Role Reversal

Amanda and I have switched roles. This time she has something growing in her abdomen and she’s the one who will need to be looked after.

A while ago, some very generous friends gave us a sum of money to help out the family. It was intended to be used for a SkipTheDishes gift card for food delivery, but we used the money for something else. We didn’t stray too far from it’s intended use as what we bought still fills the belly, needs to be delivered, and was used to hire professionals to do something that is conventionally done at home.

I hope our friends aren’t too disappointed to know that instead of a few dinners, we bought a baby instead!

As I’ve mentioned before, Amanda and I aren’t able to have a baby naturally while I’m going through chemotherapy due to an increased risk of birth defects. In all likelihood, we’ll never be able to conceive naturally after the bone marrow transplant wreaked havoc on my system 6 months ago. So we saved up some of my little gentlemen before chemo began (link to that post:, and recently got the help of the friendly local fertility clinic.

Conceiving with the help of a fertility clinic is quite a bit different than conceiving naturally, it involves a lot more appointments (outside of the bedroom) and trips to the pharmacy. For one of my trips to the pharmacy, I needed to pick up 3 items: Letrozole (a medication used to promote ovulation), prenatal vitamins (to promote healthy growth after conception)… and condoms to COMPLETELY contradict the intended use of the medications I was buying. The young pharmacist ringing my items through looked at the items, back at me, back at the items, then back at me with a pleading look. He paused for a while, clearly asking himself “how the hell do I navigate this situation!?”.

The pharmacist finally spoke. “uhhhh, do you have any questions about these items?”

I decided to screw with him. “Naww, I’m good thanks. Is Visa OK?”

The pharmacist, clearly puzzled, decided to take a different approach “Is the Letrozole for your partner? Have you discussed the impact it’s going to have?” He took the pill bottle, points the label at me and slid it cautiously across the counter. The pharmacist’s eyes were begging for some kind of clarity as perspiration began to collect around his peach fuzz mustache.

“Yup, we’re just fine” I replied as I handed him my Visa.

He took the card and froze for a few seconds. He wouldn’t put the card in the machine.

I decided to put the poor guy out of his misery and gave him a brief explanation of why this combination of items was necessary. We both had a good laugh about it as he told me how confused he was.

Then came the big day to thaw out my little gentlemen and put them to work! The problem was, between chemo, blood work, and doctors appointments, Amanda and I had both fallen behind at work. Amanda very sweetly offered to let me stay back at our clinic and get caught up on work while she went to the appointment. I declined… Call me crazy, but if my wife is about to get impregnated I’d like to at least be in the same room.

So we went to the fertility clinic together on the big day. We were sharing the large waiting room with one other woman who was very audibly slurping her morning coffee. A nurse came out and calls “Amy and Wayne”.

The woman who we learned was named Amy stood up and asked for clarification. “Sorry, who?”

The nurse repeated “Amy and Wayne”

“I’m Amy, but there’s no Wayne in my life. I mean I work with a guy named Wayne but he’s really not involved in this process. Do you have the right person?”

The nurse looked at her chart, and left without a word.

Amy’s next sip of coffee echoed through the halls of the otherwise silent clinic.

The nurse came out again and asked for Amy to join her in the clinic room. She was gone for less than a minute and returned with a wry smile. She jested with us that they had the wrong Amy again.

At this point, I’m starting to lose my chill a bit. The staff is about to grab a vile from the back room and inseminate my wife with it… not the best time for a clerical error!


Next, the nurse came out and called Amanda, so we both stood and walked toward the clinic room together.

Her folder said Amanda MILLER!

I was ready to rip the door off the hinges and walk out.

Luckily the next time, they called the CORRECT Amanda. The nurse thought I was insane by how thoroughly I was checking and re-checking the spellings, medical numbers, and dates of birth on her papers and… the vial.

Once we found out that Amanda was pregnant, I sent the captionless ultrasound pictures to a friend of mine to tell him about the good news. It was radio silence for quite a while, and I figured he was just confused by the picture… which was true, but for a different reason. He responded “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but I’m totally lost… Is that a baby, or more cancer?”. He must have been really unsure if he was supposed to send condolences or congratulations!

I’m realizing that my number on the call display hasn’t really been associated with good news for the last couple of years, but it’s a real joy to share good news for a change! As the phone was ringing to tell my Aunts and Uncles I could imagine their conversations when they saw it was Me on the line:

Uncle: “Hey, it’s Andrew’s calling”

Aunt: “Oooooh shit, what could it be this time?”

Uncle: “Well you know the drill, I’ll get the Kleenex”

Aunt: “Sounds good, I’ll get Father Jensen on the phone”

As for cancery stuff; I’m still doing chemo every 3 weeks for the next 9 months or so and it’s about as much fun as it sounds.

But back to the food analogy! Do you ever receive your bill at a restaurant and get the pleasant surprise that you got a deal without knowing it? It turns out there must have been a BOGO deal at the fertility clinic… buy one, get one free!


So it goes.



16 thoughts on “Role Reversal

  1. Oh Andrew! The story was so interesting, but truly the ending was delightful…made me chuckle out loud. I’m so happy for the two of you! Hugs Angela Brawn

    Each new day is a gift.



  2. Congrats Andrew and Amanda (hopefully not Miller ….)! Such a wonderful, life-affirming message! Well
    done! ❤️❤️❤️❤️🙏

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Hahaha. Awesome story Andrew and congrats to you and Amanda!! Make sure you have a costco membership, youll definetly be buying bulk of everything lol.


  4. Andrew, You nailed it with the Uncles and Aunts observation. Except I needed a whole box of Kleenex when you told me the news. Some people just start bawling when they hear great news.

    BTW, your blogging skills have become amazing. Both authorship and technique.

    Amanda, Congratulations ! All the Toronto McPhails are thrilled.


    1. Great news Amanda& Andrew! You must have done double time Andrew! Now you take a back seat & enjoy the results! We wish Amanda a healthy pregnancy & both of you & your additions a positive, happy future! Lots of love,
      Myrna & Doug.


  5. Andrew and Amanda. I’m so happy you have good news. Stay healthy both of you. Wow twins get your rest now your going to need it. Congratulations Bev


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