Raina's Birth Story, Part 1 | Tuesdays with Jacob

Raina's Birth Story, Part 1

October 6, 2021
Raina's birth story actually begins seven years ago, if you can believe that. I can recall vividly sitting in my Obgyn's office late July, 2014. A newborn Jacob was at my feet in his carrier. He asked me about birth control options. I told him confidently that I didn't need it. It had taken four years and quite a few fertility treatments to get pregnant with Jacob. We couldn't get pregnant on our own, and I didn't need to waste money preventing something that wasn't going to happen anyways. And for seven years, I was correct. 

 Fast forward to spring 2021
It's the end of the school year. We've been teaching both in-person and virtually all year. I am EXHAUSTED. But it's the end of the school year and aren't we all exhausted? I can't be the only one who goes home from school and naps for several hours. I go on two strenuous weekend camping trainings and can barely keep my eyes open all weekend. I start to develop swelling in my hands and slowly carpal tunnel pain starts to build until it's unbearable and I'm wearing wrist braces and taking pain killers around the clock. Surely it's just from being on the computer so much. I haven't had a menstral cycle since November, but I have pcos and often go months without. We spring break in Longboat Key, Jacob starts tennis and soccer, we celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary, Easter comes and goes. I'm nearly done with my first trimester of pregnancy, and I suspect nothing.
Fast forward to June 2021
 We've celebrated Jacob's 7th birthday at the beach and headed to Michigan for the summer. I am still exhausted but I'm determined to make the summer fun for Jacob. We take him to the Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio as a belated birthday trip. We go on adventures in the morning - we hit the farmers market, the splash pad, the petting farm, the pool, the flower farm and more. And then I can't help but nap for several hours in the afternoons. I wake up feeling like I've been run over by a truck and I'm ready to cut both hands off to get away from the carpal tunnel pain. I make a mental note to call and schedule a doctor's appointment with an orthopedic doctor when I get back to Florida.

Fast forward to July 2021
We're headed to the lake with my whole family for the week. I'm super excited for Jacob to have his younger cousin to play with for the week because maybe he won't depend on me so much to entertain him. We boat, we cherry pick, we swim and hike and do all the Northern Michigan things. My hands are still swelling and my stomach has started to feel funny too. I get random lower abdominal pains when I move certain ways. Maybe I'm just getting old. I remember that jolly ranchers made my stomach feel better when pregnant with Jacob, so I buy a few bags and keep them on me. Peanut butter crackers seem to settle my stomach too, so I make sure to keep them in stock. Dan arrives part way through the week and I give voice to my concerns. My feet start to join my hands in the swelling department and he mentions off hand that maybe I'm pregnant. I think it's not possible. Both my sister and sister in law are pregnant. There's no way I am too. I still haven't had a menstral cycle since November, maybe I'm going through early menopause. I look up menopause symptoms, and I have quite a few. Ignoring the fact that many are also pregnancy symptoms, I'm convinced it's menopause.

July 15, 2021 
Dan and I head into the charming little town (Frankfort!) near lake Michigan so I can show him around the downtown area. We take Jacob with us. We window shop and buy a few books, including one that reminds us of the lake house, grab lunch and ice cream. We make plans to visit the brewery that night after taking maternity photos of my sister at the beach. Then Dan and Jacob wander into a toy shop and I pop into the pharmacy next door. I grab a two pack of pregnancy tests for $22. Yikes for small town prices! If we're going to the brewery that night then I should just make sure I'm not pregnant. I hide the tests from Jacob and we head back to the lake house where I immediately take one. At first, nothing shows up and I feel like I've taken a faulty test. I take the test back to our room and set it near the window where two lines immediately appear. I'm in shock, but in the back of my head I remind myself what I've read about menopause - it can rarely cause false positives on pregnancy tests. This is probably the case. I shove the test in my pocket and ask Dan if he wants to take a walk. We wander down to the lake and sit on the dock with Jacob and I show him the test. He's happy, but in disbelief also I think. It's worth noting that Dan has always been more positive that I about us someday getting pregnant on our own. We ditch our plans to visit the brewery and just visit the beach to take photos of my sister. Leaving the beach Dan, Jacob and I stop at the little grocery store under the guise of getting road trip snacks for the trip home. I stock up on Jolly ranchers, peanut butter crackers, and prenatal vitamins, just in case. We leave the lake the next day (but not before I take the second test and again see two lines) and drive back to my parents house. We debate baby names on the way back, just in case. We're settled on a girl name, Raina, but more undecided on boys names - we add Asher, Finn, and Joshua to our tentative list. We both agree it would be easier if it was a girl, and then we'd already be set on a name. We stop outside Lansing for lunch and I excuse myself to go outside and call my obgyn. I explain the entire situation and request an appointment to figure out what is going on. They initially tell me they can't see me until August, then notice a last minute cancellation in four days after the weekend. I take it and then return to lunch. We drive the rest of the way back to Detroit, prep for my sisters baby shower, throw her shower the next day, and then return home to Florida.

 July 19, 2021 
It's Monday morning and I'm a stressed out mess. We get Jacob packed for his first day of cub scout summer camp and he heads out the door with Dan to get dropped off. I sit in the quiet house for a few minutes, my mind racing, before I work up the courage to drive myself to the obgyn's office for my appointment. Dan's going to meet me there after drop off, but I feel twice as nervous walking in without him. What if it really is just menopause and all of these pregnancy hopes are just in my head? Dan can't find the drop off point and I'm frantically trying to call and text with him but not getting hardly any reception in the office to help him. If nothing else it takes my mind off things. I get lead back to a room where I'm given a urine pregnancy test and a form to answer a bunch of questions. The test comes back positive, like the two home tests, so I'm asked to change into a gown and lead to another room with an ultrasound machine. The doctor starts the ultrasound and as soon as the wand is on my belly I feel that funny feeling in my stomach again. The same one I'd been feeling since the beginning of the week at the lake. She asks if I felt that and I nod. And then I hear it. I recognize it instantly from ultrasounds with Jacob. There's a heartbeat. A loud, strong heartbeat and I start to cry. She shows me our baby and then after my go ahead tells me it's a girl. Somewhere along the line I start to take a video (with permission) because Dan hasn't made it yet and I know he'll want to see our daughter. Our daughter. We have a daughter. The midwife starts to take some measurements and then tells me I look to be about 22 weeks along. I ask her to repeat herself thinking surely I heard her wrong. 22 weeks. This baby is more than halfway cooked. I've been pregnant since February and had no idea. She prints some sonogram photos for me, gives me a bunch of information and then sends me on my way with another appointment in four weeks to take my glucose test. I meet Dan in the parking lot and we sit in my car and marvel at the photos and videos. We have a daughter. We tell our families we're expecting a baby girl in November and then head into a nearby restaurant to get some lunch, over the moon excited.

to be continued...
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