On Saturday, Dec. 13, we flew to Houston to spend a long weekend with our friends Abby and Rob. Having booked the trip with points I’d accumulated on my credit card and facing various code restrictions as a result, we arrived somewhat inconveniently just before midnight. But Rob still insisted on picking us up from the airport, as old friends are wont to do. Abby stayed at home with the twins, who were just 10 months old, but texted me continuous traffic updates during the 15 minutes Kai and I waited outside of the arrivals terminal, her maternal instincts on high beam display.
Once reunited back at the house, we hugged and whisper-spoke our hellos in the living room, declining offers for food or wine, but accepting glasses of water, before retreating to the guest room and falling asleep. So this is what it is like to be parents, I thought dreamily. Maybe someday it will be us.
On Monday, Dec. 15, after a day and a half of museum-hopping, outdoor drinking, oyster shooting, cooing over the twins, and copious amounts of coffee, we left the tiny humans with a babysitter and the four of us made our way to the Houston Toyota Center to see Fleetwood Mac.
The big draw for the tour was that Christine McVie had returned to the group after a 15-year absence, allowing the band to play “Little Lies,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Songbird” and other hits that had been sealed in the canon during that time. And, yes, she was great. But Abby and I have long been devoted Stevie Nicks fans, belting out her songs in Koreatown’s karaoke bars for the better part of our 20s and stealing Rob’s car once for a road trip to Jones Beach to watch her cast spells from a half-flooded stage.
Sitting there in the Houston arena with our husbands sandwiched between us, I noted the passage of time and felt the lyrics of “Gypsy” speak to me in a different way than they had during other periods of my life, when I was in between breakups, in between jobs, and in between versions of myself. So I’m back, I thought, returned to that comforting place of feeling loved and in love, and no longer afraid to wholly inhabit it.
“Lightning strikes / maybe once, maybe twice.”
We returned to New York that Wednesday, Dec. 17 on a redeye, worked from home and ordered in a late lunch. Our English bulldog Brutus took turns curling up at Kai’s and then my own feet, happy to have all members of the pack accounted for once again. Then, around 8 p.m., I nonchalantly told Kai that I was running up the block to Rite Aid and asked if he needed anything. But, of course, he didn’t. He already knew why I was going.
I splurged on the digital test, giving in to the notion that the pricier option would somehow be more accurate. It was also more novel. Having never used one before, I wondered if it would speak to me or chirp like an alarm clock. (Spoiler: neither.) Walking back to the apartment, I considered whether the purchase was symbolic of me making a mountain out of a missed period. We had only been married three months and, while we weren't actively preventing anything, we weren’t actively trying. I assumed it would take months, possibly years before we would be able to have a child.
I’m probably just stressed out and that’s why my cycle is off, I thought, then cursed the red wine I'd had the previous night, just in case.
Before the two-minute test time was complete, my result appeared on the stick’s thumb-sized screen: Pregnant.
“Ffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuu—” my mind blurted as I stared back, blinking away any possibility of having misread the word. Then, at a loss for what else to do, I took a picture of it with my iPhone.
All at once, I was overcome by a sense of urgency I’d forgotten in the blissful run-up to and aftermath of our wedding.
What would become of the books I had yet to write? The business ideas still fomenting my daydreams? The countries Kai and I had yet to visit together? In an instant, it seemed the time to chase these goals had vanished. Or, had it? I mentally began a list of all the professional women writers—and, admittedly, a few celebrities—I admired who had maintained rich, creatively fulfilling, and successful lives and managed to have a family. I could do that too, right? Right. Yes. We will do it together. You and me, baby. We will find a way to do it all. I love you. And I promise, I won’t always be this crazy.
As I walked out of the bathroom, Kai’s eyes were already trained on me, searching for a clue. Cautiously hopeful.
“So?” he asked, getting up from the couch.
My lips pursed, I shrugged off any lingering disbelief, and spoke the words out loud for the first time to make it real.
“We’re going to have a baby,” I said, folding myself into his arms as we both started to tear up and laugh.
Then, we celebrated the news like good New Yorkers by going out for pizza.