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A Tale of Two Days
By Kristen Hester

I sat in the parking lot of the Pregnancy Care Center and tried to get my emotions under control. I pulled down my visor mirror and checked my face. Would they know I'd been crying?

Two hours earlier I had stared in shock at the two blue lines on the pregnancy test and had immediately burst into tears. I called the father and was able to choke out only two words. "I'm pregnant!"

He hesitated for only a moment then responded, "I'll be right there."

He said very little when he arrived. I knew he was also in shock and wasn't sure what to say. He was probably smart to stay silent. At least I finally knew the cause of my sore back, shortness of breath, and nausea. For weeks I'd worried I had a mysterious disease, never guessing the truth since we'd taken measures to prevent pregnancy.

I cried for most of the next hour while he sat helplessly and watched. Then we both knew where I had to go. I headed for the Pregnancy Care Center, and he went back to work.

I folded up my car visor, grabbed my purse and headed into the center. I entered the front lobby of the building and saw that the door to an adjoining conference room was open. Inside, a group of people were sitting around a large, oval table having a casual conversation. How can they just sit there like normal when my world has just been turned upside down? I stood outside the door. I knew the people in the room were board members, and they were about to have a meeting to discuss, among other things, how to help women in crisis pregnancies. I also knew they wouldn't be discussing women like me.

The man at the head of table glanced over and noticed me. "There you are. Now we have a quorum and can begin the board meeting."

I couldn't get over the irony of the situation. I wasn't at the clinic as a client, but as a member of the board. Just because my husband had a good job and we were about to celebrate 13 years of happy marriage didn't mean this wasn't a crisis. My thirty-seven-year-old hormonal body was proclaiming crisis.

I already had three beautiful school-aged children. My years of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and potty training were supposed to be just painful memories. I had owned and subsequently donated enough bottles, strollers, high chairs, and baby clothes to fill three mini vans. The thought of starting over made my stomach turn....or was that morning sickness? Lord, why me?

One Year Later...

I hear my son coo over the baby monitor and run eagerly to his crib. I scoop him up and inhale his sweet baby scent. I cover his face with kisses and he rewards me with a toothless grin. I take him to the sofa to sit so I can lay him across my lap and stare at him while he grips my thumbs.

My ten-year-old daughter finds me too soon and reaches her arms out for her baby brother. I reluctantly hand him over. He peers at me over her shoulder and I smile and wave. The rest of the family seems to know instinctively that the baby is up. My seven-year-old finds us first and starts jumping up and down in front of the baby's face, trying to make him laugh. At our house, making the baby laugh is the favorite pastime. When my nine-year-old son realizes what is happening, he quickly enters the room to make sure his only brother is safe.

"Be careful. Don't drop him," my son warns; his watchful eye on the situation.

"Hello, big boy. Hello, big buddy. Laugh for me, laugh for me," my younger daughter says, using her most mature baby talk.

My husband joins me on the sofa as we silently watch the scene. He puts his arm around me. "Are you surprised?"

I give him a confused look. "What?"

"Are you surprised at how much you love having a baby?"

I had thrown a seven month tantrum when I learned I was pregnant, but as I watch my four children interact, my heart is very happy. I swallow my pride. "Yes, I'm pleasantly surprised."

I stand up and take my baby from my daughter. "My turn," I say. My eyes fill with tears as I cuddle him close to my breast. Thank you, God, for this gift.
Kristen Hester lives in Texas with her husband of fourteen years and their four kids--ages 11, 9, 7 and 9 months. She enjoys writing humorous stories about the ups and down of motherhood and marriage, and Kristen hopes her candidness will encourage Christian women. Kristen can be reached through the Letters page of this magazine.