Friday, January 31, 2014


"24 weeks," read the text accompanying Lyndsay's bulging belly photo this past Sunday. After the grin wrapped across my face I let out an audible sigh of relief. I'd been waiting for this day since our first meetings with the high risk OB/Gyn in MN at the beginning of the pregnancy, when we were still expecting triplets. He mentioned, on more than one occasion, that getting to 24 weeks was imperative. Before that magical moment, our baby (babies, at the time) would not be able to live outside the womb. But getting to the 6 month mark makes all the difference.

Baby A is now viable!

Don't get me wrong, here. We absolutely want her to cook in Lyndsay's oven until she's pink and plump and ready to face the world but, if she decides she's in a hurry to meet us, with a menagerie of medical help and a very long stay in the NICU, she could survive.

"Look," I held the phone in front of Jimmi's face and he smiled at the visual reminder that he is going to be a dad. For him this situation is a bit like "out of sight, out of mind." I'm always thinking about our baby but I really don't know if he's doing the same. When you're not actually watching your wife's changing form, is it still real?

Well, today it was real, if only for a few minutes.

I logged onto Skype and waited anxiously for Dr. C to call. I looked at Jimmi, who brought back a nasty cold from a convention in California last week, and asked in my wifely way, "Do you have a hat you can put on?" Jimmi's expression showed confusion so I continued, "It might help you look less…ummm…" He didn't allow me to come up with the word I was trying to find, "That bad, huh?" My sick husband's glassy eyes and red nose made his appearance less than pleasant and the slack jaw that comes with the territory when you're forced to breathe out of your mouth didn't make it any better. I shrugged and said, out of pity, "I'll just tell them you're sick. It's ok."

Beep! Ring!

The annoying tones announced the call we were waiting for and I aimed the computer's camera away from the mess in my kitchen before clicking "answer" on the screen. Dr. C's newly bearded face appeared, "Hi Suzanne!" he said cheerily. Jimmi stood by my chair, only allowing his body to be seen from the neck down. Dr. C turned his computer so we could see Lyndsay and her daughter, who was with her. "You look pregnant!" I joked with Lyndsay, then turned my attention to the little blonde pixie at her side, "Hi Hallie!" Her enormous smile made her dimples pop and her blue eyes sparkle and she waved with excitement, as only a 3 year-old can. "Where's Jimmi?" she asked, clearly showing favoritism. My husband leaned down into the line of sight just long enough to give Hallie a peek at his feverish face, "Hi Hal!" But that was enough for her to be satisfied.

Dr. C asked Lyndsay to hop up onto the table and I noticed she was wearing the shirt we sent her a few months ago. A picture of a female figure with the words, "Baby Mama" appeared on one side of a black triangle and a male figure with the words, "Baby Daddy" appeared on the other side. At the bottom of the triangle was a pregnant female figure with the word, "Me" underneath her. But the best part were the words inside the triangle… 

"It's Complicated." 

She lifted the shirt and exposed her midsection, which was obviously holding a baby. "I'm just gonna measure her now," Dr. C explained as he took out a tape measure and pressed down to find the bottom of Lyndsay's uterus. He stretched the tape across the bump and announced, "Twenty-six centimeters. She's almost twenty-five weeks now, so that measurement is perfect." Then he grabbed a tube and squirted some clear gel onto Lyndsay's stomach. He turned and picked up a small machine, which I remember from my pregnancies, called a doppler. "Have you heard the heartbeat yet?" Dr. C asked. I was almost embarrassed to answer, "Not really." He pressed the little microphone down and moved it around a bit. We heard some static but nothing more. "Don't worry," he said. "I'll find it."

And he did.

The "whoosh whoosh whoosh" of Baby A's heart was loud and strong and my eyes stung with tears as I listened to it. "Whoa," said Jimmi as the reality registered in his ears. We had seen heartbeats in previous ultrasounds and the tech allowed us to listen for a second or two last time, but it wasn't as clear as this. "One-hundred and forty beats per minute," said Dr. C. "Normal rhythm, strong. Sounds perfect!" Then he jumped ever so slightly, "Wow! I even felt that one!" he laughed as Baby A gave him a swift kick in the doppler. Then he said to Hallie, "Have you felt the baby kick yet?" Hallie shook her head, "No." She said simply. And that's when my heart started to ache.

Neither have I.   

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