Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scary Scare

This past Saturday, I started bleeding. Not spotting: bleeding. Mark and I were at home settling in to watch a movie - popcorn already popped - and I ran to the bathroom before the lights went low. I went to wipe and was greeted with pure blood, with more red drips in the toilet. There weren't any lumps or mucus, it was just blood. I had no idea what to think about it, but I was freaked. I called out to Mark to tell him, and he suggested I call our midwife. I talked to her and she said it was best to go to the emergency room just in case, because "bleeding of any kind during pregnancy isn't normal."  It was 9:20pm and we were headed for a long night.

We arrived at the E.R. and were the only ones there besides one other couple.  They got us in pretty quickly and we were greeted with the NICEST nurse and doctor- a blessing in and of itself! Honestly, they really made things a lot easier and more calming for us. It was determined that I would have an internal ultrasound, which would require a catheter. While waiting to be taken to have these procedures, I couldn't stop my mind from racing. I thought about how easy it had been for us to conceive, and how it would only seem fair that we would have to pay for that now. I spent some time playing a silly game on my phone to keep my mind off things because my anxiety was as high in those moments as it has ever been. Mark was such a sweetheart, rubbing my back and thinking positively. He never lost his cool (although he never does). Having him there to reassure me was exactly what I needed. At one point I looked down at my shirt and found a Molly hair (our dog who is like a fur-covered anxiety pill - she's The Awesome) and instantly felt this weird sense of comfort in it. It's funny the things you hold onto when you feel so scared and out of control.

The catheter? Well, let's just say it hurt like a mother. Getting a tube shoved up a tiny hole isn't something I would recommend to anyone. I instantly had this feeling like I was peeing my pants, and at one point, I said to Mark, "I think I just peed the bed! I hope I don't crap my pants...OH WAIT, I'M NOT WEARING ANY!" Hey, humor has always been my favorite crutch...

We were wheeled into the ultrasound room, which was dark and cool. The tech was steel-faced and didn't say anything as she began the internal ultrasound, filling up my bladder with fluid so she could have a "window" to look at my ovaries/tubes to make sure there wasn't blockage that could have caused the bleeding. She then took out the catheter (OUCH followed by sweet relief) and began to look at the baby. We couldn't see the screen, and it felt like an ETERNITY before she said, "Now...I can't tell you anything, but why don't you just take a look at the screen." She turned the screen toward us and we saw our little Chickpea wriggling about, heart beating fast. Mark and I squeezed each others hands tightly and just stared in awe, tears filling our eyes. The tech turned on the speaker and suddenly we heard the little stampede of a heartbeat rushing straight to my heart. 180 beats per minute, strong as it should be. Out loud, I said, "OHHH! What a RELIEF!!" When she left, Mark said to me, "That was the coolest thing I've even seen," and I had to agree. Our baby was O.K. Thank God!

The next day, I was still quite sore and felt like I had a bladder infection. On one of the many visits to the bathroom, I was greeted with more bleeding. My heart sank and I began to cry. Mark was out of town for work, so I called him. He was once again very reassuring, saying that we'd had bleeding once and the baby was fine, and it would be fine again. It was hard for me to believe in the moment, though. I called my sister, who is a nurse, and she talked me through it even more.

Today, we went for a follow-up and met with the O.B., who said that some unlucky woman bleed throughout their pregnancies, and that there is a new increase in blood flow and new arteries that could have caused a small burst in my case.  She was also honest and said that if I'm going to miscarry, there isn't much I can do to prevent it, so I should just go about life as normal.  I felt relieved hearing that from a professional.  It was the perspective I needed at that moment. 

For now, we've decided not to tell anyone else our good news - it's just too risky. I'm afraid, very anxious, and worried that we might not get to meet our Chickpea. But I'm also grateful for the glimpse we were able to have of him or her, to have seen with our own eyes that things are going just as they should. And for now, I can only pray...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Start Spreading the News

We told our families the great news today!  First up was a trip to Grand Rapids to see my mom.  I'd called to ask her if she would be available for a Valentine's Day lunch and she was all for it.  Mark and I grabbed the video camera, an orchid and a homemade card (which played a key role) and off we went.  I was soooo nervous on the way there!  I'm not sure why, but maybe because it made everything that much more real.  We got to my mom's and walked in, giving hugs all around, after which point my mom picked up the homemade card I had put on the table and started to open it (we were due to leave for lunch).  I felt a bit panicked because, you see, this card was THE THING that was going to share the news about Chickpea, and when she opened it so quickly, it didn't give Mark very much time to flip on the video camera to catch her reaction!  He managed, however, and we were able to - somewhat shakily - capture this adorable exchange:

Going to Grandma's House from Amy B on Vimeo.

It was so, so fun to finally have our news out there!  My mom's reaction was exactly what I was expecting, and I'm so glad we were able to get it on camera.  Someday we'll be able to show it to Chickpea and they will be able to see with their own eyes how excited their grandma was to meet them.

(And YES, my mom is totally embarrassed about it, but C'MON.  Can you get any cuter and sweeter than that?  I think not!)

After that, we went to lunch at this little cafe that used to be the library I grew up going to.  Walking in, I instantly recalled all the times I had rode my bike there to get another stack of books to read, which was one of my favorite things to do.  I remembered the day my mom took me there to get my OWN library card, and how proud I was that I could now check out books all by myself.  And then, as is the natural order of things as a pregnant lady, I had to go to the bathroom.  When I got to our table, I sat down and a few minutes later, a cute couple with their children got up from the table next to us and said, "Congratulations!" to me before walking away.  I looked at my mom with a "Uh...what was that?!" look, at which point she confessed that while I was in the bathroom, she couldn't help herself and told our dining neighbors that she'd just found out she was going to be a grandma again!  So funny - and soooo my mom.  I loved it!

After lunch, we took a trip to my sister Alicia's, where we visited with her, her husband Joel, and my four sweet nephews Jacob, Nolan, Caleb and Gavin.  My eldest nephew Jacob is just a few weeks shy of turning 14 years old.  FOURTEEN!  Just to give you some perspective, I got to watch him have his first bath at the hospital way back when, and now, just as I was 8-weeks pregnant with my first baby, his voice was getting all "Peter Brady*" on us and changing right before our ears!  Hee!

We sat for a bit and chatted, talking about school and work, etc.  Finally, after what felt like an hour, I said to my sister, "SO. I think I'm going to need help painting that spare room soon..." (she had offered when she found out we were going to start trying to conceive). She looked at me with a grin and said, "Oh yeah?... I KNEW IT!!"  Haha!  I'm not sure how she knew, but I'm pretty sure it had a lot to do with the fact that I didn't order a drink on this day.  BUSTED!

We later called my dad, stepmom, and little sister Rachel, and Mark called his mom, dad and brothers.  Everyone was so excited for us, and that excitement just made ours that much stronger.  I've said it before, but MAN, this baby is so loved already!  It just makes me want to cry happy tears when I think about it.  What an amazing time, and what a great feeling to know we have so many people around us cheering us on during this monumental time.  *SIGH*

*Speaking of the 'Brady Bunch,' my dear husband has never before seen an episode of it.  Yes, you read that right. Never before has he seen the Brady Bunch.  Not the "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha" one, not the "OW, MY NOSE!" one, and not the one where Tiger goes missing and knocks up the neighbor dog. Believe me when I say it's hard to accept.  I will one day rectify this, however, by letting Chickpea watch as many reruns as I can get my hands on!  Have no fear, our child will not go without. ;o) 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Little Things

So far, one of the least "fun" things about this pregnancy occurred last night.  I got home from work and had an instant desire to make chocolate chip cookies.  I found I had everything needed to make them and went right to work, forgetting entirely about what I’d make for dinner.  So I’m measuring, sifting, stirring away and as I dump in the chocolate chips, I get some of the now-finished batter on my hand and instinctually go to lick it off.  BUT THEN, I had to be a responsible mommy and stop myself due to possible raw egg contamination — a definite no-no while pregnant.  A wave of sadness came over me as I doled out the cookies and walked the bowl to the sink to rinse out the delicious rest.  I’m not going to lie: it took everything in me not to lick it clean.  I don’t mind having to pee every hour and watching what I eat, nor do I mind that I will soon be gaining weight like it’s my job (which…I guess it kinda will be).  But having to refrain from partaking in one of my most favorite childhood-like behaviors?  That. Stunk.

On a more positive note (according to my book), the baby is now officially a fetus and is no longer considered an embryo.  And instead of being the size of a raspberry, it’s now the size of a GREEN OLIVE.  How exciting is that?  Too bad I can’t have a martini to celebrate.  ;o)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


As of today, I’m eight weeks along. For the math geeks, that equates to 20% done, 80% to go! When I think about the 20%, it seems like it’s flown by already.  Then I think about the 80% left to go and I feel tired and antsy.

Also making me antsy is the fact that Mark and I are planning a trip to Grand Rapids to break the great news to my mom and sister this weekend, followed by calls to the rest of the immediate family on both sides.  I’m not going to lie: this stage not only excites me but also makes me a bit nervous.  I simply can’t wait for our loved ones to know about the incoming baby in our life, but I also feel stressed about telling everyone and having them tell everyone else so soon.

For example, my mom is one of the most excitable, infectiously happy people on Earth.  When she hears good news, she wants the WHOLE WORLD to know!  And who would blame her this time?  Her baby is having a baby!  Still, what if something tragic happens? This information can’t be untold.  I promise I’m not dwelling on the bad that could happen, but it DOES happen, you know? Still, it’s driving me nuts to not have our closest people know this information, so tell we will.

I’m still mulling with creative ideas of how to tell our people.  For most, it will have to be shared via phone, since they are out-of-town or state.  For my mom, though, I’d love to do something special.  I’d REALLY love to capture her response on camera, too, if we can swing it without making her suspicious and ruining the surprise.  If you could have heard her reaction when I called to tell her I had gotten engaged (which was a complete surprise to even me), you’d totally know what I mean.  She pretty much did this hybrid laugh/cry/hyperventilate thing that still makes me smile to this day just thinking about it. It was really too freaking cute.

It’s great to know this baby already has so many wonderful people who will love it before it’s even here.  This is the fun part of things, I know.  I just have to let go and trust that it all works out the way it should.  If not, it’s also really comforting to know we have plenty of people to lean on.  And that’s a blessing of the greatest kind -- just like our Chickpea.

Postscript Update:
My mom managed to keep our secret for over a MONTH after we told her the news! I have NO idea how she did it, but I was super appreciative and impressed!  She said that people would ask her about me and she would tell them something in a way that didn't tell them the truth, but also was never lie.  Like one time, someone asked, "So, when you talked to Amy last, did she have any pregnancy news?" and she said, "Why yes, as a matter of fact, she did - she just found out one of her friends is expecting and she's very excited for her!"  HEE! She's so cute.  :o) 

Friday, February 5, 2010


We had our first prenatal doctor yesterday morning, and it was really great to confirm that there is, in fact, a baby cooking in my belleh.  We met with the midwife, Sameerah, who was a totally calming and chill grandma with dreads down to her knees.  She had such a ‘mama bear’ quality to her; I instantly knew that when the time comes, she will totally fight for me and offer unwavering support, which is a great feeling.  She answered a lot of our questions and assured that I’m doing all the right things so far, such as my exercise routine, the supplements I’m taking, the foods I’m staying away from, etc.

Later, we entered the ’spelunking’ part of the visit.  Since I get laser hair removal done, I’m WAY past the point of feeling shy or embarrassed in these compromising situations (ahem).  Therefore, Mark and I decided he would stay in for this part, knowing he would be seeing a lot of me in this way soon enough.  He was so sweet, holding my hand and looking completely comfortable despite the fact that stirrups were being used as I sported THE HOTTEST front-tie sheet with my argyle knee-high socks.

One thing I thought was cool was when Sameerah announced that I have all the proper and healthy ‘blood vessels’ happening down there, which was just one more good sign.  It’s CRAZY how many things are happening to my body now that I don’t even know about – it just does what it needs to do without any help from me.  I love that I’m literally a baby factory while not having to put in much work at all.  The human body is simply amazing!

I’m 7 weeks and 1 day along today.   So far, I don’t have any “morning” sickness, nor do I feel super lethargic or dizzy.  I cannot believe my good fortune along these lines, as I always assumed I’d be praying to the Porcelain God day in and day out.  While it took some time for me to relinquish these preconceived notions, I’m beyond grateful to be spared so far.

Pregnancy Symptoms to Date:
  • Boobies! Two words: OUCH and HALLO!
  • Cravings! Know what you can’t do?  You can’t tell a pregnant woman she can’t eat what she craves. So far, my cravings include Mediterranean food, hot wings (both of which I’ve eaten a lot more of since I’ve become pregnant and even before I knew I was), and Mexican food.  I consumed the latter not once, but twice yesterday.  Two times: lunch at one place and dinner at another.  Told you it’s impossible to ignore!
  • Thirsty! Each New Years Day, I always vow to drink more water and rarely ever stick with it past a month. Pregnancy has changed this, because I can’t get enough of the stuff!  Which leads me to…
  • Excuse me, where I can find the bathroom? I have to pee about 20 times a day, including at least once during the night.  DANG.
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  Which I do, obviously.  I’m happy this experience has been enjoyable so far, but I’m not unrealistic enough to assume it will continue in this vein – just hopeful.  Because, really? ME NO LIKIE THROW UP, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“Dear Chickpea” – A Letter From Daddy

Mark emailed me the sweetest response to my ‘Windows’ post and I couldn’t resist sharing it here.  This might become a somewhat regular feature here, since Mark wants to be involved but is really busy and finds it hard to write his own posts right now.  Reading this, I think you can see why it’s so easy to love this man.  Oh, and just to be clear, we’ve decided to refer to the baby as ‘Chickpea’ during the pregnancy.  What can we say: we love us some hummus.  ;o)

Dear Chickpea –

Almost four years ago exactly, your mother and I re-met. We followed a lighted path of love that night, from place to place, just trying to excitedly and bashfully keep hiding the interest we had for one another. Of course, at that time, we didn’t know it was a lighted path of love. But hey, that’s what makes where we are now all the better.

Waving little hands, leaning-half-way kisses, now that’s what life is all about. And you certainly don’t understand that yet, and probably won’t for some time. But it’ll sneak up on you one day, probably when you aren’t expecting it, when you find that certain someone who makes every day better than the last. You’ll find yourself…re-invented, but not in a bad way.

You will start to worry about someone else more than you do yourself (yes, really). You will start to see your future through the eyes of another – and with serious consequences. But it’s all for the good. You will start looking back on your life, journey by journey, and be thankful that they led you to where you were able to find that someone.

Your mom doesn’t want you to make her sick, not really anyway. She’s just hoping to get the fullest experience of you – to soak up every single moment, whether good (“I’m growing a spine today”) or bad (think toilet…).

With that said, someday you’ll look back at this blog (I’m sure a blog will be named something much cooler in a few years…) and smile, knowing that she, and we, couldn’t get enough of you – even from the beginning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


While waiting at a red light this morning on my drive to work, I saw through the window of the car in front of me two shadows – driver and passenger – moving closer and closer, finally settling in for a sweet kiss.  Being able to witness that private kind of simple love made me smile.  It reminded me of all the times Mark and I have leaned in to show each other our own love.

Later on the drive, almost to work, I saw a little hand waving and waving from the backseat of the van in front of me.  As I could only see the outline, I wasn’t sure what they were doing until a smile crept to my face as I realized it was a little child beckoning me to wave back at them.  I couldn’t help but giggle as I waved in return, reminded of how I used to pump my little fist in the air, up and down, to get truck drivers to sound their horn in salute.

It would be nice if every day started out with a little kiss and a wave, don’t you think?

Right now, I find myself worrying in little ways about what is happening inside me, about if our baby is still safely growing its way into the world.  I sometimes wish I had a window to my womb, so I could blow a kiss and wave at the little darling.

The thing is, I don’t feel pregnant, aside from some breast pain and having to go to the bathroom every hour (I’m drinking a TON of water lately, since I think it’s good for the chickpea).  I’m not battling nausea or feeling too faint, which irrationally makes me pause with concern now and then.  It seems so silly to assume that because I feel so good, something must be wrong.  I can think of plenty of pregnant women who only wish they weren’t such good friends with a bucket!  Still, we’re taught to believe certain things happen when you get pregnant, so when those don’t happen, it’s easy to wonder if things are coming along as they should.

I can’t seem to find a pregnancy book that will appease all the wonders I have, which isn’t surprising since each pregnancy is so different.  This is part of why I write here, even though no one – aside from Mark – knows about this site and/or is reading yet.  I guess I just want a place I can come to, an evolving story to call my own.  Someday I will most likely look back on this and laugh about all the silly worries I had.  For now, though, it’s the only window I have to peer into my own thoughts, as they race about with no place to land.