Teenagers in Lov e

The Bunny Talks

Your Test Results Are In

Nesting: Get Ready, Get Set

Happy Birthday: Its Showtime

Welcome to Our World

His Parents Grow Up

 

Story of Jesse's Birth

Written in honor his 12th Birthday: May 20, 1999

Chapter Three

Your Test Results are In

City of Dearborn, MichiganFrom Denver we moved to Grand Rapids for a year then we fulfilled our dream at that time of returning to live in Dearborn. We found and purchased our home on Columbia, just around the corner from the house of Lisa and Nick, Tammy and Tara. Our moving across the country to live around the corner had meant so much to them that they soon sold their house and moved 2 miles away to the more prestigious "Cherry Hill" neighborhood in northwest Dearborn. But they meant no harm since they later sold that house and relocated to the even more prestigious suburb of Novi. But we stayed in our little house in Dearborn and tended our little apple tree and planted 5 more trees and built a deck and planted a garden. We stayed there for a little over eight years, until I lost my job and we moved to Utah, then on to Florida.

We had driven home to Michigan in our Granada, and I worked at CSI first in Grand Rapids, then in Detroit (first Troy, then Bloomfield). I had taken a couple of ‘night jobs’ here and there to make a little extra money. Lyn was stuck at home all day without a car as I drove all over the city and out to Grand Rapids. I was 24 when we arrived in Dearborn, and we were three and a half years from having baby Jesse. It was a very exciting time.

I went back to night school, taking 2 semesters of accounting at HFCC. At work, I also sat for several exams and, after a year, received my CPIM certification. After a year off, I reapplied to CMU’s Detroit-area metro campus and started taking classes toward my goal of finally finishing my BS degree. I took classes on and off for the entire 8 years, often involving an after work commute across town, and earned my degree in the last weeks before we left in 1992. While it satisfied a job requirement, receiving my degree still seems in retrospect to have been a cynical, expensive, and ridiculous exercise.

To help with our forthcoming pregnancy, Lyn kept up her efforts to lose weight. She had joined TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) in Colorado, and lost quite a few pounds. After time off during the move to Grand Rapids and Dearborn, she had gained many back and joined a local chapter in Dearborn once we were settled into our new home.

After attending the meetings for a few weeks, she sought and was elected the club's leader. She poured much of her heart and soul into the club and many members achieved great individual success. We made several dear friends from that club, and it was the same chapter that my own mom had attended years before when she, too, lost a great deal of weight. I was the 'program chairman' the first year, and the 'assistant weight recorder' the second. Losing weight was a top priority in those years, and it is sad that we achieved only middling success.

During this time, we had launched several projects, buying a new water bed (for my aching back), repainting most of the rooms in our little cottage on Columbia street. We had set our mind to become parents and it was starting to be high time that our loosely organized plans and general ideas start forming into something a little more direct and to the point.

Lyn had had a general checkup with her gynecologist and was certified to be healthy enough to get pregnant. We had some money, had been richer but had been poorer, too. We had rearranged the furniture a dozen times by then, so the house was definitely our home. It was time to get started on 'Project Jesse'.

Once you decide to get pregnant, life takes on a strange kind of twist. Suddenly things that were natural or exciting seem to be done under imaginary supervision and to some invisible schedule. I guess, generally, I started to feel pretty damn self-conscious about the whole thing.

After a couple of months of trying without success, we reached the sad conclusion that getting pregnant was going to be a little more complicated than we first imagined. I remember sitting on the back porch one night thinking about all of the times we lived in mortal fear that Lyn might be pregnant only now to learn that we would have difficulty conceiving. I was mad about all that time I had spent worrying.

We were into our third or fourth E.P.T. (early pregnancy test) when we visited our family physician. Dr Peters was about our age, actually went to school with my older brother and had returned to his hometown and neighborhood to partner with and eventually take over an existing well-respected family practice. Dave Peters was incredibly intelligent and an excellent physician but I always felt a little odd when we needed to do more than say ‘Ahh’, if you get my drift. I always felt bad for Lyn and her need for periodic check-outs, but she never seemed phased (I guess women eventually get used to that sort of thing). I will spare you the story of the first time, years later, that our woman G.P. (Lyn’s revenge upon me) checked me for prostrate, etc, as this is off subject for this story.

Upon learning of our failed efforts to have a baby, Dr Peters provided us with a ‘basal thermometer’. This is a process for tracking, in minute detail a woman’s temperature to track her fertility cycle. It is traditionally the first level of escalation for couples having difficulty conceiving. With the thermometer came a little sheet of paper with boxes and graph paper for tracking the data. We were to do this for two or three months and report back if we were still a ‘no go’ in the baby department. I found the process a little intrusive, and a little less spontaneous (but there are better stories coming). We were mostly bothered that we were directed to place an "X" in a certain square on those days that we had done our part to conceive, and then turn the sheet over to Dr Peters (much like an elementary school reading list) for him to analyze. I remember asking why couldn’t we just track it and read it ourselves but, no, that is not how these things work. Lyn decided to treat the situation with the appropriate degree of seriousness by, instead of marking the prescribed "X", putting a smiley-face in the box on each of the days that we fulfilled our responsibility in the new baby department. She reported back that Dave Peters neither responded to or seemingly even noticed her small act of rebellion.

After a couple months of trying without success, it was time to escalate our efforts. It was decided (by everybody else) that I was to be humiliated next and that we would check my sperm count. Maybe too much stress or too much coffee might mean that I was not delivering the goods. The few who knew what was going on (very few), immediately and universally shared and commented upon the ‘boxers vs briefs’ controversy. Since this is my story, there is no need to delve further at this point. It will suffice to say we made an appointment at the hospital for delivery of my, a-hem, sample. And that it was then necessary to deliver the same upon that agreed schedule. At the age of twenty-six, I lacked the maturity to walk into a medical suite and hand a nurse, that was expecting me, a vial with my sample. Thus, I waited in the car while Lyn went in and then quizzed her like I was seven-years-old when she returned. "What did you do?", "What did they say?", "What happened next?", I queried and she then proceeded to treat me like I was acting like a seven year old.

In a couple of days, the test came back and my count was slightly low but, in the learned assessment of experts on this subject, high enough to get the job done. With the sound of a bass drum and the deep strum of the cello, all eyes turned to Lyn, who gulped and knew that she was next.

While continuing with the basal thermometer and the smiley faces and not needing to switch to boxers, Lyn was scheduled to visit the hospital for a . This is a very fancy and expensive x-ray of a woman’s reproductive plumbing, so to speak. The trick is that hysterosalpingograph the x-ray is taken after a dye is injected into the subject. While this sounds like those other dye/xray routines (heart blockage, kidney stones, etc) the curve ball here is that the dye is not injected into the patient's arm but rather directly into the plumbing, and then forced thru the tubes and whatnot BACKWARDS to the source! The medical journal described it as an extremely painful procedure, so I put on my saddest caring face, brought my Detroit Free Press, and escorted Lyn to the outpatient surgery center at Oakwood Hospital.

She loves to tell the story about how when a nurse says you will feel ‘some pressure’, that means it will hurt like hell, and when they say you will ‘feel a small poke’ it means that your target area will be sore for weeks on end. She tells us that the attendant for this particular procedure warned her (for the first time ever and last time since) to expect to feel ‘CONSIDERABLE PAIN’. This was considered the highest possible warning given by an attendant and Lyn related later that it was, without a doubt, the most painful procedure she had ever been through in her life so far. Of course, delivering the baby was slightly over a year in the future, so she didn't have a proper reference on pain and humiliation. We had darn well better be getting a baby out of this exercise.

The x-rays were immediately available for analysis, even before Lyn was dressed and done moaning and doubling over in pain. The technician that checked them said there were no blockages or damage, that everything checked out normally. Then she added an extra, sage piece of advice. Some times, she warned us, there are lots of little tiny blockages present and the simple act of forcing the dye backward through the system is enough to break them up. "Often, by the time your x-ray is taken, you’re actually all fixed up and ready to get pregnant". This was the most sage advice possible, as it was the truth.

At the time I had heard (I’m sure a wives' tale) about how fertilizing ‘old eggs’ might have a higher chance of having a baby with a birth defect, so I wanted us to wait a little while to let Lyn cycle through and get on track. We waited a while, then started ‘Project Jesse’ again in earnest and this time had immediate success (ah, but the fun is all in the trying). We each had stepped up to the plate and taken our turn to prove that we wanted a child more than anything else. We had already talked through all the awful scenarios about fertility clinics and injections, test-tube babies and adoption. It was clear to me that in very short order Jesse-bunny, just like Pinocchio, was going to become a real boy.

Dave at Martin Van Buren's GravesiteIt was now fall, the last week of September, and we had put our thoughts and efforts about family making onto the back burner and set off on a one week vacation. We drove the Granada to the east coast. We went to see fall colors and would visit Niagara Falls, Cooperstown, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto before returning home. We would see a Red Sox game at Fenway (2nd to last game of the season) and an Expo’s game (freezing our butts during season finale against the Mets). I would get to pursue my new hobby of visiting President’s gravesites with Millard Fillmore (Buffalo), Chester Arthur and Martin Van Buren (Albany), John and John Quincy Adams (Boston), Franklin Pierce (New Hampshire) and Cal Coolidge (Vermont). We have many happy memories, dozens of funny stories and page after page of beautiful pictures from this trip.  We did a lot of talking and planning and a lot of growing up and together on that trip. But we were very young then and, in retrospect, 70% or more of the things that seemed so important at that time have proved over the years to be irrelevant or at least insignificant.

Lyn climbing the stairs at Beacon Hill MonumentDuring the trip, Lyn slowly developed a horrible intermittent flu. Eventually she would throw up each morning and feel excessively queasy during the longer car rides (despite the beautiful fall colors). She was unusally exhausted when we climbed the stairs at Boston's Beacon Hill monument. This mysterious flu did not cause a fever. Honest to goodness, we had no idea that 'morning sickness' was upon us and what it foretold!

When we got home, Lyn took another EPT and passed it this time. Just as we were warned, the histeo-saliapeniagram was all it took. The little blue stick told us we were going to be parents and the Jesse-bunny flew across the room as I walked through the front door to share the joyous news. I have imbedded in my memory the picture of the clear cup with the pick liquid and the little stick being stared into by the tan bunny and the gray squirrel. Each casting a spell, chanting in a low voice "turn blue .... turn blue". Lyn had communicated through them the anxiety and frustration that we were both feeling at the time. Let's just get this thing done!

We needed another visit to the gynecologist, to get certified and start the next phase of project Jesse. Lyn’s doctor was the same man that her mother used and had been her gynecologist since the age that she first needed one.

He was quite bizarre and made me (and I learned later Lyn) uncomfortable. He was middle aged (Lyn’s mom’s age) and with a Balkan name that was unpronounceable when read (Dr Hbn.....). He was physically ugly, heavyset with a crooked nose and scars and large boils and birthmarks on his face. He spoke with a heavy accent that made him difficult for us to understand. The drama of the scene that day was surreal.

I waited outside in the tiny waiting room during Lyn’s exam. Then we were escorted to his office. You know how each tiny doctor’s suite has a tiny crowded office somewhere in back and this was no exception. Wearing his white lab-coat, he sat down in his swivel chair, pulled out a cigarette in his gigantic hands, lit one up and blew the blue-gray smoke into the tiny space above our heads. He took a breath, leaned forward in the chair and, without smiling and in a thick nearly unintelligible accent said: "You are pregnant but I cannot deliver your baby. You will need to find another obstetrician."

Somewhere in there, I think, he was supposed to smile, say "congratulations", "you are so lucky", or even the trite "I have good news". We were delighted, squeezed our held hands but had no room in the tiny phone booth sized room to hug. He also managed to make sure that, rather then celebrating the joyous moment of notification, we were instead suddenly involved in the unknown situation of being pregnant without a gynecologist and bearing the mark of scorn, a ‘high-risk pregnancy’ due to Lyn’s High Blood Pressure.

We had already done our celebrating (with Jesse and Squibby) at home after the EPT, and our euphoria had passed by a day or two ago. So that day we just sat in the Granada, parked in the Doctor's tiny lot, held hands and looked into each other’s eyes. It was mid-October, the most beautiful time of year in Michigan, and we had been married seven years and known each other nearly eleven.

Of course, we were frustrated by the Doctor’s unethical deception of helping us to get pregnant but making sure to give no clue that our pregnancy would be considered ‘high-risk’ and that he would drop us like a hot potato. He made sure we had no leadtime for arranging what might prove to be a difficult relationship and waited for the optimal inopportune time to spring his knowledge upon us. We agreed that day that we would need one new OB/Gyn for the baby's delivery and then another new one after the baby was born. We were pregnant, and that man was fired.

 





Originally Written March 1999
Original Web Upload January 2000
Last Update: July 15, 2001