Saturday, July 11, 2015

William Knightley Pt. 1 - Life

Written about one month after Liam was born. 

Kam and I had been trying to conceive for a few months before we finally got Liam. I remember on New Year's Eve I was due for the news, good or bad, and I was so sure I was not going to be pregnant, just like every month before. For about a week leading up to that I was thinking this might actually be the month, but on New Year's Eve I just didn't believe it anymore. We ate out at a nice restaurant. It was just before closing, so it was nearly empty. I remember I spent a lot of time talking about how we would be okay, and we would have kids somehow, even if we had to adopt. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought a bunch of sweets, and Martinelli's to ring in the New Year. I suggested we watch Avengers while we waited for midnight to hit. I remember coming home and feeling a little sick, so I laid down on the couch to wait it out. I ended up not eating any of our sweets, and falling asleep during the movie. I woke up to Kam saying "Chloe, wake up... It's the new year!"

The next morning at about 7 am, I woke up and realized I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep until I knew for sure that I wasn't pregnant. I took my temperature, and it still hadn't dropped, so that didn't give me any closure. I figured I could take a test before Kam even woke up, and then I'd know for sure and I could get on with the day. And if by some odd luck it was positive, that would be awesome, because it was New Year's Day, and maybe I could surprise Kam somehow. I hadn't thought of any especially clever ways to announce pregnancy in relation to the new year, but I knew there had to be something to do with that. That was just too cool to pass up. But as soon as I saw that test, I was completely shocked. I came out of the bathroom shaking, and by that time Kam had woken up and was sitting on the stairs. I stumbled over to him with the pregnancy test and gave him a hug and started crying. He was so worried this happiness would somehow be taken away from us (but mostly from me) that he didn't start to believe that I was actually pregnant until I took another test a few hours later. I remember that I somehow found out I wasn't supposed to eat lox when pregnant and was really disappointed because I was looking forward to my traditional New Year's Day breakfast of a bagel with lox and cream cheese. And then I thought that was a really stupid thing to be disappointed about, but we still went and got bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, because I was really craving it by that time.

I was so impatient to call my gynecologist. I was worried about not being able to reach any one because it was New Year's Day and the offices were closed. The next day I called and asked for the soonest appointment available. I had my first appointment 2 weeks later. I had tried to prepare for a urine sample, but I've always really struggled with that, and didn't drink the water soon enough for it to get through my system by the time we got to the appointment. One of the aides asked me to give my sample, and I asked if I could wait until after the appointment, and she said, "Well, we need proof of a positive pregnancy test before we can see you." So I tried, but after sitting in there, embarrassed, drinking water from the tap for probably 5-10 minutes, I finally gave up and told the aide I would just go sit in the waiting room for a little while, to which she replied, "Well, sometimes it helps if you run the water. Have you tried that? Why don't you go back and try that?" I must not have been *too* pregnant yet, because I refrained from rolling my eyes at her and went back to the bathroom and turned on the water. But I'm not an idiot, or a child. It wasn't going to work. Finally, someone knocked on the door and told me I could come out. The nurse was ready to see me. By the time I was meeting with Kam and the nurse in our room, I was crying. The nurse was very understanding and asked if I was embarrassed about not being able to give a urine sample. I said, "Yeah. I'm really upset about it. Can crying over a pee test count as my proof of pregnancy?" She laughed at that, and later asked me about my symptoms, including whether I had to go to the bathroom a lot. My response was, "Yeah, I have to pee all the time, which is why this is so frustrating!"

Two weeks later we had scheduled our 8-week ultrasound. I was so nervous we were going to get there and find out I had never really been pregnant at all. But then we were there, staring at our little peanut, and it was all a little anti-climactic. I expected to feel more like I was actually pregnant when I saw that ultrasound, but instead I was just not worried. We had been wanting to see a healthy dot, and there was a healthy dot. But then we got to hear the heartbeat, just for a second, and that was when it clicked for me that there was actually something living inside me. I really wished that ultrasound tech had let us listen to the heartbeat a little bit longer. She told us the heart rate, and I already knew that was in the healthy range, and she told us it was in the healthy range, and then I went home and googled it again just to be sure it was in the healthy range, and then I was so proud I had a baby with a healthy heartbeat, and I thought for sure his heartbeat was healthier than all the other tiny peanut babies. (Only, at this time I was pretty positive he was a she.) The baby was also measuring 5 days ahead of schedule, which I thought was really exciting, although it wasn't enough to make my doctor change our due date. Kam was so impatient to tell people we were pregnant. He was even more excited about announcing the news than I was. We had agreed that if we heard the heartbeat at 10 weeks we would tell everyone, because at that point the risk of miscarriage was less than 1%, and we figured we were luckier than 1 in 100 people, and even if we weren't, we wouldn't want to suffer through a miscarriage that late all by ourselves anyway. But Kam misunderstood what I had said about the statistics and said as we were walking out, "So, now that we've heard the heartbeat, we can announce it, right?" But I still wanted to wait a little longer.

Two weeks later we had another appointment. At this appointment we were supposed to hear the baby's heartbeat on the doppler for the first time. When the doctor got out the doppler and started looking, she was unable to find a heartbeat. Kam warned her that I would be really upset if we couldn't find the heartbeat that day. I remember realizing that Kam was right, and that he was aware of just how upset I would be before that had even occurred to me. The doctor spent a little extra time looking but eventually gave up and told us she wasn't worried because we had a healthy 8-week ultrasound, and that I was probably just too early, and to come back in a week. I was a wreck. I spent the rest of the day crying and worrying. The next day I decided I still felt fine, there were no signs of trouble, and that I was going to keep thinking positive until I knew otherwise, because if we did get bad news, nothing would prepare me for that anyway. A few days later was Valentine's Day, and I woke up and randomly asked Kam if he'd be ok with us announcing our pregnancy. He said he didn't mind, but he thought I wanted to wait to hear the heartbeat. I had been feeling sick, so I said, "I'm obviously still pregnant, so we might as well announce it. I'm not worried." Just a few days later, we went back to the doctor and Kam got my phone out to record the sound the doppler made. The doctor warned, "You might want to wait a second to start recording, so we have time to find it first." Then she set the doppler on my stomach and we heard the heartbeat right away, and she mumbled, "Nevermind."

Just two weeks later I had another appointment because I had switched doctors. My new doctor wanted to do his own ultrasound, but we didn't know that until the day before the appointment, so we got really excited about seeing our baby again. We realized at this point we might even be able to tell whether we were having a boy or a girl. When the ultrasound came around, we found out the baby was measuring 8 days ahead of schedule. I was excited about this because his original due date had been September 9, and I was hoping to hit Kam's birthday, September 3, instead. Later, the doctor would decide not to change his due date anyway, which made me worry I was just going to have a big baby instead of an early baby. The ultrasound tech was wrapping up when I asked whether he could tell what we were having. He spent extra time looking for us, but he couldn't be sure. He was really disappointed, but sent us away with a guess that he was "70% sure" we were having a boy. We were okay with that, because we hadn't been expecting to find out anyway. We set an appointment for an early gender check ultrasound at 16 weeks. I had been so sure we were having a girl until that ultrasound tech started me doubting, that I hadn't cared about the gender check at all until that point. Those next three weeks seemed to take forever.

Finally, the day for our gender-check ultrasound came, and we had decided to wait to discover the gender until a gender reveal party that evening. This was a huge source of stress for me, because I was so impatient already. When we got to the clinic and told the ultrasound tech that we wanted for her not to tell us because we wanted to find out at a party that evening, I made some sort of snide comment about how that wasn't what I wanted at all, but that was what we were going to do. This was the first ultrasound where Liam was obviously moving around. It was the first time I really felt a connection to this baby, and I remember as I was watching that ultrasound thinking for the first time that maybe this really wasn't a girl, and I was looking at a baby boy. And as I watched him wiggle around I thought that was really more likely. And then I had this weird thought, that this wasn't the sweet, silent, sleeping baby girl I was imagining. This was a rambunctious bouncing baby boy, who was mocking me, because he just wanted to play around in there, and all the while he was making me sick! And he was probably the one making me eat so many tomatoes, too. But I just adored him. I loved watching him squirm around. Kam was hesitant to watch the ultrasound because he was afraid he would accidentally see whether we were having a boy or a girl, and I kept arguing with him telling him he should watch because it was so great. He did get to see him moving around. I remember the two of us telling our family at the gender reveal party that night how he stretched all the way out, and then pulled his feet back into a little ball, and we said it with all the enthusiasm of proud new parents, and I'm sure everyone was nodding along thinking, "Yeah, stretching is a pretty normal developmental milestone at this point." But of course our Liam did it cuter than any other baby.

And then we found out we were having a boy. And I was still shocked even though I knew as I was watching that ultrasound that we probably would be. And I admit I was a little disappointed as thoughts of tutus and Kam on daddy-daughter dates got put on hold. Because for a little while you've got all of the possibilities set in front of you. You've got dreams of little boys and little girls, and eventually you have to be realistic about the fact you're going to only get one of those, at least this time around. So I started trying to focus on all of the ways I was excited about having a little boy. And I texted Kam as I rode the train home from work about spiking his hair, and "Dad and Son" matching outfits. There was this "Gun" and "Son of a gun" t-shirt pair Kam really liked. And man, it did not take long to get excited. Soon I was imagining this Kam mini-me walking around, and I had wanted that for so long! And Kam was so excited. He told me how great it was going to be to know the family name would live on. And I remember watching the episode of friends where Ross finds out he's having a baby boy, and Kam teared up a little bit. One of those nights we were watching friends and internally celebrating Ross's baby boy and our baby boy, I felt Liam kick for the first time. Two little pokes. And it only took me a second to realize what it was. I wanted so badly to feel it again, I was afraid to get up and move. In bed that night I lay still hoping I'd feel it, but when it didn't happen I figured it would come again sometime in the next few days. I was not even 17 weeks yet, I knew it was early to start feeling any movement.


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