Chapter 27 2005 - An Honest Mistake

Angela’s first reaction to Chrissy’s admission had been one of shock. ”How could this have happened?”

“Uh, the usual way. You know, the birds and the bees and all that.”

“We raised you to be a good girl, and now you’ve gotten yourself into trouble. What will your father say?”

“Mom, how may times have I told you I’m not a girl. I’m nineteen, I am a woman now. And this just proves the point.”

“Is that what you wanted, to prove a point?”

“No, this wasn’t my goal. But Billy and I made a mistake, an honest mistake.”

“It’s more than a mistake, it’s a disaster.” Despite all of her experience over the last thirty or more years, this was one she never had expected, or at least, had convinced herself to never expect it.

“So now you’re expecting.”


“Does Billy know?”

“No. I haven’t talked to him about it. But he may suspect something.”

“He needs to know, and soon.” Angela paused. “You’ll have to get married.”

“We already plan to do that. We’ve talked about it for a long time. We we’re just waiting for the right time.”

“Well, you didn’t apparently wait this time, and now look at the mess you’re in. Pregnant! Your father will be devastated!”

“He doesn’t have to know, does he? Can’t we just take care of it quietly?”

“Take care of it? You mean an abortion? I’d never go for that. Your father would never go for that, and you should never go for that.”

“No, not that way, I mean give it up for adoption.”

“And how do you expect to keep this from your father? You live under the same roof, he sees you every morning, throughout the day, and every evening before you go to bed. I’m sure he will notice.”

“There are ways to keep it hidden. Loose clothes, carrying something, standing behind furniture. I see it on TV all the time.”

“That is not going to fly, and we are not going to keep your father out of this!”

Despite her indications otherwise, Angela did not immediately inform I and he was blissfully unaware of his daughter’s delicate condition throughout the holidays and into the new year. When he woke up on January 1, he was as excited as a little kid, running around the house. “It’s the new year! Happy New Year! Happy 2005!”

Angela tried to calm him down, but knowing that his mood would turn immediately sour once he finally got the news, tried to find a way of easing into the admission.

“Honey, 2005 is not such an eventful year. Consider 2001, now that was a big one. Even 2000, the new millennium!”

“The new millennium was 2001. 2000 was a mistake on the calendar. A Y2K bug.”

“But 2005, nothing big there. No major events. The twins turn 15, Chrissy will be 20. No major events.”

“No Quinceanera for Merry?” I was dejected. He liked a good party.

“We’re not Hispanic. We’ll do a Sweet Sixteen party for her next year. But not with thousands of people.” The memory of the events a little over three years earlier were still a bit of a sore spot.

Angela grew strangely quiet and I anxiously anticipated her next words.

“Maybe a wedding.”

“You want to repeat our vows? I thought you were against that.”

“It wouldn’t be a wedding for us. It would be for Chrissy.”

I looked puzzled, “BIlly proposed? This is how I find out? But that would be wonderful,” he said, brightening. “My little girl, married!”

But then realization set in, “These things take time. Some brides wait over a year to get every detail perfect. I don’t see that happening until next year, at the earliest.”

“It won’t take a lot of time and planning. They want a simple ceremony, with only immediate family. None of your uncles, aunts, cousins and their kids. No masses of hundreds. Just something simple.”

“But... but… but…” I was beside himself. “I like a good party.”

“It will be low key. No sense drawing attention, just a simple ceremony. That’s all they want.”

“But my little girl draws attention in everything she does. She’s a rock star’s daughter. It will be the wedding of the century.”

“The century is not even five years old, so that’s not shooting very high.”

“Still, I won’t allow it to be anything but the biggest event of the year, then.”

“Believe me, you’ll want it to be subdued. Maybe even just a justice of the peace.”

“I don’t understand. We’ve always celebrated big. Why not?”

Angela steeled herself for the admission. “She’s pregnant.”

I’s face whitened. “Pregnant? How? When?”

“How? The usual way, the same way we were. When? It happened last year around Thanksgiving. According to schedule, she’s due in August.”

“My little girl… pregnant?” He was strangely silent for a long time as Angela let him gather his thoughts and come to terms with his emotions.

“I’m going to be a grandfather!” he shouted. “I’m going to be a grandfather!”

Plans for a March wedding progressed, and arrangements were kept simple. Henry and Juliet, Buddy and Annette, Spike and Emily, and their children Adrian and Priscilla, and Billy’s parents, Joe and Emma, were the sole guests. Merry was the maid of honor, and Tyler was Billy’s best man. Simple, quiet, in fifteen minutes, the ceremony was over.

“A letdown, not at all what I wanted to see for Chrissy,” I complained afterward to Angela. “The only bright side is that I will get to be a grandfather.”

“Billy is a good man. He is there to support Chrissy, and will make a good father.”

“I like Billy fine, and we will support them however and if ever they need it. We’ll be there.”

Chrissy’s paunch was becoming visible and it was no secret to those gathered for the reason of the occasion. Yet, there was little talk of the eventual outcome. That could wait for later. Today they were celebrating a happy occasion.

Chrissy and Billy opted to skip a honeymoon, to concentrate on preparations for the new child. Although they had visited briefly with the doctor, they had not followed up with all of the needed appointments, and Angela insisted that they go for an extensive pre-natal checkup. “You need to be more responsible now, you are a woman, no longer a little girl, and you and your husband will be bringing a new life into this world. See your doctor.”

Chrissy made an appointment for a full checkup the next week. As the days ticked off toward the appointment all the symptoms were exhibiting their full force. She was sick daily, she could even feel kicks, and her abdomen was becoming even more swollen. On the day of the appointment, Angela accompanied her for support with Billy also providing the support he could offer in this new and intimidating adventure. They hoped to find out if it was a boy or a girl, which was I’s ever present question: “When are we going to find out?” They were hoping this would be the day.

The doctor began the examination with blood tests, urine test, general health check, listening with a stethoscope in hopes of hearing the baby’s heartbeat. Puzzled, he prepared for an ultrasound, spreading the lubricant across Chrissy’s belly, and moving the transducer around seeking an image of the fetus.

Angela tapped into the doctor’s puzzlement. ”Is there something wrong?” she asked fearfully.

The doctor looked again at the screen, trying from as many angles as each could perform. Finally, he stated “You’re not pregnant.”

“Not pregnant? Do I look like a woman who is not pregnant?”

“The images don’t lie. You are not pregnant, and as far as I can tell, you never have been. The blood tests will confirm it, but there is no evidence. You’re not pregnant.”

“I don’t understand. I’m sick all the time, my body aches, my stomach is getting bigger. I even felt him kick!”

“It’s a condition called pseudocyesis.”


“Pseudocyesis. False pregnancy. It’s rare, but many of the symptoms simulate pregnancy.”

“Are you sure I didn’t lose the baby?”

“There never was a baby. You’re not pregnant.” The doctor hoped repeated statements of the fact would finally hit home.

“No boy? No girl?”

“No boy. No girl. No baby.”

Chrissy reached out for her mother, breaking down. “There’s no baby. It was all for nothing!”

Angela quietly calmed her, and Billy gave her additional emotional support.

“I was so sure. Now what?” as she began to recover to face reality.

The doctor advised, “We can arrange for counseling, therapy as needed. A vitamin and exercise program will help to get your body back to normal.”

Chrissy sniffled, and tried to compose herself.

“It may take a few weeks, but you will be fine,” the doctor advised.

Working through the shock of discovering there was never a pregnancy wore on the new couple, but they weathered this first crisis of their marriage, and came out of it wiser, but cautious. Their delayed honeymoon was finally scheduled, and they took a week long Caribbean cruise, enjoying themselves and their own company fully for the first time in their young marriage. When they returned and began their new life together in earnest, they were happy, and knew that their decision to marry, for any reason, was not an honest mistake, but a true life choice that was the best one they had ever made.

When Chrissy became sick after returning from the cruise, they credited it to some bug picked up in the islands, but it continued well beyond the time they should have expected. They visited the doctor, and he failed to diagnose any illness, and ran through another battery of tests. Nothing seemed to make sense, but he decided to perform one more test, just to be sure. He looked at the results, and offered a simple statement to the two of them.

“You’re pregnant.”