Week 04 - Splitting

Dear Baby,

There was an amusing educational animation on the Internet that I watched far too often during this first full week of your development. It illustrated two embryos bouncing off of the walls of a colorful approximation of a woman’s uterus, and I watched it enough that it soon brought to mind visions of you bouncing off of another set of walls in a few years, the walls of our house. Towards the end of the animation, one of the embryos sinks into the pinkish wall of the uterus, while the other slowly vanishes into nothingness. This was exactly what was happening inside of your mother’s womb—you were burrowing in and getting comfortable. Your twin was lost, gone. But we still had you. Only, we didn’t know it yet.

While I was splitting my time between work and preparations for the end of my MFA program, and while you mother was splitting time between looking for work and keeping me sane, you were splitting, well, in half. It was during this week that the tiny ball of cells that you started out as divided itself into two pieces. One piece would become the placenta, which would nourish you throughout your stay in your mother’s womb, and the other piece would become you, our baby.

Nerve growth began this week as well, a number of your cells beginning to form what would become your spinal column.

And on Saturday night came our first clue that you might be in there. We were still days away from the blood test that would confirm it, but during a celebratory dinner following my MFA program’s graduation ceremony your mom became almost instantly nauseous when I brought a glass of wine to the table. She’d later tell me that she’d begun to feel things even a bit earlier in the day than that, but the look on her face when she smelled the wine was my first solid clue.

And it was an amazing feeling, just imagining the possibility of you. The next few days would be otherwise melancholy for me, as I coped with saying goodbye to a group of friends I’d been working with for two years, but the very thought that we might have good news waiting for us on the other side of the weekend, the very thought that you might be in there—that was quite enough to get me through.

Love, Dad