Queasiness unpleasantly brought Nola out of her sleep. She leapt nude out of the bed and ran to the bathroom. She had felt so much better the night before and was relieved when she realized she had her noon appointment with Dr. Meadows, but noon could not come soon enough. She knew Dr. Meadows would give her something to make her feel better.

Dr. Belinda Meadows explained, “Nola, I’m sure there is a simple explanation for what you’ve been experiencing. Of course, I’m convinced a big part of what is going on has to do with the stress relating to your daughter.”

“The nausea has been really bad for about the last week.”

“We’ll examine you and do some tests and get you balanced out. Nausea is not a common symptom of perimenopause, but some do complain of it.”

“My husband wanted me to see someone in Scotland, but I wanted to wait to see you.”

“Your husband? You’re back with your husband?”

“Yes, we got back together a little over a month ago.”

“Hmmm,” the doctor considered, checking Nola’s chart. “Have you been having regular intercourse?”

“Well, yes,” Nola answered.

“Have you been using birth control?”

“No, I didn’t think that was an issue anymore.”

“It’s not likely, but until you are in full menopause which is a year after your last menses you can technically still get pregnant. And since you are still under 50, I would recommend using birth control for two full years afterward to absolutely avoid pregnancy.”

“I had no idea.”

“We didn’t discuss this the last time, because you told me you weren’t sexually active. Would a pregnancy be a problem?”

“No, just completely unexpected,” Nola confessed.

“That is usually the case with women who get pregnant at your age. OK, when did you have your last period?”

“It was maybe two months ago.” Nola qualified, “But it was very light.”

“Just to cover all our bases, I’ll run a pregnancy test on you.” The doctor made some notations on Nola’s chart.

“Dr. Meadows, are you kidding?”

“It’s unlikely, they barely have statistics for someone who is . . .” the doctor checks her chart, “46, err 47, but I want to be thorough and consider everything. This does happen more often than you would think with my perimenopausal patients.”

After running all the tests, Dr. Meadows informed Nola that her office would call later in the day with the results of several of the tests. Nola drove home not sure if she should tell Quint anything until she heard back from the doctor. She decided against it since she did not want to get his hopes up, and she was sure that she couldn’t be.

When Nola got home, she found Quinton alone in the study working on his laptop computer.

“Where are Stacey, Seamus and AJ?” Nola queried.

“I think Seamus and Stacey went to the garden to soak in the spa. And AJ went to pick up Olivia.”

“That’s good.” Nola walked over to the desk, “What are you doing?”

“I’m writing an official letter to our attorney. I was going to run it by you before sending it out, but I want to see if he can do anything about Floyd’s involvement in Stacey’s kidnapping. I’m not going to sit around while he does this to us and to Stacey without retribution.”

“Does Stacey have any idea about his involvement?”

“I haven’t told her, and I would certainly prefer that she not be touched by this ugly news,” Quint revealed.

“I have to agree about that.”

“How was your appointment with Dr. Meadows?” Quint inquired.

“She ran some tests and is going to call me back very soon with the results.”

“Does she think everything is okay?”

“It’s probably just more of the same, and depending on what the tests say, she will probably give me a new prescription.”

The phone rang; Quinton answered it and then handed it to Nola, “It’s your doctor’s office.”

Nola turned pale and took the phone from Quinton. She carefully listened to what the doctor had to report. Nola’s expression did not reveal anything, as the doctor explained her results, only answering with a periodic “yes” or “thank you” in response. Quietly, Nola hung up the phone and turned away from Quint.

“What did she say?” Quint asked with concern. “Nola? Is everything okay?”

“I just can’t believe it,” Nola stammered.

“Nola, please tell me,” Quint pleaded. “You’re scaring me.”

“No need to be scared,” a smile started to creep across Nola’s face, “but you are NOT going to believe this.”

“Tell me now, Nola,” Quint pleaded, as he moved from around the desk toward his wife.

“She did a pregnancy test on me, and it actually came back positive!” Nola exclaimed.

“What? It came back positive?” Quint repeated in astonishment.

“She said I should set up an appointment with my OB/GYN.”

“Omigod, Nola. I didn’t think this was possible. It’s incredible.” Quint’s excitement grew as he embraced Nola.

“Now, I don’t want us to get too excited. A lot could go wrong, so we need to only consider this a possibility right now.”

“I know, but this is such thrilling and unexpected news. After all those years of trying and . . .”

“I know. I know. It’s pretty miraculous and totally against the odds.”

“I can’t wait to tell everyone,” Quint gushed.

“We can’t tell anyone yet, not even the children. I can’t deal with telling anyone if something bad happens.”

“Of course, whatever you feel comfortable with. I’m just so happy even at the possibility. When do you think we would be able to tell everyone?”

“Probably not until the tests come back good, and I’m for the most part past the time of worrying about miscarriage, but I’m sure the OB can tell us better.”

“Then it will just be our wonderful little secret,” Quint caressed her face and placed a tender kiss on her lips.

Nola was able to set up a late afternoon emergency appointment with her OB/GYN. Quint went with her, and they covered by telling the children that they had an appointment with their accountant. Upon examining Nola, the doctor determined that Nola was, in fact, pregnant and set her due date almost eight months later, sometime in December. Because of the irregularity of Nola’s cycles, she did not feel that she could be more accurate. She scheduled Nola for CVS testing in Chicago in five weeks.

“What is CVS testing, doctor? Nola inquired.

“It’s Chorionic Villus Sampling, and it is a chromosomal test that we can do as early as eight weeks, but generally not until 10 weeks, where as, amniocentesis can’t happen generally until 14 weeks.”

“Why do we have to go to Chicago for the test?” Quint worried.

“Mr. Chamberlain, in any of these tests, there is some risk involved, but at this clinic in Chicago, that is all they do, so the risk is significantly diminished. I recommend this for my older mothers, since they are at such greater risk for chromosomal disorders. The earlier test allows more time for counseling and/or for more ease in exercising options should something be wrong.”

“What kind of chromosomal risks are we talking about?” Nola queried.

“The test is looking for things like Down syndrome and anything else chromosomal that might be family related.”

Quint added, “As far as we know there is nothing like that in our family.”

“But I’ve had two premature deliveries. My daughter, Anastasia who is now 23 years old is fine. She was born at just over 7 months. But we lost our other baby girl eight years ago. She was delivered at only 24 weeks. Our son, who is now 21, was almost on time and only about 2-3 weeks early.”

“I will want to see you almost every week until after the CVS test, and if that goes well, then I think we can relax a bit during your second trimester. Then go back to the weeklies during the last trimester.”

“Is there anything I should do or know?”

“I’ll be giving you the usual vitamins, and the nurse will go over your diet. You don’t smoke, so we don’t need to worry about that. You should cut out any alcohol. You can continue normal sexual and physical activity, but nothing that would overexert yourself. Those are the basics. I’ll be working closely with your endocrinologist, Dr Meadows, and we’ll do our best to give you a healthy, happy baby in about eight months. I’m going to discuss with her supplementing you with a natural progesterone to help you maintain the pregnancy.”

“Thank you so much, doctor,” Quint beamed. “This is quite a surprise for us, but very much a welcome one.”

“I’m sure it is. The chances of a natural pregnancy are very low this late in life, but it can and does happen. Usually when it is least expected and stress levels are low.”

Nola explained, “We saw a fertility specialist for over two years with no success after we lost our baby, and I didn’t think I could get pregnant anymore.”

“That is usually how it happens,” the doctor sighed. “Are you planning on sharing this news with friends and family now?”

“No, we are going to wait until we know that everything is all right with the baby,” Nola answered.

“I think that’s best, but you can be cautiously optimistic.”

Nola and Quint relaxed in the back of the limousine, stunned about the astonishing news.

“So now you really did it, Mr. McCord” Nola feigned annoyance.

“What do you mean?”

“Knocked me up again, huh??”

“As I recall, you liked it very much, but yes,” Quint played along.

“Whatever will my mother say?” Nola girlishly flirted.

“I’ll tell her that I promise to do right by you.”

“You better!”

“I will,” Quint promised. “How do you think the kids will take it when we tell them?”

“I’m not sure,” Nola then thought, “Stacey will be happy, and AJ will probably tease us.”

“Our son will have a field day with this one.”

“Definitely,” Nola commented and then continued more seriously, “this may seem premature, but I was thinking that maybe we should postpone our vow renewal ceremony until after we get the results from the CVS testing. Because if everything is okay with the baby and pregnancy, then I think it would be wonderful for us to announce it at the ceremony. I know this is changing our plans for something we’re unsure of, but . .”

“That’s a great idea. We would only have to push plans 2 weeks and it would certainly be a memorable announcement.”

Seamus and Anastasia were invited out to dinner with Vanessa and her boyfriend, Colin. Olivia helped Stacey raid Nola’s closet to find something to wear for the evening.

“It’s so cool that Aunt Nola had a whole room renovated into a closet,” remarked Olivia.

“These old houses have no closet space,” Stacey explained as she searched through the rows of clothing.

“Wow, look at all this nice stuff. I wish I could fit into it.” Olivia pulls down a pair of jeans. “How can you possibly squeeze into these little things?”

“Let me see those,” Stacey requested. “So cute, but Aunt Vanessa said I need something dressy.”

“Are you doing all right, Stacey?” Olivia cautiously asked. “I know how terrible that Silas Crocker is.”

“I’m doing okay now, and I’m really glad that he’s finally captured and can’t hurt people anymore.”

“I know,” Olivia sympathized. “Seamus seems really nice and really cute. I love his little accent.”

“Yes, he is very nice and cute.” Stacey pulled out a short black dress, “What do you think about this?”

“It’s very cute, basic. You could dress it up with some jewelry and a nice pair of shoes. I bet you and Aunt Nola share shoes too?”

“Most shoes, yes,” Stacey smiled.

“When will Uncle Quint and Aunt Nola be back?”

“Probably any minute, I’m going to try on these two dresses,” Stacey said as she pulled a pretty pink paisley dress off the rack. “And now, let’s pick out a pair of shoes.”

Nola and Quint arrived at Thornway Road and made their way upstairs to celebrate their good news in private.

“Mrs. Chamberlain, in your condition, I don’t think you should be climbing steps,” Quint announced, scooping Nola into his arms.

Nola giggled, “I think I’m going to like this kind of special treatment.”

“Anything for you, my dear.”

Quint carried Nola up to their bedroom while Nola flirtatiously kissed and nuzzled her husband. Quint gently rested her on the bed. They continued to kiss more passionately.

“Mr. McCord,” she seductively sighed, “no matter how hard you try, I don’t think you’re going to be able to achieve the same results from a month ago,” Nola shrieked with joy, allowing Quint to devour her neck.

In the closet, Stacey reacted to her mother’s laughter.

“Oh no, Olivia, they’re back, and if we don’t let them know we’re here soon, we are going to be stuck in here, hearing more than we want.” Stacey responded to another loud burst of laughter.

“Are they?” Olivia asked in shock.

“Hopefully not yet.” Stacey raised her voice, hoping they would hear her, “OLIVIA, what do you think about these SHOES?”

Quint pulled away from Nola. “Did you hear that?” he asked.

Pulling his mouth back to her own, Nola breathlessly uttered, “No, I didn’t hear anything.”

“Nola, I’m sure I heard Stacey’s voice,” Quint insisted. “Stacey?” he called out.

“Yes, Daddy. Olivia and I are in Mom’s closet.”

“Oh, shit!” Nola exclaimed in embarrassment as she sat up and fixed her mussed hair and buttoned up her blouse. Quint stood up, trying to appear that nothing was going on.

Stacey and Olivia cautiously made their way out of the closet with the clothing selections.

“Girls, what are you doing?” Quint asked.

“I’m going out to dinner tonight with Aunt Vanessa and Colin, and I need something to wear,” Stacey explained. “You don’t mind, Mom, do you?”

“Of course not, I just didn’t expect you to be in there,” Nola said with a slight tone of irritation.

“We noticed,” Olivia snickered.

Stacey pushed her cousin toward the door, “Olivia, let’s go to my room, and I can try these things on.”

“Sorry Aunt Nola and Uncle Quint, I’ll see you later,” Olivia quickly added as she disappeared into the hallway, closing the door behind her.

“Nola, do you think they knew what was going on?”

“Did you see the look on Livvie’s face? They knew. Oh well, I hardly think it was the first time, so who cares?” Nola quipped, “Where were we?”

“Right here,” Quint lavished her neck with more kisses.

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