One final chapter.
It took me a long time to lose confidence in my body; it took a long time to build it back up. I had to retrain the voice inside my head. The one that continued for weeks to tell me not to get excited, that I was really still just a little bit pregnant.
Look, I started telling myself. Yes, there’s a risk you’ll lose this baby. But why waste energy worrying when worrying can’t prevent it from happening? Instead of spending the entire pregnancy feeling anxious and depressed, why not spend this time feeling excited and happy?
Telling myself that helped, but I knew telling other people and sharing in their excitement would help even more. I started with my parents and a few close friends – people who knew about the infertility. But at first, I couldn’t even tell people right. I told one friend in such an equivocal way that she said, “Wait, I’m confused. Are you saying you’re pregnant?”
So, I started looking for ways to practice saying “I’m pregnant” and it was kind of fun. Turns out, “I just found out I’m pregnant” is the magical phrase that gets you a next-day appointment with a thyroid specialist. Turns out calling the yoga studio and telling them “I’m pregnant, but I don’t want my friend I take the class with to know yet” gets you some really sweet emails from the teacher, and a lot of extra nods and winks during class.
Then, as I must have known it would, my body took over from my brain, and I started to feel pregnant. It happened around eight weeks, just after the election. I’d been feeling a little more tired and hungry than usual, but nothing drastic enough to feel like an actual pregnancy symptom. And then, suddenly, I felt nauseous pretty much all day long. It was awesome.
A few weeks later, we finally got to go to our first appointment with the midwife. I was starting to relax into the pregnancy, but it had been weeks since I’d had some kind of scientific third party confirmation, and I was still prone to dropping into fits of worry.
The midwife told us it was possible that we might hear the heartbeat on a doppler monitor. Not probable – at our appointment, I was about 10.5 weeks pregnant and until 12 weeks, it’s kind of touch-and-go about whether you’ll be able to hear the heartbeat. She wasn’t optimistic about our chances, but she lay me down and started passing the doppler monitor over my abdomen.
Static…..static….static…boom. Heartbeat. A good, strong, fast heartbeat echoing out of my abdomen.
Sandy and I cried a little, and giggled a little, and that tightly tied knot of worry in my core started unraveling a little bit more.
At my last midwife visit, she told me, “you know, since your 20 week ultrasound was totally normal, we probably won’t do another one.” Just two months ago, I would have freaked out; how would I be able to keep believing in the pregnancy without another ultrasound? But this time I smiled, because after all those weeks of constant testing and checking and worrying, I’m finally ready to let go and just see what happens.
Besides, there’s so much other stuff to worry about. Our childbirth classes start in a month, and our nursery still resembles a giant storage closet, and are we going to cloth diaper, and what about sleep training?