On November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.
Week 8 – “I’m Lookin’ for a HEAAAAART BEEEEAT” (To be sung as Don Johnson)
This might possibly have been one of the scariest weekends of my life. It is Friday, and we have our second doctor’s appointment on Monday morning. Suddenly Jess, who had been feeling pretty crappy all week, suddenly started feeling extremely painful cramps. She had been in pain before, but this seemed like something different. She was hunched over and barely able to move. The thought of eating made her want to throw up. This is just a few days after she started taking medicine for her thyroid condition suggested by her doctor. Upon reading the information on it, she discovers that it should not be taken if pregnant before talking to a physician. That one sentence buried one thought deep into her head. “Something is wrong with the baby.”
Jess has always been one to overreact and read too much into things. Get a flat tire and she’ll spin it into driving off a bridge. She’ll then start reading so much information on the topic of her choosing that whatever calamity she wants to think is possible will eventually seem probable in her head. This is where I usually come in as the optimist, throw logic and percentages into everything and convince her that everything is alright. On the rare occasion however, Jess will put up such compelling evidence that I start to believe it as well. This was one of those times.
Jess was on the lowest possible point on the emotional roller coaster. Everything that could be wrong was wrong, and it wasn’t her getting mad and yelling or anything. She just got extremely depressed. Everything she read and felt put her deeper and deeper into depression, and convinced her more that our baby was in trouble. Now I can brush off the idea of being in a plane crash or orange Gatorade making me blind or something (I don’t remember the article but I know orange colored beverages are bad for some reason), but now we are talking about my future child. We know more than a few couples that have lost babies, and in some cases have taken a long time to finally have one. We got pregnant right away, but why couldn’t the same happen to us? She said that the major red flag for a miscarriage was bleeding. If she was, she said we would already be at the hospital (damn right we would). While she wasn’t bleeding, she said that the medicine she was taking prevented bleeding. Remember, we still haven’t gotten a heartbeat yet, so for all we know there could have been a problem for weeks and we would not know it. Now I’m almost as paranoid as she is about it. I act tough and tell her everything is going to be fine. “On Monday we will see the doctor. We’ll see our baby’s heart beating and know that everything is okay, and all that negativity will go away.” I believe it when I say it, but afterwards I’m terrified I’m wrong. It’s the closest I can get to lying to my wife.
Let’s throw into the mix that we have to get up early in the morning to look at houses. Here is another topic that has Jess sulking lately. Friday night she is basically convinced that we will never find a house before we have a kid, and that we should just put our money toward our debt and rebuild our savings with newly healthy credit. Not the worst idea in the world, but I know that is not what she wants. She is desperate to move into a house, and I want to move almost as bad. Our apartment is fine, but it is no place to raise a child. We agree that if we don’t find something we can at least consider buying that we will take our money, put it into our debt, and try looking for a house again at a later date. No pressure or anything.
No pressure, my ass! Saturday morning, between the pain she’s feeling and the stress she is putting on herself, Jess tries to eat a yodel just so there is something in her stomach. Minutes later she throws up for the first time in about five years. She is strongly considering not going house hunting, leaving me to report on what I see (not a good idea since we have very different takes on what we want in a house). Jess decides to go anyway. I’m only able to see the first few houses with her before I had to go to work. While I was interested in two of them, Jess had zero interest in any of them (I told you we had different tastes). Jess’ current condition and mood did little to help matters. When I left I was under the impression that our house search was on hold indefinitely, and that my unborn child might always be just that. What I didn’t know was that while I was at work she would see two more houses. One of which she’d be interested in, and the other one she’d think was almost perfect.
The house is close to the highway but still in a quiet neighborhood. It has recently been refinished and has 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms on the first floor, with another full bathroom downstairs in the huge multi-room finished basement with a bar and a ton of closet space. It has a big living room and is on a half acre of land. It has everything we need to hold us, Jess’ family, and hopefully a baby, and it doesn’t need any construction to do it. The best part, it’s in our budget (just barely). I have no idea if we’ll get it, but knowing that places like that exist are enough to keep us looking.
At least that is what I thought. Jess was still so down at the end of the night that she was still leaning toward not looking for a house right now, thinking that it just wasn’t the right time and we couldn’t afford the house. Finding solid real estate was only the smallest of victories. There was only one thing we really needed to turn things around. A heartbeat.
It’s Monday morning and we are on our way to the doctor’s office. It’s the quietest drive we’ve taken together without a fight being involved. We were five minutes late and had to wait an extra hour to get into the room. Not the time to have to wait for an answer. Finally the doctor comes in and within minutes we are staring at my wife’s uterus. It looks just like it did the first time only with a slightly bigger fetus inside. “That doesn’t mean much”, I thought. “It could have grown up until a few days ago.” Finally the doctor zooms in, pushes a couple of buttons and there it is.
Jess and I could not have been more relieved. We could see it, we could hear it. It was beautiful. Our baby is in perfect health right now. The pains Jess has been feeling are likely growing pains, which are a bitch I’m sure, but right now that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we are now officially having a baby. We even have a new due date. November 14th, 2012. No more crossing our fingers. No more keeping anything secret. Best of all, we now have pictures. I have a picture of my baby. It looks like a seahorse and is the size of a teddy graham. Jess and I embraced in one of our most heartfelt hugs ever. We call our parents and tell them the good news. That night Jess is about as happy as humanly possible. She can eat, she can laugh, and she wants to go after that house again. The emotional roller coaster is going up once again.