The unexpected / by Christina Rosalie

The unexpected is what happens when you’re looking up at the sky and thinking about glazed doughnuts and life is generally good. The unexpected is a little tear in the fabric of the way things are, so small at first you hardly notice, and then you’ve got a run the size of the Nile going up your thigh. The unexpected is all about the tipping point. Reading runes before I left for Spain, looking for clarity in other things entirely, I received this message: “The outcome is assured, though unexpected.” Three weeks later, and it suddenly makes sense.

I’m pregnant.

I had an IUD (the Paraguard) which is 99.4% effective, making my odds a slim .6%. A slender needle in a hundred haystacks. But pregnant none the nonetheless.

You always read that shit about percentages on the packaging and you kind of think, somewhere in the back of your head, “poor bastard, whoever gets stuck being that statistic.” You never think it will be you.

It was a handful of days after being back from Spain when the nausea and the indigestion was kicking my butt so hard I was sure I had some sort of parasitic ailment I’d picked up somewhere abroad. Parasitic, for sure, just not what I was expecting. My doctor listed all sorts of unpleasant ailments that I might have. “The stress,” she said, “of travel and not sleeping.” I nodded, then asked, “Is there any way I could be pregnant? My period is late.” She shook her head. “Nope.”

A day later and my boobs were telling a different story. Overly sensitive when the colt-legged catapult of Bean hurtled into my lap. The nausea suddenly making sense.

I went to the store toting Bean, determined. DH was three hours away learning to bake bread with a friend. “Why are we going to the store, Mommy?” Bean kept wondering on our unprecedented middle of the day trip. My mind was suddenly unable to bear another moment of limbo.

We bought yellow pears, a couple fragrant peaches, and the kind of test that spells it out for you PREGNANT, or NOT PREGNANT, right there in bold print. I’ve messed with the ambiguity of the little pink lines before. You can always trick your head into thinking one is lighter, or darker, there or not there, depending on what you’re hoping. I wanted no bullshit, just a straight up answer. I had a hunch I wanted confirmed.

Still. I was totally, utterly, surprised when just that single word popped up. “Why are you taking so long, Mommy?” Bean whimpered at the door. “Play with me.”

It was a Sunday. I called my OBGYN. The doctor on call said, “Oh honey, if you’re in trouble, we all are here. Everyone has one at the office.”

But the trouble didn’t really start until Monday when I went in for an ultrasound, and to get the little piece of plastic and copper removed, and well, it wouldn’t come out. Apparently it was stuck in my cervix and in that moment I went from being somewhat of a rarity with remarkable odds and an unexpected pregnancy to someone with a high risk medical condition.

The possible outcomes looked gloomy: heavy bleeding if a second attempt at removing it went awry. Worst case: a possible loss of my uterus. (Really, that’s what they said. Imagine the sudden gloom that I was immersed in.) Or if it stayed, because if its location, I had high odds of a septic miscarriage. Unpleasant, to say the least.

Enough with the too much information. I can’t help it somehow, because suddenly it became everything for a few days. In the end, I went to the hospital and they used really high tech ultrasound stuff to do an ultrasound assisted removal that went okay—and now, well, we wait and hope there’s no miscarriage, because there could be. The odds are higher now.

And I know there’s that rule about waiting three months before saying anything, but I think it’s bullshit, because if I go through a miscarriage I want to be able to talk about that too.

So it seems that oddly our kids seem to have planned themselves. Four years apart, and a handful of days—this one is due at the end of February too. In retrospect, DH and I both admitted that really, we’d probably never get down to the business of planning a second one. And, while my summer is turning out nothing like I planned, I’m digging it. The same kind of thing happened when I got pregnant with Bean. It’s like a light has been switched on somewhere in the murk of my life, and in seeing, I’m compelled to do only those things that are most vital and important to my heart.

All year, and through the start of grad school I was near panicked with stress. Too much on my plate, but somehow, I lacked the ability to say no, or stop, or simply do what my heart wanted instead of what my head kept telling me I should do. I quit grad school for now—though they’ll leave my enrollment open for next year, or the year after, and I’m focusing full time on my writing.

I’m also picking wildflowers and spending mornings napping and playing with Bean. And despite the nausea which completely kicks my ass most of the day, I am happier and less stressed right now than I have been in almost a year.

“The outcome is assured, though unexpected.” Damn.