I imagine finding out I was pregnant was similar to how Dorothy felt when she first woke up in Oz. Overnight, I had been magically transported from the familiar territory of “Just Me, Myself and I,” to a new, unknown land called “Us,” where something was living inside my abdomen. This realization froze me to the toilet, pee-stick in hand. The moment had no Hallmark warm and fuzzy. There were no tears, or squeals of joy. Silently something shifted, and it was immediately understood I was now the keeper of a tiny ball o’ cells, for which I was responsible. In the seconds following the discovery of two pink lines, my brain actually completed about 3,587 different thoughts about what this meant, all culminating in “And somehow the baby has to come out...”
But before I could really get ahead of myself, I needed to tell my lovely husband. While I was taking the only test that would actually change my life, he was busy putting the finishing touches on a lecture he was giving to 300 undergrads in a few short hours. This was a first for him, and to say he was nervous would be an understatement. Knowing this, I thought about not telling him until after he finished, but fun fact about me, I am incapable of keeping secrets. Undecided if I would spare him the extra stress or spill the beans, I washed my hands and headed upstairs. I (we?) walked into the kitchen with what I thought was a neutral look on my face, but in actuality was probably a wide-eyed look of panic and excitement, similar to what a raccoon looks like in a live-trap: “Yay! Achieved peanut butter! But now stuck?!...” He looked up at me, dropped his shoulders in disbelief, and said four words I’ll never forget: “Shut the fuck up.” While it wasn’t exactly the reaction I was looking for, it was also totally acceptable, even though I had actually not said anything. It was shocking news, and people say funny things under duress. He stood up, gave me a hug, and I suggested we pretend this didn’t happen. He then went to work, and I went to get a hair cut. It was as if nothing had changed, but everything had changed all at the same time.
That night we processed it a little more, and were both over the moon thinking about all the possibilities. What would it look like? When could we take it for casual walks around the neighborhood? Could it hear my thoughts? It was more exciting than I could have possibly imagined, and I forced my excitement on people who I felt should be equally as exuberant. Like my sister, who was going through the final stages of an unexpected illness with their beloved family dog. I called her, and she was crying telling me about the grim prognosis they had just received. In what may have been my most dismal show of humanity yet, I hit her with a one-two punch that went a little like: “That totally sucks. You should put him to sleep. But guess what?! I’m pregnant!” If saying rude, horrible, untimely things to people you love was an Olympic sport, I had just completed a 4 minute mile. She tearfully said “Congrats,” but probably thought “You will ruin that child if you can’t learn to control your impulses, you insensitive little Twit.”
Breaking the news to other family members was also somewhat of a mixed bag. Some were decidedly more enthusiastic from the get-go, while others said things like, “Is this really the way you are telling me you are pregnant?” But eventually, everybody caught baby fever and shared in our joy. And by “joy” I mean frequent, unexplainable, bouts of crying and ragehate directed at things like the toaster oven, and the latch on the screen door. Other than my new-found abhorrence of inanimate objects around the house, in the days following the positive test, nothing really felt that different. “See!” I thought to myself, “This is a cake walk! Oooh cake… I should get some cake. I deserve a cake. Wait, why don’t we have any cake? Oh my God, why hasn’t somebody baked me a freaking cake? Hello?! I’m BUILDING A BABY OVER HERE!! I’m going to freak out if I don’t get a cake in 3…2…OOOH! We have CHEESE! I will eat all the cheese.”