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Christmas Travel Nightmare is New Years Surprise

It’s not every day that it snows in Seattle. We are accustomed to rain. Lots and lots of rain. This isn’t to say it never snows in Seattle. But, like the South, many residents just don’t know how to handle, or even drive, in the snow. When a major snowstorm hit Seattle in 2008 (we are talking mere inches people!), it practically shut down the city.

Being from the East Coast, you can imagine our shock when the airport car service I booked weeks in advance didn’t show up on Christmas Eve morning. Snow hadn’t fallen in days. I called to see what the problem was. I was told the car couldn’t make it up our tiny hill, the one I drove up and down every day, snow or not. I was informed I would have to call a cab or drive myself.

Panic began to set in. We had two hours until our flight from Seattle to Philly. I was exhausted after a long month at work. All I wanted to do was see my family for Christmas. I was going to make it come hell or high water.

We threw our bags into the car and speed down to SeaTac Airport, a 45-minute drive on a normal, dry day. Somehow we made it in time. The problem was, there was no parking available. This being Christmas Eve and all, every spot for miles was taken. We didn’t know what to do.

I hopped out of the car while my husband continued to loop around airport parking trying to find an open spot. We would pay a premium for a week in self-parking at the airport garage, but I didn’t care. I was getting out of there.

I ran to the airline ticket desk to ask if the flight would be delayed, or if there were any seats on a later flight. “No can do,” the agent told me in a flat, unfeeling, very un-elf-like voice. I was devastated. As I watched our flight time come and go I admitted defeat. I cancelled our plane tickets, took the cancellation penalty and tried to hold my head up as I stomped back in the car.

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My husband tried to help me look on the bright side. We would have so much fun just laying around the house, getting projects done and unpacking (we had recently moved into our very first home). My spirits were down in the dumps. We didn’t even have a tree! Our friends had all left town to visit their families or were busy in town with them. My Christmas spirit was nonexistent. I just wanted to crawl under the covers of my warm bed and hide until New Years.

We decided to run to the mall to buy at least one present for each other. This way we would have a little something to open on Christmas morning. My husband even bought a small strand of lights to hang up. It helped a little, but I still found myself crying on Christmas morning, because I had missed opening presents with my parents, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins. I love having tons of family around. This two-person Christmas stuff was bullocks!

I slowly walked down the hallway. I looked at my husband and said, “ I think we are going to have a baby.” His grin was all I needed.

All Christmas day we watched movies and unpacked. I fell asleep on the couch. It wasn’t like me to nap in the middle of the day, but, like I said, it had been a busy month.

The rest of the week we vegged out, caught up on sleep, and I found myself taking a two-hour nap every afternoon. I was just so exhausted I didn’t know what else to do. While my hubby played video games, I would pass out next to him. He didn’t complain. He had the TV all to himself. Maybe I was getting sick. It would be just my luck. Ba humbug.

New Years Eve came along, and we toasted in the New Years with friends. I had a sip of bubbly, before we all called it a night, and I crawled back in bed. This cold was beginning to bring me down. I didn’t want to push it.

The next morning, I woke up and began to question all of this exhaustion. Sure, we had been busy at work and buying a house, and yes, maybe it was that cold coming on. I wasn’t sniffly and my throat felt fine, sure signs of one of my annual winter “could be a sinus infection” sick spells flaring up. Then again, we’d been trying to get pregnant for six months. We hadn’t been successful, but we weren’t panicking yet either.

I plopped down on the couch next to my husband and suggested we head to Target. Once there, we stood in the pregnancy test aisle for hours it seemed like. I had no idea which one to get. No one ever tells you these things! We grabbed two that seemed reputable. We had at least heard about them on TV.

Back home, I peed on that stick with excitement and trepidation. I didn’t know what I wanted it to say. We wanted kids, but I was terrified of giving birth.

I set the timer for three minutes like the package told me. I turned back to the test, and there were already two pink lines. What?! Wait. Did that mean I was pregnant? I scanned the directions again. Could those lines really pop up that fast? Was I that pregnant?

Apparently I was. I took the other test — a digital one — just to be sure. No sooner had the pee hit the stick did it say “Pregnant.”

My tragic Christmas story ended up being one of the best moments of our lives.

I slowly walked down the hallway. I looked at my husband and said, “ I think we are going to have a baby.” His grin was all I needed. He gave me a big hug. I told him I had to call the doctor’s office. He reminded me it was New Years Day. We sat for a while. I panicked inside and out loud. Could we really do this? Well, it was a bit late now.

My doctor confirmed what I knew was true, and she set me up with the best OB/Gyn I could possibly ask for in Seattle. She answered every insane question I had. (Can you give birth naturally with a broken leg? Yes.) She shared silly YouTube videos with me when I was freaking out in the office about what was to come.

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What ever happened to those New Years Eve plane tickets back east? Well, we decided to surprise our families with a quick weekend visit to announce I was pregnant at the end of January. Thanks to off-season prices, I ended up paying $20 more for our tickets. Better yet, my sister was leaving for India in February to teach for six months. I got to tell her she was going to be an aunt for the first time shortly after she got back. She was thrilled, and we couldn’t have thought of a better way to announce our news.

My tragic Christmas story ended up being one of the best moments of our lives. I know exactly when I realized I was pregnant with my oldest son. New Years Day is a hard date to forget.

Image by Curimedia via Flickr

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