It was the morning of February 14. I reached across the bed to my dozing husband and handed him something.
"Happy Valentines Day," I stuttered.
"What is it?" he grumbled.
I looked at the small white stick bearing two very distinct lines. "A positive pregnancy test."
Then there was silence.
Contrary to the fantasy in my head and the one played out in so many Hollywood movies, he didn't sweep me up in his arms and twirl me around the room.
There was no laughter, tears or screams of glee.
Instead, there was a quiet contemplative look, a slow-motion high five of disbelief, then a tender hug.
We’ve done it. We’ve made a baby. All by ourselves.
Of course it had happened in the month I’d 'given up', when I'd just formalised plans for the worst-case scenario, another year without pregnancy.
But all that doesn't matter now. I’m pregnant. Everything has changed.
So with our prayers answered, why didn't I feel happy that day?
I rang the specialist's nurse and we arranged a blood test. But instead of floating around on cloud nine, I wanted the earth to swallow me up. I was consumed by an all-encompassing guilt.
You see, it wasn't my turn to be pregnant yet. I hadn't waited the three or four years that some of my friends had. I’d skipped the queue.
In essence, I had become that woman that I’d been so envious of; I was “That lucky b***h”.
How would I tell my friends who were also trying for kids, and those in my online ‘trying to conceive’ group, that I’d switched sides?
My husband tried to snap me out of my weird funk. He sent me a text in response to my glum updates about how I would tell certain people: "Babe, 1. They've been through it all before. 2. It's about time it's our turn. 3. Listen to your own advice. 4. I love you xo".
He got it, but he didn't get it. This is all we’d wanted, and he was rapt.
But I was in a different place
The black cloud of shock and guilt continued to hover over me. I was wracked with anxiety and fear – and confusion. Why wasn't my reaction to being pregnant anything like I’d expected?
Eventually, the more people we told, the more the excitement grew in me, along with our little foetus.
Friends and family cried with a mixture of shock, relief and joy at our news.
They would hug me so tight that I'd wince at the pain of my extremely tender chest. Then they'd pull back and look at me for the reaction.
"You must be so excited!" they'd exclaim.
"Yeah, I guess," I'd say.
It was hardly the response they were expecting from someone who has spent the past year banging on about how much she wanted this.
Slowly the reactions of others began to stir something in me. Then, after we saw the tiny heartbeat flicker away, I began telling that voice in my head that I could relax a little bit now. There was a life there and it needed me.
It needed me to be positive, to relax, to cut myself some slack, to start enjoying this process.
It needed me to stop thinking about the worst case scenario 24/7.
Anything could happen; we are realistic about this fact. We know there are no guarantees at any stage of pregnancy.
But, for now, we did something that, at times, I never thought was possible: we conceived.
So there is hope, and there is gratefulness in this fact alone.
But part of me still thinks this is all an elaborate hoax, that any minute now someone will jump out and yell “Gotcha! You're not actually pregnant at all! How hilarious!"
Maybe I won't believe this is real until I hold my offspring in my arms?
We're being open about our pregnancy because we're pragmatic about what might happen. There are risks but if the worse happens, I will share that, too.
It's part of my wider belief to try and lift the veil on an intimate but often not discussed part of life; the good and the bad.
I came across a saying the other, and it summed up my reasoning behind documenting our story.
"Your heartache is somebody else's hope. If you make it through, somebody else is going to make it through. Tell your story. "
So this is the next chapter in our story.
We don't know what's going to happen next, but we're pregnant today. That deserves to be acknowledged.
So here goes nothing ...
- © Fairfax NZ News