Every so often life will throw us a curveball, sometimes interrupting a good time, sometimes to teach us a lesson. I have a feeling that my little “curve ball” was especially meant for me; possibly sent from a passed on relative to get my ass back on track. I wasn’t exactly headed in the best direction, My priorities were that of any 18-19 year old. I was motivated by greed, I was lazy, and I expected things to be handed to me. What I got handed to me wasn’t quite what I expected though..
It was the month of January, the year 2001. At the time I was working, and in a relationship. I was unhappy with my job, and not exactly happy in my relationship. I was irresponsible, and flighty. I had issues with fidelity. I was 19, and not exactly ready to settle down into something serious. My boyfriend at the time was a bit older, committed, and ready for a long term thing. Our differences were an issue. He knew I wasn’t faithful, and he didn’t trust me. I knew I wasn’t happy, and shouldn’t be in a relationship. Our co-dependency kept us together though. Neither one of us felt comfortable together, but we also didn’t want to be alone.
I started feeling sick towards the end of the month. I thought it had to do with stopping my anxiety medication, and really didn’t pay much attention, but when I failed to get my period, my attention came back quickly.
Just to be on the safe side, I took a pregnancy test. Because I was in my late teens, I had the immortality complex. I never thought that that test would come back positive.. But as I sat there on the toilet, holding the stick I had just pee’d on, mouth agape, I was proven wrong.
Here’s the thing with pregnancy tests. If you’re pregnant, you’ll know. That test will come back positive in SECONDS. They say to wait three minutes, but it’s really only 3 seconds you have to wait. The 2 minutes 57 seconds left is time for you to register what you’re seeing.
So there I was, on the toilet, mouth hanging open, heart racing, stomach regurgitating, eyes welling- SHIT! I was pregnant.
Once my ears stopped ringing and my hearing slowly started to come back, I heard my boyfriends muffled knocks on the door, becoming more urgent as I wasn’t answering.
“Are you ok?”
“No” I replied.. “I’m pregnant”.
I stood up slowly to avoid the head rush, pulled up my leggings, flushed, and blindly walked to the door and opened it. I could feel him taking me into his arms, but I couldn’t move. My arms were pinned to my sides, I was stiff as a board.
“I need to call my mother”.
I walked into my parents bedroom, grabbed the phone and dialed the school. At that time, my mother was a principal. The minute she heard my muffled “Mom?”, she knew.
Mom: “what’s going on?”
Mom:”You’re pregnant aren’t you?”
Mom: I’m coming home.
That was the extent of our conversation until she got home and took a seat to speak to us. The obvious questions were asked, “What are you going to do?” (No idea)
“Are you getting married?” (No)
“What are you going to say to your father?” (Shit!)
That was the question that scared me the most. I KNEW my father was going to flip his shit hearing this. I thought maybe I wouldn’t tell him.. Just say that I’m getting fat, and oops! Here’s a baby! How’d that get in there?
But that wouldn’t work..
Of course I was right about my father. His shit=flipped. He kicked my boyfriend out of the house, called me a product of his stupidity, said my child was a bastard and that he would have nothing to do with it. He didn’t speak to me for the next 7 months.
The next few days were a blur. Lots of whispering about me during my mothers phone conversations, lots of ignoring me by my father, and lots of crying from me. The only person that was genuinely happy was my boyfriend. As he spoke of how happy he was I would sob into my food.. Which there was a lot of. Depression + pregnancy= food frenzy. My face was usually stuffed with fried food from Friendlys, Shakes from Burger King (which I suddenly had to dip my hamburgers in), and hot weiners. My weight skyrocketed. In the first 3 months alone I gained 20 pounds. My baby was the size of a plum at that time, so the whole eating for two excuse was BS. My pregnancy didn’t make me fat, my fat ass made me fat.
I remember one morning in particular I ran out to Dunkin Donuts. I got a coffee cake muffin, 2 sprinkled donuts, and a box of 50 munchkins. Now seeing that the muffin ITSELF was 700 calories, you can do the math. “Free Willy 4, Willy Has A Baby”.
As time went on I started to accept my pregnancy. The one thing that helped me accept it- SHOPPING! I had my child’s nursery decor bought when I was only 3 months along. Everything I bought, even if not from the baby department, was “for the baby”. Curtains? For the baby.
Home decor? So the house would look nice for the baby.
Maternity Clothing? Because I am having a baby.
Books? DVDs? So I am entertained while I am building the baby.
See how it works?
I’ll never forget the day when I found out that my baby was going to be a girl. Can you imagine the shopping I did after I found that out? Although to be honest, I always knew I was having a girl. I had a secret “girl baby” stash hidden in the upstairs closet. I started buying baby girl clothes just a month into my pregnancy. A mother just knows.
After I saw my baby for the first time on the ultrasound screen, I couldn’t get enough. At my monthly exams I would make up complaints that she wasn’t moving enough just so I could go back into that room and see her again on the screen, sucking her thumb, or flashing us with her tush. My complaints of her not moving enough were far from the truth too. She was QUITE the mover; Often kicking me in the ribs, or my lower regions (which was especially “fun”). She would hiccup every night, whenever I went to bed. I would lay awake for at least an hour waiting for her hiccups to subside so I could fall asleep. Once I was asleep though, the heartburn would kick in, and I was up again. My pregnancy was easy for the most part, but the heartburn was the worst! I made sure to carry a container of tums with me everywhere I went. To this day I hate eating tums because of the amount of them I had to consume while pregnant. It was the equivilant to eating a box of chalk. Yuck!
I won’t even get into the gas.. Lets just say it rivaled the heartburn.
Another weird symptom of the pregnancy were the mosquito bites. I was pregnant throughout the summer, and the Mosquitos found me quite delectable. I was secreting some sort of scent that drove them crazy. I was at a family party one night and remember getting bitten everywhere; Through my clothing and on parts I can’t even mention. The next day I was swollen, covered in bites, and mildly feverish.
As my due date grew near I started to become more excited about meeting the little person inside me. I would watch TLC’s “A Baby Story” every morning when I woke up, and cry every single time.
My baby shower was small, just a group of family and a few friends. My mother put it together to surprise me, but when she was overly adamant that I was NOT to do anything on that particular Sunday just because she wanted to do lunch, I pretty much had it figured out.
Things were going great, I was happy, my family was coming together, things couldn’t have been better. Then it happened..
September 11 2001, I woke up usual time, around 8:30, laid in bed for a bit, and the phone rang. My boyfriend was on his way to work and heard that a plane flew into one of the Trade Towers in NYC. He told me to turn on the TV to see what was going on. I waddled downstairs, and turned it onto channel 10. I saw Tower 1, big gaping hole in its side, with billowing black smoke. I was just about to answer him when I saw the second plane hit. I screamed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He said he would call me back, and hung up the phone. The pentagon was hit, United 93 went down, and I thought the world was ending. Panic filled my chest as I realized that my child had less than a month until arrival, and I was bringing her into a world where horrible things like this happened. As the never ending threats started to pour in, I was too afraid to leave the house, and too scared to stay home. My boyfriend at the time worked north of Boston which was threatened. I begged him to come home but he wouldn’t. I was alone. I didn’t move from the couch that day. I watched the news, watched New York city being rained on with paper, watched people jumping to their deaths because it was a better way to die, watched the towers live as they crumbled. My heart hurt, as I sobbed into the couch pillow. I’ll never forget the way I felt that day.
That week was somber to say the least. I had to get the rest of the nursery furniture so that Friday I ventured out. It was the night of the candlelight vigil. I remember driving down Newport ave, my daughters crib and nursery items in the trunk, the street lined with people holding candles. It was also the night of the wake of the Pawtucket couple that died on one of the flights. The funeral parlor had a line that went out the door, down Newport ave, and around the corner. It was absolutely surreal. People lined the streets, heads bowed, just watching the flames of their candles. Your could hear a pin drop that night.
The next few weeks were filled with color coded security threats, and Anthrax scares. I couldn’t tell which was distracting my thoughts more- my baby, or 9/11.
Sarah was due on October 5th, but October 5th came and went. As much as she loved trying to push her way out, she was still there. For 9 days. I was ready to take her out myself. As much as the impending doom of labor pains scared me, I wanted her out! I was hot, fat, gassy, moody and just plain done. I was set to be induced on the 14th. We had to be at the hospital for 6am. The day before, my nesting REALLY kicked in. I HAD to buy new curtains. I meant business! As I waddled around Ann&Hope I noticed my back pain was a bit more painful, but pushed through it. The minute I got home, I had to sit down. Damn my back hurt, but I was also carrying a beer-belly full of baby, and chalked it up to that.
My boyfriends mother came up from Texas for the birth of our baby. She arrived that afternoon with his sister who stayed for a short time to hang out before we went and had my “last meal”. His sister kept insisting that I was going to go into labor that night because I was so uncomfortable, but I felt that would have been too ironic. The minute she left, my baby pushed against my lower region so much I nearly went down. I laid on the couch for a minute to let the pain subside while rubbing my belly. I was STARVING but I was also in pain. Not exactly looking forward to going anywhere. As I laid there I felt a weird “Pop!”, then a “Whoosh!” Then a “Oh shit!” as water soaked the couch and my floor. I jumped up, still dripping, and started to panic. My water had just broke.
“OH MY GOD” I cried. “CALL MY MOM”
I was sobbing now, because it was inevitable, I was going to have this baby. Not that I wasn’t before, but 10 months of pregnancy seems never ending. You don’t actually envision the labor until its there.
My boyfriend hands me the phone.
“Is it my mom?” I ask.
“No she was in the shower. I told your dad, he said he’d give her the message. It’s my sister” he said.
Give her the message? Give her the message!!!?? What the fuck did “give her the message” mean?!? I was in labor goddammit! Not calling to chat!
I angrily grabbed the phone and his sister immediately jumped into questionville.
“Your water broke?!”
No I pee’d the couch..
“It should have happened when I was there!”
Oh so sorry, I’ll put it all back in and wait for your arrival.
“Are you having contractions?”
“No” I answered.. And just as I answered, my stomach began to tighten into a ball, like a vice. I dropped the phone and curled into a ball.
“I’M CONTRACTING!” I yelled.
“Good!” He said as he hung up the phone, “we can go to the hospital now”.
I was still on the “good”.
“GOOD?! WHAT. DO. YOU. MEAN. GOOD?!!” I asked. “THEY HURT!”.
He helped me up so I could change my soaked pants. I went upstairs, threw on a pair of pajama pants, and 5 maxi pads stacked on top of one another. I grabbed my overnight bag and made my way downstairs, walking like a sumo wrestler since I couldn’t bring my legs together due to the thickness of the padding.
I got downstairs, looked at my cats and began to cry again.
“I’m going to miss you guys..” I looked at my boyfriend “They’ll be ok right?” I was full on sobbing now.
My boyfriend just stood there looking at me strangely.
“What???” I cried
“Oh boy, lets just get you to the hospital”
And we were off…