(Just so nobody has a heart attack -- take a good look at the header -- this is 1998 I'm writing about here...!!)
I could hardly focus on my work, wondering about the results of my blood test -- although I figured two bright lines on a home pregnancy test couldn't be wrong. Late on the morning of Tuesday, March 24th, I went to a payphone downstairs & dialled my doctor's office. "Lori?" his receptionist said. "He wants to talk to you." And then she added, "The news is good."
"It is??" I said.
He came on the line. "Lori, it's positive -- big time," he said. I can't remember what else he said, but I remember me sobbing, & him laughing. "Congratulations. Enjoy the moment," he said. At some point we made a followup appointment for another beta, to ensure the levels were rising, & he said he would refer me to a well-respected obstetrician at one of the city's best hospitals. "He delivered both of our sons -- I can't give you a higher recommendation than that," he said.
I got off the phone with him and dialled dh's number. "Hi, daddy," I said in a small voice. "Really??" he said, & started to laugh. I got a big hug when we met again that night.
That night I knew what I had to do: call my parents. I had always thought that, whenever I finally did get pregnant, I would keep it a secret until it became obvious, perhaps through the first trimester.
But my mother was arriving on Friday night for a week-long visit. She worked as a teaching assistant in an elementary school, and it was spring break for them -- for most of the past 13 years I'd been married and living here, she'd come to visit me then. My face is like an open book: I knew I could not be in the same house with her, look her in the eye and keep such a monumental secret from her.
So, taking a deep breath, I dialled my parents' number. My dad answered the phone. I made a little small talk with him & then asked to talk to Mom, but told him to stay on the line too. I figured after almost 13 years of waiting, he deserved to hear this news at the same time as her.
"Well, Mom, I've thought of something else we can do while you're here next week," I said and paused.
"Yes?" my mother said, uncertainly.
Another deep breath. "Would you like to go shopping with me for maternity clothes?" I squeaked out in a small voice.
Dead silence. And then a SHRIEK pierced my eardrum (I'm not sure my hearing has recovered yet).
"What? what's the matter?" my poor bewildered father asked as my mother & I sobbed together.
"WE'RE GOING TO BE GRANDPARENTS!!" she shrieked.
"Ohhh!" and my dad started chuckling.
(Cripes, I think I'm starting to hyperventilate, just writing this all out, 10 years after the fact.)
"When, honey, when?" my mother asked. I told her I wasn't quite sure yet, late November. "Oh, a baby for Christmas!!" she sighed rapturously -- a sentence that still haunts me today.
After talking to them, I called my sister & asked her how she liked the name "Auntie B." She too went "oooohhhhh" & started to laugh. My sister is not an outwardly emotional person. She does not show a lot of interest in children & is childfree by choice, but I knew that she was excited, and that she would be a really cool auntie.
OK, that took care of one side of the family -- now for the other. For some reason that I can't remember, dh had previously agreed to take his father up to his brother's house that night. FIL & stepMIL were leaving the next day for Florida, according to my datebook. BIL lives a good 45-60 minute drive away, & we rarely if ever go there on a weeknight. I knew it would be a late night going there -- especially with the news we had to give them -- and I was exhausted, physically & emotionally.
"You stay here & rest. I'LL tell them," dh exulted. Part of me felt like I should be there, but part of me was relieved that I didn't have to live through another emotional scene that night. I agreed & off he went. It was barely an hour later that the phone rang & I found myself accepting congratulations from my extremely excited in-laws. I went back to the couch & the phone rang again. The family grapevine was working fast -- I got calls from three of dh's aunts on his mom's side that night.
I figured I had better call cousin/neighbour's wife -- her mother-in-law was one of the people who called me, and I knew she would never forgive me if she heard the news from someone else. "So, guess who's pregnant?" I said, "Who's pregnant?" she said in bewilderment. "Me!" I said. "What??" she said. The next day (Wednesday), we came home from work to find a big balloon bouquet tied to the railing of our front porch, and I knew just who it was from. (Dh took a photo of me holding it -- one of just two photos of my pregnant self, although I don't look pregnant at that point.) I was so exhausted that night, I went to bed at 9 p.m.
Over the next several nights, the phone rang practically non-stop as dh's aunts & female cousins from both sides of the family (not all of them, but most of them) called to congratulate us. So much for keeping it a secret...