Big girls do it pregnant, p.5
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       Big Girls Do It Pregnant, p.5

         Part #10 of Big Girls Do It series by Jasinda Wilder
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  I watched them perform, watched my husband work the crowd into a frenzy, bringing them in on the crowd-favorite numbers, jumping out into the front rows of the mosh pit at one point, which had my heart in my throat until the security men had him safely onstage once more.

  I wasn't really into the show, though. Not all the way. My mind was on the ultrasound, and whether I really had what it took to be the wife of a rock star when it came time to have the baby. If I went into labor early, would he be able to get there in time? Would he be around for the baby's first smile, first word, first step? Every once in a while I'd catch a pensive look on Chase's face, and I knew he had the same concerns.

  *

  It was the day of the ultrasound, and I'd been fighting tears all day. Chase had called me the day before to tell me he had an interview today and wouldn't be at the appointment. I knew it was silly. I knew it was just an ultrasound. At least, that was what I told myself to keep myself calm. He'd be here if he could.

  Right? It was hard not to question everything, with the way my emotions were running rampant.

  I sat in the waiting room, reading through old text conversations between Chase and me, just to feel any kind of a connection with him. My heart was in my throat, my eyes burning.

  A nurse in maroon scrubs called my name, and I followed her down a short hallway, where she weighed me, and then ushered me into a dimly lit room. I slid onto the elevated chair, my phone clutched in my fist, waiting for the technician.

  My phone buzzed in my hand and I slid the green icon across the "lock" screen to open the thread.

  You have wifi access right now?

  I went through the requisite steps to access the guest wifi for the doctor's office, and then texted him back. Yep. Why?

  The three dots in a gray bubble appeared, and his response came through a few seconds later. I put the interview on hold until after your appointment. FaceTime me.

  I put my hand over my mouth and held back a sob. He'd found a way to be here anyway. I sucked in a deep breath to calm myself, hating how emotional I was all the time. I'd never been the kind of girl to cry at every little thing, so this was especially frustrating, since I couldn't stop it. The technician came in and sat down in her chair, greeting me. She was a thin, younger woman with black hair cut in a short bob, and she had the coldest hands I'd ever felt.

  The nurse tapped at the keyboard, slid my shirt up, and lined the waistband of my yoga pants with a white towel before slathering the frigid blue goo on my belly.

  "Is it okay if I have my husband on the phone with me for this?" I asked her. "He couldn't be here for the appointment, but he wants to be involved."

  "Sure," the technician responded without looking away from her screen.

  I tapped the FaceTime button on my phone, and after a few rings, Chase's face appeared on the screen of my iPhone. I smiled at him, and we talked about the upcoming interview for Spin. When the nurse began sliding the wand across my stomach, Chase asked me to show him what was going on. I turned the phone around and showed him to the nurse, who flashed him a distracted and slightly irritated smile, which turned to awe when she realized who he was. I showed him the ultrasound equipment, and then focused on the screen showing the baby.

  The nurse hit a key, and the room was filled with the distorted thumpthump--thumpthump of the heartbeat, and Chase gave a choked laugh at the sound.

  "Is that the heartbeat?" he asked.

  "Yes," the nurse replied. "And it's a good one. Right in the middle of the best range. I'm gonna see if I can get a good shot at the gender now."

  I swiveled the phone so I could see Chase, and felt love for him ripple through me at the emotions I saw written on his features.

  "Where are you?" I asked him.

  "I'm in the hotel room in Columbus," he replied. "The guys are all down in the conference room, waiting for the interview to start."

  "Oh, here, look!" The nurse pointed at the screen, holding the wand low on my belly at an angle.

  I turned the phone so Chase could see the monitor clearly. There was a blob of white against grainy black, moving and shimmering as the baby wiggled inside me. I couldn't make anything out at first, but then I realized what I was seeing.

  "It's a girl, Chase, you see it?" My throat was thick as I spoke, and I mentally cursed the damned emotions.

  "I see, baby. I see. It's a girl. Our daughter." He was equally as emotional, so I didn't feel as embarrassed by my own.

  I turned the phone back to me, seeing a single tear streak down Chase's face. "Goddamn it, Jay. I wish I was there with you. We're having a daughter. A baby girl." He wiped his face and forced a laugh out. "It didn't seem really real until now, you know? Seeing it there on the screen made it...god. Fuck, I'm really going to be a father." He scrubbed his palm over his scalp, which was now darkened by growing hair.

  "I know what you mean," I said. "I knew it was real because I'm the one with the baby growing inside me, but this makes it all the more real."

  "Do you guys have a name picked out?" the nurse asked.

  "We've discussed a few," I said. "He likes Beth, and I like Samantha, after my grandmother. We haven't decided yet."

  "Actually," Chase cut in, "I've been thinking, and I want to go with Samantha. Sam."

  I looked at him in surprise, seeing the satisfaction cross his face. "Are you sure?"

  "Yeah, I'm sure." He smiled at me, and I wished I could run my fingers down his cheek. "Samantha Delany. It's got a great ring to it, don't you think?"

  I could only nod until I had control of myself. So damn emotional. Ugh. I sucked in a deep breath and smiled at him. "Yeah, it does. Sam Delany." I laughed. "I knew you'd see things my way."

  "Don't I usually?" he asked.

  The nurse smiled at our conversation as she continued to tap keys and shift the wand. "The rest of the appointment is just taking measurements and stuff. I heard Dad mention an interview, so if you have to go, you won't be missing anything dramatic."

  I blew a kiss at the phone. "Call me after the interview," I said.

  "I will," Chase said. "I've been told I have a couple days between shows after Columbus, so I'm going to fly back. We'll do the nursery all in pink or whatever you want then, okay?"

  I said goodbye, and we hung up. As the appointment wound down, I found myself alternating between a confusing welter of emotions. I was ecstatic at the thought of having a daughter, and I was so grateful to Chase for making the effort to be as involved as possible in the ultrasound; on the other hand, I was still terrified.

  I stopped in the hallway as the thought hit me. I'd been skirting it for a while, but now it was out there. I was terrified. I'd never had to take care of anyone but myself. Even now that I was married to Chase, I was still basically independent most of the time. I'd held babies on a handful of occasions, when friends had them, but that was it. I had never interacted with a baby for longer than ten or fifteen minutes.

  And Chase would be gone for much of it.

  Could I do this?

  I managed to make it home before the emotions overtook me. I sobbed in the bathroom for nearly an hour, only pulling myself out of it when my phone rang. I stared at the screen with the picture of Chase, trying to suck down the tears and rub away the redness. He'd still know I'd been crying, but there was nothing for it.

  I sniffed, wiped my face, and slid the "answer" key across the screen. "Hi, baby."

  "What's wrong, Jamie?" His voice was soft with concern.

  "Nothing. Just hormones." I knew he wouldn't buy it, but I didn't want him to worry.

  "Oh, come on, Jay. Don't feed me horseshit. What's up?"

  I sighed. "Just...it's hard, sometimes."

  "What is?"

  "Having you gone." My voice was tiny, hesitant. "I know I signed up for it when I married you, and I love what you do. I'm so proud of you, but--it's just hard sometimes is all."

  I heard Chase sigh, a deep, soulful sound. "I know, Jay. It's hard for me, too, you know t
hat, right? I hate being away from you. I hate that I wasn't there with you in the office today. I hate that I'll probably miss other big stuff while I'm gone." His voice strengthened. "I can make you this promise, though: I will be there with you when Samantha is born. I don't care if I have to walk off stage in the middle of a show--I'll be there. You have my word."

  I nodded, even though he couldn't see me. "Okay. Thank you." I heard people in the background calling his name. "You should go. I love you. Call again when you can."

  "I will. Love you. 'Bye." And he was gone.

  I put my hand over my belly, picturing a girl with curly black hair and brown eyes. "We can do this, can't we, Samantha?"

  As if she'd heard me, I felt a flutter in my belly, and then a sharp poke. My hand clapped over my mouth, and I sobbed in a hiccuping laugh as I realized I'd just felt my first kick.

  I was really, actually, factually having a baby. A real live human being was going to come out of my hoo-ha.

  Oh, shit.

  Chapter 3: ANNA

  I watched Chase and Jeff standing awkwardly side by side, Miller Lites in hand, their faces locked in matching rictuses of agony. Jamie's mother-in-law shrieked particularly loudly when Jamie unwrapped the third set of onesies with cute little sayings like "Mommy's little monster" on them. Chase rubbed his forehead with the rim of his beer bottle at his mother's high-pitched squeals of excitement.

  "Chase! Look!" Kelly Delany said, rushing over to her son. "This one says 'Daddy's Girl' on it! Isn't it just adorable!"

  Chase stifled a sigh. "Yes, Mom, it's adorable. It's as adorable as the last fifty-seven I've seen. They're all adorable."

  Kelly shot her son a scathing glare. "Well, don't sound so enthusiastic. I wouldn't want you to get overexcited or anything. It's not like you're about to be a father or anything."

  Chase spoke into his beer bottle. "I'm excited to have a baby, Mom. What I'm not excited about is sitting around watching a bunch of women squawk about diapers and trade breastfeeding secrets."

  Kelly huffed. "Then why are you here?"

  Chase rolled the side of the bottle across his forehead. "I don't know, Mom. Someone told me I had to be here." He shot a dirty look at Jamie. "I've always sort of thought baby showers were a women-only thing. Guess I was wrong."

  Jamie sighed. "Fine, leave, then. I just thought you would want to share in this experience." She gave him the dirty look right back. "Guess I was wrong."

  "Fuck me," Chase muttered. "Don't turn this into something it's not. I'm excited for the baby, Jay. I couldn't care less about diapers and bizarre little shirts that snap together under her ass. I don't know."

  Jay glared at him, then relented. "Fine. You're such a guy, Chase."

  "Well, no shit," he muttered. "Was it the cock that gave it away, or the balls?"

  I nearly snorted diet Coke out of my nose at that.

  "It was the fact that you're a jackass, I'm pretty sure. Or the giant asshole where your face is supposed to be."

  I did snort soda out my nose at that. "Jay, I'm sorry, but I don't think any guy on earth likes baby showers," I said.

  Jay glared at me. "You're not helping, Anna."

  "Actually, I like baby showers, and I have a cock," Lane--Jamie's GBFF (gay best friend forever)--said, raising his hand.

  "Yeah," I said, "But you don't count. You're basically a girl."

  Lane shrugged. "Yeah. But I'm still male. I'm on both sides with this one."

  I glanced at Jeff. "You want to leave, too?"

  He examined me carefully, then looked around the room and back to me. "You really have to ask?"

  I sighed. "Ugh. Men." I looked at Jamie. "I think we have to let them leave for a while."

  Jay waved her hand without looking up from her phone. "Fine. I already said fine."

  Chase groaned. "But we all know what 'fine' means."

  She clicked the button on the top of her phone to put it to sleep, and then gave Chase a sickly sweet smile. "Yeah, but we wouldn't our men to be bored, would we? Go get drunk or something. Just go."

  Chase set his bottle down and grabbed Jeff by the shoulder, dragging him away and pushing him toward the door. "Let's go now, before they change their minds. God knows we don't want to get stuck playing fucking baby bingo or some shit."

  I laughed at that, then fell silent when Jamie glared at me. Jeff mouthed I love you as Chase dragged him out the door. Jamie stared at the door, then turned back to the stack of wrapped gifts. "We're not playing baby bingo, are we, Jamie?" I asked, suddenly suspicious.

  She huffed, looking offended. "No!" She lifted a box from the floor beside her. "Would I make you play something as dumb as that? We're playing 'pin the sperm on the egg.'"

  I choked on my Coke a third time, spewing it out of my mouth and nose, coughing and laughing. "We're playing what?" Kelly patted me on the back and handed me a paper towel. I patted my yoga pants dry and wiped my face. "Are you serious?"

  Jamie stood up slowly and made her way to a wall, where she had taped a filmy piece of plastic-y material. It was yellow with a cartoon diagram of the female reproductive organs in purple. Along one edge of the uterus was a pink dot with a bizarre smiley face on it. Jamie showed us little black squiggly bits with bulbous heads, fixed with a pin near the head, obviously meant to represent sperm.

  I groaned. "You're serious." I took one of the sperms from Jamie and examined it, shaking my head. "Where did you find this, Jay? And we're not seriously going to play this, are we?"

  Jamie snatched the sperm from my hand and set it neatly in a pile with the others on her coffee table. "I found it online. It looks like fun. There was actual baby bingo, but that's dumb."

  "This isn't dumb?" I demanded.

  She glared at me. "No, it's cute and funny." At my skeptical expression, she gave me a hurt look. "What the fuck do I know about baby showers, Anna? I've only even held a baby a handful of times in my life. I've never been to a baby shower before. I'm not the kind of girl you invite to baby showers. Bachelorette parties, yes. Baby showers, no. I'm trying, okay? I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to be--" She sobbed suddenly.

  I levered myself out of the chair and wrapped her in a hug. "It's fine, Jay. It's great. We'll have lots of fun pinning little spermies to happy eggs."

  "It's not about the fucking game, Anna!" Jamie pulled away from me to shoot me an evil look. "I don't know shit about babies or how to be a mother. And Chase is gone, and I don't know how to do this!"

  I sighed, not wanting to admit my own very similar feelings. Kelly came up on Jamie's other side, joined by Lindsey, two of her friends, and several other girls I didn't know but thought were somehow connected to Chase's band.

  "I'm scared, Anna." Jamie whispered it into my ear so the other women wouldn't hear.

  Kelly turned Jamie's face with a palm. "You're allowed to be scared, Jamie. Every woman is scared for her first baby. I think you're scared for every baby, no matter how many you have. Babies are scary. No one here thinks any less of you for being afraid."

  "What if something goes wrong and Chase isn't here?" Jamie said. "What if I go into labor early? What if we have this baby and I'm a shitty mom? What if I fuck her up? I don't want to fuck up my daughter, but I will. I fuck everything up."

  I laughed, crying with her now. "No, you don't, Jay. You'll be a great mother. You're not going to fuck up your daughter. You won't, I promise you."

  Jamie sniffled, then looked at me. "Are you scared, Anna?"

  I laughed again. "Jay, I wake up in the middle of the night having panic attacks. Every night for the last month I've woken up at two in the morning, barely able to breathe, panicking. You guys can't tell Jeff because he'll just worry and I need him to be the one who's not worrying. I'm terrified, Jay." I knew I shouldn't say the next part, but I did anyway. "I wish I had my best friend. I know you live in New York now, but...I sometimes wish you didn't. I know you're happy here with Chase and everything, and it's selfish of me, but I just wish sometim
es that we could have our babies together."

  Jamie lost it again. "I'm not happy, Anna! That's the worst part! Chase is on tour. He's gone more than he's here. I talk to him several times a day, and I'm so thankful for that. He's making a huge effort to keep in contact with me and I realize that, and I appreciate it. He FaceTimed me instead of doing an interview with a magazine just so he could sort of be there when we found out Samantha's gender. It was so sweet. But...I'm still alone when I go to bed and when I wake up. When he's here, I'm deliriously happy. But...he's only here until Wednesday, and then he's gone again right up until I'm full-term."

  Kelly subtly shooed the other girls away so it was just her, Jamie, and me. "I might have an idea, Jay. I'm not sure it will work, but...you could always stay with me. The last trimester is always the hardest, and you really shouldn't be alone. I can help you, and then when you go into labor, Chase can just fly in to Detroit instead of New York. I know you and I don't know each other all that great, but I'd love to have the opportunity to fix that." She picked at her cuticles with a fingernail while she spoke, as if afraid of rejection.

  Jamie's eyes lit up with relief. "Really? That would be so cool! I just...I don't want to do this alone. And that way Anna and I could have our babies together."

  I pulled Jamie and Kelly into a hug. "I think it's perfect."

  Jamie sniffled. "Thanks, Kelly. You're the best."

  Kelly just smiled and hugged us together.

  We played Pin the Sperm on the Egg, which was actually really fun. It degenerated into a frenzy of sex jokes and all-around bawdy silliness, and by the time the shower was over, Jamie seemed to be in better spirits. The boys came back about an hour after the party was over, and they were surprisingly sober. I never thought I'd see the day, but they seemed comfortable with each other.

  It was still awkward for me, sometimes, seeing both Jeff and Chase together, but as time passed and the memories faded, so did the awkwardness. Jeff and Chase were laughing at a joke as they clomped through the foyer of Jamie and Chase's beyond-fabulous Manhattan brownstone. Jamie and I exchanged a pleased glance at the way our men seemed to have bonded while they were gone. I gave Jamie an I told you so smirk, and she just rolled her eyes in acknowledgment.

 
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