Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Test


I never thought that I would be excited about being a father. Never had planned to be a father- and had always put my career before almost anything in my personal life. Then I met April. I use to think that love at first sight was myth - and the stuff of romance novels or silly people-- but there is no doubt when I looked in her eyes that I knew my life was going to change forever.

I didn't believe myself-- I was skeptical. But ultimately, after weeks, it became clear -- that April and I were in love- that our lives were to be together forever. Then as April and I talked it also was clear that having a child was just something we were going to do. It was planned, it was deliberate, and we didn't know when she would get pregnant, but we wanted it.

The first month that it didn't happen we were ok. A bit sad, but we were ok. I worried that it would never happen, and for the first time felt empathy to those who go to lengths to have children. But I knew even if we couldn't have a pregnancy, we would adopt a child from China-- much like April's parents adopted Peter. We knew we were going to adopt a child from China no matter what.

But I noticed something-- that we were headed to Alaska, and if her cycle held true- and April became pregnant - it would happen in Alaska.

We had a wonderful trip in Alaska-- April got to see my state for her first time. We even took the long trip from Anchorage to Copper Center to see my brother, Ron. The beauty of that part of Alaska was overwhelming.

Spending a week with April was wonderful- living over 2000 miles apart is difficult, but every night we see each other on Skype- and it helps. So it was difficult to let April head back to Tampa as I returned to my work.

Two and a half weeks later, we were talking and April said she was feeling fat and bloated. It struck me-- "honey, your five days late."

"No, I think I am going to have my period this weekend. I feel like I am going to have it."

We did the calculations, and then it struck me, "Remember when we said you would be pregnant in Alaska. Its over two weeks since we have been there."

She was coming to Arizona in a couple of days, and both of us were smiling.

Arriving on a Friday night, meeting her at the airport, I was excited.

Saturday morning we went to Safeway and looked at the pregnancy testing. I looked through every one-- trying to find the one that was most accurate. I took out three of them and put them in the shopping cart.

"Terry," April said, "I think we only need one. Its ok. This one has two test strips in it." I sheepishly put the other test kits back on the rack. We then headed to the vitamin section where I bought the industrial size pre-natal vitamins.

We finished our shopping and drove home.

"I'm going to do this, but I don't want to read it." April said as she went into the bathroom.

Nervously I responded, "Honey, whatever you want."

She came out of the bathroom.

"We have to wait 30 seconds. You go in and read it."

"Lets both go in and read it."

"OK"

We went in. It was clear -- "YES +"

We were pregnant.

I grabbed her - held her tight, and started to tear up. For years I had watched old movies where the wives would tell the husband that they were pregnant, or the rabbit died, and the husband responded with excitement. For years I never understood those reactions - I thought they were silly, or contrived, or just not real. Now I understand.

I was so happy. I was so excited. We were going to be parents! I was going to be a dad.

"We gotta get some books," I said. So off to the bookstore we went.

We not only bought two copies of some pregnancy book, but three magazines, and went to several websites. We signed up for weekly emails.

Being a doctor I spent some time doing obstetrics in medical school, and did some gynecologic surgery in my surgery residency - but all of this was new. What will she be like, how will it develop. I wanted to do my research, and I wanted to do a lot of it. I had to be there for April, I had to know everything that was going to happen to her, minute by minute if needed.

The great thing is Thanksgiving was coming, and we were going to see both of our parents. She asked if I was going to tell my parents--

"You know, I think I will. My folks are in their 80's and never had a grandchild."

We worried about the risk of miscarriage - but so wanted to share the joy we were having.