Out of all the daydreaming I did during a year and a half of trying to get pregnant, I don't think I ever imagined sending my husband a text message that said, “Honey, pick up some Drano, I just barfed in the sink.” Or that I could conceivably (not that I would ever even think of such a thing) win a fart-then-pull-the-covers-over-his-head war. But, then again, I'm starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a “normal pregnancy.”
My husband and I were high school sweethearts and so about a year or so after the wedding, we decided that we were “ready.” A month went by, nothing. Then two months, three, six. At that point, I started to wonder if we would ever get to be parents. A little over a year passed before we started the first step in fertility treatment and one month later I found myself staring at a very faint second pink line.
My OB wanted me in for a blood test right away, and the news wasn't so good. Both my hCG and progesterone levels were too low. The progesterone levels could be supplemented, but I had to go back the next day for a second hCG test. If my hCG levels were not increasing, then the pregnancy wasn't likely to last.
Five blood draws later (meaning five 30 minute drives to the lab, five pokes, a few “Oh did we hit the same spot we drew from last time?” and nearly half a dozen sessions of listening to oldies music on hold with the nurses' station), my levels were more than doubling every day and finally reached a level where I could go in for an early ultrasound. With a full (very, very full) bladder and a jellied-up belly, we got a little sneak peak that most expecting parents don't get to experience (okay, maybe that makes up for a few of those pokes).
The technician pointed to the screen. “See what looks like a diamond ring right there?”
I quickly made out the figure, marveling at the round curve of the ring…
“The baby is the diamond part.”
The little “diamond” happened to be the cutest, well … blob that I've ever seen. Magnified a hundred times, he or she still looked more bean than baby and was smaller than a Tic-Tac.
The technician then flipped on the sound and found a faint drub-drub sound. The heartbeat, she said, had started just within the last 24 hours. At that point in the development, the heart was still on the outside of the baby's body (how small must the heart of a tic-tac be?), and with the help of the technician, I could make out a tiny flicker on the screen each time the heart beat.
I walked out of the office that day feeling relieved and excited at the same time (or as my husband put it, with a that-thing's-really-in-there realization). I hated the worry that came with the early test results, but seeing the brand new heartbeat—that was surreal. The technician didn't see any problems (or twins!), and, if the way my stomach feels right now is any indication, my hormone levels must by a bazillion by now. If the first few weeks were any indication, pregnancy is going to be quite a journey—for both me and my husband, who happened to spend an entire Friday evening and at least $50 in parts fixing the vomit-clogged up sink.