I wrote this while sitting in the parking lot at my OB/GYN this past Tuesday, immediately after my twelve-week prenatal appointment.

Dear Baby,

Today, I’m twelve and a half weeks pregnant with you. This morning, I had my alarm set for 6am, but I was so nauseous when I woke up that I stayed in bed, nibbling saltines and praying that the Zofran would kick in, until quarter to eight. Even with the medicine and taking it easy, I still managed to be violently ill, both in the toilet and, later, in the kitchen sink while I was making your big sister’s breakfast. If I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment this morning, I would have undoubtedly stayed home today.

I vacillated between crying in despair, and dry heaving in the van while driving big sissy to daycare this morning (and hour and a half late, because every time I moved, I once again became dizzy and nauseous).  I kept telling her, “Your baby sibling hates me.”  I was really only half joking at that point.

When I got her dropped off finally, and was actually at my 12-week appointment, I spent the first half of it complaining:  “We’re moving.  The house is a mess.  Honest Girl’s having diarrhea this week, and we can’t figure out if it’s Rotavirus or just transitioning to whole milk.  I’m popping Zofran like TicTacs, which means I’m more bound up than the Marquis de Sade.  I can’t. Stop. Puking.” Dr. Handsome nodded empathetically.  This was obviously a pregnant woman in misery.

Then, he couldn’t find your heartbeat.

For ten minutes, he pressed and prodded, asking me to shift one way or another.  We’ll try a little lower. Maybe off to one side.  Was that it?  No, that’s your bloodstream, your heartbeat (it sounded slower on his machine than it felt in my chest).  I tried to focus on the ceiling tiles, willing that microphone to pick up the wonderful, bilge-pump sound of you, living inside of me.  Then, I stopped focusing, and just closed my eyes. “C’mon, c’mon,” I whispered, tears silently running from my eyes back into my hair, my ears. Please, baby.  Please.  Baby?  Please.  Please?

Eventually, he gave up and took me the next room, where there was an ultrasound machine.  I was trying to not think.  The doctor said something about how hard it sometimes is to find a heartbeat at 12 weeks.  After all, you’re still so small.  I said nothing, and waited for him to turn on the machine.  I stared at the ceiling tiles again.  Then he said, “There it is!”

I started sobbing when I saw you.

Tucked up in the extreme right side of my uterus, too close to my bloodstream for your heartbeat to be heard over my own, there you were.  And there was your heartbeat.  I laughed as the doctor tried to get to you face us, tried to get you to turn your little body towards us so we could flick on the microphone and actually get a reading on your heart.  But you refused.  You just kept rolling away from us, showing us your butt and spine (it was a beautiful spine.  That has always been the best part of the ultrasounds for both me and daddy, seeing every single vertebrae, watching it curl and straighten.  It was a good spine.  A strong spine.  And it was a pretty nice little butt, too).  The doctor tried to get me a picture of you, but between my gasping and weeping, and your stubborn refusal to pose for him, the best he could do was a blurry blob, with that perfect little spine glowing, straight as an arrow, in the middle.

“The baby’s strong.  The baby looks perfect.  It’s okay.” I had never seen Dr. Handsome so gentle as he squeezed my hand while I was leaving.

I’m crying as I write this, little baby.  I’m crying because, in the middle of all the craziness and insanity and stress of the last few weeks, I’ve found myself forgetting to stop and think about you.  Oh, sure, I’ve thought about this pregnancy, and I’ve thought about my symptoms, but you, you, my little child, keep slipping my mind.  You are the closest thing to a miracle I may ever experience.  You are a life, a soul, a being, and you are inside of me.  Tucked up in the corner, but still there.  I realized this morning that I love you.  I love you without reason.  I love you without condition.  I love you without logic or sense.  I just want you.  I just want you here with us, healthy and happy.  I want to watch you play with your big sister.  I want to wipe that teeny little butt.  I want to watch that spine grow stronger, taller, and straighter.

I want you to know that your Mama is crazy about you, and I want you to know that I’m sorry it took this scare for me to realize this.  I suddenly realized that my life would not be the same, ever again, if you weren’t in it.  I realized that, in spite of the nausea and the weight loss, and the dizziness, and the pregnancy-induced car sickness, everything in my world is better because you, tiny little thing, are in it.  Everything. I love more because of you.  I laugh more because of you.  I cry with joy at my typical suburban life more because of you.  Life without you?  That would be misery.  So, do me a favor.  Don’t scare your Mama like that ever again, okay?  Because for those ten minutes, the walls were falling down.  The Earth was preparing to swallow me whole.  Everything was going black.  I need you.  You are my light, little baby.  My sunshine.  And I need my sunshine.  Every day.

Mama loves you.