Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Baby, or Not a Baby: That is the Question.

My hands were shaking as I finished packing my overnight bag yesterday. I closed the zipper, kissed Jimmi goodbye and gave the dogs a quick pat on the head then I took the car along the same path I'd taveled to Newark Airport, just two weeks earlier. I'm not gonna lie. I contemplated changing my flights, which were scheduled for the exact same times as the last trip, in the hopes the switch would change the bad luck we'd had when we found out two of our triplets had passed away.

But I didn't.

I arrived at the airport with only an hour to spare before flight-time and checked my email in the parking lot, just as I'd done previously. Nothing from United Airlines about a flight delay. Ok, that's a good sign. I breezed through the security line and chilled out in the United Club for a half an hour until 1:33, just one minute before I was supposed to board the plane. Not like they ever start on time anyway. I lazily walked over to the gate and found a small line and a United representative checking boarding passes and sending passengers down the gangway. No way! They're actually boarding? "Excuse me?" I said to one of the line-standers. "Do you know what boarding group they're on now?" He nodded, "Group two," he replied. That was my group! Wow. Perfect timing! I strolled right past the line, handed my pass to the gate agent and shot down the long, narrow path leading to the tiny Express Jet headed for Minneapolis.

This was going way too easily.

I checked my seat assignment and the "4B" brought back memories of the beginning of my last trip. The trip from Hell. It was the same row. The row I'd purposely booked because it was close to the front of the plane, but for who knows what reason, was bumped to 9B as soon as I got on. Fingers crossed for this time. I slowly stepped onto the miniature aircraft, careful not to hit my head on the ceiling, and I immediately noticed the stench wafting through the aisle. Oh my GOD! Someone stinks! Not cool. If you know you're gonna be trapped in a cramped tube with a bunch of strangers, wouldn't you think deodorant might be appropriate? Ugh! I continued the few steps to Row 4, where I saw the empty aisle seat that was assigned to me. Yes! I tossed my bag above and happily plopped down into my seat and "fastened my seatbelt low and tight across my waist." But the green cloud of doom was looming around my nose so I around, trying to locate the culprit. I sniffed the seat in front of me. No, not him. Then I turned and sniffed behind me. Nope. I leaned into the aisle and casually sniffed 4A. Axe fresh! Oh no. No, it can't be. I slowly turned to my right and got a clear whiff of 4C which sent my gag reflex into turmoil. That smell was coming from right next to me! And, in case there was any doubt, 4C lifted his arm to adjust his vent just as my face angled at nose level. 

Oh, shit!

Let me try to explain the size of the seats on this airplane for a minute. Small would be an understatement. My right leg and 4C's right leg were basically dating at this point and my elbow was playing a game of "Whose Arm Rest is it Anyway?" with his elbow. I leaned into the aisle and noticed the flight attendant sniffing around and making a face of disgust. I leaned over a little more and nonchalantly covered my nose with my hand. I couldn't even look in 4C's stinky direction! 4A noticed my obvious dilemma and let out a giggle, "I'm so sorry for you." He said with sarcastic sympathy. I shrugged and leaned over even further. "Don't be," I quipped. "because I'm gonna be in your lap in a minute!" Just then the flight attendant came down the aisle and I stopped her and quietly asked with pleading eyes, "Are there any empty seats in the back?" Yes, I would rather sit in the back than next to Sir-Stinks-A-Lot! She understood exactly why I needed to move, "We're still boarding, but if anything is left when we're done, you're welcome to it." She continued down the aisle and 4A said, "I'm sorry, you can't move." I was confused. "I need you here as a buffer!" he laughed. As the seats filled, my situation was looking hopeless. And then I saw the flight attendant nod in my direction and I jumped up so quickly I banged my head on the ceiling above. Without looking at my offensive neighbor, I grabbed my coat, wished 4A good luck and dashed back to the empty seat in Row 10. I breathed in the fresh air and happily opened up my Sudoku book. 

And that's when the coughing started.

9A, directly in front of me, decided it would be a super idea to get on a plane where everyone is breathing recycled air when he was clearly dying of tuberculosis. The painful hacking began as the flight took off and didn't let up for the entire two and a half hours. I wanted to spray him with Lysol and  bathe myself in Purell or something. But I was trapped! Each time he coughed I cringed, but there was nothing I could do but sit there and breathe in the germs he was so generously sharing with me. Oh well. At least he smelled nice.

When we were finally on the ground I made my way thought the airport to get my rental car. I was experiencing a major déjà vu, liked I'd just been there. Oh, right. Because I had. The same socially awkward rental agent greeted me and I one-worded him in the hopes of avoiding uncomfortable small-talk. But it didn't work. After asking me three times if Kane was spelled with a K, he inquired, "Are you here with the circus?" Ummmm...What? My face told him I had no idea what he was talking about so he made things a little more weird for both of us, "Have you ever had a desire to be in the circus?" he queried. I shook my head while asking myself if this conversation was really happening. Then he closed with, "Neither have I. I'm scared of heights." 

Ok then.

I was finally released from Crazy Town and sent off to my Mazda 3 with my, hopefully working, GPS. The doors opened and the bitter cold Minnesota air stung my face. Damn! I quickly found the car, entered Lyndsay's address into the navigation system and off I went. Surprisingly, I made it to her house without an issue and was able to spend some time with her, Josh and the kids before everyone went to bed.

But sleeping was another story.

I was too nervous to sleep. The intense fear I was feeling can only be compared to the night
before I get my CT scan results. I always wonder if it'll be my last healthy night. If the next day will change my whole life again. If I'll die soon. But this time I wasn't worried about me. I was worried about my baby. The only baby left of my triplets. Baby A. It was such a shock to know I was having three babies then to see two of them on the screen, lifeless and on top of each other. The only thing that saved me from a real breakdown was the hope of Baby A's beating heart. She was still holding on for us. She was still alive. But that was two weeks ago. The doctor scheduled us for the upcoming ultrasound to check on her one more time before the first trimester is over. Yes, she seemed ok last time, but we've all seen how quickly these things can change. And, to top it off, another issue was rattling around in my paranoid mind. You see, right before the start of the freezing week, Lyndsay and Josh's furnace stopped working. That's always the way those things happen, isn't it? The new furnace was expected the day I arrived but, of course, someone messed up and it never got there. Luckily, the gas fireplace in the basement was working hard to keep the entire house warm, so the situation wasn't as bad as it could've been. Lyndsay also mentioned something at dinnertime about the carbon monoxide detector needing new batteries and I didn't think anything of it until I was nice and cozy on the inflatable mattress, in the finished basement, by the fireplace. That's when the anxiety kicked in. As Lyndsay has told me many times, I Google too much, which makes me worry too much. I'd read stories about people falling asleep with gas fireplaces going and being asphyxiated in their slumber. But that's only when the ventilation system isn't working, right? I could hear the hum of the fan and it was clear that the fireplace was fairly new and in perfect working condition. Nothing to worry about.

But I still couldn't sleep.

Finally, after fighting sleep for fear of not waking up, I gave into my ridiculous thoughts and turned off the fireplace. It was pretty toasty down there anyway, so I figured it would be ok. I quickly passed out a few minutes later. But that was short-lived. I woke up shivering at 2:30 AM, and realized if I was cold Lyndsay, Josh and the kids must be freezing! That was not ok. I hopped up, turned the fireplace back on and fell back to sleep.

My alarm woke me at 7:00 AM. Yes! I'm alive! I got dressed and headed upstairs. We needed to leave at 7:30 to drop Hunter off at school then Lyndsay, Hallie and I were off to the the clinic for an ultrasound and a follow-up appointment with the non high-risk OB. I tried so hard not to worry about what we may or may not see during the ultrasound but visions of the twins I will never meet kept overriding the positive thoughts. I just needed it to be 9:30 already. Finally, Lyndsay's appointment pager buzzed and we jumped up to follow the tech into the ultrasound room. My heart was pounding so loudly I figured they could probably hear it. Lyndsay got up onto the table and I situated myself in the chair. It was a different technician than last time so I introduced myself, "Hi. I'm Suzanne. I'm the baby's mom." She gave me a twisted stare and Lyndsay clarified, "I'm just the carrier." The tech's face showed understanding as Lyndsay threw in, "We're not a lesbian couple!" The tech laughed and assured us she didn't think we were "together" as she squirted blue gel onto Lyndsay's growing belly. My knee was bouncing up and down uncontrollably and I felt like I was about to vomit. Please, let there be a heartbeat. Please. As she moved the machine back and forth and up and down, I could see the two gestational sacs come into focus. Yes, both sacs were still there. I caught a quick glimpse of Baby A as the tech zoomed over her and moved on to measure the sac holding what was left of Babies B and C.

But I didn't see a flutter.

She seemed bigger than last time but I didn't see a beating heart. The tech started to measure Sac 2 and I interrupted her, "Can you please show me a heartbeat on Baby A? I need to see a heartbeat and then you can do whatever you need to do with everything else." She understood why I was asking and she apologized and quickly moved over to Sac 1. I saw my little Baby A, who actually looked like a baby now, but still nothing was beating. "I don't see anything," I squeaked. The tech was calm as she said, "It's moving all around, so I'm sure I'll find it!" I couldn't see the baby moving at all. Maybe she was just trying to postpone the bad news. And then she hit the zoom button and the most beautiful and amazing movement of a beating heart greeted our eyes. "There it is!" said the technician and I burst into uncontrollable sobbing. "One-hundred and sixty-three beats per minute. Perfect!" she told us after clocking the rhythm. I started to text Jimmi but decided a phone call would be more appropriate. "Hello?" he answered anxiously. "She has a heartbeat," I bawled into the phone. "Really?" I could hear my husband's combination of relief and excitement when he heard that his baby was alive and growing. "I just wanted to tell you that," I said. "I'll call you back." I watched as the technician continued looking at the tiny little princess on the screen. It was too soon to tell the sex but since Lyndsay and I kept referring to the baby as "she" the tech was curious, "You know it's a girl?" I explained, "We only put girls in!" She nodded and said, "Well, she's measuring at ten weeks and six days." I responded, "That's two days more than she actually is. That's good, right?" She smiled, "Yup. And here are her two legs," then she moved some more, "and one arm...and another arm." Wow. "You can see both arms and legs already?" She nodded again and turned the wand a bit to find the best angle for a photo op. "Oh my God! Is that her nose?" I asked when I clearly saw my daughter's profile for the very first time. "It sure is!" the tech confirmed as she printed a picture. "I wish I could see her moving like last time," I sighed. As if on cue, Baby A uncurled her body and gave us a little show, "Is she stretching?" I asked in disbelief. "She sure is!" said the tech, who obviously loved to see the excitement of her patients. When the ultrasound was over I was handed a two-foot long sheet of about ten photos of my baby and Lyndsay and I went off to her appointment with the doctor.

I know it was real before but, for some reason, today the pregnancy became official for me. As the doctor told us during our appointment, "There are no guarantees in this field, but so far, everything looks great."


  1. So excited for you and Jimmi! Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with your devoted readers. Your writing fills me with emotion, and gives me hope ♥. You are truly one of my favorite authors of all time!


  3. I'm so happy for you and Jimmi. You write beautifully. Keep blogging. We are all cheering you both on.

  4. I am so thrilled for you! This really had me on pins & needles and brought me to tears. You are an extremely brave woman and I will continue to pray until you have your precious baby girl in your arms. You're also a very witty writer and I appreciate your blog posts. You inspire people with your honesty and your ability to find the humor in life's most difficult situations. Congratulations on this victory!

  5. You write so wonderfully about such a personal and profound experience! I am so glad to know you and Jimmi. My prayers and thoughts are with you guys and the baby every day. I've been through difficult pregnancies and lost 4 ( and an unconfirmed fifth ) of my own. I can understand the Hell you are going through. I'm here for you guys. Baby A is going to be wonderfully fine and I'm already crocheting a baby blanket for her! :)

  6. Thank GOD! I am so happy for you <3 Again I am teary but these are good tears.

  7. I was holding my breath and crossing everything for you guys waiting for info on your next appointment!
    I hope the rest of the pregnancy continues on this positive vibe.