‘Is it pink for positive or blue for positive? Or is that what sex the baby is?”
“I think it’s pink for positive, Katie. And it’s too early to know if it’s a boy or a girl…I think. I dunno, I’ve never been pregnant before.”
My best friend Jamie and I sit side-by-side in my empty bathtub, our legs dangling over the edge. I’m holding a pregnancy test in my hand, the box it came in the other. I keep waving the stick in the air like an old Polaroid picture, trying to make it develop faster. This has been the longest three minutes of my entire life.
“Oh, wait,” I say out loud, “according to the directions, it’s a plus sign if I’m pregnant, a minus sign if I’m not.”
“It should be a dude giving you a high-five if it’s negative,” Jamie quipped. I giggled despite the situation I find myself in.
“Or the stick should play the sound when you lose in Plinko on The Price is Right if it’s positive.”
We’re both giggling uncontrollably and I drop the stick between us.
“Oh, god! Get your pee stick away from me!” Jamie screeches as she tries to shove herself away.
“What, you’re going to tell me pee is the worst thing you’ve ever had on your leg?” I find the stick and taunt her by waving it in front of her face.
Jamie screams again and flails herself up out of the bathtub and stand in front of me.
“No, it isn’t, but I don’t want your possibly pregnant pee on me in case that shit’s contagious.”
“Jamie, you do know what sex is, right? Oh wait, you do, because I heard you the other night. Very convincing performance, lady. Just enough ‘oh god’ thrown in to make it very believable that you actually came.”
“That wasn’t sex, Katie; that was two awkward minutes of me wishing he’d get it over with so we could finish watching Mad Men.”
My phone, which is on the bathroom sink, starts beeping cheerfully at me, indicating my three minutes is up. I exchange looks with Jamie, and she reaches her hand to me to help me get up out of the bathtub.
“This is it,” I sigh, and I look down at the plastic stick I have in my hand.
“Call Bob Barker, I just lost.”
I sit down heavily on top of the toilet and stare at the offensive pink plus sign. It seems to be pulsing and radiating its “you’re pregnant!” message to me. Jamie grabs the stick from my hand, not sure if she can believe me or not.
“Holy shit, Katie…” She sounds incredulous. She looks at me, the stick, back at me, and back at the stick again. “Holy shit…”
I don’t know whether I want to laugh, cry, or the weird combination of both. My emotions are all fighting with each other now and it’s hard to decide which one should win. I slump forward and rest my too-heavy head in my hands, my hair falling in a red curtain around my face. It smells vaguely of lavender and cigarette smoke. Christ, I need a cigarette, I think and that thought is immediately replaced with guilt and “what about the baby?”
Jamie stands next to me, and she’s gently rubbing my back in slow circles.
“You’re fine…you’re fine…you’re fine…” she whispers over and over. I hope she keeps saying that because the more times I hear it, maybe it’ll become true.
The next few days melt together into a jumble. I go through my normal daily routines, but I can’t tell when one day ends and another begins. I went to my doctor for a blood test to see if I really was pregnant and didn’t get a false positive from the pee stick test. It came back positive, as well. Jamie has sent me texts to check up on me, which I read, and mean to respond, but I haven’t yet. I should send her something to let her know I’m still alive and okay, but I can’t make my fingers type in the words. If she gets too concerned, I know she’ll show up at the house. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t what I was hoping for anyway. I used to live with two roommates, but both moved out recently, so it’s just me and my dog, Cleo now.
Cleo is on the couch, her massive Saint Bernard head rests on the arm, and she sighs as I sit down next to her, leaning over on her. She moves her head to look at me and offers a quite “woof.” I rub her warm belly and she shifts positions to allow for more of her underside to be exposed to me.
“I’m pregnant, Cleo,” I say as I continue rubbing her. “What do you think about that, girl?”
Cleo answers with another “woof” and stretches one of her paws upwards. I’ve found her secret spot and she groans with contentment.
My own words bump around in my head. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant.
I haven’t told the father yet. It’s not because I don’t know who it is; I’m not a whore, for Pete’s sake. Just irresponsible. This is what I get for enjoying too much whiskey and being horny, I scold myself.
He never should have started reading from his poetry book, I lament some more. I don’t even like poetry, but his deep, smooth baritone made it worth the listen. The words flowed out of his mouth effortlessly and I found myself staring at his lips as he read, imagining what else those lips could do in addition to reading so eloquently.
He stopped reading, or rather, I made him stop reading because I grabbed the book out of his hand, tossed it on the coffee table, and straddled his thighs. The evening progressed from there.
And now, here I am, laying on my dog, and wondering what in the hell I should do. As far as I see it, I have two options: not tell him I am pregnant and quietly handle this by getting an abortion, or have his baby, determining later whether or not to keep it or give it up for adoption. I’m leaning toward the first, but admit that the latter is also in consideration. Despite the initial shock of finding out I’m pregnant, I’m blown away that I am. I didn’t think I could get pregnant. Several of my last annual exams with my gynecologist have ended with her telling me it probably isn’t possible to have children. To put it crudely, my lady parts are fucked up. However, she did say “probably,” not “definitely.” Kathryn Grace Thomas: Defying the odds since 1980.
As selfish as this sounds, I want to be pregnant. I want to know I’m growing a human inside me. I want to wear cute maternity clothes and have strangers come up and touch my swollen belly. I want the bizarre cravings at 1 a.m. and the morning sickness and that weird line that pregnant women get down the middle of their stomachs and the outtie belly button. I want all that, and I have a chance to have it.
Reality sets in and despite wanting all those things, I can’t have this child, so I make plans for Option A.