Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Pregnancy Test

My husband Bob loves going food shopping; however, it is a task that I simply do not enjoy.  While I approach the supermarket as a necessary evil and strive to get in and out as fast as possible, Bob thinks of it as an adventure, savoring every moment, scanning every item, in every aisle, and taking hours upon hours to perform the seemingly simple job of buying groceries for a family of three.

Although he takes his weekend excursion to restock the fridge quite seriously, there is one product he will never attempt to purchase.  A product he avoids at all costs, a product that confuses, befuddles, and downright scares him.  Yes ladies, I am referring to…….feminine protection!

It is no good trying to explain to Bob how to purchase these products for me.  There are too many shapes, sizes, brands, designs, absorbency levels, etc.  I will gladly take the short trek to the neighborhood drug store once a month to purchase them myself.  A few months ago, however, after proactively ensuring I had a decent supply, I realized that my “monthly friend” seemed to be a bit tardy. 

Ok, no big deal, I thought.  I’m getting older, tardiness is to be expected. 

After two weeks passed I began to suspect that my “monthly friend” had, perhaps, lost its way. 

After three weeks I thought about launching a search party. 

After five weeks I prepared to offer a large reward for the safe return of my “monthly friend”. 

After six weeks I began to truly worry that my “monthly friend” would not resurface for another nine months.

Sigh.  It was time to tell Bob.

My husband and I approached this development with mixed reactions.   From a financial perspective, how would another mouth to feed affect our college savings for our 14-year old daughter Melissa, as well as retirement plans for us?  From an age perspective, we calculated that Bob would be 74 when this child graduated from high school.  From a Melissa perspective, was she ready to welcome a sibling after having her parents to herself for all these years.  From a “been there done that” perspective, were we ready to start again with diapers and day care?  Also, in addition to Melissa, Bob had singlehandedly raised his daughter Jessica.  He’d already “been there done that” twice and was not sure if three times would be a charm.  Finally, from a health perspective, I have recently developed a medical condition called uterine prolapse, a problem that could seriously impact my body’s ability to carry a baby to term.  This was the perspective that worried me most.

Six weeks melded into seven and still no sign of my “monthly friend”.  I made a promise to go to the drug store and buy “The Test”, but something held me back.  After going over all of the reasons again why this news had thrown us into a panic, another perspective started to surface….the happiness perspective.  I started to imagine cradling a new bundle of joy.  I started to wander into our spare bedroom and picture where I would put the crib.  I started thinking of boy names and girl names, and that maybe, just maybe, at the age of 46, god wanted to give me another gift.

My first gift came after 12 months of trying.  I realize it sounds quite cliché when I admit I knew instantly, even before “The Test” provided affirmative confirmation.  Something just felt different, like no other feeling that had engulfed my body ever in my lifetime.  This feeling soon went beyond mere exhaustion.   I felt as if someone had replaced my bones with lead.  During the first five weeks I slept for 20 hours straight and still, severe exhaustion persisted.  

When I finally regained a small measure of energy, I developed an inability to hold down any type of food or liquid.  My obstetrician diagnosed the condition as hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness, only, it lasts all day, and well beyond the typical 12 weeks.  Forced to go on disability, I spent the early months of my pregnancy confined to the couch with an IV inserted in my veins to ensure my body, and the baby, received enough nourishment to thrive.

My doctor experimented with alternative therapies and a combination of drugs, and finally, after five long months, I started to experience some relief. 

A few months later, the love of my life entered the world, health as could be, and oblivious to the havoc she had wrecked on her mommy's body.  As the years flew by and Bob and I celebrated each milestone in Melissa's young life, I contemplated having another.  However, I could not imagine being pregnant while juggling my full time public relations job, caring for my active daughter, and dealing with another bout of IV therapy.  My doctor said I might not have the same experience the second time around, but I didn't want to take the chance.  

Fourteen years later I stood poised to yet again take, "The Test", to learn if Bob and I were destined for another.  Unsure of what I wanted to answer to be, I reluctantly glanced at the stick, which told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was not with child....I was just getting old.

Bob and I felt a wisp of sadness of what might have been, as well as an overwhelming sense of relief.  Although another would have been welcome with open arms, we have two beautiful daughters who have filled our lives with such joy.  What more could we ask for?

I guess we passed the test.

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  1. Lisa it's funny how you can feel two things at once isn't it? At 46 I could imagine feeling exactly the same way, a mix of relief and a bit of sadness. Great post!

  2. I just turned 47 and I wonder if we are done. My youngest is 17 months old.