In our small rectangular toilet room, Tom and I stared down at the small, white rectangular box on the white, plastic stick. As if watching grass grow, our eyes strained. A bright fuchsia line appeared. Then, a faint pink follow up.
Is that a line?
I think so, but it’s so light. Is it supposed to be that light?
I don’t know.
What do the directions say.
The directions say the line will appear inside the fuchsia “this-test-is-working” line not outside it.
But…maybe the fuchsia line is the “Yes!” line. If so, THAT is a line.
No, I think the “Yes!” line is the second line… if that is a line. Is it a line?
Again, we strained our eyes, looked again at the illustration on the directions, then at the pink mysteries, then at each other, then — two 32-year-olds, holding a collection of graduate degrees – shrugged. Totally stumped.
I’m going back to bed, I said, not wanting to feel anything, trying to keep the excitement from building about what I was sure, and he was pretty sure, was in fact a second line.
Ever since our red-eye flight from Cambodia three nights prior, I couldn’t seem to catch up on sleep. We’d spent 9-days on a boat with Intrepid Travel, island hopping around the Mergui Archipelago, about 800 (mostly) uninhabited islands that sprout of the southwestern coast of Myanmar. A hidden paradise that is impossible to explore without a private charter or tour.
After a taste life at sea (which felt more like camping on the ocean than a luxury cruise) we spent the night at a beach resort in Phuket, Thailand before heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to ogle the ancient temples of Angkor Wat.
There were signs. I was late (but I’m always unpredictable). My face broke out. I actually filled the cups of bikini top.
And I did wake up every night, resisting nature’s call until I thought I might wet the bed. Then, flashlight in hand, I’d climb the ladder out of our bunk, tiptoe across the deck, down another ladder and into the galley restroom, where I had to pump the toilet to flush, an annoying process that was sometimes rewarded with flashes of luminescence with each pump. No matter how many times I went before going to bed, my bladder insisted on waking me.
And I, normally a night owl, did find myself fighting heavy eyelids every night, while joking with our shipmates. The same exhaustion that hit when I tried to go for a run in Cambodia. But maybe it was the long days in intense heat. The humidity? Maybe that’s why my face was freaking out?
Four tests showed the same mysterious marks. Each time, we stared, questioned, then shrugged, not wanting to get our hopes up, though we were pretty sure. Then the memories I was fond of just days before morphed into horrifying flashbacks of what-was-I-thinking?
Like the nightly booze. I rarely drink mixed drinks, but that Myanmar coconut rum. And the lychee cordial. And that rosé at the hotel in Cambodia. I was just so thirsty after long hours of temple explorations, that crisp minerality was just what I needed…or so I thought.
And that hike, when we pulled ourselves up by hanging ropes, one-by-one ascending the steepest parts. Dousing ourselves in bug spray as we waited for the rest to catch up.
Was heavy activity ok? What about exerting one’s self in muggy heat? And snorkeling? What if we’d gone scuba diving like we’d planned? Thank God!
And what about eating ridiculously spicy food? And street food? Fresh squeezed fruit juices blended with ice (the sneak attach of unsanitary water!)?Snake?
Pieces of dried snake meat — flat, circular jerky – that hung outside on the patio of a café we visited in a Cambodian houseboat community flashed in my mind. Tom and I chugged beer as a chaser to each bite. Snake AND beer?
And yesterday, when we finally returned home, I took a hot bath. A hot bath AFTER a trail run…AFTER we already saw the mysterious pink markings.
What was I thinking??????
But it just didn’t seem possible that there was a new little being blooming inside me. We’d kind of tried before. Then Tom found out he was deploying to Afghanistan and then after that, the aircraft carrier. Surely this was too soon.
Maybe it really was the heat. And maybe the tests were faulty. I mean, how much could a cheap plastic stick really know?
On Monday, I went the hospital on base, peed in a cup, then raced home to catch a train to teach a lesson. As I waited for my transfer, I realized I wouldn’t be out of my lesson in time to get the results. So, I took my chances and called early. Was put on hold. Plugged my ear as my train was announced.
You ready? she said when she came back on the line.
Yah. I hesitated, feeling safer now in this moment of uncertainty.
You’re pregnant, she said.
There it was. My eyes welled. All that I didn’t want to feel all weekend ballooned inside me, an ever-expanding rush of excitement and fear and love I let embrace me for a moment before quickly tying it back down, as I raced onto the train.
These last nine years have been the greatest adventure. Ready for our next chapter? Read the sign waiting for Tom downstairs when came home that night.
You went to the hospital? he hollered from the bottom of the stairs.
Yep, I said peering down at him.
Soaked from rain and sweat from running home, Tom bounded up the stairs, his eyes alight like a child racing for his Christmas stocking. He lifted me up in a kiss. Though my feet were barely off the ground, my waist secure in Tom’s embrace, finally, finally, I was free to soar, just as I’d started to when I first heard those words today and thought to myself — I’m pregnant?! Even now, the words felt too magical to say aloud. Instead we just stared, marveling at this new moment, our silence holding three futures combined in one.