It took me about four or five weeks to get from from discovering I was pregnant to saying the words I am pregnant.
Which is not to say I didnt know. I did. I found out on May 11th, the day before my birthday, and on the first day of a two week mixture of holiday and work. I found out in a hotel room in San Francisco, the day before I had arranged to have a huge meal with friends involving a lot of cocktails (you cant drink cocktails so much when pregnant, that much I knew) and lots of raw fish (ditto on the raw fish). For my birthday. I was also meant to do a 12k race a few days later.
And then I found out, the day before my birthday. It wasnt at all expected, but it wasnt bad news. It wasnt planned, but it certainly wasnt unwelcome. It was just a shock. It was not something we thought was going to happen. It just wasnt.
The first magic pisstick that told me so was the biggest shock. When My Beloved returned to the hotel room bearing burritos I was so consumed with sobbing and shock I could only gesticulate at the en suite. He, being My Beloved, took it in his stride, suggesting we have our burritos, then process the information. Suddenly discovering that youre incubating human life is no reason to waste a good burrito (he was right about this. On the matter of burrito etiquette he is rarely wrong).
We ate our burritos. I cried some more, then went to sleep. Then I urinated on another stick, it was just as unequivocal as the first one, I gibbered some more, then cried some more, then felt unwell, then went to sleep. You could copy and paste those last 15 words over and over again for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, basically. But more of that later.
The next few days were a blur. It was going to be more than two weeks till I got home and could go to see the doctor (I had great faith in the fact that going to the doctor was going to do something, but, again, more on that later…), so I drifted through the holiday things and social engagements Id been hard-planning for weeks, thinking of nothing but this new situation, and what it meant, and what it was going to mean.
And I couldnt really tell anyone, because you just dont, and I couldnt let on that anything was amiss, because you cant (its in the rules, apparently) and so I drifted on, being vacant in all dealings with the friends Id come to see, vague and ineffectual in the work that Id come to do, slow and sluggish in the race wed come to run, and the rest of the time sleeping when I could, and feeling weirded out and generally unwell.
And I couldnt say, even to my Beloved, the words I am Pregnant. I could say things like I peed on sticks and they were positive. Or Can you pick up some of those vitamins that people might take in a pre-natal situation? or I dont think people eat soft-boiled eggs when theyre pregnant..
But never could My Beloved make me put the words I, am and pregnant in the same sentence. I couldnt make myself do it either. It was too much. If I said it out loud, it made it a fact, and if I accepted it as a fact, I didnt know what I was going to do if it then went away.
As soon as we arrived back in the UK, I went straight to the doctor. I had been expecting wise words. A diagnosis. A prescription that would detail exactly how I should be feeling and behaving and reacting. And, just as a friend had warned me, when I walked in and said I appear to be a little bit pregnant (Yup – still couldnt say it), all the doctor said was: Ok!, and handed over a card directing me to the midwifery centre who would deal with the rest.
And that was it.
So when I got home, I phoned to make an appointment with the midwife. I spoke to the receptionist for at least four minutes. According to My Beloved, who was in the room, I managed not to say the word Pregnant once. Or Baby. Or Expecting. How I managed to make an appointment at all, I have no idea.
Ive said it since, by the way. Ive said it a good number of times by now. Acceptance, however, is a more difficult first step to take than I ever would have expected. Its terrifying. But I eventually had to stand up and say it so I could get on with the next step.
Thats right: My names Anna, and I am pregnant.