Ada didn't believe what she was seeing. Two lines? "How is that even possible?" she thought. "I can't be pregnant. Not now, not just yet."
She took another home pregnancy test and another and yet another. Those two lines refused to budge. Suddenly, she felt like her world had just collapsed. Coming out of the bathroom, she went to sit on the bed.
"How do I handle this? This is definitely not part of the plan," she thought. “How did this even happen?"
She had been using oral contraceptives for three months so when she had started feeling very tired and sleepy for no reason, it hadn't crossed her mind that she could be pregnant. She had only resumed work a month ago so she had thought that had been the reason for the bone-crushing exhaustion she had been experiencing lately. Her husband's cologne had made her nauseous yesterday, as they had dressed for work. It had hit her then that her period had been delayed by over a week. The past weeks had been really busy at work so she had not noticed that fact. Ada's cycle had always been regular so, for the first time, the possibility of a pregnancy had crossed her mind. Without telling him her suspicions, she had bought five pregnancy test strips from the pharmacy on her way home from work yesterday. She had been afraid of what she would discover so she had waited till today to run a test.
A sharp, piercing cry interrupted her musing. Her five-month old son had just woken up. Ada had decorated his nursery by herself, while she was pregnant with him and it was a very beautiful one but she didn't want him sleeping there till he was a bit older. She always wanted him close to her, as often as possible so, he still slept in his parents’ room. Going quickly to his cot, she picked the baby up and discovered that her son needed a diaper change. Carefully and efficiently, she undressed him and dealt with his dirty diaper. No matter how many times she had touched his bare skin, she still marveled at how very smooth and soft it was. Talking gently to him, she nursed the now-happy baby.
The baby was still nursing when Michael came into the room. He came over to the bed and sat with them, draping his arm over his wife’s shoulders. He cooed to their son who looked at his father with big, brown eyes. When he realized that his wife was unusually quiet, Michael looked into her face and saw the worry there.
"What is the matter, babe?" he asked her. Getting no response from her, Michael said, "Ada, talk to me, okay. Is there any problem that I don't know about?"
In a small voice, she replied, "I'm pregnant."
He quickly removed his arm from her shoulders and stood immediately. Shocked, he said, “But, you're on the pill. How can you be pregnant?"
"Sweetie, I have no clue."
"I thought they were reliable."
"Apparently, they're not."
"We cannot have a baby now because the timing is just so wrong," Michael said. "It'll alter a lot of the plans we have made for our lives. We're still trying to adapt to having one child. We’re still trying to make sense of the sleepless nights, the numerous lifestyle changes, and all the huge responsibilities that come with having someone so young depend on us. Moreover, David is just five months and still breastfeeds! Have you thought about how having another child so soon after David is going to stretch our finances? We would have to get another nanny for the new baby by the time you have to go back to work and the only way we can afford that is if our standard of living were to drop. Ada, no way are we doing this."
"What exactly are you saying, Michael? Did you just indirectly tell me that we would abort our child? Was that you talking so flippantly about terminating the pregnancy or was that someone else? Did you just suggest that because having another child now is inconvenient, we should just go ahead and kill our child? How can you even suggest a thing like that while sitting this close to your son?'
"Listen, babe. I'm only laying down the facts as they are. We, definitely, cannot have this child! Maybe, you didn't take the pills the way you were supposed to. That, most likely, is why we are in this mess."
Ada was still reeling from Michael’s suggestion of an abortion so when he placed the blame for the second child on her, she was at a loss for words. She really didn't known why she had become pregnant. She had thought about that as soon as she realized that she was pregnant again and still couldn't come up with a reason. Looking back, she didn't remember ever skipping a dose or taking the pills inappropriately. "I can't do this now, please. Neither of us is thinking rationally at the moment," she said now. "Can we discuss this later?"
"I am thinking very rationally. You're not," Michael replied and stormed out of the room.
A week and many arguments later, they finally come to a conclusion on the matter; Ada was going to abort the pregnancy. No matter how she had felt about it, initially, she now agreed with him.
After David's birth, Ada hadn't been able to get a nanny before her maternity leave was over so, she had sought approval for an extension of her leave, by a month, on compassionate grounds. She had not been paid for the extra month she took.
In the months since she was away from work, a lot of changes had been made in the organization she worked in and she was at a point in her career where she could not afford to take time off again to go have another baby.
Michael and Ada had made a lot of changes in their lifestyle for one baby. Two babies, both of them finally agreed, they might not be able to deal with. David’s nanny didn’t live-in so she went home every evening as soon as either of his parents came home from work. She didn’t also work on weekends so David’s parents now had a social life that had become almost non-existent as a result of the amount of time they had to spend with their son. They had been looking forward to him getting older so that they could get back into the swing of things. Both of them couldn't see that happening if they had a second baby so soon after his first birthday.
When they went to a private clinic for the pregnancy to be terminated, Ada wanted to know why she had become pregnant even though she had been on the pill. After asking her some questions, the doctor discovered that some weeks ago, Ada had experienced a mild case of a urinary tract infection and had been on a short course of antibiotics. The doctor speculated that the drug interactions might have reduced the effectiveness of the oral contraceptives Ada had been taking.
"Before abortions are carried out in this hospital, we carry out ultrasound scans. This is because we have to know the stage of the pregnancy. This is to enable us determine the type of treatment to be used," the doctor said. "There are different procedures for terminating a pregnancy but the one used is dependent on the stage of the pregnancy. So, when you're done with the scan, we would know if and how to proceed with a termination."
Ada and her husband refused going for a pre-abortion counselling offered by the hospital because their minds were made up. They just wanted it over so that they could go home.
During the scan, while the sonographer was viewing the screen of the ultrasound machine, Ada suddenly asked him to turn it to her.
"Babe, there's no need for that," Michael said. "You don't have to put yourself through that."
The sonographer hesitated, looking from Ada to Michael and back to Ada.
"Turn it to me, please," Ada repeated.
The man turned the screen to Ada and when she saw what she had been looking for, she burst into tears. "Come, my love. Come see our baby," she told her husband, reaching out a hand to him.
Michael had not wanted to view the screen at all. So, he had taken a seat as far away, from the bed his wife lay on, as possible. In his mind, this was no celebration. It certainly wasn't like when she was pregnant with David when both of them had excitedly looked at their tiny son on a screen. But, he went to Ada still because he knew that his wife needed him. He was very determined to do whatever he could to help her get through what they had come to do.
As soon as he looked at the screen, he saw exactly what she had. That was some sight. He then understood why she was crying when he saw their baby's heart pulsating very strongly. He could clearly see that proof of life. The pregnancy couldn't possibly have been over seven weeks old then but the baby was already fighting to live.
"Why should I be the one to take the decision that would end this life?" Michael asked himself and with tears rolling down his face, he said to his wife, 'We're having our baby!"
It was three a.m. and Ada had been pacing the floor of their living room for the past hour. Her hospital bag was just by the door. Michael had been amazing all through her pregnancy but she knew he just might fall apart as soon as he knew she was in labour. So, she hadn't wanted to wake him till they absolutely needed to be on their way to the hospital. However, unlike her experience with David, this baby seemed to be in a hurry to be born.
Her request for a maternity leave had been turned down because her employers said that she couldn't take another three months leave less than a year after she had resumed work, after the last maternity leave. If there was no favourable resolution, Ada would, most likely, resign from her employment.
Ada and Michael knew that for a while, they might experience some financial setbacks. But they knew that they were in this together. Their love for each other and their children would pull them through any challenges they faced. That was their decision. That, was the vow they made to each other.
"Wake up, sweetie," she said, shaking Michael gently. "It's time."
As he woke, another contraction hit her and she groaned. He didn't need to be told that he had to be alert, immediately. He quickly jumped out of the bed because he knew that he had to dress up in a hurry. As he was about walking past his wife, he stopped.
He bent to her very pregnant belly and kissed it. He whispered, "See you soon, princess."