This is what it looks like when you tell your best friends from college that you can’t go travelling with them next year because you’re going to have a baby.
Fiona in Vietnam, Kirstyn in Knocklyon, Nicole in Monaghan, and me in Berkeley. Four friends in three different timezones and four very different places.
I found out I was pregnant on a Saturday morning in Berkeley, California. I glanced at the test casually, assuming it would be negative because I must have been paranoid and it was just a weird feeling after all.
I nearly lost my legs when I saw the plus sign. I freaked out, heart thumping like a drum in my chest. I showered, got dressed and took a photo of myself in the mirror; a strange compulsion to document the moment overrode my initial panic. I promptly went back to work at the table and watched the entire series first of Grey’s Anatomy in one sitting. Denial. Evasion. Whatever.
Rich was at work. He text me to tell me he was going to be late and I played normal. I honestly didn’t know what he’d say. This was something we wanted some year soon but not exactly something we had intended for right now.
When he got home I thrust the test at him and burst into tears. I’ll never forget his face. It lit up with pure joy. Moments later the panic and fear and complete thunderstorm of everything washed over him but that first split second of joy told me that everything was going to be perfectly OK.
I cried a lot. I was really angry and scared and frustrated. I felt sick and anxious and shaky for days. I couldn’t think straight or function clearly or focus on anything. I started waking up at 5am, nauseous and exhausted.
We talked about all of our options. I told my bosses and friend in work and talked to them about every possible potential outcome. It felt empowering to know that I had a choice in this situation. Even though I am 100% pro choice in every sense of the word, I never thought that I would have or want an abortion. But the reality of a situation is different to the theoretical and that is why having a choice is paramount. It felt good to know that we could choose if we wanted to go down this road or not and that it was going to be OK either way. I felt incredibly supported but still completely confused. I went out to look for pregnancy books and instead bought Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly; I needed some guts.
I started going to acupuncture. It felt like part needle sticking and part therapy. The acupuncturist’s partner was also pregnant and so he knew all the right things to say and questions to ask. I relished the time on his table to voice the running stream of chatter in my mind. He told me he thought that our baby just couldn’t wait to be ours. That maybe we weren’t ready but that the baby might be.
We decided to have the baby. We agreed that while we didn’t plan the pregnancy, we could plan for the baby. And that was enough for us.
We love each other and we’re going to love the hell out of this baby.
Now I am 30 weeks and the countdown is on. Our baby punches and jabs my insides, lodging parts of himself in my ribcage at the most inopportune times. I almost fell asleep at my desk on Tuesday and was in bed my 9pm. I am knitting and cleaning and constantly frustrated with how no matter how much I tidy and clean, the kitchen is perpetually messy. I try and to do too many things in too short a time and burn myself out. I am ready for it to be over.