When the little pink line popped up I was convinced the newly purchased Early Pregnancy Test was damaged, and immediately checked the expiration date on the box.
I was familiar with the clinical data regarding late life pregnancies, having worked for big pharma and watching countless friends undergo fertility treatments. At 42, no way in hell, I thought.
Once reality set in, pregnancy ignited all my OCD tendencies. I quickly made the transition from Manhattan single career girl to Olympian-in-training, adopting an enviable diet and exercise program, topped off with endless classes and reading.
“Jesus, it’s not like you’re learning how to fly a plane,” a friend said, upon seeing the stacks of baby and parenting books in my kitchen.
Pregnancy, strangely, agreed with me. I never felt more beautiful or womanly and people noticed the glow.
“You gonna have a very, very healthy baby,” an elderly Chinese woman at the gym told me in broken English, as I squeezed in yet another workout. Her words still haunt me today.
I was induced on Earth Day, April 22nd 2005. The contractions were the only time I felt a sliver of discomfort in 9 months, and the C-section a minor detail. However, my smooth ride crashed shortly hours after delivering when Savannah was whisked to Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) with a blood sugar of 14 for no discernible cause.
And so life, as I know it today, began.
Her father and I were immediately caught in a blizzard of doctor appointments, hospitalizations, emergency room runs and blood tests. I became a hormonal, sleep-deprived mess with a serious Internet addiction, while the doctors made frantic calls to experts. With my relentless questions — “What did you find in the NIH files, doc?” – I became the parent doctors dreaded.
Three anxious-filled months later, we headed to Brooklyn for one final test, an MRI. It was a hot, steamy July afternoon when the doctor pulled me into the hall to deliver the test results and confirm what I suspected given endless Google searches – pan-hypopituitarism. Savannah has no pituitary gland.
Pre-MRI I was still in denial. I had been clinging to the b.s. a clueless NICU doc fed me about “babies needing time for their systems to adjust.” That was comforting. But hearing my child has a condition that only affects one in 25,000 kids, sobering.
I went home and threw out all my baby and parenting books.