chocolate chip

Doubt – Noun.
A feeling of uncertainty.

Something is wrong.

It’s December 4, one week before my first ultrasound appointment. I’m nauseous morning, noon and night, my breasts are sore and my brain is foggy. The bloating has forced me to unearth my emergency fat pants from the back of the closet. Despite these symptoms, which the nurses assure me are all normal, something is not quite right.

I conscientiously log my symptoms, medicines and appointments in the Nurture app. Because our baby was conceived through IVF I know exactly how far along I am. I know July 28, 2018 is her due date. Each day the app tells me her size and what parts of her body are developing.

“Today she is the size of a chocolate chip,” I tell my husband, full of hope, excitement and disbelief. “Her eyes are forming, too.”

Fear and doubt are lurking in the back of my mind. Creeping in. Casting a shadow over my dream of starting a family.

The amount and detail of information available to me is like dark chocolate. I crave it. The desire to know and know more about the baby growing inside me is addictive. I can’t possibly consume new details about her growth fast enough. My imagination fills in the blanks: what color her eyes will be (blue), what color her hair will be (light brown), whether she’ll be short or tall (tall).

The app is not enough. I need to know more, I need reassurance that this teeny tiny girl who has the power to drain my energy is going to arrive in the middle of summer healthy and vivacious. I’m aware of the facts:

I’m 40 years old.

This puts me at risk for a range of complications.

I don’t know what I don’t know.

I research my symptoms and the possible complications. Not because I want to find something wrong, but because I want to be confident this pregnancy is on the right track. That my dream will come true.

In the midst of this obsession, I find my new favorite candy: the Miscarriage Odds Reassurer. “Knowing doesn’t have to be scary,” the site promises. I plug in the facts – how far along my pregnancy is, my age, number of previous miscarriages, number of previous pregnancies, height and weight – and click “Reassure me” to get my results.

“At 6 weeks, 2 days the probability of not miscarrying is 82.8 percent,” the site says.

The odds are in my favor.

I want to tell my mom she will finally be a grandmother, a role she was made for. Her living with Alzheimer’s makes that complicated. She will understand the situation with feeling, and factually in her own way, but I don’t want to upset her. And upsetting her is worse than my own uncertainty.

Instead, I gather up my feelings and load them in my heart. They are heavy, and I carry them everywhere.

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