Joy – Noun.
A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

“I have great news,” the nurse said. “It’s positive.”

I felt a whoosh sweep though my body. My knees buckled.

“Are you sure?” I asked, my grip on the phone loosening.

“Yes, honey I’m sure,” she sang. “The numbers don’t lie.”

Dumbstruck, I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I didn’t have the words, not after month after month after month of negatives and maybe next time’s. Not after everything we’ve been through to get to here. How do most patients react? Squeal in delight? Tears of joy? I’m sure she’s heard it all.

“I’m sorry,” I said, apologizing for my delayed reaction. “I really wasn’t expecting good news.”

I could hear the smile in her voice as she laid out instructions to come back in two days for a follow-up blood test to make sure my HCG level was doubling. She encouraged me to call back if I thought of more questions after I’ve had time to process.

I floated back to my office in disbelief. I’m actually pregnant.

It didn’t matter that a stranger was informing me of this news, this miracle, that would change the course of my life.

I was beyond longing for how it’s “supposed” to happen. At home, in private, with my husband holding me in his arms. Silly grins plastered on our faces, sharing a secret that for now would be just ours.

It was an unseasonably warm Monday in November. Thanksgiving was that Thursday, and I was already making plans for the holidays and beyond.

We’ll make the announcement at Christmas. Something small, something thoughtful and meaningful. I’ll make copies of the first ultrasound photo and put them in each family member’s Christmas card. We’ll be together when they open them. We’ll share the moment of joy together. There will be hugs and happy tears celebrating hope, opportunity and new dreams.

Robbed of the private discovery with my husband I think of how I want to share the news with him. We’re both at work, and won’t be home together before 9 p.m. A text is out of the question. A phone call doesn’t seem quite right either. I want to see his eyes when I tell him, I want to be with him.

So I do what I believe is the next best thing. I leave a hand-written note tucked into the “I Love You” book I made for his birthday. Because one day, when our child is old enough and curious enough to ask about the day we found out she would be joining our family, I want it to be her favorite story.

“Again,” she’ll say after we’ve told her for the one hundredth time. “Tell it again.”

My husband gets home from work, his usual calm is now harried. He looks panicked.

“Really?” he says, interpreting the grin on my face. “I’ve been worried sick all day.”

I feel a little guilty for making him wait and point to the book where he finds and reads the note. I watch the panic leave his face and the smile start to curl. “Are you still worried?”

“No,” he says. “No, no, no. Not at all.”

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