This is a few days late, but I have been working on the words for a while. Right now you are only 4 months old, but you have been with us much longer than that. It was on January 13th, 2009 that you were born, but it was one year ago, on May, 17th 2008, that you first came into our lives (a funny story about that day will follow). The idea of you began much earlier then that.
It was September of 2007 when Mommy and Daddy began to plan for your eventual arrival. Mommy’s friend Janae was having a baby of her own and we got to take her out shopping for baby supplies when she was at the very end of her pregnancy. I had a (very) little bit of experience from my younger sister and brother and offered to help Janae and Jessica go shopping for little baby things. Small clothes and bottles and tiny socks and accessories began to dance through our heads for weeks after. One evening, after dark, Mom and I were sitting outside in a gazebo we had just purchased and were chatting next to a small fire pit that we had recently installed. We talked about our future, something we talked about often, and whether we saw a baby in that future. We discussed how this would change our lives and pondered on how difficult it was to imagine another little person in our little family. The idea was surreal, and imagining it was something that I could never really wrap my head around until the day you actually arrived. We decided that evening of September 14th, 2007 that we would begin preparing to start trying to make you in January. There were many things we had to do to prepare including some lifestyle changes and vitamins and such to make sure that when began trying for you, you would have the best possible chances to be the healthiest and happiest possible baby.
From that day on, your eventual conception and birth and childhood is all we have thought about. That weekend Mom and I went out shopping for books on pre-conception diets and Best Odds practices. We bought books on pregnancy and childbirth and I bought nearly a dozen books on being a father and continue to read at least one new one every month. You see, your Dad has always found comfort in knowledge and books and therefore these are always the first places I go when confronted with a new challenge, and I still cannot imagine any more challenging experience then being a father to you. I want to be the best father I can possibly be, and as I am beginning this adventure somewhat handicapped I need all the knowledge I can get.
When January finally rolled around your Mom had been taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements for almost five months and your Dad had been drinking fruit smoothies and eating various nuts and fish to improve his sperm strength and vitality. We had read dozens of books on getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, caring for babies, raising children, balancing career and family and we felt like we were ready to begin the beginning. This process turned out to be about as stressful as we imagined it would be. Your father is a very “goal-oriented” person.
Because your Dad is so oriented, he had your mother pee on little sticks for 12-14 days out of every month so we could try and track her ovulation patterns. This was not very successful. Your Mom bought a little pink leather diary and began taking notes and keeping track of everything so we could try and make this as “scientific” as we could. Unfortunately your mother’s ovaries did not comply. They wanted to make eggs when they wanted to make eggs and the more we watched the less they wanted to comply with our wishes. I will skip all the details I am sure that you would prefer not to read about and just say that by May 17th your mom had become so accustomed to peeing on sticks and throwing them away that it had become second nature to her, and me, to be disappointed. That morning your Mom was due to pee on a pregnancy test and she woke up earlier then I did, so she got up, did her thing, looked at it and threw it away. She didn’t even say anything to me about it until I asked several hours later if she had taken one that morning. Usually she would leave these out for me so we could share in the disappointment but I think at this point she had grown tired of the negative results and just wanted to go about her day. Your father, being who your father is, wanted to see it for himself. So I dug it out of the trash. It was positive. Huh?
“Honey, did you even look at this test before you threw it away?” I asked.
“Of course I did, it was negative” She replied.
“Um, look again”
As you can see, the second line on the test was faint, but any line whatsoever is a positive result. Mommy was so used to looking at ovulation tests where the second line has to be darker then the first line to be positive that she just assumed the same rule applied to pregnancy tests. She was so convinced of this that I went online and began looking at photos of positive pregnancy tests and showing them to her. All the positive lines were very faint. My heart began to race, but I was still not confident in the result either. Daddy isn’t supposed to know before Mommy does; it just isn’t the way things are done. I ran to the drug store on the corner and picked up another box of the same pregnancy tests as well as a digital model that did not require scrutinizing any lines.
“It is the afternoon now and the results are best in the morning”, I told myself. “Just because this test comes back negative doesn’t mean that it is really negative. It just means we have to wait until the next morning.” Your Dad is really bad at waiting. I rushed the tests home and your Mom ran into the bathroom. Thirty seconds later she opened the door and we both sat there staring at the little LCD window for the three minutes to run their course. That two and a half minutes seemed to take forever. I looked at your Mom and smiled, she smiled back and just stared down again. Eventually the window changed from blank….
“You can’t argue with that result honey. You’re pregnant”
I couldn’t stop smiling. My heart raced and I thought I was going to throw up. Your Mom had an entirely different reaction that I will leave to her to describe. As the vessel of life, mothers have a set of emotions tied up in procreating that men will never really understand, though I know she will want to try.
The next thing I did was begin to research obstetricians. I wanted the diagnosis confirmed by a professional as soon as possible. Again, there was a little nagging thought in my head that this could not be true. These tests fail 0.01% of the time, even though we had taken three at this point. We picked out a doctor and made an appointment for 10 days later. This turned out to be a blessing as well as a curse.
Our first visit was on May 27th, 2008 (one year ago today). After Mommy gave the nurse a history she had a quick ultrasound where the doctor found a gestational sac, but no heartbeat. She told us that most likely your Mom was pregnant, but isn’t anymore. My heart fell into my stomach and I wanted to vomit again. The doctor told us that the best way to find out was to take a test that shows the level of a certain hormone in Mom’s bloodstream today and again in 48 hours. If the level increased in that amount of time then there was a viable pregnancy that was progressing inside her, and if the level stayed the same or dropped then the pregnancy was not viable and had ended before it began. Apparently this happens a lot.
We drove immediately to the hospital and had the blood test drawn. I could access the results from a computer and as soon as they posted at midnight I downloaded them. The normal range for a non-pregnant woman is between 0-5. Your Mom’s result was 1918. That seemed good to me, but what really mattered was how and if the level changed. We had to wait another 48 hours to have the blood drawn and then wait until midnight to have the results post – we certainly were not going to wait for the OB to call us with test results (something that was reinforced again and again as our relationship with this doctor progressed).
It was all I could think about all the time but somehow we made it past those two days, had the blood drawn and waited until the next morning to check the results. I was at work when I downloaded them and called your Mom as soon as I did. The result was 3663. Barely a touch below double. We were definitely pregnant. There was much rejoicing!!
We had visits to the OB every four weeks until you were 32 weeks along and then every other week until it all came apart at week 38, but that fiasco and near death experience is for another letter. One I will share with you as soon as I can finish wrapping my own mind around it. Dad is still a little traumatized.
As you can see my son, you were a very important part of our lives long before you ever took your first breath or saw your first glimpse of either of us. You have been in our hearts and minds every day for more than a year now. You are the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. You, and your mother, are the best thing that has ever happened to an undeserving guy like me and I am grateful every day to have you in my life.
I love you more than words can say little man. Be safe, be strong, be well, just be.