Monday, October 25, 2010

In Which I Tell a Story I've Told Twice Before

This is probably going to be a little TMI, so consider yourself warned.

Today marks two years since a home pregnancy test showed two lines instead of one. I've written about it before, here and here, but I like to reminisce, and I'm putting off doing something unpleasant, so I'm going to write about it again.

I've said before that I knew I was pregnant before I knew I was pregnant. (Here's the TMI part.) My period was militantly regular. I had never in my life been so much as ten hours late - until October two years ago. Things should have started on the 20th, but didn't. Each day that passed increased my sense of foreboding. It put a bit of a damper on my birthday as well, because all I could think was, I'm three days late. I tried to talk myself out of a panic. I'd been sick a few weeks before. Maybe the antibiotics had messed things up a bit.

That got me through my birthday. And each day that passed, as much as I worried, I thought, today's the day. Well, the 24th wasn't the day, either. I told myself that if nothing happened the next day, I'd buy a home pregnancy test. Nothing happened. I bought a home pregnancy test. I can still remember - like it was this morning - driving home from Target with a sick feeling completely unrelated to pregnancy hormones. I already knew the truth. And all I could think of was, my brother is going to be so disappointed in me. In retrospect, it seems funny to me that my first thought was not for myself or my baby or even my mother. My first thought was, what will Scott think? I have let him down.

I love my brother. He is one of my favorite people in the world. I'm sure he's done stupid things in his life, but nothing major, nothing serious. And he's the sort of person whose goodness inspires others to be as good. I felt like a failure. I didn't want him to know how badly I'd messed up because I was afraid he'd think less of me for it.

Well, as I'm sure you know by now, after I waited the prescribed amount of time, and two pink lines appeared in the results window of the test, and I swear, I could feel a chasm form in the space-time continuum. Now there was only before, and after. I was desperate for the peace and safety of the before, but there was no going back from the after. There was a grand canyon between the two, and that terrified me more than anything. I had made some serious mistakes before, but nothing I felt I couldn't sort of take back through repentance.

This was something I most certainly could not even dream of taking back.

My mother had gone out shopping. You may recall that my father had died only about seven weeks before all this happened. In those days, my mother distracted herself from her grief by leaving the house and getting a head start on her Christmas shopping. Many times she had offered to take me with her, and several times she had pleaded with me to go with her, but I almost always declined. I've never been one to distract myself from my grief. I wallow. And on top of my grief over my father's death was worry about a fight I'd had with H. After our breakup in July we'd tried to remain friends (and obviously we still saw each other on occasion) but I had a hard time separating my emotions and I'd fought with him. I was afraid that the words I'd said in anger had permanently ruined any chance of even friendship with him - he being of course the only man who had ever been interested in me.

(That didn't sound right grammatically, but I'm too lazy to look into it, so please ignore it if it bothers you as well.)

Once I got over my initial, heart-stopping shock, I numbly descended the stairs and collapsed on the couch in front of the TV. I had thought about turning it on to distract myself but I couldn't seem to remember how to work the remote control, so I sat there and cried.

My mother came home not long after, excited about her purchases, which she immediately removed from their bags to show me. I tried hard to look enthusiastic, to smile and give the appropriate responses, but I have the world's worst poker face. The fact that I hadn't quite managed to stop crying was probably a clue as well. My mother asked what was wrong, and I just shook my head. In retrospect, it seems sort of odd that she'd ask about my tears when my father's death was so recent. Perhaps, being my mother, she could sense that there was something different about my unhappiness that day.

She persisted. I cried harder. "I can't tell you!" I sobbed. I realized later that as I spoke I had nervously shredded a number of half-used Kleenexes and set them in a pile on the ottoman in front of me. This, too, might have been a clue to my mum. She urged me to tell her, saying that I could tell her anything. At this, I let out a half-sob, half-cry, and tried desperately to get my vocal cords to function properly. No such luck. I hadn't even used the word "pregnant" out loud to myself. I sure as hell couldn't say it to my recently widowed mother.

I remember crying harder then. My mother kept asking me to tell her why I was so upset, and I kept refusing, shaking my head and sobbing and shredding Kleenex. Finally, she said, "The only reasons I can think for you to be this upset and not tell me are that you've got AIDS or you're pregnant. Which is it?"

I looked up at her. The good news, I thought, is that I don't have AIDS. But I said nothing. I couldn't. She knew just the same.

"You're pregnant," she said. I nodded.

We both cried then.

It's funny to remember it now - I can remember it so clearly, and yet it feels like it happened to someone else. Now I can't fathom being that selfish and blubbering and weak in the face of such a thing. I suppose that at this point in time I've simply been through enough that almost nothing fazes me anymore. I suppose it's because I experienced something that made my selfish and blubbering and weak that I'm no longer any of those things.

I guess part of what has changed my perspective is Roo. As hard as things were, I'd do anything in the world for that little girl, and if I had to go back and do it all again I'd move heaven and earth to get her here and to the point she's at now. She is happy and healthy and so very loved. She has phenomenal parents. She had to get to them in a rather unorthodox way, but I'm okay with that.

I am as happy today as I was devastated two years ago. The apparent cause of the devastation ended up being my saving grace. I don't know where I'd be today without Roo. I don't like to think about it. I don't like to think of what my life would have been without her, or what the world would be like without her.

Two years ago my life changed deeply and forever, and I am forever grateful.


A Life Being Lived said...

Oh Target! I bought my pregnancy tests there too. I'm having a flashback of trying to get in and out of that aisle as quick as possible. And in the car on the way home I had the same thought- I already know what the answer is. You've come so far in 2 short years!

Rachel said...

Adoption makes the Atonement real. Someone's "mistake" can become the biggest blessing in the world for everyone involved. It's pretty amazing.

This was a wonderful post!

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

Beautiful post. I really think we're so often hard on ourselves when we should be tender; that you lost your father & got pregnant in short order, that makes sense, right? From loss, we get a bit lost. Stumble into something new.

I am always struck by your bravery & honesty, nowhere more than reading this.

Funny that I just wrote about telling our toddler daughter (well, the process beginning) about her adoption & so it continues, yes? Our stories.

Kristin said...


S said...

I wish I could tell my stories the way you tell yours. Reading your stories are way more exciting then mine are. I always feel like I cant tell it as well as how it played out that day. Or how to exactly write the way I am feeling inside. Your awesome!

Ashley said...

Love this post and I love you after reading it. <3

CCmomma said...

wow. You are a fabulous writer! Great insight and depth and we just love you and your candid views:) Wish you could come to CO and help us with the birth parent program!

Bec said...

Scott and I love you so much and hope you always know it! He really is a wonderful person who makes us all want to be better. You have come so far, have changed your life around so much; don't be so hard on yourself and know we are both proud of you and always support you no matter what.