Finding out you’re pregnant is filled with emotions. For some it’s positive, for others it’s negative. For Lisa and me, it definitely was one of the happiest days of our lives!
We had planned to try to have a kid after I graduated with my PhD. But it wasn’t all glorious and fun.
Getting pregnant was filled with confusion, but not for the usual reasons. See, being an American living in Sweden, I needed to leave the country to apply for a working visa, or in my case, a visiting researcher visa, as soon as I graduated with my PhD. Prior till now, I only had a student visa.
So, while everyone was celebrating my graduation, all I could think about was that I would have to leave my job(s), my home, and most importantly, my girlfriend. I had two job offers, but those would need to have a later starting date. It was time to leave the country.
Luckily, getting a visiting researcher visa went quickly. We were told that it could be as quick as 10 days, but in three days, I had a decision.
I met my girlfriend and another friend (my only [and best] friend with a car) at the airport. We were all eager to greet each other and had a lovely conversation about being reunited (even though it had only been a week).
After that, life continued like normal.
“My butt is too big. My boobs are hurting. I need to go to the gym more often,” Lisa said one evening.
“Yes, let’s do that,” I replied.
Off we went.
We then spent the next few weeks biking around Uppsala. My girlfriend was competing in the Tjej (Women’s) Swedish Classic. Having already finished the swimming, running, and cross country skiing portions, all she needed to do was complete a 100km bike race, and the Classic medal would be hers.
So we started logging the km’s. And getting sore butts.
Then one day at the end of May (25th):
“Mike, I’m late,” Lisa said nervously. “What do you think we should do? Should I take a test? Should I wait? Should I take a test?”
Knowing that she gets into a panic-like state from time-to-time, I wasn’t bothered.
“Look, if you want to do a pregnancy test, I wouldn’t say don’t do it. But we only had one chance for you to be pregnant–my graduation night. Because after that I’ve been gone.”
“Ya, I know. So it’s probably just the stress I’m having. Or maybe that I just got off the pill three weeks ago.”
Later that night she went off to buy a test. She came back with three. One would not be sufficient, apparently. The box read that you get the best results in the morning.
“Will you take the test in the morning,” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied as she contemplated her options. “Maybe I’ll just wait a bit and see. My cycles are probably just delayed.”
The next morning, I was pounced on. It was 6:15am. It wasn’t that I was half asleep; it was that I was used to Lisa jumping on me in the morning as she gives me kisses goodbye before heading off to Stockholm.
“Michael,” she said cautiously.
I instantly reacted to her tone. It wasn’t the way she’d say goodbye.
“I think we’re pregnant!” she hesitantly said, while showing off her pregnancy test.
Words then started cascading out of her mouth. With so much speed and earnestness. All I remember is that she went into great detail about how quickly the results showed up.
And I just as quickly responded, pointing out to her that she did the testing all on her own. Without me present. I wasn’t included.
My first experience of becoming a father, and I already experienced the “closed gate” of maternal gatekeeping.
But oh wells–we’re pregnant!
And pictures need to be taken to show how our bodies will change over the next 40(ish) weeks.
A couple of weeks later, Lisa went on to compete and finish the biking leg of the Tjej Swedish Classic….pregnant!