february 25th.

It was a Tuesday and I was feeling sick, that same feeling I get after I've been on a boat for a while. A pack of pregnancy tests was set to arrive in my mailbox the next day, thanks to Amazon prime, but suddenly that seemed too far away. Could I wait 24 hours? I paced. I ate crackers. I drank juice. I paced some more. Finally, I called Brett.

"Can you pick up a pregnancy test on your way home from work?"

Accustomed to running occasional awkward errands for me, he willingly stopped by CVS on the way home because he's a saint like that. Unlike the first time, there was no stalling that afternoon. There were no towels to fold. The second he got home, I grabbed the test and made a beeline for the bathroom.

"You're going to take it now?!"

"Yes! The suspense is killing me!"

I was 99% sure I was pregnant, but I had taken a test the week before and it had been negative. I didn't want to try again until I was sure.

A minute later I saw two lines, the same two lines I had seen when I first found out about Everett's existence. It was both expected and unexpected, like the way a rainbow appears after a hard rain---a pleasant surprise and the mark of a promise, a sign of hope and good things to come. I carried the test out into the living room with a huge smile on my face.

"Two lines!"

Brett's face said it all, really.

"WHAT?" he said incredulously.

He looked at it with me, in disbelief, before calmly suggesting I take another one. The box had two tests in it, one with lines and one with a yes/no. Brett never believes the first pregnancy test. Ever. He didn't believe I was pregnant with Everett until our first ultrasound, despite the fact that we had already told a dozen people.

I took the second test, which revealed a prompt "yes". I squealed. We hugged, both of us in slight shock. We told Everett he was going to be a big brother and he said, "choo choo?"

Sure kid, we can play choo choos.

I called my friend Christina, who had found out she was pregnant the week before. She screamed; I screamed back. It was all very surreal. We had joked about trying to get pregnant together but I never imagined our due dates would be nine days apart.

We made spinach tortellini for dinner, and prayed for the baby before we ate together at the kitchen table. We sat there, just the three of us, like any other Tuesday night. Sunlight poured in through the window, creating shadows of our three silhouettes on the wall.

Everything was the same.

And everything was different.

september 16th.

It was a Friday afternoon and I had come home from work early because I didn't feel well. At that point, I was slightly suspicious but had spent the majority of the day convincing myself that I couldn't possibly be pregnant. After all, we had just started trying. These things take time, right? My period was super irregular so I had no idea if I was even late or not. Nope, definitely not pregnant. Just sick. Maybe the stomach flu. Gross.

Brett called to check on me around 3:00pm.

"How are you feeling?"

"Sick. I feel really nauseous."

".....do you think you could be.....?"

"No. Well, maybe? No. Definitely not."

"Should you take a test?"

"Not by myself!!!"

"Okay, I'll be home soon."

We hung up, and I attempted to take a nap on the couch. My mind was wandering. I had no idea what to think or what to feel. Would I be happy if I was pregnant? Would I be disappointed if I wasn't? WAS I READY FOR THIS? Brett came home a little after 5:00pm, interrupting my inner dialogue.

"Let's take the test!!"

"Now??"

"Yes! What are we waiting for?"

"I don't know. Let's fold the towels first."

To this day, I have no idea why I needed to fold the towels first. Perhaps to relish a few more minutes of feeling in control of my life. There was a mountain of clean towels sitting on the bed, and I needed to fold each and every one of them before I could take the pregnancy test. Brett knew better than to argue. For the next few minutes, we stood on opposite sides of the bed, folding towels in silence, processing.

"How do you feel?"

"I don't know."

"Let's take the test."

"Let's finish the towels first."

"Okay."

I finished folding the last towel, and carefully placed it on top of my neat stack. Brett looked at me and smiled reassuringly. He didn't say anything, but I knew from his eyes that everything was going to be okay. Positive or negative, everything was going to be okay.

We walked into the bathroom and I grabbed the pregnancy test from the bottom drawer, where it sat awkwardly next to a bottle of Tums and some extra contact lenses. It had only been sitting in there a week or two, and still looked out of place, like it didn't belong. I had never taken a pregnancy test before.

I opened the box and Brett read the instructions out loud. Pee and wait. Two lines mean you're pregnant; one line means you're not. Didn't sound too hard. I closed the door and took a deep breath. God, I trust that you know what you're doing, either way.

Exactly eight seconds later, I knew I was going to be a mother.

I ran out of the bathroom, pulling my pants up with one hand and waving the test with the other---smiling, and completely stunned. I held up the stick with tears in my eyes, "What does that say?!"

Brett looked at me, and then looked at the two lines on the stick. "NO. WAY."

His smile matched mine.

“I can’t believe it!”

He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight, lifting me off the floor as we both said “I love you!” about a dozen times. I might have cried just a tiny bit.

We were both in shock for the next hour. I didn’t even know where to start. What to say. What to think. What to do. We went for a walk and started talking about things that we had never really discussed before. How would we tell our parents? How long should we wait to tell them? When should we go to the doctor? It was totally surreal, but surprisingly natural at the same time.

We prayed together that night. It was one of those sweet and excited prayers where you can't even find the words to thank God because He's just SO dang good.

That might have been the first night I ever fell asleep smiling. I was going to be a mother.

I was going to be a MOTHER!

Just like that, my life changed forever.

And I knew I would never look back.