Two years ago today, I woke up before my husband. The sun was peeking through the shades of the hotel window, hinting at another hot summer day in Washington, DC.
Only a week or so before, we’d been in an awful and scary car accident that left our car totaled, my husband’s ribs broken, and my tibial plateau fractured. (And my abdomen severely bruised, but that was much less severe than the leg injury.) The pain from the fracture woke me often during the night, and I usually gave up trying to go back to sleep in the morning—regardless of how early. Such was the case that morning.
I swung my bad leg over the side of the bed, wincing, then met it with my good leg. The crutches were leaning against the wall, close to the bed. I braced myself and stood, using the crutches for stability. I hobbled to the bathroom, trying not to wake my husband with the commotion.
On the counter in the bathroom were three (yes, three) packages: one of “internet cheapies” (what we call generic pregnancy tests bought in bulk online), one of “blue-dyes,” and one of FRERs (a few “red dyes” and a few digitals with the weeks estimator). Part of me was hoping the cycle we had just done, the third in a row, wouldn’t work. The accident. My thyroid hormone. The blood thinner injections due to an elevated risk of clots. How would a baby survive in a body so traumatized? Especially one that hasn’t exactly been reliable for safekeeping in the past? I fully expected to spend the whole vacation drinking away my disappointment and grief. Three cycles might’ve meant a change in fertility protocol except the accident required frequent x-rays and possible physical therapy, and my RE would’ve postponed any further attempts at conception until I was well again. The entire situation was total shit.
Even so, I’d stuffed the boxes of prenancy tests in my suitcase. I couldn’t imbibe freely and without guilt (outside of the occasional beer, I mean) without confirming for sure that there wasn’t a chance. The progesterone supplement I was taking was sure to prevent my period, so that wouldn’t give it away.
I was instructed to test at 12 DPO. I was a day early, but I thought, What the hell? Let’s just see. I’ll try a cheapie.
(Peeing in a cup when you’ve got a broken leg you can’t really bend or bear weight on is comedic in ways that I’m really not going to get into for your sake. Let’s just say, I deserve a medal.)
I peed. I dipped a cheapie test. I set it down. I waited. I looked.
The faintest of a line. Um…what?
I remember feeling sick as I made my way to the bed where my husband was still sleeping. I not-so-gracefully got back into the bed and woke him with wet eyes, feeling the range of emotions from happiness and horror to hope and grief all at once when I told him of the positive test in the other room. I asked him to go look. I asked if he thought it was legit. He and my friends on Twitter.
Everyone kept saying “yes.”
I made a mental note to call my RE the next day at 12 DPO (for fear of getting in trouble for testing early, which seems nonsense now). We found a place nearby to have my blood drawn that would send my hCG results to the office. After that, it was business as normal.
Only… No alcohol. No straining myself physically. And no considering myself as anything other than pregnant.
Yep. Business as normal.
We went about the day as planned. We saw the National Archives, the Newseum, and the Crime and Punishment Museum. I spent the day more or less convinced that a positive outcome nine months later just wouldn’t be possible. Except I did end up buying a onesie in the gift shop at the last museum in a fleeting moment of pure, undiluted hope that we might have a child at the end of this pregnancy. Though, if you’d asked me that day, I’d have denied any such feeling.
But of course, you all know the end to this story. In spite of everything, Joey was here a simultaneously long and short 35 weeks later. He’s healthy, he’s happy. He’s here. He’s ours.