Sunday, March 31, 2013

Babies Then, Babies Now

Jennifer told me the baby moved today. I’m pathetically grateful, overreacting to an event that seems normal, even uneventful, to most people. But for us, given my daughter’s precarious health, every movement, every heartbeat, every new millimeter of growth is nothing short of a miracle.

I was 21 years old when Jennifer was born, young for motherhood. I remember announcing the news to my own mother. She was only 42 and, in retrospect, unprepared. Her words, “So soon? Haven’t you heard of birth control?” are forever stamped into my memory bank. To be fair, she turned out to be a devoted grandmother. 

Both my pregnancies were uneventful, the deliveries much easier and faster than expected. There were no ultrasounds or genetic tests in 1973. No one even cautioned me about alcohol. My children were delivered by a family doctor, not a gynecologist and the sex of each was a surprise, discovered after delivery.

Jennifer is 38, not 21. It is 2013, not 1973, and I am, clearly, not my 42-year old mother. Unexpected, embarrassing tears threatened when I heard my grandson’s heartbeat for the first time. I couldn’t speak when the gynecologist asked if I’d ever imagined this day.

The unbelievably long first trimester is over, yet I still agonize before each prenatal visit, hold my breath and pray that all is well when the phone rings late at night and I see Jennifer’s number on my caller ID. Just in case, I make ridiculous bargains with God; please keep Jennifer and her baby healthy and I’ll never ask for anything again, is one of the more common ones.

Four months have passed. Five more to go. Thankfully, the sensitive first trimester is over and I’m beginning to relax…if only just a little.