The Samantha Years

19th Street Detour- post 5!

A couple people have pointed out that I switched from Sarah to Samantha in the last post. Sorry about that! In the final version, Samantha’s name will be changed to Sarah…I just forget to change it when I’m writing! This is why I need a good editor 🙂 Hope you all are well!

The Plus Sign

It was the first weekend of December 2006 when I found out I was pregnant with Sarah. The mountains had been hit with a huge storm and we were planning on skiing. The alarm went off at 5:00 in the morning. I stumbled to the bathroom to pee on a stick; our morning pregnancy ritual.

After my deed was done, I set the stick on the nightstand and collapsed back into bed. “I don’t care how good the snow is, 5:00 is early” I thought to myself. I waited the mandatory 3 minutes and turned the light back on. The test showed a minus sign; negative; no baby.

“Nope”, I said to my husband and curled back under the down comforter.

“Give it a couple more minutes,” he said.

I groaned and buried my head in the pillow; annoyed by his optimism. Unbeknownst to him, I had taken several throughout the week and they had all been negative. At $20 a pop, these little tests weren’t to be taken lightly. But I couldn’t help it. I was addicted, a slave to the pregnancy test. But Aunt Flo was due tomorrow. This, according to my husband was the right time to test. I left my neurosis to myself.

“Maybe next month,” I thought to myself and drifted back to sleep.

“Check it again.” My husband nudged me 5 minutes later.

I grumbled, turned on the light, and checked the test. There was the slightest line crossing over the minus sign….a tiny, faint plus…. positive?

“Do you see this?” I handed the test over to Bill. “Do you see the plus sign? It’s really, really faint, but can you see it?”

“Hmmmm…Yep, there it is.” He answered with a confident grin as though he knew we would get pregnant this month.

“Oh my God, we did it. We’re pregnant; holy shit.” I buried my head in the pillow and started to cry.

“Hey, are you ok?” Bill stroked my back.

“MmmmHmmm” I answered, muffled in the pillow and overwhelmed with emotion. “It’s just that…Jack…he’s going to have a brother or sister.” At that moment, I felt at peace with the world. We were going to be ok. This little baby, barely there, barely able to make a plus sign, was a testament that the universe was ok.

We skied that weekend. The snow was fantastic but it was one of the coldest Decembers in history. I felt like I was soaring down the mountain; this little creature safe and warm in my belly.

“We’re skiing.” I said to the tiny pulsing bundle of cells in my belly. “I’ll take you someday.”

We stopped at the bottom of the mountain; my cheeks red, my breath a little labored.

“Hey, you need to take it easy.” Bill said. “This little person doesn’t have any arms to help them hang on. They’re just bouncing around.” He started doing this little dance on his skies; arms and legs flailing about. “Hey mom, slow down….whoa…I can’t hang on.”

I laughed, leaned over and kissed him. “I love you. I’m so glad we’re doing this again.”

“Me too.”


The IV machine beeped loudly jolting me back from my lovely memory.

“I think it’s empty.” I said to Bill. “I’ll go find a nurse.”

Dr. Abbey came back in. “Everyone has called me back. We would like to do a CT scan of her head just to make sure there is no infection behind her eyes. We also want to take an x-ray of her chest to check for pneumonia and we’re ready to do the spinal tap.”

My head whirled. Spinal tap, pneumonia, infection behind her eyes, the brain is behind the eyes, I thought. They are checking for an infection in her brain. I silently thanked Dr. Abbey for her tact; for not announcing that a brain infection is an option they were considering. I couldn’t handle those words hanging in the room.

Two nurses were opening packets, setting gauze and iodine on trays.

“So,” Dr. Abbey said, “you can stay for the spinal tap but we really don’t recommend it.”

“I’m staying,” my husband replied.

“I think I’ll take a walk.” I said. I got up, leaned over and kissed my daughter. I walked out of the room, unsure of where to go next, leaned against the wall and cried.

The next couple of hours went by like a crazy dream. “Wake up” I kept telling myself; pinching my leg.

We carried Sarah from room to room as they did different tests. I sat outside the radiation room next to a video game…Zombie Wars…The game played creepy music over and over. I sat on a hard. plastic chair, my head against the wall, listening to zombie music. I would occasionally glance down the hall waiting for the undead to emerge from the corridors. “Zombies,” I thought, “would make a nice addition to this night.”

“We have a room for you.” Dr. Abbey proclaimed triumphantly. It was 9:00 at night. We had watched families filter in and out…lucky ducks, I thought. How smug they looked putting their jackets on, carrying their children out the door. But honestly, I didn’t want to take Sarah home. If they had discharged us I think I would have handed her back to the nurse. We ruled out Spinal Meningitis, an infection in her brain and pneumonia. Sarah remained a mystery.

“You will be in room 510. It’s the oncology floor.” Dr. Abbey said. Leukemia had not been ruled out due to her high white count. Oncology, cancer, sick little kids.

2 thoughts on “19th Street Detour- post 5!”

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