So I will get back to that story below soon enough, but I wanted to fast forward to 1997... I was 17 years old for the first half of the year, in Grade 11 for second year in a row because partying was way more fun and it was the year my entire life as I knew it changed. First of all, my friends were my life during this time, we had so many fun times together but we were also struggling together. One of us was sick, and though she went into remission and she had seemed to have beat the beast inside her, it came back for another round and she ended up back in the hospital for more treatments.
Meanwhile, I found out through one simple phone call during a house party I was hosting (I hosted many a party at my mother's house while she was out or away) that I had another brother, one who was adopted as a baby in Manitoba and ended up in the US, Mom had never told us about him but he came to find us that year and I ended up talking to him for 2 hours that night on the phone. It was very exciting news and I couldn't wait to tell my Mom when she got home from her trip away. She was surprised that he had found us and even more surprised that I had talked to him for 2 hours on the phone... she was eager to call him too. So she did and subsequently, my Mom, two brothers and I flew to California to meet him, his wife and 6 month old daughter on March Break. I just remember looking at him thinking, wow, he looks just like us! We had a great time in California and even managed to squeeze in some time at Disneyland but my heart was still sore thinking about my friend.
When we came home from meeting my brother, our dear friend's 18th birthday party was held in the hospital so we all piled into our cars and headed into the city to celebrate with her, she was happy to have us all there with her but she was very tired.... that was her last "good" day and on April 16th, 1997, she passed away peacefully after one of the girls did her nails. I always say that she was the best of all of us that all hung out together, one of the most friendly, smart, non judgmental, funny and creative minds I have ever had the pleasure of knowing... she was truly beautiful inside and out... I and many others were sad to see her go.
I can't remember if it was before or after she passed that I was kicked out of high school because the vice principal at the time said I had missed too much school to continue... too many unexcused absences or something like that. He kicked a few of us out around the same time for the same reason... honestly, I think he took pleasure in it, he told me that "I would never amount to anything" which ended up being one of the most profound things anyone has ever said to me. At the time I just thought he was an asshole, in fact, I still kind of do. I didn't care this year, just like I didn't care the last year that I had managed to not get through Grade 11 for the second year in a row. I had more important things to worry about than school like friends, boys and partying... little did I know, there was more in store for me.
As my bestie and I were getting ready to attend our friend's funeral... I put on a shirt that I had just bought the month before in California and I just couldn't understand why it didn't fit, it was too small!! My best friend looked at me and said, "buddy, you're pregnant". Initially I was like... nah... I can't be pregnant, it's not possible! I didn't have any symptoms of being pregnant other than putting on a little bit of weight and even then, I just thought it was from eating too much. She persisted but we had to get to a funeral so we forgot about it for the moment. I don't remember much of the funeral because I had going on in my head... could I really be pregnant? I remember it being very sad, and though it reminded me of my Dad's funeral, it wasn't quite like that... it was more of a celebration of her life and you know what? I think that is a way better way to be sent off to the other side than the way the Roman Catholics do it.
My bestie persisted again the next day that I get a pregnancy test, I gave in even though I didn't believe that I was pregnant... sure enough, it said it was positive. I still did not believe that test and carried on as though I wasn't until I went to the doctor. The doc tested me again and he confirmed what I was so desperately trying to deny... I was pregnant... oh sheeeeit!! He directed me to lay down on the exam table and as he felt around my belly, he said he thought I was around 20 weeks along... 20 WEEKS!?!?! Impossible!!! He sent me in for an ultrasound right away.
The next few days are a blur so I am not sure if I went that day or within the next few, but I got my bestie and another friend to come with me to the ultrasound... still in denial that I was 20 weeks, I refused to look at the screen on the machine attached to a wand looking thing rubbing along my stomach, it was cold and kind of scary. I asked the technician if she could tell how far along I was, she said, "Yes, just need to take a few more measurements" and then after a short silence she said, "It looks like you are about 19 weeks". We were all stunned... I looked at the screen and saw a little person with hands and feet with fingers and toes... I could not believe what I was seeing. After a few moments of being in a stunned state, I asked if she could tell what sex the baby was. She asked if I was sure I wanted to know and with my affirmation said, "It's a boy!"
The ride home was a very quiet one with so many thoughts going through my 17 year old brain... what were my friends going to say? what about my Mom... or worse... what was my brother going to say? what was I going to say!? what was I going to do? how could this happen to me? what the HELL was I going to do? So many things crossed my mind about what I had been doing to my body for the last 19 weeks while a little baby boy was growing inside of me... was he going to be ok? During the first 19 weeks of his little life, I had already been the worst parent ever... was it possible that I could actually be a Mom? Or was I really never going to amount to anything?
... to be continued...