I know it’s stupid but I knew at the time that “that time” was different. Special(er). I wouldn’t say I felt the moment of conception, because for all we knew, it was a “safe” week- I’d only come off my period five days prior, but in the warm, glowy minutes after, a feeling of absolute completeness, calmness and warm fuzzy that was, I don't know how to say this without sounding too spiritually-new-age, much more than the normal postcoital flood of love and wellbeing. And since that night, even before I found out, weeks later, I felt like I was carrying around an additional presence- a total wholeness and serenity that I’ve never really felt before. Do any mums know what I’m talking about? Is this a thing?!
So, when funny twinges and quirks started showing up in the next two weeks, I didn’t think that I was pregnant, I kind of knew it. Felt it in a way I still can’t put into words now. There was no “LIGHTBUUUULB!” moment, just a growing assurance of something my heart, or body, or even brain already knew.
Three days before my next period was due, I was cramping up- just as I would. There was a dull ache in my lower back- as per usual, and I was irritable and tearful- no surprises. Other people kept asking me if I was okay- looking back, I was extremely fatigued and very pale.
One night I couldn’t sleep because my hands were unbelievably itchy. Like prickly heat, just on the tops. That had never happened before, or since that one night. The next day, I was sitting at work, and suddenly had this overwhelming urge to take my shoes off. There were way too tight, even though I usually struggle to do them up tight enough. My feet were boiling, and even with the laces undone, the trainers just didn’t fit. Even though my period wasn’t late yet, that was it. I knew. I took myself calmly into Pac n Save and bought a $5 test, stashed it in my handbag, and carried on with my day.
Friday morning, early July. Rob goes off to work, I don’t tell him, but I did the test. At the same time as knowing what it was going to say, there was also a reluctant part of me expecting to see negative. It wasn’t. Within a minute, two pink lines- bright and strong and life changing. We weren’t trying, but we obviously weren’t being overly cautious. It was in the pipeline, for sure, but maybe another two or three years further down. We both wanted to be young parents, but “young” didn’t have a defined age limit. Well, it did now. I was two weeks away from my 24th birthday.
I commandeer a lift into town. Try to visit a doctor, but they can’t see me without a NHI number. "You’ll need your passport, birth certificate and visa." Are you kidding me? A sympathetic receptionist hands me two more tests. "If they come back positive, make an appointment." I cock one up because my hand’s shaking, and they’re rubbish anyway. I go and buy three more Clear Blue tests. This must be the fifth pee of the day but there’s still two strong pink lines. I go straight to the pharmacy and buy folic acid, iodine and iron. I buy a notebook and do the only thing I can do in times like this, I start writing. I force myself to eat, realising it’s 3pm, and it’ll be the first thing I’ve had all day.
Home, drained, still shaking, scared. Not scared for my future, but scared for our future. Rob. What is he going to say? This may be what we wanted- three or so years down the line- how is he going to deal with the news of being a dad at 25? Will he bolt? Be angry? I have grand plans of keeping it a secret from him until I’ve at least seen a doctor, but as I hear the car pull up and a happy, Friday evening ‘Boo I’m hooome!’ I know I can’t do that.
I can’t meet his eyes when he comes in the door. I hug him for a long time so that I don’t have to look at him and because this may be the last genuine hug before I change EVERYTHING, and I don’t want to lose him, or this closeness. He knows something’s up, inspects my face. It’s crumpled and snivelly. “No babies?” he asks, which is what we say, as confirmation to each other when Aunt Flow visits. He is used to a useless, PMS-y heap once a month. He hugs me again.
I dont say anything.
I whisper; “Maybe babies.”
He’s a modern man, he knows my cycle. “But it’s too soon to know?”
“I did a test.”
He holds me at arms length. “Really?”
I nod, dissolving again into a crying heap. Through blurry eyes, I watch his face. Everything’s slow motion. This next second will say it all. His face will probably drop, he’ll flick very quickly through disbelief, anger, desolation and eventually settle somewhere between ‘pretty grim’ and ‘utter shite’.
But it doesnt. His face lifts. His eyebrows rocket through shock, happiness and amazement and I’ve never seen him smile more beautifully than in those relief filled seconds.
Why would I lie? “I think so”
It was amazing. But not for the reason he was thinking. What was amazing was his absolute, immediate acceptance, joy, excitement. And just knowing that baby’s arrival gave him the same reaction as it did me really fortified my belief in us. Whatever the rest of the world thinks, it’s just us three that really matter now- and we will be okay.
We will be