Tuesday, April 15, 2008

11 December: A Long Walk, Goodbye to Good Friends & Hello to Our Tiny New Family Member

After driving John to work, I had another relaxing breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning at the hotel. I finally signed up for internet service, for which I had to shell out a whopping 88 Euro for the week, so I could check our e-mail. Apparently they haven’t heard of free wi-fi yet.

I drove Cody over to the house in the middle of the day and took him for our last, long walk together in Germany, as I will be dropping him off at the Tierhotel tomorrow. I followed my usual running route, having finally calibrated my pedometer this morning, and discovered that I had been going about 3.5 miles on my typical 35-minute runs. It was a characteristically soggy December day, befitting my mood as we passed all of the familiar landmarks for the last time: the water treatment plant, the little wooden hikers’ shelter, the forester’s house along the Dog-o-bahn, the parking lot at the top of the hill, where more often than not a motorcyclist was learning to maneuver between orange cones, the trail crossing at the winding road out of Botnang, the straight path leading to Schloss Solitude, the long downhill that was always a pleasant respite at the end of my run, and the narrow footpath leading back into our neighborhood. I took some pictures and video of Cody on the trail and tried to commit to memory all of the details of this final jaunt through my beloved woods. I wonder if Cody will miss the freedom of running off the leash for an hour and a half every day. I know that I will miss the peace and solitude of the forest, disturbed only by the occasional deer or hawk, and the sound of traffic rushing by on Wildparkstraße. We didn’t see any of our old friends on our walk, but I will remember them fondly – Taro the Weimeraner, Tavalo the Bearded Collie, Tessie the long-haired Dachsund, and all the rest.

I drove Cody back to the hotel, where I discovered that the housekeeping service was finally cleaning our room. I’m sure they were horrified that we had kept the “do not disturb” sign on the door for several days: What??? No clean towels!?!? Evelyne called around 2:30 to tell me she was home and I could come over. I didn’t get there until nearly 3:30, and Oda arrived a few minutes later. We drank jasmine tea and ate lebkuchen while Oda told me about her debate competition in Lindau (they won three out of their five debates). Before I left, Evelyne pressed a copy of Der Wixxer into my hands, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it won’t work on our American DVD player.

After earnest goodbyes and promises to keep in touch, I left at 4:30 to pick John up at work and then we headed into downtown Stuttgart for my doctor’s appointment. This was the big day, when we would hopefully officially confirm the pregnancy with an actual heartbeat! By the time we arrived my bladder was seriously complaining, but fortunately one of the two designated spaces outside the doctor’s office was vacant so I didn’t have to search for a spot (or hit any other cars in the process). I had my blood drawn and then we waited for nearly half an hour to see Dr. Linckh. The appointment itself was short and sweet, but incredible! I had another vaginal ultrasound and she quickly zoomed in on a dark mass, brought it into focus, and there it was, a tiny fetus, its little heart galloping along. It took my breath away – I guess I wasn’t actually expecting to be able to see it beating. I don’t think I really believed in this pregnancy until that moment. Dr. Linckh said everything looked great; her assistant filled out some information in my Mutterpass (a practical little booklet that all pregnant German women carry listing their vital statistics and pre-natal test results) and sent us on happily our way. We returned to SI-Suites and dinner at the Biergarten, where I determined that their Käsespätzle is not homemade!

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