When I was pregnant with Westley, I had only one ultrasound, the traditional 20-week look-see. This time, given my history (and anxiety), I requested an early "dating and viability" scan, and I anticipate having at least two more ultrasounds. Even though it's just fancy picture-taking, this already feels like more intervention than I'd planned.
Last Friday I went in fully expecting to see something awful. I looked at ultrasound pictures of molar pregnancies online beforehand, because I wanted to be able to recognize the cluster-of-grapes tissue in black and white. Just in case. I also knew that the average fetal heartbeat at eight weeks was 175 BPM. Just in case.
packed purchased a picnic, and headed for the zoo. Westley loved showing everyone around, but Melissa's camera turned out to be the highlight of the visit for him.
I was anxious to the point of feeling like I was coming down with the flu. Rob was quiet and drawn in. Westley was soaking up all my nervous energy like a sponge and filtering into naughtiness. I gave Westley my camera to keep him occupied.
I was astonished when the ultrasound tech said, "There's your little one."
I saw a round head, oval body, little arm and leg bumps. And a tiny flutter. 172 BPM.
* * *
We went out to dinner. Rob had been cooking for me for three weeks straight, and he more than deserved a break. The guys chowed down on pot stickers and chicken-style seitan and lo mein. I ate sauteed mixed vegetables and imagined the nutrients flowing into my beating-heart-fetus.
* * *
I woke up on my birthday to house guests.
Rob had arranged for a visit from two of my best friends, and gone to collect them from the airport the night before while I slept. When I finally stumbled out into the living room, there was spare bedding and extra towels and conversation everywhere.
At brunch, it was like we'd never been apart.
As part of my efforts to 1.) manage my nausea with protein, and 2.) make up with soy, I ate tofu scramble. Westley devoured a waffle, but not before sharing little pieces of it with everyone at the table.
That waffle turned out to be the closest thing I had to birthday cake. I spent the rest of the day being queasy on the couch.
"I'm sorry we can't really do anything," I kept apologizing to my friends, feeling like the hostess with the leastest.
"We came to hang out with you," they kept repeating.
We spent the rest of the weekend sitting around under blankets, gabbing.
* * *On Monday, we harnessed a little energy,
Seeing my dear friends is always a joy, but the thing that made this visit truly special was seeing them with my little boy. Ellie came to stay with me for a few days when Westley was about six weeks old, and since then I've been absolutely determined that my friends will be part of my son's life. It takes a village, and my village happens to be pretty kick-ass. Watching the three of them play and bond and share food, I thought my heart would burst.
* * *
On Melissa and Ellie's last full day in town, we decided to tourist it up. We even got the obligatory standing-in-front-of-the-Space-Needle shot.
Our fun came to a screeching halt for a bit when I went to the bathroom and discovered blood in my underwear. Not a lot, but bright red.
"I haven't established maternity care yet," I lamented. "Should I call my doctor? She can't really do anything about it, and they say not to worry unless you're going through pads—"
"She can give you peace of mind," Melissa advised. "Or—they know you—call the midwives and say you want to establish maternity care and also let them know what's going on—"
"Listen to her," Rob said, pointing.
That evening, the spotting had stopped, but I was on the verge of tears. Ellie hugged me. "Yeah," she said quietly. "It's scary."
* * *
Today is Friday again. I drove my friends to the airport yesterday morning. It seems like the ultrasound was months ago.
I had my first appointment with my midwife this afternoon. This woman took care of me during my previous two pregnancies, and I'm absolutely in love with her. I want to have 12 babies just so I have regularly scheduled dates with her. She recommended an herbal butt plug for my hemorrhoids. I think she might have magic powers.