"Patrick could turn out to be a very good father and husband for you one day."
“You see—" I couldn’t even begin finishing my sentence before I choked up in a mess of tears.
“You see—" I tried to say again. And I looked over at Kristine and Todd, my two sweet and super supportive godparents, and both of them were eagerly looking back at me, waiting for the big news it was so critical that I shared with them right now.
The waiter brought over a pitcher of margarita someone had placed an order for and started pouring everyone an ice-cold glass of the neon-green mix. I pushed my drink away but not fast enough as Kristine raised her glass to toast my engagement.
“Well, congratulations Missy. This is all very exciting—" she said as our glasses clinked in celebration.
“Wait,” I couldn’t bear to keep the secret inside of me any longer. "Kristine, Todd, I’m pregnant,” I blurted like spitting out water after almost drowning. “Patrick and I are pregnant. That is why we are getting married.” Please don’t cry, not now but I couldn’t help it and tears rolled down my face as if I were the windshield of a car going through a car wash. My unexpected pregnancy was all still so emotional for me, and my engagement to Patrick? There was no ring, no proposal…it was all out of necessity to make things better for us. I wanted to marry him in hopes that our paper union will somehow repair and strengthen the love that was so badly splintered. There I sat, now uncontrollable sobbing, next to Carly and across from my godparents and I was certain I could feel my baby’s heart beating inside of me bump-bump bump-bump, its innocent cry for life leaving me more sad than ever. What have I gotten myself into?
“Wow, Missy. Wow. I don’t know what to say. I guess this is even more reason to celebrate…so don’t cry. Congratulations,” Kristine tried to soothe even though she herself couldn’t hide how taken back she was by the news. “How are your parents taking this? How far along are you?”
“My parents were angry at first,” I explained in between hiccups, “but they are much better now. They just want to support me and help me with the wedding. We don’t have an exact date yet but it will be sometime end of this year or early next. I’m ten weeks now so we don’t want to wait too long.”
“Good, Missy. You know Todd and I are here for you, too. I had my qualms about Patrick at first but overtime, I can see how he is good for you. Who knows at work so far?” Work…right. The place where Patrick and I met. The place where Kristine is the HR director. The place where we are all still working, the very small office space where gossip runs rampant like fleas on a stray dog.
“Well, we’ve told very few people but on accident I had to tell your assistant Lonnie…but she knows we are talking now,” I said while thinking in my head who else I may have confided in. “Um, other than that, Patrick and I have not really said much yet.”
“That’s good and you definitely want to tell some people in person before they hear about it from everyone else. And you need to tell your department head as soon as possible since they are thinking about promoting you and deserve to know you're going to have a baby because this could affect their plans,” Kristine advised. “I don’t think this will change anything but put something on Kathy’s calendar this week. Trust me, you need to also be thinking for your career.”
I was so wrapped up in my pregnancy that I didn’t even think how my life changes can deter the good things I had going for me at work. Kathy, my boss’ boss, had recently created a new technical writing position that she was championing me for. As much as I didn’t want to have this conversation with her, I knew I had to if I still wanted to be considered for the promotion. I’ve been feeling pretty guilty that I haven’t told anyone in my department about my baby yet even though I’ve already had telltale bouts of morning sickness at work.
I’ve been sneaking in later and later into my office each day because of my utter inability to wake up in the mornings. And when I would finally be at my desk, I would be trembling so severely with nausea that I usually had to keep my head down lest I completely lose it and throw up over my keyboard. My coworkers quickly noticed my curious case of what most people dismissed as a winter bug, and many mornings I would find packets of tea and other flu remedies left at my desk from caring friends hoping I would just beat the darn cold.
Thankfully, it seemed like no one was truly catching on but Ricardo, my officemate, was a bit more suspicious. One day, he finally asked me what mysterious condition has me seemingly heaving no less than fifteen times a day. Oh how I tried to deflect with stories of a really bad cold or some virus even but, “Don’t worry,” I insisted. “This is not something you can catch. You just have to trust me on this one.”
Ricardo, a married man in his thirties with three kids, chuckled at my response and instigated further. “Have you been to the doctor then?”
“Um…yes,” I said because I couldn’t quite lie to him.
“So what is wrong with you? At the rate you’re going, it looks like you will be on your deathbed tomorrow,” he half-joked.
“Okay, Ricky, I have to tell you something. But you have to swear you won’t tell anyone else, not even your wife,” I whispered as I shut our office door. While I’ve always liked his wife, Geena, she also worked with our company (small world) and had a penchant for spreading news that weren’t always hers to share.
“What, you’re pregnant?” He laughed out loud.
“Yes…how’d you know?” I asked.
“I’m just kidding. So what’s wrong with you really?”
“No, Ricky, you guessed it. I’m pregnant.”
“With…Patrick?” I nodded yes and Ricardo rolled his seat back away from me, blowing into his closed fist from disbelief of the news I just shared with him. “Holy crap,” he said after taking a minute to wrap his head around my office space scandal. “I knew something was really off with you lately. You’ve been so weird. Wow, Miss Artemis. The party girl straight-out-of-college that I used to know is forever gone!”
“Heh, thanks. So do you think I should marry Patrick?” I felt this was a fair question to ask Ricardo since he’d been a good mutual friend of ours and I genuinely wanted to know what he thought of my situation.
“Why?” I had to know now.
“Because Patrick could turn out to be a very good father and husband for you one day,” he replied.
* * *
Telling Kristine and Todd about my pregnancy turned out to be a lot less painful than I had worked it up to be in my mind but Kristine did bring up a distressing point: I need to find time to tell Kathy before the news leaked any further.
Kathy, a levelheaded woman in her mid-forties and already running her own department, had kids at a young age, too, but I was shitting-in-my-pants nervous to tell her. Perhaps I was embarrassed or not ready to talk about my situation with people I weren’t close friends with. Most of all, I was scared this would make her change her mind on giving me the writing position I so coveted ever since I first started working at the company.
I inconspicuously reserved half an hour on her calendar but she kept rescheduling for us to meet, something I took as a sign that she had already figured out what I wanted to tell her. Even more nervous now, we finally settled on 2 PM one afternoon and I slinked into her office like a little girl.
“Hiya Missy. How can I help you?” Kathy asked cheerfully as she looked up from her computer.
“Do you need to shut the door?” she offered, sensing my uneasiness.
“Yeah,” I said as I reached for the door behind me.
To be continued...