Unexpected Gift, Lesson 1: If You’re A Bird, I’m a Bird

I always thought I was that girl who just didn’t “get” motherhood. For that matter, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be married either. But then I met my Jerry, and committing a lifetime to him was as easy as breathing.

It helped that I had been low-key (read: not “low-key” at all) stalking him for a while.

Talk about a boy who literally has no idea when someone is flirting with him! Luckily for me, I am as subtle as a hurricane, so eventually he got the message.

We knew pretty early on that we would get married. One of my favorite movies at the time was The Notebook. I know, I’m a sucker for a cheesy love story.

But not only did he watch it with me, he bought me my own copy. My favorite line in the movie is “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

Jerry and I were both birds.

He, something regal and strong like an eagle; and me, more along the lines of an eccentric owl, but our souls recognized each other immediately.

Making babies with him was a no-brainer.

Covering UP THE HURT

I was about to find out, though, as so many women in my generation had already discovered, getting pregnant isn’t nearly as easy as they make it sound in your First Baptist Church Youth Group.

I had already seen several close friends struggle with infertility, so I knew our odds weren’t great. I charted, I took temperatures, I took medication, but a few years in it still hadn’t happened.

We never really “gave up,” per se, but there was definitely a conversation about acknowledging that we may never be parents and finding some peace with it.

We covered our hurt up with jokes about not being cut out for it anyway, nature or God “knowing better,” getting to save a ton of money and silly stuff like that.

But it hurt us both.

Last Quarter in the Slot Machine

Fast forward to July of 2014. I spent the weekend of July 4th celebrating America and my good friend Nicole’s 30th birthday the way most people do — with copious amounts of food and alcohol.

On Wednesday of that week I ate a banana one morning and I commented to Jerry that either something was wrong with it, or I was having the worst hangover of my life.

I was also having some physical symptoms (I won’t go into those, they are decidedly TMI) that had me believing I had another cyst on my ovaries. So I talked to my nurse friend, and she suggested I take a pregnancy test, just to be sure.

I remember being kind of bitter about it, because when you’ve taken pregnancy tests praying for a plus sign and not getting one more than a few times, it’s not something you look forward to doing again.

It’s like that last quarter you put in the slot machine as you’re leaving the casino; you know you’re just throwing away another quarter, but deep down something inside you still believes this time you might win.

I still had a pregnancy test in the back of a drawer, so that Sunday morning, I quickly took the test while getting ready to go to brunch and have mimosas as we often did on Sundays. No better way to drown the disappointment than with bottomless mimosas, I thought.

Now y’all, when I say it changed immediately, I mean immediately. In the blink of an eye, there was a big solid plus sign.

FULL Confessions and FUTURE Worries

I was so stunned it took me a minute to actually stand up. I walked back into our bedroom where my sweet husband was still peacefully sleeping, and without any warning, I threw myself on the bed and loudly burst into tears. (There’s never any shortage of drama in this house, let me tell you.)

He wakes up to the sight of me sitting on the edge of the bed, hysterically crying, and unable to form words. Ironically, he later said he knew as soon as he saw me what I was going to say.

I was afraid he was going to think one of our dogs was dead, so I finally spit it out. We walked around in a blur the rest of the day, both of us trying not to get too excited, because we knew there were chances that things could go wrong.

Both of us terrified, because would we be any good at it??

The next day we went to the doctor and got the final confirmation: This was happening.

I remember feeling the need to confess to my new doctor every single thing I’d done “wrong” in the previous two weeks.

“I drank a lot last weekend, like, a lot. There were white chocolate covered strawberries and blueberries soaked in 151, and I ate more than one of them. I drank beer too. I had coffee every single day. I’m going to miscarry, aren’t I?”

He looked at me and assured me that alcohol didn’t typically cause miscarriages unless you drink all day every day.

“But I drank all day Saturday! I drank so much! I am practically a professional, I can drink a lot of alcohol and keep going, I rarely throw up, so my tolerance is really high!”

From across the room, Jerry was giving me a look that said ,“Maybe let’s not keep telling the doctor that we’re functioning alcoholics.”

God at a Red Light

With more assurances from my doctor that a few 151-soaked strawberries would not cause problems (unless I kept it up), we went home… and I immediately started to worry about everything else that could possibly go “wrong.”

One day, I had one of those strange moments with God at a red light. (As one does.)

It was early in my newly-labeled “high-risk” pregnancy, and as I sat at the corner of Washington and Main, I suddenly burst into tears. (Again, so dramatic!)

I felt like I needed to make absolutely sure that God knew we were ready.

So, out loud, in my car, at a red light, I prayed, “If you’ll just trust us with a baby, I promise we will do everything in our power to give him or her the best life possible. We can do this, God. We will love and protect this child with everything we have.”

And y’all, I meant it to my bones.

As it happened, our very definition of the word “wrong” was destined to change.

We just didn’t know it yet.


Keep on going with The Unexpected Gift, Lesson 2: The Best Laid Plans

About the Author
Angie Carnathan is just one of those kids that probably didn’t live up to her potential, but she’s coming to terms with that. She writes to stay sane. She has a lovely husband, a brilliant and adorable child, and three terribly-behaved dogs. She is aware you may disagree with her and she’s okay with that, too.