The Rory story begins while I was Christmas shopping in 2015. A boutique at the mall sold this little brown pair of leather baby shoes with white stitching that looked just like Kyle’s favorite pair of loafers in miniature.
I couldn’t resist wrapping them up, just for fun, planning to tell him that they were for “someday”.
On Christmas, “someday” didn’t seem quite so far. I had begun to suspect that I actually WAS pregnant and made Kyle stop at the drugstore between family celebrations.
My anxiety was spinning its wheels, convincing me that I was right, but in the aisle of pregnancy tests I found myself checking reality–and price tags. Realizing how devastated I would feel if a small but surprisingly expensive piece of plastic callously denied my suspicions, I decided to leave and wait it out a little longer. No one wants to be close to tears in a CVS on Christmas morning.
My period started later that day. I wasn’t pregnant.
Fun fact: the 40 weeks of pregnancy are, for precision’s sake, counted from the first day of your last period. So, although I technically wasn’t pregnant, that was still the date I would remember and write on every medical form throughout the next 9 months. Rory’s story had begun.
In January, our neighbor texted me: “I just made chocolate chip cookies! Do you want some?” Oh. My. Word. Yes. I wanted those cookies more than anything. More than I had ever wanted anything. I told her so and she immediately responded, “CRAVINGS?? Are you pregnant??”
I think Catholic moms just know.
After anxiously awaiting the arrival of a sensibly priced 25 pack of tests from Amazon (we’re Catholic! we’ll use them, right?), it only took one stick and two little pink stripes to finally confirm what my body had been trying to tell me for a few days.
We immediately booked tickets to go home and tell our families the next month. Until then, we told our close friends, and I made an appointment with a midwife. I bugged the insurance company (still through my family at that point) with several phone calls trying to figure out if their billing or documentation would give the surprise away to my parents too soon.
Over the next few weeks, I tried SO hard to keep the exciting secret, but during our layover en route to California my mom texted, “Were you nauseous on the plane?”
I knew she would figure it out.
The plan had been for her to unwrap a baby board book with our first sonograms tucked inside. I gave her the gift anyway once we were home and gathered with everyone in the living room. She played it cool.
“Aw, is this for us? Did you buy one for yourselves?” she asked, holding the unwrapped book.
“That one is for you guys,” I told her.
She read the title, smiling. “I Love You As Much!” Finally, I had to prompt, “You should open it.”
Out came the sonograms. “Oh my goodness!” my mom exclaimed, totally surprised, “Oh my goodness!” Dad peeked over her shoulder. “Oh…My…GOODNESS!” he almost shouted, then turned to my little brother, trying out his new title. “Uncle Jere…” My sister, tuning in, began to yell “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” over and over.
As the rest of my sisters figured out what was happening, many happy hugs were had and assurances given that yes, we were serious. “You silly people,” joked my dad.
My mom vows that despite her prescient text message, she had no idea.
I’m the oldest of six children. Jere is the youngest and the only boy. Kyle also happens to be the oldest of six children and the only boy. His youngest sister, Madison, has prayed devotedly for his safe travels ever since he left home for law school. After every mealtime blessing, she adds, “…and please make Kyle come home safely!”
The next morning, at la Casa del Helmick, I pulled her aside and told her the news, showing her the images of her tiny nephew. She pledged her secrecy, and solemnly agreed to help. We dragged the entire family out to lunch, despite conflicting sleep, work, and school schedules.
As our fish tacos arrived, we prayed as usual. But this time, Madison confidently piped up, “And please make Kyle’s and Carey’s baby safe!”
A brief, incredulous pause followed, broken by Kyle’s mom. “Are you serious??” Once again, we assured everyone that we were serious. Huge smiles developed all around the table and everyone wanted to see the pictures Madison had seen first. Kyle’s dad says that he knew something was up because of just how insistent we were that everyone go to lunch (he even toyed with the idea of writing ‘I’m a Grandpa!’ on the t-shirt under his button-up to show off his prediction skills after our big reveal).
We made phone calls to grandparents and shared the news in person for another month or two. Finally, we decided it was time to use a joke we had been dying to make since we thought of it months before Rory even existed. My dad would say that was when he was just a twinkle in our eyes.
We had no idea what a beautiful, amazing, hilarious twinkle you would be.
How did you tell your friends and family that you were pregnant? Please let me know in the comments or tweet @careyhelmick! I would love to hear!
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