It was 3 a.m. and I woke up in cold sweats. I had been having nightmares for a few months now, but this dream was different. I was being haunted by flashbacks in my dream, but this was something new, and so vivid it scared me – but also ridiculous: “there’s no way I could be pregnant,” I thought.
As I write this, my eyes blurry by tears and my heart pounding with pain, I can still see what I saw and feel what I felt that morning. I was terrified. “I’m so old.” “I’m about to file for divorce.” “A baby can’t be born from such a horrible experience.”
Eventually, I was able to calm myself down. I told myself it was just a different kind of nightmare. I thought I was just excited that my nephew was going to be born that day – and I needed to get myself together so I could be part of it. My new friend, Sandra, had recommended a meditation app to help me fall asleep, so I decided to press play, after I prayed that I could forget this triggering dream.
My alarm rang at 4:30 a.m., as usual. Shortly after, I kissed the girls good-bye as they went off to their daily religion class. I hadn’t been myself for months now, so they didn’t notice anything different. By the time they came back, a little after 7 a.m., I was a mess. I just couldn’t shake the idea that I could be pregnant and I didn’t want to tell them how that could be.
“I had a dream that it’s not just my PTSD acting up, I’m actually pregnant.” They laughed. I don’t blame them. When my friend Roberto had asked me if I was sure I wasn’t pregnant a few weeks before when he called to check on me, I joked that I’d have to write a new book called “how to get pregnant by immaculate conception” because I’d been abstinent for such a long time. I was in such denial – and I just couldn’t break their hearts telling them what I’d endured.
Elisha was devastated. Elyssa was angry. They both said “mom, don’t worry… it’s just a dream. You’re not pregnant.” Elisha had insisted for a couple of months that I was going through menopause. She had looked up the symptoms and was certain that’s what I was going through. I started to wish she was right.
I sent a message to my brother, Ele. He works nights, but woke up earlier that day and he made himself available to listen to my crazy dream and irrational fears. He is my safe place when life feels unbearable and I need to be reminded why it makes sense to go on. He was validating, encouraging, and funny, as usual, so I felt better and decided to get up, get ready, and not get a pregnancy test.
The day went by quickly as we waited for the news and we were excited: my nephew was born healthy and my sister was okay and extremely happy. We headed to the hospital and it was such a joyous day. But I couldn’t take the dream off my head, and I decided that I would take the pregnancy test just to have peace of mind because, hey, it was either PTSD or menopause, whatever, but wasn’t pregnant.
I went down to my car to do a client call and Elisha came downstairs with me and pointed to a pharmacy across the street. I’m helping this delightful man write the story of his life for his 90th birthday, so as I conducted an interview with him, Elisha went and got the goods. Funny thing is they thought the pregnancy test was for her and she was a bit embarrassed, but we both agreed the judgmental look was worth it.
When I was done with the call, Elisha took a picture of me for Ele before we headed upstairs. We knew I wasn’t really pregnant, so why not have a little fun with it?
Once in the bathroom, Elisha asked “are you going to cry if it’s negative?” I wanted to say “No way!” but I looked her in the eye and said “Yes,” because every single time I’ve taken a pregnancy test in the past, I wanted a baby. I love babies… I do!
I peed on the little stick and within seconds, both lines turned redish-pink. I can’t accurately describe what I felt. I thought I was starting to have a panic attack and I couldn’t stop crying.
Elisha kept saying she didn’t believe it yet and so we agreed that we would get a second opinion the next day. A blood test would sure tell us the actual truth. We were both a lot calmer after coming to that conclusion and we went to see the others in the labor and delivery floor.
When I saw Elyssa, my knees were weak and I started to sob again. Minutes after, my family heard the news. My sister had just had a baby and she was still encouraging me. In my dream, someone told me I hadn’t found out I was pregnant so I wouldn’t “steal her thunder.” Eleyrin thought it was a prank. I think everyone was as shocked as I was.
The morning after, Elisha went with me to a pregnancy clinic. I had received a letter a few weeks earlier saying that my now ex had been once again fired from his job – a usual and barely surprising event, but one that meant I was still trying to figure out new health insurance for the girls and I.
I felt nervous, overtired, and weak, and I was definitely sorely unprepared for what I was about to face. Checking a few boxes never made me feel so low. I was finally admitting what I couldn’t bring myself to say out loud.
We proceeded to do the testing and I was crying the whole 30 minutes we waited. She came back to say the words I feared: you’re pregnant! I can’t remember if she congratulated me, but I felt her support, compassion, and understanding as she said some words of encouragement and handed me a folder with “resources that could help.”
Now it was time for a sonogram, to figure out how far along I was. It’s weird for me to say this, but this is when I really understood that I was having a baby! I fell in love at first sight. The ultrasound tech had to switch arms because this baby was moving so much! She said I was almost 13 weeks pregnant and I’d be due October 20th, but with that “gymnast baby,” we could have gotten an inaccurate measurement.
I felt so guilty. How could I have been 3 months pregnant and not know it? I hadn’t taken any prenatal vitamins! How did I find out about this through a dream? This was insane.
But there it was… this tiny little thing that would call me mom and whose heartbeat I could hear. I needed to be strong for her… or him. I needed to start over – and thankfully, I’m not a stranger to that.
When we got home, Elyssa couldn’t believe it. Eliana cried so much when I told her and she said it was the best day of her life. She had been “praying for a baby brother for years and years,” she says.
I was still in shock, but felt a renewed sense of hope. I had been a single mom to the girls all along, so I could – and I can – do this. There was one thing I was dreading though – telling my ex.
And now a sidebar with the frequently asked questions: How far along are you? Was it a surprise? Is it a boy or a girl? What do you want it to be? What does hubby want? Wait, what?-Is it his? Does he know? And the change of subject follow up question: But the girls are excited, right?
There have been quite a few of those who have insisted the pregnancy may be a sign that I must get back together with the father, but I am simply done being a married single mom, feeling lonely and invisible, dealing with the aftermath of someone else’s addictions, and being called “ugly,” and “fat,” and yet being used like an object, without consent.
I don’t think that God loves this kind of “marriage” or deems it worth saving – but I do believe He loves me and my daughters and wants us to be happy and safe. I am at peace knowing that I tried everything and gave my all, and I am proud of the kind of wife I’ve been.
Since we hadn’t seen him or heard from him in quite a while, I sent him a Facebook message, which he acknowledged receiving. That was the last message I’ve gotten from him.
I had to cancel all my trips and speaking engagements for Summer and Fall – even international ones, like Australia and Costa Rica, which was sad to do, and also worrisome because I am now a single mom of 4 and still the sole provider and supporter for my daughters.
Many people ask me how they can help and I think it’s simple: subscribe to my blog, visit it often and share it with others, use my affiliate link when you shop on Amazon, engage with the brands I partner with – the usual.
I’ve been taking my prenatal vitamins, which have turned my discomfort into full-fledged nausea. Thankfully, this is the first time I’ve been able to hold down my food while pregnant, I’ve gained some weight, and Iron levels seem good, too!
When I finally felt ready to announce my pregnancy to the world, I confess I was sad that my baby wouldn’t have a memory of a mom and a dad both proud to announce the new addition to the family, but the girls and I are so in love with this little one that we made it memorable and fun for all of us. I didn’t include any captions because I just really didn’t know what to say.
Soon after, I was at Mom 2.0 and even though I was disappointed that someone bailed and those plans fell through, I ended up being surrounded by friends that reminded me I am loved, accepted, and included. Mitch always knows what to say to make me smile (and cry a little bit, too), and Jeannette’s encouragement was especially healing. I even met Melissa, who went through pregnancy as a single mom, as well!
Even amidst all the pain, the baby joy has given me strength I didn’t think I had left in me, even though some expect the opposite because I’m “older” now.
It makes me happy that it’s the first time anyone in my family has seen me pregnant and that my brother was able to come to an appointment with my nurse midwife and see the baby and hear his or her heartbeat.
I also feel blessed that I made new friends that aren’t too far (Mark, Andrea, and their family). Fort Worth has been a lonely place for us and I’ve considered moving away for a while – maybe back to Florida, maybe back to California, or even back to the Dominican Republic. It’s only a matter of time.
Through the all-day-sickness and going through a roller coaster of emotions (and you know how I feel about roller coasters!), I feel immense joy because through being a mom, I have been able to make sense of what didn’t, heal what was broken, and find purpose in pain.
My baby girl is the light in the darkness. Yes, it’s a girl – and yes, I’m registered. Her organs look great, she’s very active and weighs about 8 ounces. Her name is Elydia, which means “Light of God” and honors my grandmother Lidia, a woman I’ll always admire and someone who made sure I felt loved when I thought I was unlovable. My family members don’t love the name, but they’ll get used to it.
And that’s the truth about my best and worst pregnancy. Whenever I share the full story with someone that cares about me, the reactions range from joy, concern, sadness, anger, and love – and those feelings mirror my own journey. It started out with a nightmare and in the worst possible way, but I embrace the miracle to be a mom again and to welcome Elydia to the world with arms and heart wide open – it is truly the best!
What are the worst thing and the best thing about being pregnant? Share your pregnancy story in the comments below!