Valentine’s Day 2008 is a Valentine’s day I will never forget.

I was 18 and living on my own for the first time in my life. I had a boyfriend and I felt like I knew everything you need to know in order to succeed. I was on top of the world and I had endless opportunities at my fingertips, but that all came to a screeching halt on February 14th, 2008. Valentine’s Day.

My boyfriend and I, who had only been exclusively dating for 2 months, were preparing for our romantic night out. He had planned a great night for us and we were at my apartment getting ready. As I walked into the bathroom, I decided to take what would be pregnancy test number six.

I had been paranoid about being pregnant for the last few days and had purchased a few boxes a couple of days prior. I had just this one left and, although I was beginning to feel at ease with the fact that it was probably a false alarm, I thought I’d take the last one, just to rid my mind all the worry I had. I looked at the test after what I estimated had been enough time, saw one line, and proceeded to get ready, beginning to feel ease and certainty that I wasn’t pregnant.

About 20 minutes went by and when I was almost ready to go, I glanced down nonchalantly at the test I had set on the desk in my room.  It took a few minutes to register what I saw on the test. That wasn’t what I had seen previously! I quickly picked it up and stared at it wide-eyed and in complete disbelief. There were two lines. I turned to my boyfriend and frantically asked him if he also saw two lines.  He stared at the test for what felt like an eternity, then confirmed my fear. I was pregnant.

I suddenly felt like I was dreaming. I sat on my bed, in shock, while we very briefly tried to determine what we were going to do. I couldn’t think about my options, though. I still needed time to process the news. So instead, we left for our dinner reservations.

I couldn’t focus through dinner. I don’t even remember my surroundings. I know it was a nice restaurant and I think it was at a hotel? But about halfway through dinner I had finally convinced myself that the second line on the test was just too light. I wasn’t pregnant, that test was just obviously a false positive. Those exist right? I asked my boyfriend if we could leave and go get another test.  We did.

We drove to Walgreens and instead of waiting to take it at home, I went to the store restroom and took the test there. This time, it was a plus sign, but the vertical line was still just too light for me to believe it!! We went back to my apartment, I chugged water and I took the remaining two tests that were in the box. They, too, were all “false positive” for me, because the lines just weren’t dark enough, so I continued to deny the truth.

After purchasing another one, this time the digital test that actually said “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” we decided to wait until morning when the tests are considered most accurate.  Lo and behold, the next day, the test said PREGNANT and that’s when I finally believed it. That is when the tears began and my fear became a reality. It’s when my life changed forever and it is the moment I fell in love with that sweet, beautiful child that I would do anything in this world for.

What was supposed to be a nice, romantic Valentine’s day ended with news that changed my entire life. I didn’t know it then, but the choices I made from that day forward would literally change everything. They would change who I was, who I was going to be, and what I wanted out of life.

Before those positive pregnancy tests, I didn’t take life seriously. Everything was about me, everything was just play and nothing was very important. I had hopes and dreams for certain careers, but I didn’t have the outlook on life to care much about them.

After those five—yes, FIVE—positive pregnancy tests, my life suddenly had new meaning. I realized that I had to grow up and make adult decisions, not for myself, but for this little infant who was literally relying on me for everything. This child’s future was in my hands. I now had the ability to decide EVERYTHING for her, even whether or not I was going to choose for her to have a life. I had to grow up fast, because the decisions I made were not only going to affect me, but they would affect her, and many others, forever.

When you’re young, dating, and think you’re in love, Valentines day is most likely a very exciting and special holiday for you. For me, it had never really been a big deal. That is, until the year 2008.

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