How To Have a Shotgun Wedding, Part 1 of 3: Get Engaged, Get Prego

First you get engaged.

He pops the question on a beautiful Saturday morning after your brunch at the usual greasy diner down the street and a pleasant walk along the Charles. He hasn’t seen the sun in over a week. “I need some vitamin D,” he says. You quite naturally stop at the part of the Charles where you once had a picnic date. He proposes. You are shocked and delighted. Your Squeezable Companion is the best man you’ve ever met and you get along like cheese and crackers, gin and tonic water, Harry and Sally. You can read about the engagement in my post about Groundhog Days.

The following week you find out you’re pregnant. This will be the trickiest part of the shot gun wedding. Timing is almost miraculous because this particular condom has to not work even though all the other Trojans in the past have lived up to their Romanic robustness.

The following week you find out you’re pregnant. This will be the trickiest part of the shot gun wedding. Timing is almost miraculous because this particular condom has to not work even though all the other Trojans in the past have lived up to their Romanic robustness. Then, of course, one of his slippery little suckers has to defy all the improbability of impregnation at your age compounded by the hazards of the uterus to fertilize that egg which happens to bud off the ovary at just the right time while not getting lost in the diaphragm, which can sometimes happen, and be ushered into the fallopian tube. All this has to happen three weeks before he proposes, which you never see coming. Like I said, this is the trickiest part.

Shotgun weddings are quick, but I never said they were easy.

Precisely a week after he proposes, you have to wake up and feel nauseous. You think that you might be hungover from the birthday party you threw for your best friend the other night. You made a cake and lots of cocktails. But that seems weird because you didn’t drink that much. Besides, your tolerance is irreproachable. You have had a lot more to drink in a single evening during the past few month than the night before. You will remember this with some measure of concern in a few hours.

You make an omelet to help settle your stomach. You vomit. An hour later, you get hungry because you threw up your breakfast, so you have some left over birthday cake and you promptly throw that up too. You’ve known that you were two weeks late, but you’d figured it was from stress. You’ve been late before when you’ve been stressed. What’s two weeks but just additional stress?

But the vomiting throws you. You go to Walgreens. There are boxes of one, two, or three pregnancy tests. You think, “What idiot needs two or, Jesus, three tests? Any idiot can pee on a stick.”

You take your one test box home and pee all over the stick like an idiot and you’re sure that that’s the reason why the positive sign appears within seconds in the indicator window. You go back to the drug store and grab the last two tests box, a tall can of Arnold Palmer Arizona Iced Tea, and a bottle of cherry diet Pepsi. You drink the Pepsi while riding your bike back to the apartment so that you’ll be ready to urinate.

Over the course of several hours and 35 fluid ounces, you get two more positive tests. It’s four o’clock by the time you get your third and final result. You stare at the three positive test in the bathroom counter and touch your breasts gently. They’ve been very tender recently. And very big. Later you will discover from the bible for pregnant women, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, that you will gain on average two pounds of weight on your breasts alone. That’s like sticking a brick of butter on each breast. Four sticks of butter on the left boob and four more sticks of butter on the right boob. Gotta be worth at least a cup size.

You soften a brick of butter and spread it on one breast with a butter knife. It’s a slippery, greasy mess, but you get the idea. Try this at home. Just kidding.

There are boxes of one, two, or three pregnancy tests. You think, “What idiot needs two or, Jesus, three tests? Any idiot can pee on a stick.” You take your one test box home and pee all over the stick like an idiot.

At around one in the afternoon, your sister called. Since you screwed up the first test you didn’t see the point of telling her about it. You chatted while sipping the rest of your diet cherry Pepsi. After the second test, Squeezable Companion called around three. He almost never calls during the day, but he had a free moment for a bite and a chat. You thought you should wait until after the third test to say anything so you didn’t see the point in telling him about the first two.

You have six hours before Squeezable Companion gets home. The day passes with you mostly just sitting around not really thinking all that much about anything. Sometimes you return to the bathroom and look to see if the three tests still register positive signs. They seem, if anything, to be getting bolder.

At one point you root through the fridge and try the different condiments. Red Hot just doesn’t have the same kick, which you find regrettable. Mustard is good, but mayonnaise, in fact the very idea of eggs, a key ingredient in mayonnaise, in case you didn’t know, makes you want to hurl. Oyster sauce is out. Soy sauce is in. Jams seem pointless when you can enjoy the fresh fruit. In fact, over the course of the following week you will realize that the rawer and fresher the food, the better. Nothing tastes as good as a spring salad with tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil, although the taste of extra virgin olive oil all by itself makes you want to gag. Orange juice is delicious. So are bread and butter pickles. Red meat turns you right off.

Sometimes you try to figure out how it could have happened. There have been times in the past when you and Squeezable Companion got carried away and weren’t as careful as you should be, but you remember being excited to try the pleasure pack variety condoms he picked up at Walgreens in early January, right after you returned to Boston from spending your holidays at home. The fire and ice was wild. The point is, this month you were careful. Statistically the chances of pregnancy for a 30-34 year old is 64% if you’re trying to have a baby; using a condom has a 98% success rate of preventing a pregnancy; meaning that there was at most a 2% of 64% chance, a roaring 1.28% probability, of you getting pregnant. And I’m being generous here because it fails to take into account all the other factors that would significantly reduce that number.

You remember how half an hour after he proposed, you said, “So when are we having babies?” You were joking. Who’s joking now? Who’s joking now, indeed.

You think about that saying, “Man plans, God laughs.” You shake your fist at God. It doesn’t really make you feel better. Maybe your heart’s not really in it.

While you cook Japanese curry (you smelled cooking onions on the way back from the drug store the second time and it immediately made you think of your mom’s Japanese curry and you knew that was the only thing you could stomach today) you think about ways of breaking the news. Maybe after he’s eaten so that he can eat before he loses his appetite. Maybe say nothing at all and leave the tests on the bathroom counter for him to discover when he goes to wash his hands. Say, “We’re having a baby,” or “I’m pregnant!” or “Guess who’s gonna be a daddy?”

When he walks through the door at ten that night, he looks tired. He’s got that pale consumptive look where his eyes glitter and his cheeks are pink with cold. He looks delicious. It makes you want to pounce all over him and rip his scrubs off and wrap him up in flannel and comfort him, both at the same time. He thinks he’s come home to rest, to get a hug and a kiss and to rest, but you’re about to make his world go topsy-turvy.

So when he says, “How was your day, babe?” you say, “I’m pregnant.”

You remember how half an hour after he proposed, you said, “So when are we having babies?” You were joking. Who’s joking now? Who’s joking now, indeed.

Later you and Squeezable companion will figure out that you were six weeks along when you discovered the change in your uterine status. It’s now week eight. Constipation, fatigue, being completely revolted by certain foods, foods you used to enjoy like pizza, acne, flatulence, wild mood swings that leave him so dazed he wonders if you’re pulling his leg, frequent and spontaneous bursts of tears will suddenly be subsumed under the umbrella of second month symptoms. Knowing this will not make the embryo seem more real. Granted it will only have been a little over a week since you both discovered the embryo, but still a large part of you will feel the way you did that day when you first said the words, “I’m pregnant.”

For now, he says, “Really?”

“Here,” you say and lead him to the bathroom. You show him the three tests.

“Wow,” he says. “That’s pretty definitive.”

“Yeah.”

A moment of silence. It’s that stretch of time when the rocket is still in mid-air and everyone is holding their breath. The downward arc and consequent explosion is inevitable, but you’re still riled up with anticipation.

A burst of laughter.

“How did this happen? We were so careful this month!” he says.

“I know, right?”

You both laugh.

“Are you okay?” he says.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” And then you start to cry.

He gives you a long hug and you feel better. You sit on the couch. He needs a moment of running his fingers through his hair. Then he Googles “alcohol and early pregnancy.”

“Okay. I think you’re totally fine,” he says after scrolling and clicking. You’re glad.

“So what do you want to do?” he says.

He’s got a benign, neutral look on his face, but this is what you know about him: he’s asking this only because he doesn’t want you to feel he’s asking you to do anything you don’t want to do, he wants the baby, there’s no question of him wanting you to keep it, and he knows that you will never abort his baby because you love him and you’re engaged to him and he knows that in your mind you think of this baby as a love child.

“Of course I’m going to keep it.” You say that for the first time out loud.

You both sit down at the dinner table and he manages to have some of the Japanese curry you made. He’s shocked, but he’s happy, and then he’s shocked all over again and laughes and back to happy. He suggests taking pictures with you holding the pregnancy results while being all badass. So you do that. You both think it’s in hilariously bad taste. Boy…you love him.

In the week to follow, you can sum up one of the two predominant feelings you live with in an interrogative phrase, namely, what you said in your head as you peed on the second pregnancy test and watched your urine creep along the length of the stick through capillary motion: “What the fuck am I doing?” This feeling persists through the planning of your shotgun wedding to the present. I mean, just look at you up there. A baby mama? Parent? Wtfaid?

When you confide this to Squeezable Companion a few days later—“I don’t know what I’m doing”—he says, “I don’t know what I’m doing either.” You are strangely comforted.

Besides, the other feeling is joy.

Coming up tomorrow, Part 2 of 3: Get Geared Up. And on Friday, Part 3 of 3: Get Hitched.

6 thoughts on “How To Have a Shotgun Wedding, Part 1 of 3: Get Engaged, Get Prego

  1. Hairee!! Congrats on the wedding and the baby!! Enjoy being prego and it will all get better in a month (you’re probably already there now)
    Your blog is hilarious!!
    xo Alia

  2. Well written, funny and heartwarming at the same time…congratulations and all the best with the pregnacy:)
    Life is what happens when you’re making other plans…I heard this somewhere and it holds true…enjoy:)

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