We were in Bradenton, Florida for the week visiting our good friends Dyan and Mike. They have a beautiful daughter named Chelsea, who was eight months old at the time, and another baby was on the way. One of the places Dawn and I planned to visit while we were there was Busch Gardens, which in addition to having all sorts of animals, like a zoo, also has some of the most frightening roller coasters I've ever seen.
So on Sunday we were talking with Dyan about how Dawn wanted to go on all these roller coasters while she was in Florida.
``Are you sure you're not pregnant?'' asked Dyan, because she's on her second baby and thinks about these things.
``I'm late,'' answered Dawn, which was true. But then, as I mentioned earlier, Dawn's been late for the last two years we've been trying to get her pregnant. For two years, her cycle has varied between thirty-five and almost fifty days, so lately, we'd stopped paying attention. After a number of times of thinking, ``Maybe she's pregnant,'' and getting a home pregnancy test and being disappointed, we pretty much gave up.
``You should make sure you're not before you go on the roller coasters,'' cautioned Dyan, and it so happened that she had an extra test at home. It seems she bought a two-pack, and the first one came up positive, so she saved the other one.
So it was on Monday morning--appropriately, Labor Day--Dawn tested herself with Dyan's extra pregnancy test. And we got a little plus sign.
That morning, at about seven, Dawn called her mother and my mother to give them the tentative news. Then, the next day, we took a trip out to the only place that will run a blood test quickly and on short notice: Planned Parenthood.
I sat in the waiting room feeling very male. The walls were lined with posters featuring important women: Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, and that crazy lady Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. There were others, too, which I can't remember now, no doubt because I'm a male chauvinist pig. I noticed, though, that all of the posters had birth and death dates for these women, and that they all lived to be, like, a hundred. I think it's worth noting that an equally stellar array of famous men would show that most of them died in their fifties and sixties, and I think that says something.
So we filled out a form about Dawn's medical history. I thought it was interesting that there was a question on the form, ``If you find that you are pregnant, what do you plan to do?'' Ask me later, okay?
The blood test results came back on Friday, telling us that Dawn was three to four weeks along. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Anyway, Dawn couldn't go on the rides, and she was most bummed. But also very happy. I've taken to calling her ``plural wife'' or sometimes ``baby squared''.
But, you know, the discovery of Dawn's pregnancy really put a lot of weight on my shoulders. Suddenly I had this responsibility.
``It's easy for you, Dawn,'' I told her. ``Your body's on autopilot. You just have to sit back and let the whole thing happen. But this is a lot of responsibility for the man, for me. I've got to protect you and worry about you and take care of you.''
Both Dawn and Dyan stared at me in stunned silence for a moment before stomping me into the ground vehemently. As the two of them continued to rant, bouncing indignation and arguments off of each other and hurling invectives in my direction, Mike spoke to me quietly.
``This is an argument you're gonna lose every time,'' he told me.
``Well, yeah,'' I replied, ``But I've got to try.''
``Oh yeah,'' he agreed, ``You gotta try. I just want you to know you're gonna lose.''