of the day watching movies about women whose lives were upended by unexpected pregnancies. That night our pastor and his family came over for dinner and asked if we wanted kids. Through all of the sickness and excitement and stress and anticipation of the next nine months, that question that would borrow its way deep into my heart.