Friday, August 21, 2009

The Pregnant Pause

It’s great to re-discover the things that make your city wonderful. The best way to do that, I’ve found, is through the eyes of someone visiting for the first time.

I’ve lived in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for almost six years. Finally, after all this time, Sydney was able to visit me here. Due to the fact that the woman is busier than God and spent five years producing a fashion show held in August, I was always the one to head to Seattle to visit her. But finally, she moved on from the show, finished school, came back form her honeymoon, and booked her flight to my neck of the woods.

We had some pretty awesome plans for our weekend together. I was going to take her to my favorite Mediterranean restaurant on Friday night, The White House Grill, where they use more garlic than should be humanly possible. Saturday we’d go to Art on the Green, the annual art festival held at the park downtown, and then I’d show her all my favorite wine bars and get the details of the London honeymoon she just returned from. I booked us a Sunday Brunch lake cruise the following morning, and then we’d do her favorite thing until she flew home: shopping.

Sydney and I have never spent time together without some sort of unexpected adventure occurring. I should’ve known better than to think our weekend in Idaho would be any different.

I picked her up on Friday and, as planned, we stuffed ourselves full of Greek food. Although I had seen her weeks before when I had performed her wedding ceremony, there was much to catch up on. She’d just spent two weeks touring London, I had scored a new writing gig, and as always, we had gossip to share.
On Saturday, we were off to Art on the Green as planned. It was incredibly crowded and ridiculously hot outside, but we had fun browsing through the crafts and finding gifts. Syd also discovered a new love: Hawaiian Shaved Ice. She couldn’t get enough.

When we’d had all of the intense heat we could take, we decided to head back to my house to get ready for our night out. But first, we made a little stop at Walgreens. Sydney wanted to get a pregnancy test- just for reassurance. After all, she had just returned from a lengthy honeymoon and said she’d feel better about drinking once she “passed” the test. I understood completely. Who hasn’t peed on a stick for peace of mind once or twice in their life?

We decided on the EPT, because you can’t get any clearer than “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” Then we went to my house, Sydney did her thing, and we discussed our evening plans.

“Go check my stick, Jess,” Sydney commanded. “A martini is starting to sound really good!”
I went into the bathroom, picked up the stick, and laughed. It was a picture of an open book. Somehow, there had been an error. Fortunately, we’d purchased the EPT value pack with two tests. I crammed Sydney full of water, and she did her thing again.

While we waited, Sydney pulled up a YouTube video of her husband’s bachelor party, which he and his friends called Man Day. They had taken a tour of the Seattle Seahawk training facility, played some sports, and of course, had some beer. I was reminded, again, of what a great guy Jeff is and how perfect he is for my Sydney.

Then the timer I had set beeped (we weren’t taking any more chances).
“Here it goes,” I said to Sydney and Mr. W, who were waiting on the couch. “Let’s go make sure we can drink tonight!”

I walked into the bathroom and picked up the test. And then time stood completely still as I read the word, clear as day: Pregnant.

My heart stopped beating as I stood there in complete shock, holding Sydney’s future in my hand, reading the word over and over. My mind and body refused to work. I was paralyzed. It occurred to me that I was literally the only person in the world who knew this secret.

Then Sydney’s worried voice brought me back to reality: “Jessica? Jessica! What’s with the pause? Get out here!”

The walk down the hallway back to the living room was the longest of my life. Tears flooded my eyes. I couldn’t speak. Without a word, I handed her the test.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!” Sydney was shrieking. All at once, I could move again. I raced over to my purse, took out money, and handed it to Mr. W.

“Walgreens! Now!” I yelled. “We need another test!”

Mr. W sprang into action like a champ, heading for the door as Sydney and I stared at each other in shock, and finally, began to laugh.

“I hope it’s a girl!”
“Of course it will be a girl.”
“Holy shit!”
“Sydney, you finally come visit me… and you’re knocked up!”
“I know! Holy shit!”

Before we knew it, Mr. W had returned with another set of tests. They only confirmed what we already knew: we were having a baby.

When the shock wore off, we finally headed to dinner, where I had the martini Sydney couldn’t- hey, after that, I needed a drink! We toasted with water, had a delicious dinner, and told the live jazz band our news. The band played Sydney a special song, and there were more tears.

Turns out, Sydney and Jeff had decided to “let nature take its course,” thinking it would take at least a few months. It doesn’t really surprise me that it didn’t. When Sydney says she is going to do something, she does it and she does it now. Even the girl’s eggs are motivated.

Instead of drinking at wine bars wearing cute dresses, we found ourselves on my couch in pajamas eating ice cream and watching Knocked Up. It was the kind of Saturday night that would’ve bored us to tears five years ago, but neither of us could’ve asked for a more amazing day.

We did our brunch cruise on Sunday and we did shop- for baby books. Some women immediately purchase What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Not Sydney. She went right for The Little Black Book of Hollywood Baby Secrets. We also got a book for Jeff, which we’d later wrap with the positive tests and a little pink outfit that said “I Love Daddy.”

Sydney didn’t fly out of Spokane until 7:40 PM. I am certain that Sunday was the longest day of her life, but she was a trooper, walking around the park with me and having appetizers and “mocktails” at happy hour. Finally, I took her to the airport and made her promise to call me when she’d broken the news to Jeff.

I have been blessed with many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in the 27 years I’ve been alive. I have met some of my favorite celebrities, traveled to amazing places, and experienced things some never will. I can honestly say that nothing compared to being a part of yet another milestone in my best friend’s life. I’m so grateful I got to be there when it happened, because a phone call wouldn’t have been the same.

It’s still very surreal. I’m just getting over the emotional high from her wedding, and now I’m going to watch her become a mother. I know she and Jeff are ready. This is the next step in life they both wanted to take. My friend who used to take me out to Seattle nightclubs until 2 am is now going to be doing 2 am feedings. That little honeymoon baby is going to be loved, cherished, and spoiled by her godmother Jessica Lee. The test didn’t give us the reassurance we were hoping for. It gave us so much more. While it wasn’t at all what we expected, Sydney and I agree that her first visit to Idaho was completely unforgettable.


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