As I mentioned before, I had a very difficult pregnancy and in hindsight I realize that perhaps most of my problems were caused by anxiety. I was so worried that I or the baby was going to die, that I never enjoyed a single moment of being pregnant. I was suffering from terrible morning sickness that I lost 15 pounds, and I had other physical ailments that made it seem as though the end would never come. I now realize that I wasted an important phase of my life on silly, yet valid at the time, neurosis. Now that the wife of one of Anthony's friends is pregnant, I am reminded of the small things I never enjoyed. Last night I tried to go back and find the ultrasounds that I almost threw away. So far I have found three and am still missing two. My first ultrasound was from trip number 2 to the emergency room. I was having terrible stomach pains (indigestion) and trouble breathing (anxiety). The obgyn on call came and performed an ultra sound just to be sure all was in order. In a not so friendly manner he informed me that at this point in my pregnancy, 6 weeks, he should be able to hear the heartbeat. He further went on to say that not seeing one didnt necessarily mean anything, but that he should be able to see a heartbeat at this point however he is unable to see one. It was his emphasis on the "should be able to" more than once that just threw me under. Confused, I had to ask him to reword what he was telling me, as nothing was not sinking in. I just remember trying to hold back the tears with my rage at this doctor who is trained to help and comfort patients yet was telling me in a matter of fact kind of way that there might not be a baby after all. He writes a script for an formal ultrasound and I go later that day to get one. After this less than pleasant way to start my pregnancy, I am left numb and further validated in my feelings of not getting too attached or excited with something that could disappear at any moment. At the OBGYN department at LICH, I am still very nauseous and the mere fact that I feel so ill isn’t registering in my brains as evidence that I am indeed pregnant. I sit in the waiting room with other women who are at various stages of pregnancy. Some women are more visibly pregnant than others and I just wonder if I will be lucky enough to have a belly. They call my name and I am very quiet, my eyes down and I feel like I did the first day of school, scared and alone in a strange land. I am greeted in a room with that is clean yet somehow oddly comforting. There is fancy looking equipment and a monitor above me so I can watch the ultrasound. The technician comes out to greet me and there is something in her voice or the way she carries herself that manages to make me feel safe and strangely enough, alive. She asks me why I am here and I inform her that the ER doctor so graciously told me he was unable to hear a heartbeat and I leave it at that. She doesn’t say much, or if she did I can’t remember, I just remember she made me smile. I later wondered if her demeanor was a requirement for working in the prenatal/neonatal division of a hospital or if she was just blessed to posses the one criteria most valued in such a field that no university or school could teach you. She proceeds to do the ultrasound, it is has to be done vaginally as it is still early on in the pregnancy, and I am watching the screen above me. I can’t really see or make out anything. The whole time she is calm and smiling and I just wait, as if waiting to see if you have all numbers needed to win the lotto. She smiles and says, "there is your tenant", and I am confused as what she is referring to. I just start thinking of the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. I know I was silent for a while since I can tell by the look on her face that she was looking for a different reaction from me. I might have said "sorry?" Or "what?" followed by a "really" and then my own smile. She asks if I see the little electrical charge on the monitor and I realize that there is indeed something on the screen that looks like lightening bolt flashes. I know refer to lightning bugs flickering on a later summer evening as it was just that, tiny flicks of light rapidly beating. I could feel the little creature's desire to live and I knew unconsciously that she would be ok. I thought such the term your tenant was the sweetest nickname ever given to a baby. It finally all sinks in that I am the landlord that is allowing this little tenant to live inside me for the next 9 months. I ask if I can have a print out of the sonogram and she complies.
It is this both this sonogram and the one from the night before that I tucked away in a pregnancy journal never wanting to see again. The memory they conjured up was too painful for me. I almost threw them out, but somehow Anthony rescued them. I am now happy they survived, if I could only find the one of Emma's heartbeat. Nothing can compare the joy you feel when you see or hear their heartbeat for the first time. It is like the little engine that could. It is amazing how fast they grow both inside and out. Two weeks later at her 8 week sonogram she already looked like a gummy bear. At my 15 week sonogram, the one where I was given the 70 percent chance it is a girl, she already looked like a full baby. It goes way too fast and I realize how short life is. How 20 years really is nothing. I miss her so much when I'm at work. I ache at the thought of all the time I have lost not being with her. This isn't how I had envisioned having a child. I always thought I would be home and the one raising her. I am at the point where I could see myself having another one. Giving Emma a sibling to play with and simply enjoying being pregnant and a mom. Transitions are hard, and never occur without some sense of loss. I need to learn to enjoy the moment and focus on the positive. This all sounds hokey, but it is the simple truth. Speaking of transitions, Emma is now transitioning from her crib, yet I am not quite ready for that step. I will talk about that later on.
week 15, it might be a girl!