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I prepared myself for a busy week on Monday, knowing that the past two had not given me much opportunity for work.  Two weeks ago, I was called on Tuesday to pick Bear up from daycare because she had a low-grade fever.  I worked from home on Wednesday.  That next Monday, Bear had an allergic reaction, and although my husband left work to take her to the doctor that day, neither one of us were able to work on Tuesday due to the blizzard that followed.  I also worked from home that Wednesday.  Since I only work Monday through Wednesday, I had accomplished very little the previous two weeks, and I knew that I needed to put in a full three days of good work this week.

Monday and Tuesday went well enough.  Late Tuesday afternoon, my husband called to say that he thought he had the stomach flu.  When Bear and I arrived home that evening, he shut himself in the bathroom and refused to see either of us.  Bear was worried, and so was the dog, who kept pacing back and forth in front of the bathroom door.

The next morning, I took Bear to daycare and then I stopped by the store to pick up some soup and ran it back by the house.  When I peaked in the bedroom to ask how he was doing, he said that he thought he was a little better but that his stomach now hurt in only one place.  I thought that was strange, and I told him that he should consider calling the doctor.  On my way to work, I kept thinking about his symptoms and the more that I thought about it, the more it sounded like something serious was wrong.  When I got to work, I googled appendicitis and quickly called him.  He was already on his way to the doctor’s office.

After several tests, he called back to confirm that he was going to the emergency room for surgery to have his appendix removed.  So, once again, I left work with the same box of files that I’d been carrying around for two weeks, and I headed to the emergency room.  It had snowed the night before, so the roads were slushy and slick, and by the time I made it to hospital, I could no longer see out of my windshield because I apparently had run out of washer fluid at that exact inopportune time.

I found my husband in a bay in the emergency room.  They had given him an IV and anti-nausea medication, so he seemed better than when I had last seen him.   When the doctor and nurse returned, he kept joking with them and making reference to some movie that no one had seen where Chevy Chase attempts to take out someone’s appendix through their chest cavity.

Shortly, they moved him from the emergency room to a pre-operative area, where we sat for about 45 minutes, during which time the surgeon returned to explain the procedure, a nurse came by with various consent forms for my husband to sign, and the nurse anesthetist appeared to explain general anesthesia.  Soon, they were wheeling him away, and I was left standing there alone.

I spent the next thirty minutes or so trying to maneuver through the hospital to find a lot close enough to the surgical waiting room where I could unload my box of files and computer.  Finally, I returned to the waiting room with only my computer.  Instead of turning it on, I sat and stared at boring daytime t.v. on the television and randomly searched on my iPhone, researching selfish questions like, “does general anesthesia affect sperm?” since our attempts to have another baby would be on hold.

The surgery was completed rather quickly, but my husband stayed in recovery for quite a while.  I eventually met him in his room, and our extended family joined us there later that evening.

Fortunately, my husband is home now, resting comfortably on the couch.  Our family left an hour ago, and Bear is chattering in her room, instead of napping.  I now have a moment to sit down at my computer to write.  I am ready to return to days of boredom and normalcy without illnesses, allergies, and blizzards, and especially without appendixes.

San Juan Islands, originally uploaded by HeyRocker, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Two years ago today, I snuck out bed in the early morning darkness while my husband slept in our hotel room in Canada. I fumbled through our suitcase in the dark and found something that I had eagerly been waiting to use. In the bathroom, I managed to break open the package with my teeth and somehow used the pregnancy test without making a mess. Once the appropriate time had passed (and not before, because I considered it bad luck to peek), I held the test up to the faint light coming through the window and focused my blurred, morning vision on the result. A line! I could see a line! Excitedly, I reached around the bathroom door and flipped on the light. There was definitely a line! Holy cow, there was a line!

I had been waiting and hoping for this moment for a long time. Now that it had arrived, I was unsure what to do or to think about it. I wrapped up the test in toilet paper, put it back into the box, hid it in the suitcase, and climbed back into bed with a racing mind.
When my husband woke up, I told him “happy birthday” but I did not share the news. Instead, we went through the same motions of the previous two mornings. We went downstairs and had a quiet breakfast. I avoided my usual coffee, but my husband didn’t seem to notice. Our time in Canada had ended, so we packed our suitcase and headed toward the ferry. As we climbed aboard and looked back out over the misty city, my husband said, “You know, if we ever have a girl, maybe we could name her Victoria after this city.” I still didn’t share the news. Once into the Puget Sound, we watched for whales and pointed at antelope darting from cliffs on nearby islands. Although I felt that words might jump out of me, I still didn’t share the news.

We arrived in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands a few hours later, and as we stepped off the ferry, I saw a nearby bookstore. My request to go inside wasn’t an unusual one for me and so he didn’t notice that I was purposeful once inside. While my husband was looking at books that held his interest, I found a card with a picture from the San Juan Islands and quickly purchased it. Later, I made my husband stand at arms-length as I wrote inside the card.

The exact words are his, and someday, our daughter’s, but in essence, I told him that his birthday gift from me would be a life-changing piece of information. During his 29th year, we would have a baby.

I gave him his gift once we arrived at the bed and breakfast where we would be staying and were settled into our room. After reading the card, he looked at me with a mixture of wonder, excitement, and fear.

Two years later – today – this morning – we stood at the bathroom door to our bedroom and watched our daughter sit against the side of the bed and read books. I observed my husband as his eyes followed our daughter’s movements. The fear was gone. But, the wonder and excitement remained.


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