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  • Writer's pictureSarah Swindell

A Tiny Detour

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

December 1988

Crap, I didn’t think anyone would notice with my big, oversized ASU sweatshirt that I surely thought would cover up my love for beer and late night Carl’s Junior.

My mom lovingly patted my belly and said, "looks like your not missing any meals at college!" I giggled and told her I was going to work on that over the holidays. My plan was to break in the treadmill my parents had bought, that was currently collecting a nice layer of dust.

“Is there any chance you could be pregnant?” my mom bluntly asked. To be honest, that thought never crossed my teenage mind. I was on the pill and maybe only missed one or two pills in the last three months. Small victory for a busy college freshman.

But now that thought was put in my head. There was that one weekend a few months ago when my high school sweetheart came to visit me. I was happy about seeing him, but knew we probably were not going to continue with a long distance relationship much longer, and sort of had “the talk” before he left.

The following day, my mom brought it up again and asked if I had missed my period. After I thought about it, I couldn't remember the last time it happened. I was sort of irregular but didn’t give it much thought since there was not a lot of “action”going on in my sex life anyway.

We decided to go the drug store and get a pregnancy test just to be sure. We laughed as we talked about the "what if" scenario. We talked about how cute it would be, what I would name it, would it be a 9 pounder like I was? All kinds of baby talk on the way to the store...crazy talk!

The test was negative-I was not pregnant.

I was shocked with how I felt about that, and could not process this bizarre sting of sadness I was feeling. Why on earth was I sad about it being negative? The feeling made absolutely no sense to me, and even more strange was that my mom was a little disappointed too. Either I had the coolest mom in the world, or we were both insane to think being pregnant at 18 was a cool idea.

In the couple of weeks that followed, Christmas came and went. I started to feel tired a little more than usual, and could not seem to get this nagging, nauseous feeling to go away. I knew I wasn’t pregnant so that certainly wasn’t the reason.

It was time for my annual check up anyway, so my mom made an appointment with my doctor. I explained to her how I was feeling, and naturally the first thing she asked was if I could be pregnant. I told her I had done a home test a couple of weeks ago and that it was negative. She suggested we do a blood test just to be sure, and then we would explore other reasons for my sudden state of exhaustion when it was confirmed that I was not pregnant.

“Sarah, it’s positive.” The doctor sat down in the chair across from me, a bit dismayed. I’m sure she was waiting to see if I was going to start bawling and run out of the room, or go into complete denial mode, insisting she got it all wrong. I did neither of the two.

Sarah Swindell's memoir, Rounding Home, is now available here!

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