Samuel was born to two pharmacist parents. My husband and I are not the most type-A people, but in general, pharmacists are pretty detail-oriented. So when I tell you Sam was planned, you can believe it. Since my husband was in the throes of writing a book chapter about preconception care for women with chronic illnesses, he was well-versed in all that should be done to prepare oneself for having a baby. He harassed me about it regularly. (side note: It’s bad enough feeling stupid about these types of preparations because you read a book or spoke with a girlfriend and found out something you didn’t know. But when you’re getting it from your husband, who doesn’t even have ovaries…you feel extra pathetic not knowing that you should have a dentist appointment before you start trying to conceive, just in case you need any work done that requires anesthesia and can’t wait 10 months or more.) So began my days filled with folic acid, and devoid of Reisling, even though I really wanted it the other way around. Luckily for me, the dentist appointment turned out just fine.
Within a month of our making a plan, I watched the movie “Up” and cried for the first 20 minutes solid. I knew in my heart that our plan had been successful. We confirmed this notion on Easter, a day that is set aside for celebrating new life within. We, of course, were celebrating new life in a spiritual sense, and a physical sense. My husband and I felt so immediately blessed to be entrusted with a life that we were responsible for.
The early days of pregnancy were…just that. I won’t say I had it particularly rough, but for a foodie girl, the bananas and rice cakes diet I ended up on for the first few months was its own special kind of torture. But, having a coworker pregnant at the same time who had hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme nausea and vomiting throughout most of pregnancy), I just ate my rice cakes, lost ten pounds, and counted my blessings. Things were mostly going well, after all. I woke up in the middle of the night pretty early on and couldn’t feel part of my left leg. I could bear weight on it, but couldn’t feel if I touched it. At 3am, I used my iPhone to pull up a dermatome map (a “map” of the human body that shows which areas of skin are affected by which nerves—often used to determine the affected area for shingles), and determined that the baby must be encroaching on one certain nerve. Yes, I am a nerd, even at 3am. I was happy to know these were not problems to be too worried about.
At my first OB appointment, my doctor offered the quad screen. My husband and I had previously decided that as long as the screening couldn’t tell us anything about a situation we could control, that we would decline it. We knew we would not terminate, so in our minds it had no purpose. The OB confirmed what we already knew at the appointment. She had me sign a form acknowledging that I was offered the testing and declined, which I didn’t think too much about at the time. Other than that, I was doing well, with no indication from Sam that there was anything to worry about. Well, other than the fact that the OB’s nurse told me that given my starting weight, they were hoping I would only gain about 15-20 pounds over the course of pregnancy. (Seriously?)