The big scare
By mid-November 2010, I was officially pregnant by several weeks, and so far I hadn’t had morning sickness or any other unbearable symptoms. I had a great fear of getting sick and throwing up on the subway on the way to work, as if I would be the first. I carried plastic shopping bags in my pocketbook just in case and fortunately never needed to use one. My commute home wasn’t a problem, because I got on far enough downtown to always get a seat for the entire ride. But morning commutes from our stop were always jammed packed and awful. So, instead of taking the subway to work in the morning, D drove our car into the city from his office in northern New Jersey every night, which means he had to find street parking every night. City dwellers will understand what kind of effort that takes, and for this and so many other reasons, he is our hero.
My first symptom started the first weekend after our embryo transfer: fatigue. I hadn’t even taken the first home pregnancy test yet, but on that first Saturday, I slept until noonish, got up long enough to eat and tell D I wasn’t feeling up to doing much that day, and dragged myself back to bed for a 3-hour nap. My mother used to tell me that while she was pregnant, she never saw a couch that she didn’t want to nap on, and she is not a napper.
My other symptom was ravenous hunger. Those first few weekends, I would wake up long enough to eat breakfast and then ask D to go get me a turkey burger deluxe from the diner, eat, and then head back to bed. I was absolutely determined to do my best not to gain too much weight during my pregnancy. I wanted to stay right at the healthiest guidelines for weight gain, and since I’ve always struggled with weight gain, I knew I needed to stay active and exercise. We live on the 4th floor of a walk-up building, so if I was going to tackle those steps in the later months, I had better stay as fit as possible. But the combination of contstant ravenous hunger and killer fatigue didn’t bode well.
Emotionally, I was cautiously optimistic. I thought I should guard myself against devastation by trying not to get too excited, too soon. As if…
So, as I sat in a late-afternoon departmental meeting on a Thursday in mid-November, I felt all of a sudden as if I were getting my period. No cramping, but a feeling of a slight discharge. But then again, I was still taking progesterone three times a day, and that’s one of its side effects, so I tried to rationalize until the meeting ended. Then, I went to the ladies room and discovered I was bleeding, moderately, like an average day during a period.
At first, I thought I was going to faint. The head spinning, the tunnel vision, the forgetting to breath….I had it all. I cleaned myself up as best I could and left work immediately. D was home that day, and I called him on my way to the subway. He was waiting for me on our stoop when I rounded the corner on our block, and I finally broke down.
We got upstairs and I called the CWRC. It was after hours, so my call was routed to their service. The woman who answered the phone was particularly nasty. Once again, another example of a really poor career choice. I explained to her that I was pregnant, bleeding, and needed to talk to the doctor on call. I apparently forgot to mention that my doctor was with the CWRC not realizing that this woman answered the phones for lots of lucky patients for lots of doctors. She began to lecture me by saying, “You really need to tell me which doctor’s office you want first.” I have a lot of patience, well, at least for a New Yorker, but I let this woman have it full-blast. I think I told her, “You know, you are right, the next fucking time I’m having a miscarriage, I’ll make sure I handle it better, now fucking call my doctor you fucking bitch.” Or something like that.
This soon in a pregnancy, there wasn’t much to be done. The doctor asked if I was cramping. I wasn’t, so that was a small reason to hope. But the bleeding was still pretty steady. He told me to keep up the same routine with the hormones I was taking, to not assume anything yet, to monitor the bleeding the rest of the night, and if I started to cramp or it got worse, to go to the ER. But otherwise, the only thing to do was to come into the CWRC at 7:30 the next morning for a sonogram.
D and I got there by 7 am the next morning so that we were first in line when the doors opened. We waited in an exam room for Dr. Choi (of my hysteroscopy). She began the exam, and within a minute, she said, “Well, you are still pregnant. And not only are you pregnant, I see two sacs.” I didn’t have to ask my husband how he felt about that; it was all there on his face. He was teary-eyed and beaming at the same time.
All I could think was, so much for trying to keep my feelings in check. Guess you showed me! Twins!
Next time: Reality sets in
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