I didn’t know the right way to tell him. I didn’t know what to say. After a few minutes of silence I had to say something. “So, I took a pregnancy test today (actually 4– but he didn’t need to know that) and it is positive” Nothing. Silence. More silence. Uncomfortable silence. “Are you there, Ben?” “Yeah, I’m here. Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to confirm but I am almost 100% positive. Silence. “Well ok then. Can we meet up tomorrow and talk about it” “Sure” But I could tell he was scared. Just as scared as I was. Suddenly things changed between us. I felt a shift and I didn’t like it.
The doctor’s appointment came and went. He confirmed my thoughts with a blood test and sure enough I was 6 weeks pregnant. Ben and I met up at small diner. We sat across from each other, neither of us saying much. He asked me if I was going to keep it. I told him I didn’t know. I hadn’t had the time to think that far ahead. I asked him what he was going to do. He said he had some news of his own. “I got orders today to go to Kentucky for 3 months for training.” Now timing had never been in my favor. So, I had to laugh. Really God, you couldn’t have just gave me this one. Just one. “Well, just keep in touch and we will figure it all out when you get back” “Ok, sounds good” And we left it at that. He would leave for a few months to go to Kentucky for training. I would stay here and be pregnant. We would figure it all out later. Wish it was that easy.
He left a few days later. It was time to make some changes of my own. I got my own apartment. A cute little apartment all by myself. No roommates, no expectations, no compromise. Just me and my cats. Oh yeah, and a baby I still hadn’t decided what I was going to do. I wasn’t ready to give up my life as I had known it. I had dreams of college, aspirations of becoming something more. I loved to travel and still had so many more places to see. I didn’t know how to take care of a baby. I was barely managing to take care of myself. I made the very hard decision to make an appointment with Planned Parenthood.
I thought I knew what next step I needed to take. It was a choice that wasn’t easily made. In fact, it was made with a lot of thought, tears and mostly fear. I needed to have an abortion. The appointment was made. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t be a single parent if Ben chose not to be a part of the baby’s life. I grew up watching my mom struggle as a single parent and I refused to do this. There was no other choice, I was convinced.
The day before my appointment I ran into a friend and co-worker, Sonja. Up to this point I hadn’t told many people. I felt so alone. I felt like a failure. I knew Sonja was a mom herself but also had a close relationship with God. I grew up in church but God and I hadn’t talked in a long time. For some reason that day, I felt that I needed some guidance. And there was Sonja. “Sonja, can I talk to you?” “Sure” “I have a situation… I am pregnant and not sure what to do” “Chris, you need to pray about it” “Sonja, I CAN’T DO IT! I can’t do this on my own. My life will be over.” And then she gave me some of the best advice I have ever received in my life. “Chris, God will never give you more than you can handle. You can do this. Whether you think so or not, you can make it through. I know you are scared but God’s got you.” These words gave me a new perspective. I felt like I could do it. I could be a mom. Would it be hard? Of course. But damn it, I was going to give it my best—alone or not. I called and cancelled that appointment to Planned Parenthood. I tried to call Ben but his phone was disconnected. What the hell? And so it was.
I was going to have a baby. It was still sinking in. The morning sickness made it more real. Every morning was a nightmare. I couldn’t eat anything. The smell of everything made it worse. I told my family and they were supportive. Surprised but supportive nonetheless. I had only told 1 or 2 people at work. And then one day a week or so later I am leaving the store and there is Jen. I can’t avoid her. It’s too late to walk a different way. We meet up in the purse department. “Hey how are you?” She said with hesitation. “Good, how are you?” I replied. I didn’t know where this conversation was going. I left the apartment on bad terms but since then T was out of her life, maybe we could salvage our friendship. That was a big “maybe” “Good”, she replied while she gave me a look. She was looking at me like she was trying to figure something out about me. Did she know my secret? Who told her? She couldn’t possibly know? Was I showing already? And before I could stop myself, I blurted out “I’m pregnant” And there it was. I told her everything. And just like that we were talking like no time had passed. She asked me about the dad and I told her how he left and now his number was disconnected. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. She understood what I was going through–hell, she’d been through it herself.
A few weeks went by and still no word from Ben. I was still hopeful that he would call and eventually come back. He just had to. I would hold onto this hope for as long as I could. We would work it out and be a family. I just knew it. Until then I would do my best on my own– all alone.
The morning sickness began to taper off. I had my 3 month doctor’s appointment where they do the routine blood tests to make sure the baby was healthy. The next day I received a phone call that would require me to be stronger than I ever could have imagined. “Ms. Crider we need you to come in for another blood test. Your tests show that there is too much protein indicating possible Spina Bifida.”