Jude, and now our baby, were at the top of that list.
After Jude had stormed out last Saturday, I hadn’t seen or heard from him since. Four and a half days I’d gone without knowing what he was thinking or where his head was or if we were going to make up, or if he even still wanted to marry me. If I hadn’t developed an ulcer yet, I was close.
When I’d shouted at Anton, “I quit!” last Saturday, I’d meant it. He’d sent a bouquet of flowers and a note to apologize, but I was one forced-upon kiss past forgiving and forgetting right now. One day, maybe, but not a few days later. Anton had crossed a line and proved that he couldn’t take no for an answer. It was obvious we couldn’t just be friends, so I made an executive decision and cut off all contact. Even Indie had my back. When she found out he’d kissed me, she went ballistic.
After I skipped class again, Holly and Thomas basically dragged me to the studio Tuesday morning. That didn’t last long, though, because as soon as I slipped into my dance leotard I could see the slightest of bumps stretching the fabric above my belly. This brought me close to a meltdown. It wasn’t just the baby bump; it was everything that had piled up in the days before.
A box of tissues later, Thomas walked me over to my academic adviser and informed her of my “fragile” condition while I went through another box of tissues. By the end of the day, we’d been able to work out a modified schedule that would allow me to continue the semester without having to adhere to a rigorous dance course load. I’d never checked before, because I didn’t want to do anything but dance, but it turned out there were quite a few theory courses I could take that would count toward my degree.
Since the baby was due sometime in February, I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do about my last semester, but that was okay. I couldn’t think that far ahead. I still hadn’t wrapped my mind around having a child growing inside me, or that, once I pushed it out, I might be raising it alone.
Holly and I had discussed the double As, as she called them: abortion and adoption. I wasn’t going to judge what was right for someone else, but abortion just wasn’t an option for me. I couldn’t do it, simple as that. We’d talked back and forth about adoption, until I realized that this, too, just wasn’t an option for me. I hadn’t planned for it, I hadn’t seen it, didn’t even know what I was having, but it was my baby. And Jude’s baby. I couldn’t give it to someone else. I knew it was upending my life, in a present and future tense, but that wasn’t the baby’s fault. So I was going to have it and raise it. Hopefully with Jude, but alone if that was my only option.
So even though my life felt like it was one giant question mark, I attacked those few little things I could put a period after. I read a couple of books about the whole pregnancy and birthing process; one had pictures, detailed pictures, of the actual birth, which still haunted me. I made sure I got enough sleep, which was easy enough, considering my body felt tired twenty-four-seven. I took my prenatal vitamins, I walked and did my stretches, and I drank so much water I was making bathroom visits every half hour. I was moving forward.
The whole concept of having a baby growing inside me had set in. Finally. And I was going to do everything in my power to make sure it was healthy. There were moments in the night when I’d wake up and a flicker of excitement would flash through me. Then I’d find the spot beside me empty and I’d check my phone and find no missed calls or texts, and that spark of happiness would fizzle.
No matter what happened, no matter what Jude did or didn’t do, I knew one thing: I was going to be the best damn mom I could be. I doubted a lot of things, but this was one thing I knew for sure. And I wouldn’t be alone. I had Holly, who had plenty of firsthand experience to help me. I had India and Thomas to encourage me along the way, pat my back when I needed to cry, or tell me to suck it up when I needed to. Even though I hadn’t told them about the baby yet, I had Dad and Mom, too, and I knew they’d be there for me. They’d be as shocked as I’d been at first, but they’d come around just like I had, and help me find my way on this scary road.
I focused on the pieces of my life I could control and tried not to fixate on the ones I couldn’t. I lived life one hour at a time, because if I looked even one day into the future, I felt the stirrings of a panic attack.
This afternoon was the day of my first ultrasound. I could find out the gender of the baby if I wanted to know. I felt like I’d just woken up yesterday, learning I was pregnant, and today I’d know if I’d be buying blue or pink onesies. Like so much of my life, it was all too surreal.
Up until last night, I hadn’t attempted to call Jude since he’d stormed out. I couldn’t remember how many times my finger hovered over the call button before I chickened out, but the fear of my call going to voice mail, or of never hearing back from him again, was too much to contemplate. But letting him know about the ultrasound was the right decision. I at least had to give him the option to show up, because even if he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, I hoped he wouldn’t feel the same about the baby. I should have told him the minute I found out I was pregnant; I got that. I got why he was so upset. But he should have called me the minute after he realized what an ass he’d been that day. I was still waiting for him to “get” that. The longer I waited, the angrier I got. But most of all, the sadder I got.
After an hour of going back and forth, I settled for a brief text. I let him know the address of where the ultrasound was taking place, and the time, and, against my better judgment, ended it with an I’M SORRY. I LOVE YOU, and hit send before I could agonize over the message for another hour.