November 1, 2006
Will and I are expecting our second baby and it feels like a miracle.
The fact that we actually managed to make a baby seems like a miracle in itself (more like the immaculate conception). Granted, we'd been using what we euphemistically called the "high school method" of birth control for a while (newsflash: umm...it's not so reliable) so it shouldn't have come as such a shocker that I got pregnant. But, with a two-year-old and two full-time jobs, on the rare instances when we did happen to find a moment alone together, we usually had the combined energy of a garden slug.
With our daughter, Julia, we'd planned months ahead of time. I went for the pre-conception checkup. I started taking prenatal vitamins months before we planned to conceive. I ate well. I exercised. I gave up my Diet Coke and red wine. We got busy according to a strictly scientifically-scheduled timetable. And, it didn't work -- not right away, at least. As soon as I got over the initial shock that I was pregnant this time, I mentally ticked off what I'd done the weekend before:
1. Drank a few glasses of wine
2. Downed enough Diet Coke to give 52 lab rats cancer
3. Sat in a hair salon letting chemicals seep into my scalp for a good solid hour
4. Lounged around in a hot tub
5. Moved a piano
I assume it's just a sign of things to come with a second baby, though I was still a nervous wreck about the little life growing inside of me. But, our doctor assured us that all was well, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I hit that longed-for 12-week milestone when the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. I was literally sitting at my desk reading an online pregnancy calendar, reveling in my 12-week status, when I felt a gush in my underwear. I ran down to the bathroom to find that it was blood -- pouring out of me. "Oh my god," I said out loud, "I'm having a miscarriage."
I dialed my doctor's office with shaky hands and was told to go straight to the emergency room. Next, I called Will at work and instead found myself crying on the phone to a very patient woman in H.R. who agreed to have Will paged. Will arrived home minutes later, sweaty and breathless (luckily, he works just a few miles away) to find me waiting on the front steps of our house with our babysitter and Julia, tears pouring down my face and blood pooling in my shoes.
I'd never seen so much blood in my life. I had on one of those diaper-sized maxi pads left over from Julia's birth, and still the janitor had to follow us down the hospital corridor mopping up the trail of blood behind me. A kind and beautiful woman named Jessie escorted us into an ultrasound room, asked us a few questions, then squeezed some of the cold gel onto my belly so she could take a look. I winced and closed my eyes when the baby came into view on the screen -- I didn't want to see. But, when I opened them again, I saw our baby moving! Kicking! Waving! I turned to look at Will, in awe. He gave my hand a squeeze, and it was only then that I noticed the tears in his own eyes.
I was diagnosed with a placental abruption and told to stay in bed for a week. The rest of what the doctor said is anyone's guess. I was just so elated to know that our baby was alive, nothing else really mattered.
My elation quickly turned to fear as I lay in bed for the next week, reading about placental abruptions on the Internet (I learned that it's actually called a subchorionic hemorrhage if it happens before 20 weeks). I spoke with every doctor I knew. What I took away from it all was that we had an equal chance of a miscarriage, an extremely premature baby, or a completely normal, healthy, full-term baby. We counted on the latter, and have been holding our collective breath ever since.
I'm now 26 weeks pregnant. And, it feels like a miracle. The other day, I asked Julia what she thought the baby would look like. She thought about it for a minute, her face all scrunched up in serious contemplation, and then announced: "Like the sun, the moon, and the stars."
We're having a son. And, already, I feel like he's been willed here by the universe itself.
Check back each week as FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor, Dana Rousmaniere, chronicles life with a new baby.
Read the next entry: 11.25.06: My Magnum Opus