Our pregnancy adventure began like most great stories do:  at the beginning.

The day was July 7th.  The time was 8 am.  Nicole woke me up and said she had a present for me.  I had spent the past several days helping out around the house doing a lot of random chores.  In my inital groggy state I thought she might have bought a DVD from the Wal-Mart $5 bin.  We do love movies.

In the back of my head, I thought maybe she might be telling me she was pregnant.  We use Natural Family Planning and had been trying to get pregnant.  But, we thought we had miscalculated and had missed our chance.  Nicole had taken several pregnancy tests and they had all turned out negative.  But, I still had hope.

Nicole handed me a small box.  I opened it up and found two pregnancy tests. 

Dollar Store Pregnancy tests

Not our exact tests, but that's what they look like! Despite being from the dollar store, they are incredibly accurate

 They were the cheap, dollar store variety.  I had no idea how to read them. But, I guess she wouldn’t have wrapped up a negative test.  We frantically called our family to tell the good news.  I was beyond happy.  It’s a hard feeling to describe if you’ve never been told you’re going to be a dad before.  But, I was just amazed that God would bless us this way and that He would trust us to raise a child.

  Nicole’s mom was ecstatic.  My mom and sister were on a plane and had to contain their excitement.  My dad thought the news was great and told me, “that will put some responsibility in you!”  I called my best friend, Timmy and told him the good news on my way to work.  As happy as we were, we wanted to avoid telling a lot of people until Nicole had gotten a blood test to confirm the pregnancy.   Just to be sure, Nicole went to Wal-Mart and got one of the digital read pregnancy tests.  It also showed she was pregnant.

The next day we got the good news:  her blood test showed we were pregnant.  We lost our discretion and told everyone we knew.  We were both so happy and wanted to share it with as many people as we could.  We were also counting our blessings in another way:  I was set to help lead a week long mission trip for my Church to Kingwood, WV to help fix homes and trailers in the area. 

Kenn giving orders on the job site

Kenn in Appalachia trying to look like the "commanding" foreman on the job site

 Nicole was originally planning on coming with me.  A few weeks prior to the trip, a family commitment came up, which caused her to back out of the trip.  Not that she was that far along to limit her activities, but doing the heavy labor of home repair in the heat of July, would be the best idea for her.

A few days later, I left on my trip.  Before I left, I spoke to our good Catholic neighbors and asked them if they wouldn’t mind checking in with Nicole every couple of days because I was going to be gone for so long.  They agreed and I left with some peace of mind.  And, this would prove to be an important favor to have asked.

Shortly after I got to Appalachia, Nicole told me she started to spot.  We knew that some spotting was normal.  But, the fact that it was happening, was still bothering us.  Thursday afternoon I got the worst text imaginable:  “I’m really bleeding a lot.  What should I do?”  Well, I had no idea.  So, I told Nicole to take herself to the ER.  Eventually, we’d learn that what she meant by “bleeding a lot” was she was soaking a pad an hour. 

 She was very upset and I was at least a three hour drive away.  I called our neighbors and fortunately Karen could meet her at the ER and stay with her until Nicole’s mom could get there.  By now, my work crew had returned to our camp to do some painting in the Church’s rectory.  I told my other crew leaders what was happening and went and locked myself in the Church to pray.  I also sent a text message out to a few of my friends that I knew would drop what they were doing to pray and asked them to start praying as well.

the Chapel at camp

this was the chapel I spent a lot of time in prayer in after I got the news. Fortunately, the local priest had brought over the Blessed Sacrament a few days prior

It took about an hour, but finally I got some answers to what was happening with Nicole.  They had done an ultrasound and had taken some blood work.  She was still bleeding heavily.  The inital ultrasound results were not good.  The doctors said they could see a sack in her uterus, but there was nothing inside the sack.  They were estimating she was 6-7 weeks along and the doctors said there should be something in the sack.  But, they said the results were inconclusive and that she should make an appointment with her OB and go from there.

I knew instantly that even though I was a youth minister, my first responsibility was to Nicole.  I pulled aside two of the chaperones who were natural leaders and explained the situation.  The camp only had another two days left, but I still wanted to talk through it with them and make sure that I could leave.  Then, I announced to the teens that I was leaving because my wife was in the ER.  I asked them to please pray for her.  Then, I jumped in the car and began the journey back to Maryland.

I was a little nervous about getting lost.  GPS doesn’t work in that area because most of the roads are not entered on the map.  I stopped at a local Subway to get dinner and they fortunately gave me very good directions.  I was able to get home in about the usual 3-4 hours.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  But, despite all our fears, I did have a peace about me that I knew was only from God.  Somehow, I knew this would all work out for the best…

Stay Tuned for Part II:  Tests and Prayers