Christmas Eve (Part 1)

It is impossible to get through Advent and Christmas without thinking about pregnancy. Which is why, in part, I cried through the little one’s first Christmas Eve service. I’m so happy he’s here, and sometimes I can’t believe he’s real–it feels like he’s going to stay little like this forever. But man, this pregnancy just sucked, and it is so hard to hear how happy Mary and Elizabeth were about their babies. Hey, one was conceived immaculately and the other was too old to have a child–reminds me of IVF, somehow…

In any case, here’s my story of how difficult this pregnancy was, even without throwing up once.

So to start, we went to the first ultrasound, and it was twins. Twins! Our annoying RE was  in shock. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years, and this is how many times we’ve had twins at 43” (he held up his hand–like, 5 times). Yippee (not). We hit the lottery. Again.

I. Was. Not. Happy. We were never sure that we’d be able to handle more than one child to begin with, back in blissful ignorance land when the worst thing we’d had to endure was one successful IVF cycle. So I cried, was in shock for a while, and started to learn about twin pregnancies and risks. I had come to a place of acceptance, and I was even happy about it sometimes, when overnight I felt less nauseated than the day before.

So when we went for the 12-week prenatal visit (my third) the first thing I said was that I didn’t want to continue with the appointment until I could be sure I was still pregnant. Because, you see, that’s what had happened the year before. I’d thought I was just having the normal progression of pregnancy, but I wasn’t. My nausea had stopped because the fetus had stopped growing, although we didn’t know it.

I explained about the nausea drop-off. We waited, and waited some more, and had another ultrasound, and we found out that one of the twins had died. More tears, super-sympathetic MD, anger: why can’t anything be easy for us? And huge relief that we had put back enough embryos so that we still had a live one.

And then. Sitting in the kitchen being gossipy and looking up real estate values for no reason, I felt a gush. A big gush. Of blood. Which is not what should be happening at about 13 weeks along. And then another. You’d think I’d panic, but I didn’t, exactly, just called the hospital, talked to the OB on call, and went to the ER. And everything was just fine.

And then. Ten days later. The same thing. Another ER visit. This time I was so scared. At some point I looked at my husband and said, “If this doesn’t work out, I don’t want to do this again.” It was too much, too scary, too many days and hours and weeks of just terror, not only that we might not have a baby but that this time I might be hemorrhaging again.

But (as you know), it was OK. We all looked at the ultrasound screen, me, my husband, a couple of residents, a L&D nurse, and by golly the little guy was doing flips. Seriously. He was so active that he was spinning around in there. “That’s a good sign. A very, very good sign,” the senior resident said. And we went home at 2 a.m. and slept in the next day.

And then, even though I knew things were OK, even though we were past 12 weeks, even though that little fetus was super-wiggly, the pregnancy actually got more difficult and stayed that way.

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