“Oh and by the way, my name is Deb and I’m 43.” This is how Deb ended her first email to me in 2017. Yes, we met online. And so I met Deb when she was 43. I was 55 at the time. Deb turned 44 a few weeks later. I turned 55 a week later.
We moved in together on April 1, 2018. We signed a lease on a little house on Big Bend in Crestwood. It’s close to Deb’s old apartment, which was close to her church. It’s centrally located, not far from the city. It’s less than 30 minutes away from Webster, from Chesterfield, from Maryland Heights, from Cottleville, from St. Charles—from the people and places that are important to us.
On April 12, Deb asked me to go out and get a pregnancy test. I said ok. I came back with one that costs a dollar.
A few minutes later, she came out of the bathroom, scratching her head. “According to the directions,” said Deb, “the plus sign means pregnant.”
“Here. Let me see,” I said. “Maybe you peed on it too long or something. I’ll go get another one at the store.”
Twenty minutes later, Deb opened the five-dollar Equate brand pregnancy test.
“Follow the instructions this time,” I said. “The chance of getting pregnant at age forty-four is one-point-six percent. We researched this, babe.”
Five minutes later, Deb said, “I think I’m pregnant.”
“I’ll be back in ten minutes,” I said. I went all out this time. I got Clear Blue Easy at Walmart. It’s the best. And it’s $12. If you are pregnant, it says PREGNANT on the tiny screen.
So we gleefully accepted the results of Clear Blue Easy. We started visiting the OB on a regular schedule.
We also accepted the risk of a genetic abnormality. At age 44, a woman has a 4% chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome, whereas at age 30 it is 0.01%.
A few months later, a genetic blood test showed that the baby inside Deb had a 94.6% of having Down syndrome (trisomy 21). Along with Deb’s ultrasound findings, there was no doubt. The doc also mentioned (on accident and against our wishes) the sex of the baby.
Joy was born on December 10, 2018. She really did bring joy into our world that day.