Our 2007 New Year’s Day Surprise
Looking back, 2006 had been a good year for Melissa and me, at least from my memory and any notes I have. We were in our ninth year of marriage, we were spending our fourth year in the home we had purchased together, we were both settling into our careers, we had a good church home, and Melissa had finished her master’s degree in Counseling from Spring Arbor University.
But if there was one thing we agreed was missing from our lives, it was children. We had wanted children from the very beginning, thinking we might have at least a few boys, but here we were in our ninth year of marriage, and no children yet. Most of our friends of similar age had already started having children, and we were genuinely pleased for them. That Thanksgiving of 2006, we spent one of our most pleasant holidays at my brother’s house with his toddler and newborn baby — I had many enjoyable moments that weekend, sitting on the couch and holding their baby. But it also made us want even more to experience the joy of having our own child.
Christmas of 2006 arrived, and we had made plans to visit Melissa’s mom and sister at their home in Tucson. Flying from our home in mid-Michigan to visit them in Tucson (or vice versa) generally forced a few decisions — we could fly from our “home airport” of Flint’s Bishop International Airport to their home airport of Tucson International Airport, but not without at least 2 additional stops in larger airports like Detroit and Atlanta. Another option was for us to drive the 70 miles to Detroit Metro Airport or for them to drive about 2 hours to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for more direct flight options.
Faced with the choices of changing planes multiple times or driving a greater distance, we opted for an extreme in driving. You see, we could easily get an inexpensive direct flight from Flint to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, which was a city we had always wanted to visit anyway, at least once. We could rent a car in Vegas and make the 8-hour drive to Tucson, offering us the opportunity to take in lots of beautiful scenery on the way. We also planned to drive from Tucson to San Diego for a few days on this trip, so we figured we might as well get a rental car and just rack up the miles.
So one early, cold morning in December 2006, we made the 5-minute drive from our home to Bishop Airport, parked in the long-term lot, and took the brief shuttle ride to the terminal, excited about this great adventure before us. The flight from Flint to Vegas was uneventful, and we landed and made our way to pick up the rental car. After picking out a white Chevy Impala from the parking lot, our first stop was a CVS for snacks, drinks, and sunglasses. We took one drive up and down the famous Las Vegas Strip, just so we could say we’d been there — windows rolled down and sunroof open to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures 😎 — and then left Vegas, headed southeast toward the Hoover Dam.
We reached Kingman, Arizona, sometime around early afternoon, and since lunch options had been basically non-existent for the past couple of hours, we decided to stop at the Sonic Drive-In in Kingman. Sonic had been a favorite of ours, especially since we had none close to our home at the time. Melissa’s favorite item from there was the cherry limeade, but when she got hers that day, she said it didn’t taste right. I tried it, and it seemed fine to me. We thought perhaps Melissa was coming down with something after all of our travels in the past few months and her busy schedule with teaching and grad school, and chalked it up to that.
We finished the drive to Tucson and spent the next few days with her Mom and sister, celebrating Christmas. After Christmas Day, Melissa and her Mom and I drove to San Diego to spend a few days there. The first evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner at a waterfront restaurant, and then spent the next day visiting Balboa Park.
By this time, Melissa had shown continued signs of something being different physically, but she never got sick, so we were hopeful.
On our second day in San Diego, we went to the famous and awesome San Diego Zoo. We wandered around, checking out the incredible animals and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Mid-afternoon, Melissa needed to use the restroom, and when she came out, she had tears in her eyes. She had seen indications while using the restroom that maybe she wasn’t pregnant and her cycle would be starting soon. We hugged for several minutes on the sidewalk — there near the elephant display — reassuring each other that we would have other opportunities.
We finished the San Diego trip, drove back to Arizona, and flew back home to Michigan. But even after we got home, Melissa continued to feel “off,” even though we weren’t sure what might be happening. We planned to make a doctor’s appointment for her after the New Year.
But finally, on New Year’s Day, Melissa decided she couldn’t wait any longer. She still didn’t feel well and wanted to get out of the house for a while, so we decided to go to Walmart. Yeah, what better place to go on New Year’s Day? 😁
As we walked through the pharmacy and personal care section of the store, we stopped in front of the pregnancy test kits. We looked at each other. It was worth the price of a test, right? Worst case scenario, we’d just get another “Not Pregnant” result.
We paid for the test kit and I waited on the bench outside the Walmart restroom while Melissa went into the restroom. Yep, we were so classy — trying this at the Walmart restroom. 😅
I don’t remember how long I sat there and waited, but soon I heard a distinct sound from inside the restroom — a voice that I knew so well, emitting a squeal of delight, a yelp of joy, a whoop of happiness. Melissa came running out of the restroom and threw her arms around me, showing me the test results that said “Pregnant”! We were overjoyed and in disbelief at the same time.
We left Walmart, and I remember Melissa called her parents to share the good news with them. We decided to drive over to my parents’ house to tell them in person. But on the drive over there, we began to question: “What if we’d gotten a false positive?” We decided we’d better check again to be sure, so we stopped at a Rite Aid, where we repeated the process — we bought another pregnancy test kit, paid for it, and I waited while Melissa went into the restroom.
But this second test was the same result: “Pregnant”! That was now two kits in two different locations by two different manufacturers, and both had a positive result. We felt much more confident now — Melissa was, in fact, finally pregnant. That’s how we found out we were expecting our son. ❤️
We spent the rest of the day with my parents, celebrating with them and notifying other family members. And of course we scheduled an appointment with the doctor to verify our own results. The doctor confirmed our results and even explained how some of the things Melissa had experienced in Kingman and San Diego were early signs that the pregnancy was viable. And then our son was born on September 11, 2007. But that’s a story for another day.
So why write this out and share it?
Well, first, I wanted to document this for our son. I want to be sure he can read and re-read these stories in the future, and my goal is to supplement my copy for him with additional details and hopefully even photos or other mementos.
Second, this is a reminder to me of what a miracle our son is. He is our only child, and I’m so grateful God gave him to us. He is unique in such a good way, and while Melissa and I tried to be good parents to him, the parts of him that are unique and good are not from us, but are gifts in how God created him.
Third, this is also a reminder to me of how life can quickly change, and sometimes for the better. At Thanksgiving 2006, we held our niece and nephew, praying that someday God would give us our own child, and one year later, at Thanksgiving 2007, we got to hold our own son in our arms. I’m not remotely suggesting that God will grant every wish within a year, because if the last two months have taught me anything, it’s that God’s plans and timeline do not match my own, and I have to accept that — he is God and I am not. But he is a good God, a God of love, a God who keeps His promises, so I can trust Him, knowing that every good gift is from above.Posted on 2021-01-01 #Melissa Dunn #Pregnancy #Surprise