Sick Woman, 1665, by Jan Steen
She had been ill for many days, weak and listless, unable to keep anything in her stomach. There were so many ways to die: Black Death, Influenza, Cholera; she knew one of them had come to claim her. Anxious and worried, her husband had finally called in the doctor.
When he had given them his diagnosis, she had swooned, the rapid beats of her heart following her down into the peaceful, soothing darkness.
Drifting slowly up from the warm, soft layers of oblivion, she first became aware of her head resting on a pillow, the doctor gently holding her wrist, then she recognized the quick footsteps of her husband, saw his hand tightly clutching a small tankard of water as he rushed into the room.
The doctor's announcement echoed in her mind. She felt half in this world of disappointment and dismay, and half in another of hope and prayers answered. Hardly daring to believe, she looked to her husband, watched his lips as he whispered the doctor's words again:
"Madam, you are with child."
Magpie Tales 138. I like the little smile on the woman's face, the look of wonder, almost disbelief. I didn't see her with an illness, but perhaps with a secret hope realized.