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Could it be Giardia?

I stood in the preschool room with one hand on a squirming toddler and one on the sink alternating hurls with diapers

Fifteen years ago I stood in the preschool room with one hand on a squirming toddler and one on the sink alternating hurls with diapers. After three days of this my boss sent me home and I called my mom.

"Are you sick?"
"Do you have Giardia?"

Why Giardia? I was a full time university student in Seattle working part time at a preschool. I hadn't been camping. The water was fine.

"No, Mom. I don't have Giardia."

A pause.

"Could you be pregnant?"
I took a long deep breath before saying yes.

The next day she was at my door and we were taking the bus together to a free women's clinic on Capitol Hill. A couple hours later I was walking into a bookstore to buy "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

I was 20 and pre-med, yet strangely calm.

I don’t remember the moment in the clinic when my suspicions were confirmed, but I do remember the assuredness of my steps as I walked out. I didn’t want to hear what my choices might be. At that moment, I was a mom.

The rest of the day was peaceful and quiet. I lingered in shops looking at toys and children's books. Reds and greens brightened the streets and lights were strung on rooftops.

I bought Tiara's first gift: a beautiful snow globe with Santa and his reindeer turning inside. It played “Santa Claus is coming to Town” when you wound it.

That night I called my dad. Apparently, he and my mom think alike.

“Do you have Giardia?”

Well, that’s probably not the best baby name, Dad.


I was not supposed to be that girl. I was honor society, most likely to achieve, Sunday School teacher, pre-med, UW student that my parents bragged about.

It could have been disgraceful. At first, it was embarrassing. Most people didn't know until I began to show.

But the moment defined me and renewed my purpose at a time when I was starting to burn out.

Motherhood can be cliche, but that moment completely changed my path and it's been a good one.


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