The first time we saw him (or her), it was at the emergency room back in Connecticut. We were only seven weeks into the pregnancy and barely had caught our breath from finding out when the bleeding happened and I panicked. We spent five hours in the emergency room, poked and prodded and with an IV line at the ready, only to finally be wheeled into the ultrasound room.
"Just relax, Mrs. Sparling. And we'll take a look and see if everything is okay."
And the screen switched on and Chris and I saw our baby's heartbeat, strong and steady and fast, beating inside of me. Everything changed forever, even though nothing had changed yet.
The bleeding stopped that day, and we moved forward, cautiously, frightened, and so hopeful. A few weeks later, my mother and I (Chris was in LA on business) were at my Joslin appointment for the first "official" ultrasound, hoping to see the baby growing strong and steadily.
"Oh, there it is. There's your baby. Those parts there at the end? The feet. Those are the little feet, ready to kick."
And I watched as the teeny, hamster-looking creature inside of me kicked his little feet. So small. So ... surreal. I couldn't wait to see him again.
Two weeks ago, Chris and I were at the Joslin Clinic for the first of a few second trimester ultrasounds, and from what my eight months pregnant best friend had already told me, this ultrasound was very different than the first one. "It looks like an actual baby at that point," she said, her blue eyes wide.
Chris and I talked with Dr. T, the OB/GYN, for a while about how I've been feeling, my numbers, and overall how the pregnancy is progressing.
"I feel good. Tired a lot, and doing a bit more traveling than I'm used to these days, but I'm feeling better now that I'm in the second trimester and past that fall-down exhausted bit from the first couple months."
"Good, sounds like you're doing great. So ... wanna see the baby?"
I hopped up on the examining table and Chris took a seat by the ultrasound monitor as Dr. T. moved in with the external ultrasound wand. "A little bit of this warm gel right on your belly and ... okay, there we go!"
On the screen was a baby. A whole baby, all big-headed and waving arms and kicking legs. Our baby. Hands with fingers, legs with knees. This baby looked like a real baby.
"Oh my God, is that him? He's so big!" I couldn't believe this was the same little hamster from just a month or so ago. He took up the entire space of my uterus, which was a big change from all the room he appeared to have a month ago. Now he looked like he was out of room in there (and I knew that meant my own expansion was coming fast).
"Yes, that's the baby. Calling him a 'him,' are you? We'll find that out next month, right?"
I watched as the baby turned and squirmed, raising his arms up and his body lurching just a little bit every few seconds.
"Dr. T, does he have the hiccups in there?"
She looked closely and smiled. "Yes, that looks rhythmic and steady. Looks like hiccups to me. Would you like to hear the heartbeat?"
She turned a knob on the ultrasound machine and suddenly the room was filled with a steady whump whump whump sound - the sound of our child's heartbeat. It was incredible, hearing my own heart thudding in my ears with excitement as my baby fluttered along inside of me. Chris held my hand as I brought the other one up to my eyes to catch the tears that collected there.
Two heartbeats, both inside of me.
And today, on D-Blog Day, I wanted to share this story with you guys. You have been with me from when Chris and I first moved in together, back when the dream of a heartbeat other than my own was something I only hoped to one day hear. Now, every day that passes brings BSparl closer and closer to meeting his mom and dad.
When I was diagnosed, they said that children would be near impossible for me. And while I know that nothing is certain until that baby is in my arms, I am already so proud of where we've come, as a Sparling family and as an even larger diabetes community. We have hope now, hope for lives that are wonderful and meaningful, despite diabetes. Diabetes is a heavy load to carry, but with the support we get from this community, the burden is so much lighter.
Happy D-Blog Day, you guys. And thanks for being part of my extended family.