Week 05 - Positively There

Dear Baby,

It was a Tuesday, the day after the Fourth of July, that your mom and I drove into her doctor’s office to have her blood drawn for the pregnancy test. And it would be a long day of waiting, waiting, and more waiting. It was understandable, of course, that they would take so long to call us back with the results. After all, they had three days worth of calls to make thanks to the long weekend. But we were antsy. Just before five o’clock, we started making phone calls. But we weren’t getting anywhere. And then, suddenly, their phones were shut off, their nighttime answering machine messages turned on, and your dad began to get a little bit, well, agitated.

We called the number designated for after-hours emergencies and asked for a call back. It didn’t take long after that. We were in our den when the call came. Your mother sat in the big wooden chair and leaned back, readying herself. I knelt beside her, phone to my ear, my cheek to her cheek so that she could hear, too. We could hear the nurse punching keys on the other end of the line, bringing up our records. And then she said, very simply, “Congratulations.”

The particulars of the next few minutes are all a blur. I did my best to write down everything the nurse told me, in between hugging your mother and trying to figure out if I was going to cry or not. There would be more blood tests as the week went on, to check and make sure that a certain number they provided to us was doubling, but the news was good. Your mother was pregnant. You were on your way.

Inside the womb, you continued the hard work of gestation, your cells dividing into three layers: the ectoderm, the endoderm, and the mesoderm. The ectoderm, the outermost layer, would eventually become your nervous system. The endoderm, the innermost layer, would eventually become your liver, pancreas, intestines, and bladder. And the mesoderm, the middlemost layer, was, this week, developing into your heart and circulatory system. It would eventually also be responsible for developing your bones, muscles, kidneys and reproductive organs.

Outside the womb, your parents were of two minds. I was focused almost entirely on the numbers. The blood tests your mother was taking measured the level of betaHcG and if that level didn’t double every 48-72 hours that usually meant trouble. I was obsessed with the numbers. Your mom, on the other hand, while still very interested in the results of the tests, was, as ever, more easy-going. She was more easily able to revel in the simple joy of being pregnant.

Thankfully, tucked inside your safe, warm home, you were oblivious. There would be a fair share of friction in the coming weeks, but we would, all three of us, weather it well.

Love, Dad