Peter and I had what we will tell you was our first real experience FEELING like parents on Friday. That is the scary and emotional part of this blog entry, but what I will also tell you right now, this all has an extremely happy ending.
Friday morning Peter and I headed to my scheduled regular check up with our obstetrician. I did a glucose test early before my appointment (where they make you drink that awful orange drink and then check your blood an hour later to make sure you’re not at risk for gestational diabetes), and then we met with Dr. Spitzer (who we love). I come to every doctor’s appointment with a list of questions I have thought up in the weeks between my current appointment and my last, and typically as Peter and I rattle off questions, Dr. Spitzer laughs at us, and rattles off answers. Things were very much going exactly as I have described above until Dr. Spitzer put her doppler over my belly to listen to the baby’s heart, and she stopped in mid sentence and asked me to move onto my side. She told us she had heard a drop in the baby’s heart beat and wanted us to go to the hospital (which is next door to the office) and be hooked up to a baby heart monitor to have it checked. Our whole world stopped on Friday from that moment on.
The next few hours are a blur of sorting out parking, not being able to find where we were supposed to be in the hospital, finding out we needed to go through admitting, and finally the moment where we were in a room, with a baby heart monitor around my belly and the nurse flippantly telling me she couldn’t find the baby’s heart beat. I will remember that moment and how I felt for the rest my life. My eyes met Peter’s and the wave of emotion I felt I know was only something a parent can feel, or perhaps to put it better, a feeling only a parent knows. Fear, anxiousness, love, anger, sadness, and the most overwhelming sense of responsibility. Responsibility because this little guy is in my belly, and ultimately everything I do affects his health and growth. I couldn’t help but feeling solely responsible if anything was wrong.
So, as the nurse struggled to figure out the machine she was trying to use to find the baby’s heart beat, she tells me (1) to RELAX – not just once, but she says it TWICE. And (2) that maybe she’s having trouble because I am only 20 weeks and the baby is so small. I am 27 weeks (this nurse officially knew nothing to me after that moment) and if any of you have seen my belly, this baby is NOT small. And this is where when I think back to everything, I know this situation was a first for me. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't find any words to use. Not even when the second “RELAX” came. In any other situation I would have wanted to reach out and either slap this woman, or assertively let her know that one more “RELAX” might just result in that. But I said nothing. I was speechless as I watched her try to work around me. But something on my face after the second "RELAX" did make her stop, look at me, and quietly apologize for it. It was then, I felt three massive kicks from inside my belly and finally opened my mouth to tell this idiot in front of me, “My baby is kicking, and I think your machine in broken”.
So here’s the happy part. We soon were introduced to the most wonderful RESIDENT ever. She was the silver lining to this whole experience. She was sweet, calming, sincere, smart, and worked quickly. She knew I was upset from the moment she entered the room and acted accordingly. She quickly had our little guy up on a ultra sound screen within seconds of being in the room and immediately without hesitation pointed out his heart, how strong it was beating, and how regular it was. She stayed with us for probably 10 minutes pointing out again to us all his body parts, his brain, his little legs and arms and face, and made comment of how ACTIVE he is and that THIS was what Dr. Spitzer heard and why the nurse may have struggled to pin point his heart beat with their weird sensitive machines as he was dancing all around. She finally said, we had absolutely NOTHING to be concerned about, that these things are common, and that our baby couldn’t possibly look or sound any healthier. Oh, and she confirmed again, we’re having a HEALTHY BABY BOY. The amount of relief that Peter and I felt in that moment will forever be personal to us, but I am sure you can imagine.
So several hours later, Peter and I (perhaps aged a few years) felt exhausted by emotion, but also stronger, smarter and more confident we’re ready to be parents. After Friday, we sort of felt ready for anything. So a wild, exhausting experience, but all is happy and healthy with the three of us. And more than ever, we cannot wait to meet our little man and become the family we're so excited to be.