I sat on the little exam table, holding Bryan's hand, discussing different aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery with Dr. Minudri. He was great. I'd seen him deliver a few babies in nursing school and at friend's births, and was always impressed with his approach and attitude. Since our wonderful midwife moved across the country last summer, we were forced to make some new decisions. I absolutely loved our home births. But I've never been under the impression that hospitals are crazy or evil. In fact, I think our local hospital and some of our local doctors are particularly wonderful.
So when we found out we were pregnant, Bryan and I began discussing our options. Choose a new midwife, or choose a doctor and try a hospital birth? We analyzed the pros and cons. I made an appointment with Dr. Minudri, and we decided we'd see how we felt after our appointment.
I've been pretty sick with morning sickness during the last month. There have been days where I have either been in bed or on the couch for 23 hours a day. I had to force myself to eat a few crackers and a bowl of cheerios. Any smell (or sometimes even the thought of food) was enough to make me throw up. I started taking Unisom and B6 every night, and that eased the nausea a little. But I was still pretty sick.
Then last week I started feeling a tiny bit better. The day before Thanksgiving, I was actually on my feet and in my kitchen for the first time in weeks. I made green bean casserole and berry pies. Granted, the bacon grease for the green beans made me throw up, but I could tell I was having a good day. "I'll feel horrible tomorrow," I thought. But I didn't. And the next day I even felt a tiny bit better than that. I ate a whole plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. I've been feeling a tiny bit better every day. I've been eating a little bit of normal food. And keeping it down.
So I started to worry. Something must be wrong with the baby. I don't start feeling better until the second trimester. So something has to be wrong. I shouldn't be feeling better and eating real food yet. Something's wrong. The baby probably died, and my hCG levels are dropping, which is why I'm feeling better, and I'm going to have a miscarriage any day. After all, almost a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. I've had two healthy pregnancies, so I'm due for a miscarriage. I have so many friends with heartbreaking stories of miscarriages, it has to be my turn. Plus, I've just been thinking about miscarriage a lot lately, so God is probably trying to prepare my heart for such a hard thing.
So this morning I sat on the exam table, really comfortable with Dr. Minudri's answers to my questions. But I couldn't shake the feeling that our conversation might be pointless. Maybe my pregnancy is already over and we just don't know it yet.
I finally laid back, and he squirted the cold ultrasound jelly on my belly. I held Bryan's hand, and we watched the ultrasound monitor screen. And suddenly, there was a tiny little baby on the screen. "Oh hi, Baby," I whispered, as my eyes welled up. I squeezed Bryan's hand. The baby kicked and squirmed around a little.
Our baby. Our baby was alive. And kicking and squirming.
The little heart was flickering away. Dr. Minudri pushed a couple of buttons on the ultrasound machine, and suddenly we heard a beautiful little heartbeat.
Our baby. Our baby's heart was beating. 158, I think he said. Silent little tears kept sliding down my face.
Beautiful. Perfect, as far as we could tell. Our baby was alive, kicking, and beautiful.
We finished up our appointment, and I kissed Bryan goodbye so he could head to work. I got in my car, and sat there for a minute. My baby wasn't dead. I realized that was really what I had been expecting. But I had been so wrong. Never have I ever been so glad that I was wrong. Tears started falling again. I started sobbing. God, why is my baby so alive, when so many are not? Thank you, thank you thank you.
Last week I had been thinking about how we should bless the name of the Lord, in good times and in hard times. I was thinking I was going to learn what it really means to bless the name of the Lord while walking through the wilderness. But God didn't give me that lesson today.
Today my heart is overflowing with joy, amazement, and gratitude. Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful, where your streams of abundance flow. Blessed be Your name. I cried some more, and then pulled myself together. Silly pregnancy hormones.
Yay for pregnancy hormones.