A few weeks ago I had two great intentions:
1) To write more frequently on the blog
2) To stay surprised about the gender of Baby #2
But then life intervened, handing me a giant smackdown in the form of flu and massive anxiety. I’ll explain further.
After a wonderful pre-Valentine’s Day dinner with TC, we came home to a very sick boy. With the expertise and speed of a torero, TC lifted a bucket to Jack’s mouth just in time for him to empty the entire contents of his stomach. It was one of those ridiculous parenting moments in which you look at your spouse in stupefied awe, wondering how bucket holding could suddenly become sexy – forgetting about those days before kids when life was decidedly less messy and more traditionally romantic.
That evening marked Day 1 of what would turn into a week-long battle with the flu. Fever, body aches, relentless sneezing and coughing. Add to that one very troublesome ultrasound. At my 20-week appointment, I thought my biggest problem would be holding my tongue to ask the gender. But as life likes to remind me every now and then, health is the only thing worth worrying about. It is, after all, the thing of most value.
The doctor had discovered a rare abnormality with the baby’s brain called an arachnoid cyst. As I learned from my very thorough reading of the internet (such a no-no, I know!), the prognosis on these things is very mixed. We were referred to the specialists at Children’s Hospital and went in a week later for a day of extensive testing.
When I say that week of waiting was hell, please remember that it was also a fever-induced nightmare. Without clear cognition to distinguish normal concern from full out panic, I aired on the side of full out panic. Logically, I recognize all the pitfalls that accompany the degree of fetal testing given to pregnant women in this day and age. When I was pregnant with Jack, the technician at our 12-week ultrasound noticed that his bladder was too large and suggested we terminate. This brought on a similarly stressful period of waiting that concluded ten days later with one extremely complex medical diagnosis: he just had to pee.
After all we’ve been through already, however, the anxiety was fiercer this time. I wondered how much more we were capable of surviving, particularly in the face of all the joy this pregnancy has brought us. Fortunately, I did not have to sit on these tough questions for long. The extraordinary team at Children’s took wonderful care of us, providing us with some answers the same day as our testing. The baby does have a cyst in between layers of the brain, but fortunately for us, the cyst is small and not affecting the development of other parts of the brain. It’s about the best news we could have hoped for and while we continue to monitor it, we’ll be praying hard that this cyst disappears.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much of this journey to share. The health of our baby is a very private affair after all, and not something I wish to discuss with strangers. But I also believe there are a lot of pregnant women struggling silently with uncertainty and anxiety, and there’s really no reason for those struggles to remain silent. This is our reality and though it will change over time, there is no shame in admitting what’s hard.
So, on to the light-hearted celebrations. Given the amount of poking and prodding this baby will endure in the next four months, keeping quiet about the gender no longer seemed practical. With total delight, tonight we shared with Jack that he’ll soon be expecting….
We are over the moon, jumping out of the seat of our pants, can barely contain ourselves excited! And luckily Jack feels the same way (whew!). So, for now, we’ll continue to hope hard, love big, and anxiously await for this special little baby girl to join the family.
Oh, and we’ll eat cake. Lots of cake.