By: John Jericiau
There’s nothing like the Internet to make the time go by faster, especially when we were looking so forward to the six week ultrasound. I researched information regarding IVF statistics, and it looked like our chances were good that the ultrasound would show something positive. I read about early pregnancy symptoms, and besides a little cramping, our friend was having none of the ones listed. I calculated the exact due date based on the day of conception and came up with November 16th. Being that Dylan was four weeks or so early when he was born (with the help of this same friend), we might be greeting Baby #3 around October 22nd, which would fit right in with our family (remember that all four of us were born on the 22nd.) I also learned in all my world wide web reading that a beta hCG level of 156 (which we had at the 10 day post implantation mark) doesn’t necessarily correlate to twins. Levels much less than that have ended with triplets; levels higher than 156 have been seen in singletons. One more baby would be the best for our family, but we wouldn’t complain if we had twins (although with the boys exactly eight months apart we have always felt like we already have twins).
I signed up for a weekly email update to give us a heads up about what to expect each week and how the baby is progressing (size, organs, etc.) At week 5 the baby was the size of a sesame seed, so I kept one in my front pocket the entire week. Unfortunately this email update also alerts you to the things that can go wrong ( a lot!), and why it’s important to be taking vitamins and folic acid (she is!) and worst of all it lists the diseases and conditions that can start manifesting itself even at this early stage. One can’t help but have a mini panic attack upon reading the long list of ailments like Down’s Syndrome, spina bifida, and others that I quickly tried to delete without reading. Having a baby is a crap shoot; you just never know. Seems like almost everyone has something wrong with them – you just hope that your own child is perfect. As I am writing this blog entry sitting in one of my favorite cafes, a 60ish man enters and tries to order some coffee to go. His movements are very controlled at first, but then the more he converses and tries to point to items on the menu, the more his gestures become involuntary and jerky. He obviously has some type of tic disorder like Tourette’s Syndrome. Please, lord. Anything but that for our baby. Or Down’s Syndrome. Or Muscular Dystrophy. Or Cerebral Palsy. I obviously didn’t delete the list soon enough.
The daily medications and injections continue, administered by either myself or Alen (depending on who was getting the boys to sleep), and this is not without its own set of problems. The injection sites on our friend’s hips are getting increasingly painful, swollen, and irritated. She’s walking around like an old woman, can’t lay comfortably on her tummy, and is going to bed earlier and earlier. The vaginal suppositories (we don’t administer these, thankfully) are somewhat difficult to insert, and they are itchy. That can’t be comfortable. Alen (the physician) worries that she’s getting too much hormone. She can’t eat some of the foods she normally enjoys, and even the water in a store bought water bottle tastes bad.
But she doesn’t complain. Not once. She still heads out of the house at 5:30am every morning for work (she is staying with us every night since we need to give her the injection), and she still plays with the boys with her ever-pleasant attitude. I thank her every day for this gift, tell her that she is part of our family forever, and assure her that this is definitely the end of the road in the formation of our family.
As I continue my writing a couple of guys enter with a boy around 1 year old. Obviously together, obviously their adopted son, I can feel from across the café their love for each other and their love for their boy, and it makes me miss Alen and the boys. (They’re at an Easter egg hunt in Culver City.) One -year-old boys are so darn cute, and I get so excited for Baby #3. A girl would be incredible in our testerone-laden home, but a boy would be awesome too. And yes, it could be two of either, or one of each. I use a bathroom break as an opportunity to meet the guys and Kai, the precocious 16-month-old son of guy #1 who is in town visiting his brother (guy #2). Oh well, I guess I was feeling brotherly love.
It was so exciting to finally be in the exam room for the six week ultrasound. The whole thing took about three minutes. Our friend’s bladder was full which made viewing easier for the doctor. One baby popped up on the monitor almost immediately, with a strong healthy heartbeat. He looked around in every nook and cranny of the uterus for another, but in the end we have one apparently healthy baby, just as we had imagined, and just as we had hoped. Welcome to your 6th week, our little baby, and congratulations. You’re no longer a sesame seed. You’re a lentil! And right now there’s one in my pocket close to my heart.