I was standing in a CVS drugstore with Dan trying to figure out which was the best and also the cheapest mop for our new place when it occurred to me that, maybe, just for the heck of it, I should try a pregnancy test. The pimples were still screaming underneath the skin on my cheeks, chin and forehead and I couldn’t remember when I was supposed to get my period, but it seemed like it should have happened already. I wasn’t very serious about this. I picked up a hot-pink-two-test box and handed it with the mop and a Mounds bar to Dan to pay for while I stood to the side and caught up on gossip in US and People. It is odd, in retrospect, that such a seminal moment as buying my first pregnancy test at age thirty-three was not making a blip on my radar, but even Dan didn’t blink. Despite what they teach you in high school health class, I assumed pregnancy was not the easiest thing to achieve in the world, so I didn’t take birth control pills. We just used condoms and the rhythm method because I have a very regular cycle.
When we got home from CVS, we ate our dinner of take-out fish tacos from a place on Main Street in the midst of all our boxes, piled around us like lost friends in our new place. I started working on setting up the bathroom and Dan was putting together the bed frame he’d made the year before out of dark barn wood which he’d shellacked until it shone. Ellison was checking out the patio and Hopper was on my heels everywhere I turned. And then I remembered the pregnancy test. I decided to try it.
I was sitting on the toilet, boxes of bathroom stuff all around me, the tub filled with Bon Ami, when the little window on the wand showed two lines. Huh. Maybe I’d read the box wrong? I picked it up. Two lines means pregnant, it said. This can’t be possible. We had only had sex that one night two weeks ago before Dan left. I’m serious we were just too stressed and too much was going on. I dribbled a little more on a new wand. Again, two lines.
“Uh, Dan? Can you come in here?”
“Sure.” He sounded chipper and I could tell he’d forgotten all about CVS and the test.
“Um … This thing says … we’re pregnant.”
His reaction was one of benevolent silence. I say benevolent because his face read one thousand words of shock, confusion, anxiety and then, in some corner, near the mouth, exultation.
Finally, after a pause that felt like hours, he asked, “Should I go get another test?”
That’s my husband always trying to fix the problem.
“I tried two.”
“Are those things always a hundred percent accurate?”
“I have no idea!” I could hear my voice getting squeaky as the message that my life was about to take a bigger turn than I’d bargained for started to filter through my gray matter. “I’m not sure I’m ready for this,” I said. I hadn’t even been married a year and my career was important to me. I wanted to “make it” or “do something important” first. Having children was something I’d do when everything was settled, when I was finally (it was going to happen, right?) all grown up.
“Just stay here. I’m getting another test.” In a flash he was out the door, leaving me stranded on the toilet with the wand that had two very clear blue lines. Hopper and Ellison have never liked closed doors, so as I sat there on the toilet, frozen, my mind rattling in a million directions at once, Hopper hit the door open with his paw and they both came in to join the party. I surveyed them seriously.
“I don’t know, guys,” I said. “This could get interesting.” Dan came home so quickly he must have run the entire way to the drugstore and back. I opened the new box and tried again. Two lines. “Dan, this is really happening.”
A smile came across his face, slow and handsome, the same smile that breaks the hearts of all the girls who meet him and, one day, will come across my son’s face and make me melt with devotion (but I’m getting ahead of myself). “Wow, baby! We’re pregnant.”
“Is that OK?” I asked both him and myself at the same time.
“Is that OK? Man, it’s great. I’ve always wanted a family and it’s weird timing and all, but” (here comes the eternal optimist) “we can do this! I mean, thank God something came easily. This is a gift!”
And he reached down, picked me up off the toilet, hugged me as I pulled up my panties and gave me a long, loving kiss. This, in a nutshell, is my husband: He will rise to meet any challenge and be gentle and optimistic about it the whole way in. Sometimes this drives me crazy because it makes me feel like I’m a nut who’s mixed up and anxious inside. But, mostly, his gentle ability to think forward and positively keeps me sane and, sometimes, calm.
Although it might seem normal for a couple to celebrate in such a moment by making love, although the impulse was there, we were both unsure if this was advisable to do in the first, delicate days of a pregnancy. So, instead, we made some Sleepytime Tea, unpacked a few more boxes and got into bed. We lay there in the dark, incredulous and excited.
“Made for you and me” by Caitlin Shetterly
Maine author Caitlin Shetterly writes that she and her husband
were “incredulous and excited” when they learned she was
Caitlin Shetterly’s baby, Matty, and dog Hopper share nap