How I Found Out

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The night of October 19th. Friday. I finished my day of work and walked to the corner pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test. Do you know how expensive they can be? I chose the cheapest option and headed to the cash register, where the young college guy next to me was buying a pack of condoms. The juxtaposition of our purchases -- it made me smile.

I laid in bed that night, knowing that the next morning would bring interesting news. The results are most accurate if the test is taken after a full night of sleep, evidently. Two lines, pregnant. One line, not pregnant.

This is the second time I'd taken a pregnancy test, and the first time around -- a few months previous -- I had been unexpectedly heartbroken by the one little line I saw. I hadn't prepared for the possibility of NO. So this night, October 19th, as I laid down and waited for sleep, I tried to think through the following day, how it could conceivably go.

If I learn I'm not pregnant, that will be fine. I might feel a little sad, and that will be fine, too, but I'll get up and get ready for the day, and this won't be my last chance, and everything will be fine.

And if I learn I am pregnant ... the thought came from someplace outside of me ... then I will spend the day in a state of total gratitude.

I smiled at that.


The morning of October 20th. Saturday. I had the day off of work, as I'd requested about a month before, so that I could attend a gathering of oddball Mormons. This lack of work gave a sense of freedom, but I woke up earlier than necessary, encouraged by a full bladder and a wondering mind. A quick conversation in bed: "Craig, I'm going to take the test now." "Really? Okay. Good luck."

I did my business on two little sticks, then set them aside, walked back to bed, and buried my head in Craig's back. Nothing interesting happened in the intervening minutes, but when it was time, I walked back to the bathroom and found four pink lines, two for each test. Pregnant.

It was still dark out, so when I shared the news, I heard Craig's reaction more than I saw it. We rested a while longer, with frequent smiles and exclamations. An internet search told us that the little thing inside of me was roughly the size of a poppy seed.


The afternoon of October 20th. Still Saturday. The conference I was attending had taken a brief recess so we could all stretch our legs. Feeling a headache coming on, I made my way to the corner drugstore to buy a banana and some Tylenol (but not before an Internet search -- "tylenol during pregnancy" -- confirmed that such measures were safe). I took my time walking back to the church building. It was a sunny day in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, some damp leaves on the ground, some chill in the air. My iPod was set to shuffle, and I skipped through a few songs until I found one that fit my mood. "Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin started to play, and I kid you not: I stopped in my tracks. The first time I'd ever heard it, when I was 19 years old, I knew I wanted to hear it again on my wedding day. A few years later, Craig and I danced to it, me in a white dress and he in a tux. And now, after all the waiting and wishing and hoping and crying and praying for pregnancy, it was playing in my ears once again to welcome the poppy-seed baby in my belly. I swayed on the corner (cheesy!) and cried a little more, in a state of total gratitude.

Back in the church building, we commenced a testimony meeting of sorts. People said all kinds of things, all kinds of honest and loving and heartfelt things. I wanted to get up there and say a few things of my own, so up I went, and as I started, I found that I wanted to tell these beautiful, kooky people my big news. But no, that's against the rules of proper etiquette! I only just found out myself. I haven't told my mom or my dad or my best friend -- I haven't confirmed it with a doctor -- and most of these people are strangers!

But I couldn't help myself from wanting it. So I told them about the night before, and the years of waiting that had preceded the night before, and how I had felt strongly that if my pregnancy test was positive, I would spend the day in a state of total gratitude.

And it was all intro, all leading up to the big reveal, so when I said, "And the test says that I'm pregnant," the room erupted into applause and cheers. I hadn't expected such a response. This isn't normal protocol for a testimony meeting, but then, this wasn't a normal testimony meeting. The clapping went on and on, and I cried and laughed for every second of it. Laughing through tears is the greatest.

If this heavenly day of mine was a sundae, then that moment of applause was the perfect cherry on top. The jubilant reaction sounded like a choir of angels, and all these weeks later, I still smile when I think that our baby's first big welcome came in such a way, in a humble chapel, from a roomful of strangers who loved me simply because I was among them.
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