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Stories of Birth, Pregnancy, and Newborns

Birth ButterflyKnocked Up

By Laurel Avery

Becoming a parent was not in the plan. I had made it to the ripe old age of 42, feeling perfectly happy with my life as a single woman. With none of the traditional encumbrances of husband and children to keep me from spontaneously taking off to a foreign country when the mood struck or changing careers for the twentieth time to pursue more interesting paths.

I seem to have been born without that maternal instinct that makes women in their 30's panic if they are not in a stable relationship because of that ever present ticking clock. Children and I were like oil and water. They generally disliked me on sight. I may be exaggerating to say that mothers with children crossed to the other side of the street when they saw me coming, but it's not far from the truth. I had nothing personal against them, but they all seemed like aliens from another planet. Being an only child who spent her entire youth in the company of adults probably had something to do with it.

So when the day of my expected period came and went, with no signs whatsoever of it appearing at any time in the near future (and they were always 28 days or less), coupled with the fact that in the previous few days anything that touched my nipples made them feel like they had been plugged into an electrical socket, it slowly began to dawn on me that I may be pregnant.

Though pregnancy was the most likely explanation, I had not thought it was really possible (and yes, I realize I don't have the stupidity of youth as an excuse). For years I had heard nothing but dire warnings to women in their 30's that their fertility tanks after 35. I had more chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting pregnant after 40, etc.

Certainly at the almost geriatric age of 42, I was surely home free as far as fertility. Then there was my supposedly infertile partner, Roland. He and his wife had tried for 10 years to get pregnant, to no avail, though she had been pregnant before, so we knew she had no fertility issues. We just assumed he was shooting blanks. So much for our assumptions.

While any pregnancy scares in the past had made me panic, somehow this time it was different. I felt amazingly at peace with the possibility of being pregnant, even though my situation was not ideal (when is it ever?). I was at least in a stable, loving relationship and it felt "right" somehow.

I told Roland of my suspicions over dinner at one of our favorite sushi restaurants. We had not been planning on having any children, though he is someone who is wonderful with kids, and they absolutely adore him. Even if we had planned to have some in the future, we had only been together for six months, which is way too early to make any life-changing decisions. But, as someone said, "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." While looking somewhat stunned, he still took the news well, and we decided that the next morning I would pee on a stick to see if my suspicions were correct.

We woke up early (for Spain) and went down to the local pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test. Luckily I put it in my purse before we left the store, as we ran into four of our friends having breakfast at a cafe just a couple of doors down. It was hard to stop and chat with them when we had such a momentous thing to do, and of course we didn't want to let anyone know just yet.

So home we went, and I sequestered myself in the bathroom with the pregnancy test, trying to make sense of the Spanish instructions. Was it one line or two that indicated positive? Why don't they just have a big sign that flashes when it's positive that says "Knocked Up!"? Anyway, I joined Roland in the living room and we waited the requisite five minutes before taking a tentative peek. Two very distinct lines - positive! Good thing I have nine months to prepare for this. I have a feeling that this is going to be the ride of our lives.

Editor's Note:
The expression "Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans" is generally attributed to John Lennon, from the song "Beautiful Boy" on the Double Fantasy album, 1980. However the origin can be traced back considerably earlier to Allen Saunders (Reader’s Digest magazine Jan 1957): "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans". There have been many other versions and/or variations on this theme since.

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