A year ago today, I discovered my sweet Madelyn. That morning, I took my monthly pregnancy test, expecting it to be negative like every other month. When I saw the test had turned positive, I did a double-take. I couldn’t believe it.
I had an 8-5 class that day, and all the way to school, I contemplated what was happening. I was excited, but scared it wasn’t real or wouldn’t last. I needed more proof.
During my lunch hour, I went to Walgreen’s and bought more tests. I had planned to test again the next morning, but I couldn’t wait. Knowing fully well the test was likely to be negative (since early pregnancy tests work best in the morning), and knowing how disappointed I would be if it was, I lacked the discipline to resist. So I tested, in the upstairs bathroom of January Hall.
To my surprise and relief, it was positive. Yet I still wasn’t convinced. I tested again the next morning, the next afternoon, again and again for a full week until finally, after a trash can overflowing with test sticks and the results of my blood test in my hands, I released the fear I had been carrying. At long last, I thought this baby was here to stay. How could I have known that even giving birth does not guarantee survival?
It has been a year, yet I still remember so much so clearly. I remember being unable to focus in class that morning. I couldn’t think about building an effective mentoring program (the class content) after finding out a baby was going to be in my life. My head was swimming instead with thoughts of baby clothes, nursery decorations, and a little fear about the birthing process.
I remember thinking I didn’t feel different. Morning sickness and all the other first trimester symptoms hadn’t yet chosen me as their companion. I had expected some type of feeling – the feeling so many say they experience, informing them they are pregnant before they get a positive test. Yet there was nothing except the knowledge I was carrying something very precious.
I immediately changed so many habits in an effort to put the baby first. I stopped eating anything I thought might be bad for the baby. I started driving much more carefully. I made every effort to get plenty of sleep each night and drink the right amount of water. I started walking regularly. Even though it isn’t necessary to sleep on one’s side until 16 weeks of pregnancy, I started doing that too. I would have given up anything for this child’s well-being. Yet I learned all too quickly that it didn’t matter. Nothing I did or didn’t do could save her in the end.
A year is such a short amount of time, but I find it difficult to imagine life before her. She quickly turned my world around. Things I thought mattered before quickly faded to the background. I found myself wanting things I thought I’d never care about, all because of one (or 15) little positive test. I’m still amazed at how someone so tiny could make such an impact on me, but I’m so glad she did.