Tag Archives: pregnancy

Baby Sunshine from Postpartum Blues

This must be a couple days after I gave birth. I'm apparently off bed rest and taking a quiet moment as Baby Girl sleeps nearby.
This must be a couple days after I gave birth. I’m apparently off bed rest and taking a quiet moment as Baby Girl sleeps nearby. I didn’t know Big Daddy took this photo until recently.

Even though I’m exhausted, this weekend couldn’t have been better. C&C seemed to have had a wonderful time at the play café on their actual birthday, and Sunday’s gathering of friends was just beautiful. It even ended with our place nearly spotless.

And yet the awesomeness that God has allowed in my life continues. Big Daddy, who normally takes the night shift with the babies, is doing a sleep study (apparently with all the comforts of a fancy hotel). I told him I was jealous. But despite my error in blasting my latest guilty-pleasure song in the car after dropping him off, both babies are still fast asleep from the ride. I’ve gotten to use the bathroom without rushing, I washed and moisturized my face, put on pajamas and ate a birthday cupcake with both hands. Forget pedicures and massages; these are the new luxuries of life after you become a mother.

And for me, it’s about doggone time.

I’m past it chronologically but finally facing it emotionally to a point where I’m able to say (and write) it: The first few days (months) postpartum sucked. Royally sucked. (Exhale) The details are endless, but the broad strokes are enough to paint the picture.

1) I gave birth via C-section in the 29th hour of labor, having progressed to barely 3 cm and finally developing preeclampsia. My blood pressure was already dangerously high — systolic and diastolic at this point — despite meds, and the magnesium sulfate made me feel more nauseated than I had my whole pregnancy. Granted, all the juice I’d nicely convinced the nurses to let me have through the day didn’t help. As much as I’d wanted a vaginal delivery, I was so sick and still itchy from PUPPPs that I’d decided the sooner I could deliver the better. And this was despite not paying any previous attention to anything anybody said about being prepared for a C-section just in case. Mistake, BTW.

2) So, like, baby or no baby, it’s major surgery to be sliced open and sewn back up again. So much so that they tested the effectiveness of my epidural before wheeling me to the OR. They did it by placing ice on each thigh. That’s how we all realized that the contraction pain I felt during labor wasn’t pressure. That was actually pain. Twenty-nine hours. Pain. Contractions. Epidural working only on my left side. Cue a second epidural in the bright, cold operating room for major abdominal surgery, which requires major recovery. For me, that meant hours in the recovery room with a still-high BP needing extra delaudid plus a spinal block that I could barely consent to. Whatever was happening — I was in and out — had Big Daddy angrily bargaining with God for my life. But there was more than my life to consider …

3) Baby girl was just fine; baby boy, born at 4 lbs., was whisked away without me being able to see him. Except for about 5 minutes before I was moved to my hospital room around 4 a.m., I didn’t see him again for a couple days. I was on bed rest with a pain pump and a catheter. Knowing that your child in intensive care and that you can’t see him is torture. It’s worse when you still have another child to care for and no idea what you’re doing. I thought it would be great when we’d all be home and family would come to visit …

4) In short, family came, and it didn’t go well. On three separate visits, the number of diapers changed by people who showed up equals zero. I should’ve taken the hint from the first phone call I accidentally took thinking it was Big Daddy the day after coming home with only Baby Girl. From delivery on, I wasn’t answering calls; I wasn’t making calls. I was sending messages through my husband, and most people seemed OK with that. Most people, except my mother-in-law. She holds this, among other things of which I’ve lost count, against me. Our first full day at home, Big Daddy had just talked with her, mentioning that he was en route to Baby Boy, still in the NICU. She ended that call and promptly call our home number. Her first question to me, verbatim: “So, how does it feel to have one baby home and the other still in the hospital?” I can’t remember how long it was before I answered the phone after that.

5) Already unsupported at the most basic level, I was also alone in figuring out the whole breastfeeding thing. I learned some things the hard way with occasional input at my pediatrician’s office, but being in a community of formula feeders — and family members who would put words to the babies’ cries “Mommy, please give me a bottle” — made it a difficult road. But, 12 months in, we’re still going strong. Now, I have to figure out this weaning thing. Like everything else, it’s all a cycle of trial and triumph.

So much craziness happened in addition to the normal chaos of a shiny new set of twins that’s hard to believe it was only within the past 12 months. And even though I hear the beginning cries of somebody waking up, I’m grateful to report, after a series of storms, relative calm.

As it was before, feel free to ask questions about anything. I’ll answer them via the same way you ask. — mbe

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Labor Day, Revisited

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This was one of the great nurses we had. She was gracious in allowing us to take her picture. Of course, I can’t remember her name.

I had grand plans of what to write next, but the birthday baby girl must realize it’s her holiday; she’s wide awake and keeps breaking my concentration. Gone are the days I could nurse her and her brother to automatic sedation. And it seems the more alert either child is, the sleepier I am. Had I known sleep would be so hard to come by, I would’ve taken my OB’s advice a year ago tonight. “Sleep as much as  possible.”

Dr. Katz was fortunately on call into the evening that I was induced with near-200 systolic. My diastolic was hovering around 100 as well. A big deal, a high BP was still my only medical concern. We’d still planned a vaginal delivery with all the drugs available. She said I needed the rest in order to push. My doctor has a record of delivering 75 percent of her patients, so I was hoping I’d have a familiar face at delivery. By this point though, I’d been laboring for more than 12 hours and hadn’t dilated beyond a couple centimeters. I was still battling PUPPPs, which no one seemed to know anything about. With a little research, someone could’ve warned me that an epidural would intensify the itching and bring out the caricature of hysterical pregnant woman. My body was on fire. I cried, screamed and could’ve yanked every needle out of my arms as a reaction to the meds flooding my veins. It was ugly. That moment was the worst part of labor, despite being able to feel my contractions because my epidural only worked on one side. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.

Me: “Whoa! I can feel that!”

Nurses/anesthesiologists/medical professionals: “That’s just pressure.”

Me (who knew nothin’ about birthin’ no babies): “Oh (clenched teeth). OK.”

It was my doctor’s constant presence — I’m sure she was cursing out folks on my behalf — that had, not one, but two anesthesiologists mixing pain cocktails to ease the “pressure” in a way that kept me from scratching the skin off my stomach and legs. Their choice, I was told, could help the itching but would lessen the effect. I said I’d rather be in pain.

And I was in pain at regular intervals throughout the night with little progress. My blood pressure remained elevated, I wasn’t allowed to eat, and I was stuck in position on my left side because they feared losing a read on the boy’s heart rate. If I turned just a little bit and the monitor shifted, a seeming first-year nurse would run in in a panic and add more goop that would add to my itchiness as well as its rhyming description. I hadn’t mentioned that I’d once worked in a hospital, but the first-year picked up on it and put it in her report (complained) to the next nurse, who was a lot less sloppy in her care. Or maybe it was morning, home to the first-stringers and people with seniority who know what they’re doing.

The morning of Aug. 14th came and went. By noon, I was still in labor with regular contractions that would wake me up if I dared fall asleep. “A Baby Story,” where the kid is born in an hour between commercials, this was not.

Get! Out! Mah! Belly!

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I’m 37 weeks pregnant here, visiting my choir friends in the church basement. My brother is clearly amazed at how big I am. Looking back, so am I.

This time last year, I was so remarkably uncomfortable. I was a massive 186 pounds on 5’2″ frame at exactly 38 weeks pregnant with the horrible itchy PUPPPs rash across my stomach and legs. I’d essentially lost my job for being pregnant but had quit on my own with Aug. 13, 2012, being the first day of my vacation before the end of my employment. That allowed the peace of mind to have insurance still covering delivery whenever it happened, though I knew it would be within the month.

With the threat of losing the babies and the journey through infertility to get to this point always in mind, I’d stayed ridiculously hydrated through a hot Chicago summer and only had two pre-term scares. The first, at nearly 32 weeks on a Sunday, watching “Sunday Best,” I had a series of contractions that also squeezed my head. Four an hour was bad; I’d had six, seven, eight and was on the phone with the hospital. I wasn’t in labor; apparently, that was the nature of being pregnant with twins. I sang with my church choir through my eighth month, finally giving up after a month of promoting our CD release. Two Sundays after a Saturday afternoon funeral and backing Aretha Franklin that night, I thought my water broke and left the choir loft mid-service. The embarrassment of people watching me tip out while the pastor was preparing to preach was enough for me have several seats for a while. Or maybe it was the shame of explaining that, no, my water didn’t break and that I’d most likely peed on myself.

I was at the hospital every Monday the last six weeks for a non-stress test, measuring the babies heart beats in response to my regular but normal contractions. And because my blood pressure rose a little higher each visit, a nurse would always say I might deliver that day. But every time, they’d send my uncomfortable big butt home to keep the babies cooking. The Monday a year ago, I felt guilty for wanting these babies out, mainly to be able to breathe normally, to see my feet, to stop hugging the Mr. only from the side and to stop that junky itch from the rash. My blood pressure was 190/89. Even though I was not pre-eclamptic (yet), I was admitted and scheduled to have the babies that day.

I’m hoping in finally recounting the last days of pregnancy, labor, delivery and ultimately motherhood, you’ll forgive my long delay in writing anything at all. The twins are great as they approach a year old tomorrow, and I’m feeling good and confident that I can keep them alive. It wasn’t always that way. I’ve got dark days to shed light on by retelling the story. And what a tale it is.

In short, it’s like the VH-1 “Diary” tag line: You think you know, but you have no idea. Stay tuned.

Unbelievable!

I know it’s been a while. I think in my last post before the tribute to my mother, I felt whiny because my pregnancy woes were all I could focus on. It just seemed unfair to complain after the struggle to get to that point. I may revisit those final months at some point with a fresh perspective.

The “when” of that is uncertain given that it’s finally official: I’m a mother. It’s been six weeks and a day and putting that phrase in writing has me tearing up a little. It’s either that or the fact that it’s 4:14 a.m. and I have Pootie Booty #1 sleeping across my lap and #2 in his baby rocker and it should be Big Daddy — formerly known as the Mr. — on baby duty, not me. Or it could be constipation and freezing from a couple night sweats in the past three hours. I’ll stop there to avoid getting ahead of myself with the postpartum joys.

Just know that the boy-and-girl twins are here and that My Brown Eggs is back — still with infertility as its foundation, happily adding the success of assisted reproductive technology and motherhood! That was the goal, right? And that’s where we are, praise God. And given that I had to quit my job (no maternity leave), that’s all I have to talk about.

Right now, though, it’s sleepy time. Let’s hope it lasts.

Pregnancy ain’t for Punks

I do this or get very close at least once a day.

Or maybe it is. I am already starting to cry, after all.

It’s my own fault. I’m home — instead of where I should be — watching “Beaches,” an automatic tearjerker when I’m not carrying two tagalongs that I can’t eat. (I swore off all Girl Scout cookies this year to avoid the chocolate and accompanying caffeine in my favorite ones, Samoas.) Only this time, the movie just started. Cece just ran off in the rental car and in the flashback just met Hillary and my vision is already teary-eyed blurry.

(Sniffle, sniffle)

I’m remembering how I just woke up from a 13-week sleep, having not talked to my best friend enough recently to know her dog died nor a new good friend to hear the potty successes of her new baby nor my “stickgirl” at all. (And she’s got Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell to worry about.) “Beaches” makes me think of all my close friends, and in watching it, I haven’t been a good friend at all. And the friends I’ve made in the Midwest USA aren’t quite close enough to reassure nor understand, but that’s just something else to cry about.

(Sniffle, sniffle)

Instead of weeping to “Beaches,” I should be wading through slush to choir rehearsal just like I should’ve been at work today. But I couldn’t get out of bed. I wish it was because I was asleep. Apparently, pregnancy even at this stage in the game causes the joints in your hips to loosen in preparation for labor, and it hurts like the devil. At a steady decline every morning, my ability to walk is likely something from a dilapidated extra at Shady Pines, the fictitious nursing home in “Golden Girls.” It’s like somebody has replaced the area between my lower back and knees with 90-year-old parts. I’ve been in bed most of the day whining with the Mr. jumping at every groan. Turning from my right side to my left side is a major decision because it requires a commitment to stay there for time worth the pain and struggle. None of this bodes well for frequent bathroom breaks. Lowering myself in the Oval Office then brings a new seat of tears.

(Sniffle, sniffle)

Getting ready for work — and finding something to wear — has been torture. Today’s preparation involved sending a text to my supervisor and having the Mr. bring my laptop to work from home. I typed everything with one hand while trying to keep this new set of girls out of the way. It sounds easier than it actually is. I would’ve just taken a sick day, but I feel guilty for not being able to push past the discomfort like I’d do if I were merely sick. I worked to keep from crying.

This pain has been ongoing for the past three weeks. I’ve tried to stretch, but that doesn’t work for joints, it seems. I tried to put away the flats until I really need them, figuring heels would stretch out my thigh muscles. I was cute — and can still walk in 5-inch platforms, thank you very much — but all that did was made me look like the pregnant woman who wants to be Beyoncé. I don’t.

But I’m pregnant! It’s an exciting time. I even glow some days. But I’m not the smiling belly-rubbing lass you see in commercials or even the one you see accepting congratulations while dodging presumptuous hands heading for my abdomen. I really am happy we got to this point in the infertility journey, and I read “The Bump” daily to see how many days left until my due date. I marvel at baby things and try not to be taken in by the hype. At the same time, though, this is no walk in the park and I know I’ve had it easier than most.

So, from here on out, whenever you see a pregnant woman in public, know that she probably fought to get out of bed and fought harder to get out of the house with enough food for the day to keep from throwing up. Don’t roll your eyes because she’s late. Don’t question her outfit even if you saw it two days ago. Don’t be mad if you haven’t heard from her. And for God’s sake, don’t be alarmed if she leaves the choir stand in church to go pee. She’s likely been holding it awhile. And if she’s not where she’s supposed to be, know that she’s not milking the whole pregnancy thing. She’s just struggling her way forward and probably on her way somewhere to go cry about it.

Deuces Wild

(Top) Rufus is calmly positioned for capturing a heartbeat of 177 beats per minute at 8 weeks and 3 days. (Bottom) The seemingly irritated Reefus would barely stay still to measure a 183-beats-per-minute heart rate at 8 weeks and 3 days.

According to the original plan laid out for us in the beginning of the in-vitro fertilization process, heartbeat detection was the stop before the reproductive endocrinologist released us to a normal obstetrician. But at that surreal visit of two strong heartbeats, the doctor said he wanted to see me again. I’d been cramping a little but frequently on both sides, and even though I’d read of such discomforts, I was afraid of miscarrying (isn’t everybody?). Apparently, the hyperstimulation of all the drugs left my ovaries slightly larger than life and the source of my pain. That meant one more visit.

Seeming to grow very quickly, I was already wearing maternity pants when the next visit came around. Yet, I was nervous that the doctor would tell me he’d been wrong and I wasn’t really pregnant. But no, very quickly he found both babies with slightly larger heads with pounding heartbeats. One laid to the left, very calm and immediately detectable. That’s Rufus (though, I might have mixed up the names in a previous post. For future reference, Baby #1 is Rufus, and Baby #2 is Reefus). The nature of this kid was something like the Mr., relaxed and carefree. The second one, however, seemed not only a little shy but downright annoyed to be bothered so early in the morning. Reefus was head down and apparently wanted to stay that way. The kid turned away from the probe like you would to stay in bed when it’s time to get up — at least three times. The little arms waved up and down and the little shoulder shrugged like, “Leave me alone.” It was fascinating to watch. It looked like something I would do (read: will do tomorrow).

Despite the drama, we saw then heard both heartbeats loud and strong. I have no words for that moment. It was just wild.

That was the last time we saw them, but we get to seem them again this week — this time by external ultrasound. I’m anxious to see what attitude Reefus will have to display. Only God knows.

Look at me, look at mee-ee-eeeeee

This is the album cover for the original "Dreamgirls," featuring Jennifer Holliday. I'm a sucker for classics even when the remake is awesome.

“I am changing …”

So, OK, the song from “Dreamgirls” doesn’t really apply beyond those first few words, but things are definitely a-changing. I’m still a day or so away from the end of my first trimester, but I am definitely larger. People tell me they can’t quite see it, while others tease me about my frontal rotundity. Getting dressed every morning is a struggle for pants that fit. If only that was the only thing different.

I honestly have no real complaints. By everything you’ve ever heard about pregnancy, I’m coasting. I don’t have morning sickness; I have “it’s time to eat again or else” sickness. I go from normal to starving Sally Struthers style about every two hours. It’s when I don’t answer that call that I get nauseated and struggle even more to find something I feel like eating. I don’t have any weird food aversions or cravings, but there are foods that make me happy. Among them — because it varies from day to day — are Honey Nut Cheerios with or without milk, vanilla milkshakes, tomatoes, pasta in alfredo sauce and baked potatoes heaping with sour cream. Those aren’t that weird, except that I prefer real milk to the vanilla soy I drink normally and have turned my nose up at the chocolate shakes I would order before. And as much as I always loved a good steak, the thought turns my stomach …

Which I’m not sleeping on. Paranoia has me off my back as well. I just turn from side to side, feeling like a fish flailing from side to side all night long. Sleeping is uncomfortable even with the body pillow. Usually, the Mr. rubs my back until I fall asleep. Then, he wakes up when I get up for potty breaks to make sure I don’t bump into anything. Sleepwalking makes a person a little clumsy. Plus, our cool high box spring bed isn’t any more because it makes getting out of it a small challenge that I suspect will only get worse.

One thing I couldn’t have anticipated at this stage is sore hips and thighs. It’s like my joints are on strike. I stiffen quickly as if it will rain any minute. Apparently, my body is already preparing to Rufus and Reefus launching pad. And sleep must be a really big part of the preparation. I’m so sleepy all the time that I feel lazy. And when I’m not sleepy, I’m just plain tired. Every day, it’s like I’m playing catch-up with my fast-moving life.

Though not by choice, I’ve had to slow down. Fortunately, so has my burping before every sentence. Its unmentionable counterpart hasn’t really; the Mr. has been really nice about it. (I have an excuse that he never had. I call it even.) Singing is a challenge, but only to make me breathe the way I should’ve been breathing all along. That’s one thing I’d like to keep doing until I just can’t; though, I’ve read that it is possible that I could sing throughout the entire baby-cooking process barring any calls for a Lyric Opera performance (not gonna happen).

Otherwise, as accepting as I’ve become of actually being pregnant, I’m approaching acceptance that I do need more food, more sleep and to keep taking my prenatal vitamin despite how it now tastes like metal. I will not concede to being more evil. I’m just too tired to be as diplomatic as I normally am. More than not, I’m really just responding to feelings that seem to get hurt a lot more often though I pretend otherwise when it involves friends. I let the tears flow, however, while listening to the NPR story about school truancy in Detroit. Odd, right?

It’s pretty clear that while I’ve got the physical stuff down, I’ve got to work on the emotional side of pregnancy.

My Hannah Moment

As the story goes from I Samuel, Hannah couldn't have a child and "was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord, and wept sore." It hurt until she cried, and she cried until it hurt.

I’m really behind on the updates. I’ve just been so incredibly sleepy. Some time has gone by since then, but I did have my weeping Hannah moment in church. Ironically, though, it had nothing to do with me or anything I could’ve predicted.

Call it a divine revelation or or a alignment of coincidental thoughts — not that I don’t believe either is possible — but given that this site has been up and circulated, I might call it something different. Whatever it was led to an altar call for “a couple struggling to conceive.” I only recently posted positive pregnancy results, but I knew at time that I was and had told the people most proximate to me on a day-to-day basis. But it wasn’t widely known, particularly not by the person led to invite “a couple struggling to conceive” to the altar.

Don’t misunderstand; I fully believe in inspiration of the Holy Spirit to move a person to say or do something in a way that isn’t based on any prior knowledge. In many ways, I try to live my life with that kind of direction. But to have prior knowledge and to suggest it was revealed by God feels kind of like a carnival show gimmick. Already pregnant and fully aware of it, I didn’t go to the altar, but three women did.

At the moment, I realized that my struggle has not been for me nor has the blessing up to this point. It has been to tell the story of prayer for undeserved favor in an impossible situation, the unrelenting downright stupid-looking faith, and a glimpse of the promise (which is where I feel I am now) to somebod(ies) who feel even more hopeless that I have in the midst of all of that. That was my revelation that night.

I was skeptical of the way it went down, but I thought it was cool that the church, a black church in particular, devoted prayer time to infertility. Rather than let the method of how we got there permanently divert my attention, I directed my energy toward praying for them and just worshiping in general.

And I cried and cried some more, praying that God would show himself strong for those ladies as He has for me.

I’d wondered — with the postive pregnancy test and the ultrasound photos — whether I could still be considered part of the infertility struggle. I know how I felt when I’d read that someone had a successful interuterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization cycle: abandoned and even more like a failure. But my Hannah moment reminded me that the struggle to this point binds me to every woman on the same road.
Not to get too churchy on you, but it was one of my pastor’s sermons that kept me holding on to the idea that God would allow us to become parents. I don’t remember the title (and this tired mama is too lazy to go find her journal), but I do remember the scripture and its context — 2 Kings 3:18. After you prepare, which you’re already doing, you pray and you try to be patient, it’s a simple matter in the sight of the LORD. That’s the New King James Version. The Message translation reads: “This is easy for God to do.”

As hard as the infertility road is, rest with that idea in mind.

Pee-er Pressure (in the Mr.’s own words)

I'm comfortable with this scenario, but the Mr. needs something more.

I’m giving up my normal rant space to the Mr., who really wants — nay, needs — me to take a home pregnancy test. His offering is largely unedited — aside from those dreaded double spaces after each sentence. (Who still does that?) Nevertheless, despite promising ultrasounds and no evidence suggesting that there isn’t p-word outside of our cautious uncertainty, he wants to see a positive home test. Here’s why:  

About three and a half years ago, I had a question I really, really wanted to ask the woman I loved. Just a few simple words, but it was a monumental question. The big question. You know the one. It was the biggest question I’d ever asked her. Eventually, after a princely sum on a ring and tickets to a dinner whose taste I still can’t remember, I got my answer.

It was the answer I’d expected, hoped for, prayed for and was relieved to get. I’d seen the signs after all: She told me she loved me, moved halfway across the country for me, she laughed at my lame jokes and allowed me to experiment on her with my cooking. And rare was the day we hadn’t spent thinking of and talking about a future together. So, yeah, the signs were there. But it was the most real when she had that ring on her finger, that word of affirmation ringing in my ear. She later teased me about my nervousness, even while admitting that she wasn’t always sure that moment would ever come. Bottom line, we didn’t know till we knew.

So here we are again, where there’s a question to be answered. This time it’s not about matrimony. It’s about maternity. It isn’t about whether she’ll take my hand. It’s about whether we’ll form a band. There’re no musicians singing in the background, and instead of a diamond ring in my hand, I’ve got a cheap piece of plastic. Ain’t nothing sexy about where this stick goes and she probably won’t walk around with it on her finger (although that would make one heck of a mood ring).

(Now that I’ve conflated my proposal and a pregnancy test, my head is filled with images of how so many other questions would be more simply resolved if it could be settled with a little pee. Does she love me? Is she laughing at me or with me? Is she really mad I ate all of the cookies? Two lines for yes, one line for no.)

So, call it peer pressure. or pee-er pressure. Or just one more time where a guy’s gotta know. Sure it might be beside the point. Even a little bit anti-climactic. But, remember that Kay’s Jewelers jingle: “Every kiss begins with Kay”? Well, every pregnancy begins with pee.

Babe, all I’m saying is give pee a chance.

Here’s to the numbers game

The "butterfly" part goes into a vein, and a blood collection tube attaches to the "vacuum." I gotta do this again in a couple days. It used to be fine, but now these little suckers are starting to hurt.

I made it to my first beta test without giving in to pressure to buy a home pregnancy test. I kinda floated through the last several days, having some symptoms of something but blaming everything on the drugs — not just my bad moods.

For example: In the lighter sleep of early morning, I tend to have a blanket tug of war with the Mr. That fight involves turning to one side with a death grip on the covers. After nearly three years, I can literally do this in my sleep. But for the past week, that sleeping turn has come with the equivalent of what feels like someone clanging cymbals on the girls. Mmhm, those girls. I wake up abruptly — mad — then stay awake for another hour or so until about five minutes before my alarm sounds. I blame this for my constant need for a nap before bed. And the vicious cycle continues.

Then, there are the slight pains in my side that go away as soon as I try to identify them. It’s like I’m leaning over to stretch, except I’m sitting still. In that case, I didn’t necessarily blame the drugs. I thought, as usual, it was something I ate from the dairy case. (Infer what you will.)

The whole point of the mind games was to downplay anything that could be unnecessarily attributed to a pregnancy that had not been confirmed. Instead of wishful thinking, it was careful thinking.

The game changer was the quick phone call from the nurse about an hour an a half after my blood test, 10 days post transfer. “I’m calling with good news that your beta level is positive at 148. You’ll keep taking your meds and come back Tuesday. Then, it should double to about 320.”

She didn’t say pregnant and I didn’t hear pregnant nor say pregnant to the Mr. But we all know 148 is a good sign. Still, I know not to get too excited — at least not yet. Here’s why: While anything above 25 milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml) equals a positive pregnancy test, the real proof is in how much the numbers increase in 48-72 hours. Even then, it’s only through ultrasound, somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 mIU/ml, that we can get more accurate information about the pregnancy. That includes whether we’re carrying one or two babies.

I could come up with a multitude of Doomsday scenarios, but the possibility of them is enough to keep me grounded even despite the silly grin that the Mr.’s probably worn all day. It’s cute, and it reminds me that there’s hope. Don’t get me wrong: I am tickled chocolate brown and a little bit relieved, but I remain super cautious. I’m thankful to God because I consider this an answered prayer even though there are others to come. With all of that in mind, I’ll quietly celebrate 148 mIU/ml for what it is with a glass of water, more drugs and gummy prenatal vitamins. In the meantime, we’ll see what happens

Here’s to the numbers game. Cheers, big ears.