Chapter 22–Summons From A Far

four months along

The Verdict

The doctor opened the folder and reviewed the tests. She put her glasses on and re-read the test results. She flipped the pages back and forth comparing one test result with another. She wanted to be absolutely sure of the results before she said a word. The suspense was slowly killing Milly. It was now the new year. With a couple of false positives in her past, Milly was now trying for the third time to get pregnant.

The doctor took off her glasses and tossed them on her desk.

“Sorry for taking so long. I just wanted to fully understand the test results. I know how much this means to you. It all looks correct so I’m going to go out on a limb and say you, my dear, are about to be a mother.”

Milly broke into tears.

The doctor was puzzled by Milly’s reaction.

“This is what you wanted…isn’t it?” she asked.

Milly took her time answering.

“It sure is. You have no idea how much I want this baby.”

The doctor stood up and walked around to the front of her desk. She sat on the edge and faced Milly. “Now for the sixty-four million dollar question. How does Brad feel?”

Milly dabbed her eyes and blew her nose. The doctor pushed a box of Kleenex towards her. Milly grabbed some more tissues.

“Brad is going to be over the moon when I tell him. Then when the enormity of the situation hits him he’s going to become very protective of me. Especially with two false pregnancies behind me, he’s going to be impossible. Right now he thinks this is a normal check-up. He thinks I have a bug of some kind.”

The doctor went over to her filing cabinet and pulled out some papers.

“Alright young lady. Here is what I want you to do. From now I want you on a daily regiment of vitamins. You’re going to taking so many pills for the next few months you’ll be glad when you can see the finish line. Veggies. Lots of veggies. That goes for Brad too. He’s going to need to be in tip-top shape. He’s going to have a lot on his plate. At some point, which is always different with every new mother, you’re going to find you can’t do everything you want. That’s normal. Try not to get upset when it does happen. I can set you up with a doctor in Scotland too. That doctor will deliver your baby. But I want you to watch out for any spots. Any at all. If this pregnancy is false as well we’ll have to investigate what’s going on. And I’m talking about Brad too.”

Milly asked about having sex.

“Right now go for it. As often as possible. Don’t go overboard but try for at least once per day. Frequent sex can tone up those vaginal muscles of yours. Some women discover when they’re pregnant they have zero interest in sex while others become positively rabid and can’t enough. That’s why I want Brad on vitamins. I want him to fulfill your needs at a moments notice.”

“He’s already doing that really well” volunteered Milly.

“No offense but I’ve heard that before. That’s why I want both of you back here in two weeks. I want both of you to write down every question about having a baby you two can think of. No question is dumb so don’t be afraid to write down questions you think you already know the answer to. You may have only one half of the answer. I’ve been delivering babies for almost twenty years and it’s been my experience there are always a few questions you don’t know the answer to. So write them down and for heaven’s sake remember there are no dumb questions. Have you any idea how you’re going to tell him?”

“I got a jewelers box with a piece of the fabric of a cloth diaper in it. He’ll get eventually” said Milly.

“One last thing. You’re on maternal probation for the next two weeks. If your period doesn’t re-appear you’ll be officially pregnant. So I don’t want you telling anyone other than Brad. In two weeks time, I’m going to give you another exam. And if you pass, and I think you will, you can shout “I’m Pregnant” from the rooftops.”

The doctor handed Milly a list of vitamins to take, books to read, furniture to get, and list of items every new mother should have. Milly noticed that the breast pump was scratched out. Milly asked the doctor why.

“I wouldn’t get the breast pump till you move to Scotland. The electrical current is different there. If you get one here you’ll have to get an electrical adapter. I know it’s a small thing but I’m trying to save you money for the move.”

When the appointment was over she went home.

The Big Reveal

Brad was in the kitchen preparing one of the few meals he can prepare on his own. That night it was macaroni and cheese. When he was draining the water Milly came in through the front door. Brad looked up to watch her.

“I could watch you for a thousand years. And I can tell you right now I’ll never get tired of watching you come through the door kitten. You look fantastic.

As Milly hug up her coat she pulled the small jeweler’s box from her coat pocket.

“I am so glad you started dinner. Today is one those days I just didn’t want to prepare dinner. I’m just bushed. It was one of those days. Nothing went wrong. It was just boring. Nothing really spectacular stood out. Did I tell you I have a new nurse?”

“What’s her name?” asked Brad.

“His name is Vlad Kaminski. His name is a real mouthful for a kid. He’ll be great around Halloween. He has an accent that the kids associate with Dracula. He was so eager to get started he introduced himself to every kid in the wing.”

Milly walked into the kitchen and put the small box in front of Brad.

“What’s this kitten?” asked Brad. He washed and dried his hands before he picked it up.

“It’s called a box”. Brad looked at the ceiling and muttered something. “A nurse brought it in and asked everybody what they thought it was. Nobody could figure it out. What do you think it is Schweitzer?”

Brad stared at the box. “If I take the top off is anything going to jump out at me?”

“You should know I wouldn’t do anything like that. I might be really tempted to do something sneaky but I know you don’t like surprises like that” said Milly wearing a mischievous smile.

Not quite convinced Brad walked towards a clothes cupboard and after a while returned wearing a very overstuffed parka, ear muffs and a goalie mask from when he played hockey. He looked like he was about to diffuse a bomb. He moved gently and slowly took the lid off the box with plastic salad tongs. He moved his head away from the box. He was ready for just about anything. He extended his arms, closed the eye closest to the box and turned his head away from the box.

“You should see yourself. A grown man and you’re behaving like it’s a bomb. I assure you it won’t bite” said Milly.

When Brad took the lid off the box nothing happened. Still, with a certain degree of trepidation, he looked into the box. No itching powder, no springs or strings. He looked into the box. “Just a small piece of white fabric. Since it’s the wrong color I know it’s not the felt for a pool table. Yet I feel I should know what it is. This is a brain teaser, isn’t it? It almost feels like a diaper-“

Brad looked at Milly and there were tears in her eyes. “Are you kidding?”

“I believe there’s a phrase that says the third times a charm. It seems one of the Foster Brigade is a marine. He swam and did what he was supposed to do. You going to be a father. But we can’t tell mom or dad yet”

Brad hugged Milly, picked her up, and twirled her. “Why do we have to wait before we can tell Tilly and Tyler?”. Milly asked him to take the parka, ear muffs, and goalie mask off. As Brad was putting those particular items back in the clothes cupboard Milly answered his question.

“Since I have two false pregnancies behind me my doctor asked me to wait two more weeks. If my period still hasn’t appeared it be official. Then we can tell them. In two weeks you and I have an appointment with my doctor. She wants us to write down every question we can think of when it comes to having a baby. But I need to tell you something. When some women get pregnant they lose all interest in sex. Some go sex crazy. So my doctor wants you on vitamins. And she wants us to pounce as often as possible.”

Brad was puzzled and started scratching his head.

“Sorry kitten. I don’t follow. If you really are pregnant why does she want us to behave like sex-crazed teenagers?”.

“She’s of the belief that just in case my hormones aren’t quite sure what to do she hopes yours will be able to convince them I’m pregnant. So do you want to do any convincing tonight?”.


Let The Word Go Forth

Milly rang the doorbell at her mom and dads house. As they waited for somebody to answer the door Brad turned to Milly and confided quietly that he was scared.

“I’ve never really thought of being a father before. It’s a daunting job being responsible for another life. I don’t have a clue about being a parent. But at the same time, I can hardly wait. Am I making any sense kitten?”

Milly thought a short while, brought her hands up to her mouth, warmed her hands with her breath then turned to her husband. “I’m going to come clean. I’m positively terrified. I haven’t the faintest idea what it is to be a mother. I just know I want to be one. I’ve read about what to expect but putting theory into practice are two very different things.” Tilly, Milly’s mother, answered the door.

When she answered the door she put her head behind the door and started berating her husband. “Tyler Shine. The kids are here for dinner. Why didn’t you answer the door? It’s freezing out there.” Tilly ushered the two inside apologizing for her husband. When she closed the inside door there was a very distinctive click. Tilly put the chain lock back on the door. From an area near the door was the sound of a toilet flushing. As Tyler appeared he did his belt up. Milly kissed her father. Brad shook his hand. “When mother nature calls there’s not much you can do but obey.” Brad chuckled. “I know exactly what you mean sir. Those twelve-hour stints in the operating room are murder.” Tilly took the jackets and lay them on the bed in the master bedroom. A scowl covered Tyler’s face. “Hey. I thought we agreed you would stop calling me sir.” Brad apologized. “Sorry, Tyler. A minor slip of the lip.”

Tyler asked Brad what he’d like to drink. However, when he asked Milly she declined any kind of beverage. Tyler was surprised and suspicious. “What’s this? You’re saying no to mineral water? Somebody mark this day on the calendar. It could be a momentous occasion.” Milly asked her parents to have a seat in the living room. Milly and Brad stood in the door frame. Milly held her husband’s hand. She could feel the nervous sweat on his palms. “You don’t know how right you are. This is a very special occasion. Sometime this fall you’re going to have a grandchild. Brad and I are pregnant!”

Tilly rushed over and kissed her daughter.

Tyler shook the hand of his son-in-law. Then he turned to his daughter and kissed her. “Well, your mother wants to know if we should get some of your things out of storage, or if it’s going to be a boy?” he asked.

Milly thought about what to say. “We don’t know and we don’t want to know. We want to be surprised. But your grandchild will be born in Scotland. Our contacts were sold to Highland Central. As of July 1, we’ll be working for Fergus. He bought our contracts from Druk. He’s having a cottage retro-fit for a waiting room, and an examining room. So when you come over for a visit in the summer to help with the move you’ll be able to see the baby right after I deliver. The cottage, Foster Cottage, will be an urban off-shoot of the hospital. We’ll fix cuts and scrapes on the first floor and live on the second.”

Tyler got out of the chair he was in and went downstairs. When he returned he was carrying a champagne bottle. He walked over to Brad and Milly who were sitting on a rose-colored love seat and started talking to them both. “When Milly was born my father gave me two bottles of champagne. One was consumed when Milly was born. The second bottle was for when she announced she was going to be a mother. I think this qualifies as that occasion.” Tyler poured the contents into four champagne flutes. As he distributed the glasses Milly still declined. “I know this is a special occasion but I don’t want to jinx things. But I will have some mineral water.”

A few minutes later Tilly announced the roast was ready. Brad volunteered to carry the roast in. “I’ll do the honors, Tilly. Milly’s doctor wants me in tip-top shape for the next nine months.” When he entered the dining room Tyler started asking questions. “Tell me, Brad. Has there been any morning sickness?” Tilly asked the first of many that evening. “Any special cravings yet or is it too soon for that?” Brad looked at Milly who the questions were really fielded to. “No morning sickness so far. My doctor says some women just don’t get morning sickness at all. As for cravings, I’ll let Brad tell you about that. I’ve got to go to the pregnant ladies room.” As Milly walked away there was a small smirk on her face. As she walked away she heard Brad start talking. “So far the cravings have been pretty tame. Rocky Road Ice Cream-“

“Oh, that doesn’t sound bad at all. When I was pregnant I had some very strange cravings. I won’t tell you what they were. It was an experience best forgotten.”

“As I was saying Milly has had cravings for Rocky Road Ice Cream and shrimp.”

Tyler covered his mouth and ran for the bathroom in the basement. Tilly apologized for him. “Tyler was very squeamish when I was expecting. Poor thing was almost in worse shape than I was. But how are you doing? How are you feeling?”

“Milly’s doctor has me on all sorts of vitamins. As Milly nears her due date she’ll be doing less. So I have to pick up the slack.” Tilly dabbed her mouth with her serviette. “And so it should be. It used to be the father does his thing then sits back for nine months while the wife goes through hell. It’s high time men carried a lot more of the load.”

Brad looked to see if Tyler had returned. He hadn’t so Brad continued talking about Milly’s unusual cravings.

“There’s a deli down the street from the apartment. After Milly ordered Rocky Road and shrimp a few times they sort of figured things out. They have changed the menu slightly and added a “Milly Special”. They’re open twenty-four hours so they are really convenient. If it’s three in the morning she phones in the order and I pick it up.”

Tilly was transfixed and didn’t notice her husband coming slowly up the stairs. “One time they didn’t did have shrimp and Milly said “surprise me””. When I picked up the order the deli folks told me they put in squid. When I saw her chowing down on squid it sort of made me feel like Tyler.”

As soon as Tyler heard this he knocked on the floorboards and pointed downwards. Tilly started giggling at her husband’s dilemma. “I wonder if I should check on him. I’m going to say something and I don’t want Milly to know. Her father was a complete basket-case when I had my cravings. Tyler and I had to eat in separate rooms. He just wasn’t prepared to be a father.”

Milly returned. “Forget everything I said about not having morning sickness. Sprog just said hello.”

Tilly was mystified. “Who or what is Sprog or is that of those new 21st century things I keep hearing about on the news?”.

Brad dealt with this question. “Since Milly and I don’t want to know the sex of the baby we gave the baby a sexless name. We didn’t want to say “baby” all the time, and we really did not want to call the baby “it”.”

Tilly was concerned. “Are you sure it was morning sickness? It’s seven-thirty in the evening.” Milly sat down and looked a little pale. “Since I became pregnant we’re now living in the Sprog time zone. He seems to think it’s morning.”

Tilly just about jumped out her chair when she heard the word “He”.

“You just said the word he. Does that mean you think it’s a boy?”.

“Sorry. It’s just a figure of speech. I don’t know. Brad doesn’t know, and my doctor doesn’t know the sex of the baby. It’s still too early to tell.”

“Surely you have a preference. I’ve got to get knitting. I’ve got to know the color.”


One month later Milly was undergoing another ultrasound.

“I’m going to put the gel on your tummy. If you want to see “Sprog” just raise your head a bit. The monitor is near your feet.”

As Milly’s doctor passed the ultrasound camera over her tummy she could hear the heartbeat of her unborn child. Brad watched the monitor and started crying when he heard the heartbeat.

Milly’s doctor was surprised to see Brad crying.

“Well, this a switch. Usually, it’s the mother who goes all to pieces during one of these scans. The father is stoic as can be and grins like a fool. It’s re-refreshing to see this role reversal.”

Brad a quick reply.

“Milly isn’t the only one whose hormones are doing gymnastics. I’m human too.”

Milly’s doctor put on her glasses and studied the monitor. “Well, everything’s accounted for. Ten fingers and ten toes. Heartbeat is great. I think you’re good to go. The doctor in Strathpeffer is Dr. Dinah Ransom.”

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