Waiting for Tears

Now that we’ve finally announced the pregnancy, I can start to post some of the thoughts I’ve been writing.

I vividly remember sitting in my friend and mentor Ezra’s office at the tender age of 19 declaring to him that my biological clock had starting ticking, and I was ready to be a dad. At this point in my life, I was very single, very naïve, and very poor, but all of these facts seemed pretty menial when thinking about my longing to be a father. (In hindsight, none of these barriers have kept any of my current patients from getting pregnant, so I shouldn’t have thought they were that big of a deal.)

In the 8 years since this conversation with Ezra, I have imagined in extreme detail how I would react the moment I found out that Bethany and I were pregnant. Considering that I cried through my whole wedding, I figured that there would be lots of tears involved. I imagined yelling and screaming and jumping up and down and being filled with so many emotions that I could burst. I also imagined that once hearing the news, I would live in a giddy state of joy for the next several weeks not allowing anything in my life to inhibit my sense of happiness.

During our first 4 years of marriage, Bethany and I had a few pregnancy scares (I’ll call them “scares” because she was terrified. For me they were pregnancy “hopes” as I sat outside the bathroom door quietly praying for two pink lines). Had any of these times been real pregnancies, the scenarios I’d envisioned in my head probably would have come true. There would have been lots of tears and emotions overflowing from Bethany and me, but we would have both had very different reasons for our tears.

But, this time was different. We’d been trying for several months to get pregnant. Now, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t complaining or arguing when the doctor told us to have sex at least every other day. I completely endorsed this plan; however, Bethany’s cycles were pretty wonky after coming off of her birth control, and those months of trying brought with them a lot of tears and confusion and questions. There were visits to the OB/GYN, trials of different medications, and days when we wondered if we should start pursuing adoption.

During the whole process we also wondered how we could tell if Bethany were pregnant. The classic symptoms that most of my patients and our friends always report are an insatiable appetite and constant drowsiness, but if these symptoms are any indicator, then Bethany has been in a constant state of pregnancy since I met her 10 years ago.

The day the stick turned pink, I had a strong feeling that Bethany was pregnant. For starters, Bethany had been judiciously tracking her temperature for the past 3 or 4 months to try and determine when she was ovulating. For many women in the world, ovulation tracking is tedious and inaccurate, but my lady is a boss. She’s a scientist, so when it comes to collecting data in a regimented manner, she goes at it like it’s her job…because…well…it’s her job. Her temperature had increased exactly as it should have, and thanks to my slipping home during a long lunch break, we had performed our marital duties in the optimal time slot.

****cue the song Afternoon Delight****

I knew something was amiss when I woke up at 5:30 AM as I usually do, and Bethany was already awake. When I came walking out of our bedroom, she greeted me with a boisterous, “Good Morning.” I ran back into my room to grab my glasses to make sure this was actually my wife who was talking to me. I was in a state of complete confusion because Bethany is NEVER awake before 7AM, and until 8AM, she speaks in muffled grunts rather than actual words. And if it wasn’t Bethany sitting on the couch talking to me, then this situation was about to get a whole lot more awkward for everyone involved because I was stark ass naked.

I finally got showered and put on clothes and made it to work. Throughout my day, I kept trying to suppress the thought that maybe there was a little embryo implanted in Bethany’s uterus. It was actually pretty easy not to sit and ponder the potential joys of my personal life because I was working my month of in-patient hospital service, which typically involves very busy and very long days.

When I got home, Bethany surprised me by pulling out a pair of baby Toms shoes and the positive pregnancy test. I laughed, hugged her, and waited for the tears to start pouring down.

I waited.

I held onto her tight and kept waiting.


She wasn’t crying either, but this isn’t very surprising. She’s been moved to tears while watching The Land Before Time and The Bucket List, but other than that, she’s usually too level headed for tears.

We sat and talked for a little while that night and then I went to bed because I’d worked for 14 hours that day and had another 12 hour day ahead of me. There was no screaming or running around, and the next day at work the joy of being a father didn’t preclude me from getting angry at patients for doing stupid things. For some reason, it just wasn’t sinking in that my entire life will be changing forever.

4 weeks later, I’m still waiting for the tears to come, but I can’t keep the goofy grin off of my face every time I think about my little baby growing in Bethany’s uterus. I think Ezra will be proud.

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