The (baby) detailsPosted: January 10, 2013
On a Wednesday morning in mid-October, I screwed up my courage and took a pregnancy test. Eight or so minutes later, I came back to the bathroom and looked. And there it was: a second line, faint but undeniable. With teary eyes, I woke up Michael and he knew before I said a thing: “It’s positive, isn’t it?” he said.
Yes. Oh yes, thank you God, yes.
We were grateful, but nervous, especially four days later when the cramps started. Normal, according to that highly qualified health care provider called the Internet, but frightening. A phone call to our international health hotline didn’t help, as they told me, in a worried tone–small things matter when you’re already tense–it was possible I was having another miscarriage. The next morning we rushed to the doctor (we see the Global Doctor, a Bolivian man married to a Malaysian woman whose office is in the Hilton: yes I know our life is weird) and he did an early ultrasound, where he found the little peanut, just a blip on the screen. (I couldn’t help but think of Rachel on Friends, the episode where she cries because she has no idea where her baby is on the ultrasound. That was me.) Our doctor, who I am very grateful for, operates on the conservative side of the spectrum and he advised me to lay low.
What did that mean, exactly? Well, not much. As in, don’t do much. At all. Go sit in class (although this year I have a tutor and not formal language class), but don’t do much of anything else. Don’t walk the dog, actually just don’t really walk, don’t stay on your feet cooking dinner, just sit there. Try to stick around home as much as possible.
And that is what I did, for the next seven weeks or so. It worked out well, I suppose, as my energy quickly disappeared and there was not much chance of me cooking when the smell of food made me gag. But those weeks were frightening, nerve-wracking. I was not on bed rest, but instead on what my doctor called low activity, a nebulous term with seemingly fuzzy limitations. (A friend who has been on both bed rest and low activity throughout her pregnancies helped by telling me that low activity was in some ways more difficult because she was uncertain of her restrictions and found it hard to walk the line between wisdom and fear-driven caution.) And deep down inside, although I love our life in Asia, I couldn’t help but think: I would feel more secure if this was America, if I had a doctor whose native tongue was my own, if I just trusted my health care a little bit more.
At the end of each day, Michael and I would pray, thankful to have made it through one more day. Soon, the days added up to weeks, and then months. And although I can’t say I enjoyed the mandatory slow-down, if it helped even the slightest I am so grateful for it.
In mid-December, we reached that magic 12-week marker and Dr. Denis released me to return to life as usual… well, life as usual for a pregnant woman. The day we saw the second line on our test we were glad, but that day, the day our doctor told us it looked like this was really going to happen, my heart sang.
Our celebration dinner? Lunch at Pizza Hut with our chauffeur. Oh, the fancy places our life leads us.