Monday 20th September 2010
One year ago.
Suse strides over to the bench, sitting down hard. I follow.
“Hello?” Suse says.
“Hi there, Susan, it’s Shelley here.”
“Have you got a minute?”
“Look,” she says, pausing again, “I can’t tell you this officially, as the analyser is still not functioning. But your beta-HCG level is positive.”
We both sit there for a moment, before looking at each other, our eyes wide.
“It’s just the progesterone level that isn’t through yet. But the beta-HCG, the actual pregnancy test, is positive. And… Well, we don’t like to give out the result until we have both, but, unofficially, it’s really the beta-HCG level that counts.”
We both sit there, a little stunned.
“So, that’s good, right?” Suse says eventually.
“Yes. Absolutely. And the level is nice and high. Like really high. It’s 703, and we like it to be above a hundred. So you’re definitely pregnant.”
“So, unofficially, you’re telling us we’re pregnant?”
“Unofficially, yes, I am. I just didn’t want you to be waiting till tomorrow to find out. I didn’t think that was fair.”
“No,” I pipe in, “we were just talking about that. We were about five minutes off ringing back.”
“Well, there you go,” she says laughing, “I beat you to it.”
We all go silent.
“So, where to from here?”
“Well you know, you still need your ultrasound at five weeks to check that it’s not an ectopic, which will be a week from now. And, like I said, I’ll give you a call tomorrow to confirm. To re-confirm. But for now, it’s congratulations.”
“Thank you, Shelley,” we say together. “Thank you.”
“Okay, talk to you tomorrow,” she says, hanging up.
I sit there, still. Still dazed, before Suse falls into my arms. I hear her begin to cry, and instantly my own shoulders begin chugging, convulsing, as the tears drop from my eyes. Suse throws her legs over mine, hugging herself into me.
“We did it, honey,” she mews, barely able to speak. “We did it.”
“We did it.”
“We did it!”
“How are you?”
“Stunned, you know. A bit shell-shocked, really. I’d been bracing myself for the worst.”
We fall silent, staring out over the water, watching the swans as the silently float around.
“Oh my god,” Suse says, exhaling heavily. “It wasn’t all for nothing, you know? The herbs, the acupuncture, the hypnosis…”
“The specially concocted pre-conception recipes.”
“Ella saying I was pregnant.”
“Meg’s dream we got pregnant on the first round of IVF.”
“The Garfield doctor telling us someone had to be lucky first time.”
We both watch as the birds draw up against one another, rubbing their backs together.
“I was trying not to read too much into it all,” I say, my voice cracking. “I was trying not to get too excited, you know, to not see too many signs.”
“A winter baby.”
“Just like we imagined. Just a year later.”
“Unofficially, that is.”
“Yes, honey. Unofficially.”
We grip each other tight, and I place my palm against her belly, again imagining the cells multiplying, becoming a baby, a childhood lived out over seconds in my mind. I smile.
“It’s poetic you know,” Suse says eventually, “that, in the end, it’s unofficial. The whole thing, the whole damn thing, until your child is in your arms, on the day that they are born, is unofficial. Isn’t it?”
I look at my wife, and I smile, shaking my head slightly at her insight.
I watch as her brow furrows into that familiar frown. “She said the level was high, right?”
“Does that mean it’s twins?”
I laugh so hard that I almost fall off the bench.
To be continued in three months…
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