10: Happy New Year

10: Happy New Year

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness

Happy New Year

Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off.

~Author Unknown

There they were. Two pink lines… on my home pregnancy test. It was confirmed: I was pregnant. This wasn’t exactly news I could sit on, despite the fact that it was a quarter past six in the morning. I had initially ventured into the bathroom to take a closer look at our humidifier, which appeared to be on the blink.

I padded back to bed with bare feet, crawled across the bed, and nudged my husband, Scott, who was snoring and motionless under more than his fair share of the comforter.

“Babe,” I began, prodding him relentlessly, “two things: the humidifier is indeed broken…”

Not surprisingly, this declaration didn’t elicit a response.

“…and we’re pregnant,” I finished.

That one, however, did the trick.

Scott awoke with a start and switched on the lamp, his eyes wide and inquisitive. “Really?” And then his mouth formed into a large smile.

I proudly scurried back to the bathroom to produce the evidence, brought it to the bedroom, and showed Scott.

His smile cooled. “The line is… really light,” he said with a hint of disbelief.

“Light still means pregnant,” I replied in my best I-am-too-pregnant tone.

“Hmmm, I don’t know,” he said, planting a hint of doubt inside my own head.

Cut to the office of our family doctor two hours later. Scott had an appointment for a routine check-up, and he had goaded me into coming along so that the nurse, Sherry, could give me a blood test.

“Exciting!” Sherry exclaimed as she withdrew the needle from my arm. “I’m off tomorrow, so the next time I talk to you, maybe…” her voice trailed off into a roller coaster of anticipatory squeals. “This is going to the lab today. Call back tomorrow morning. The results will definitely be in by 10 a.m.”

But they weren’t. I checked. Twice. Then I spent an inordinate amount of time pondering what could have possibly come between my test results and their timely — promised! — delivery to my doctor’s office. Not knowing was doing a number on my already shaky conviction.

Maybe I wasn’t pregnant.

That day, my yoga practice saved me from was-I-or-wasn’t-I limbo. I deliberately lost myself in an invigorating self-practice at home, and then I drove to a friend’s home to teach her privately. This brought me back down to earth, and the benefits were twofold: It was preparation for the upcoming final exam in my yoga instructor training program, and it served to calm my nerves by reminding me to live in the moment. This moment.

The next day, New Year’s Eve to be exact, I tried the doctor’s office again. I was equipped with a level head, but my breath caught in my throat when an unfamiliar, albeit chipper, female voice filtered through the line. “Good morning, how may I help you?”

“Yes, my name is Courtney Conover, and I’m calling to obtain the results of my pregnancy test,” I said, the rising intonation of my voice surely disclosing my hopefulness.

“Please hold.”

It had been a full forty-eight hours. The results had to be there. As I held the phone, a parade of never-before-experienced milestones ran through my head: What I would look like with a swollen belly; Scott and I bringing our baby home from the hospital; our child opening presents on Christmas morning.

And then the proverbial needle scratched the record.

“Hi, Courtney? Um, yeah, well, the results are here… but we can’t give them to you. You see, the doctor must be in to verify them, and he won’t be back until Monday. Sorry.”

I had hit the nadir. My stomach gave a lurch and then immediately began turning about as if on spin cycle. This couldn’t be. Wasn’t it inhumane to expect a possibly pregnant woman to remain in left field about her status? On New Year’s Eve of all days? I wanted to proclaim this — no, shout it — but an imperfect combination of shock and outrage choked back my words. I hung up.

Frustrated and nearly incoherent, I then dialed Scott at work. Scott, bless his heart, calmed me down and said that he’d call the doctor’s office to see what on earth could be done.

In the meantime, I had to get my act together so that I could go to work myself: I was bringing my mother along to a burning bowl ceremony I was covering for my weekly column, and it was set to start in thirty minutes.

Consider the irony: I fancied myself a positive thinker; I was this close to becoming a yoga teacher so that I could help others live healthier, more peaceful lives; and I was en route to a burning bowl ceremony, a ritual that encouraged people to let go of old, unproductive thought patterns in order to make room for useful, promising ones. Yet here I was, fit to be tied over something beyond my control — despite having so many blessings in my life.

And the cherry on top?

There was still a chance that I could have been pregnant.

I spent the next three hours among a wonderful group of men and women who wanted nothing more than to make 2011 bigger, better — happier — than the year that preceded it. The moderator gave us two sheets of paper, one for writing down things we wanted to release and another for writing down what we wanted to attract into our lives. It was a powerful exercise, one that shed enormous light on all that I already had to be thankful for: my health; a loving husband; a supportive mother; the ability to pursue my passion as a writer. My list, admittedly, was rather long. If that wasn’t reason enough to be happy in the new year, I didn’t know what was.

Still, I could think of something I needed to let go: My fervent desire for things to always go the way I wanted.

I consider it more than coincidence that my day started looking up after the ceremony. As soon as my mother and I entered my car, my cell phone’s voicemail alert chimed; it was Scott. I felt a frisson of excitement as I called him back. Maybe — just maybe — he had some news.

He did: I was pregnant.

Scott had somehow contacted Sherry, who had somehow reached the doctor so that he could give the aforementioned clearance.

So, there, on a rainy New Year’s Eve, in the parking lot of the burning bowl ceremony, with my mother by my side and my husband on the phone, I learned that I was expecting my first child.

At that moment, absolutely nothing else mattered.

Talk about putting the happy in Happy New Year.

~Courtney Conover

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