“It’s positive,” said the lady on the other side of the telephone receiver. I was numb. Stone cold. Unable to move or to draw in a new breath.
“Hello!”… said the lab technician. “Ye… yes, thank you,” I said and hurriedly put the phone down. I stared at the floor for countless seconds, time must have stood still. Was I pregnant? I was pregnant (italics)? Call back! My mind screamed at me. There’s a mistake, you can’t be pregnant!
Moments later I heard Suhails voice.
“Babe”…. ” Everything okay?” he asked me. I allowed clouds of silence to pass over us before I spoke. It felt fearful to even say those words out aloud.
“Uhm…. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?” Suhail asked with a concerned frown.
“I’m … Pregnant,” I said awkwardly.
“I mean I don’t think so, but like she said it was positive!” I was rambling and Suhail, Suhail was just staring at me. His mouth unconsciously began to form the curves of a smile. His eyes looked like they were getting lost somewhere in the future. His mind was probably going through the same shock-waves that I was experiencing. His face was priceless. And they usually say that the rest of the story is history or that everyone lived happily ever after, right? Well that’s just on paper. In real life, things never end that way. There’s always so much more to come.
Our minds were frenzied over what to do, what not to do, how to react or when to react. We wondered who to tell first, when to tell our parents and how to tell anyone! We were clueless, lost in the mist of disbelief trying to make it through this unknown fog. We wanted to enjoy every precious second but we were too afraid to even breathe! What if the next breath that we drew in would awaken us from this blissfully beautiful dream?
Eventually, we decided that we would tell Aamina and Shenaz first. We would only tell the two of them for now. They were the closest to us and we wanted to share our good news with them. And so we did that and they reacted just as we did, shock, elation, tears and the praises of Allah rolling off their tongue countless times.
We agreed that we wouldn’t tell our parents just yet. We would wait a little longer. I would wait a few weeks and then I would visit the gynaecologist. Shenaz calculated that by then I should be around 7 or 8 weeks pregnant. The scan would show the fluttering heartbeat and I would be able hear it too. After the doctors visit, only our parents would be told. By 12 weeks we would tell the rest of the world. Again, we rehearsed everything. Human beings, they never do learn do they!
Aamina and Shenaz were both genuinely pleased for Suhail and I and I admit that I felt a pang of guilt for never being happy for them whenever they were pregnant. Like a sack of rocks, the guilt lodged uncomfortably on my chest and I zoned out every now and again questioning myself. I felt despicable, horrible even, but I kept my guilt hidden behind my smile. After five years of married life, I was finally going to be a mummy! I was going to get to buy baby clothes, a pram and a cot and I would get to see my baby on a little black and white screen. These were all awaiting me and I had fantasized about doing them for years.
I couldn’t wait to feel some pregnancy symptoms from nausea to sleepiness to anything that came my way.
“I had morning sickness for 9 months! Make duaa that you don’t get any! Its awful!” Aamina often said this to me. But I didn’t care. I wanted it, I wanted to feel everything at the highest octave. But I still didn’t feel a thing, not even the slightest symptom. Suhail treated me like candyfloss, if he could place me in an encased bottle allowing me to do nothing but carry his baby, that’s what he would do.
Shenaz made an appointment for me with her trusted doctor. I felt awkward about going to a male doctor but she assured me that he was the most amazing man ever. My appointment was booked, Suhail and I were excited beyond explanation. It felt like keeping in a million butterflies that wanted to escape. “Just a little longer and we get to meet Alayna,” I whispered into Suhails chest but he was fast asleep. I giggled to myself. I had heard that sometimes its the father that feels all the pregnancy symptoms and not the mother! How unfair, I thought.
“Okay so you need to keep a memory box for Alayna. You started one right?”
Aamina was trying to school me through my pregnancy.
I retorted sounding clueless! She sighed loudly. “Okay so when you go to the doctor, ask him for a print out of the baby’s ultrasound. Keep it in a pretty little box with everything else like baby’s first socks, the hospital wrist band and stuff like that. You kept the pee stick right? Please tell me that you didn’t throw it away!”
“Didn’t use a pee stick. I had a blood test.”
“Okay, well I kept my pee stick both times. Its so amazing to show them the beginning of this journey one day. Like here’s where everything started”… Aamina spoke with such enthusiaism. I silently vowed to do a urine pregnancy test the next morning, purely for Alayna’s memory box. I wasn’t going to leave anything out. Aamina and I sat under the lapa by the pool, the warm spring air lacing my face and hair and then suddenly I began craving pineapples sprinkled with sugar and salt. Finally! Some pregnancy symptoms had begun.
The next morning I came out of the bathroom in slow shuffled movements, invisible weights attached to me as I dragged my feet, all the blood had been drained from my face.
“What’s wrong?” Suhail asked, concern beginning to crack through his expression, his instinct to protect was about to explode.
“It’s”….. I looked up at his face. For a split second all I could think was, his smile, he’ll stop smiling like that.
“It’s negative,” I said.
“The test was negative.”
Confusion was spiraling through my mind as I heard myself say those words.
“It must have been a faulty test kit, do another one,” Suhail insisted.
But the next one too was negative. And the five more after them. Was I dreaming? Was it a dream all along? I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. Was this a trick? Was it a joke? How could I not be pregnant when a blood test confirmed that I was and I had skipped my cycle last month.
‘You must be pregnant’, spoke my subconscious mind, ‘blood tests are 100 percent accurate!’
‘Of course you’re not pregnant, you never were, how could YOU of all people be pregnant!’ My mind was tearing me apart and I didn’t know what to do.
I closed my eyes, I drew in a breath but it felt like shards of glass were cutting through my insides. I looked at Suhail, his smile now faded and grey clouds shadowed his face instead, but he looked at me the same way, lost – bewildered and shocked.
Is Suraya pregnant?
Was she pregnant or not all this time? What’s the explanation for her negative test result?
Is there still a baby on the way