I have a friend who conceived her child in the recovery period of a very invasive surgery to remove some fibroids. She had been told not to conceive, and she did not think it was remotely possible.  However, 8 weeks after her surgery, she missed her period, and lo and behold, and she was pregnant.

We talked at a point very early in my pregnancy (she has since given birth to a healthy baby) and marveled at the amazingness that is God’s work in creating babies.  I told her that I didn’t think this one would make it very long, that I considered it pretty much a ticking time bomb before my body rejected the new life inside it.  And my friend said – and I will never forget this – “the will to live is just so strong, Rachel.  Never stop believing in the power of the will to live.  These little babies – life wants to live.”

Now, she can say that, because her baby made it in a stitched-up uterus (and I mean, barely stitched up – they conceived 6 weeks to the day of the surgery).  So far, I can say that, although we have a long, long, long road ahead of us.  For other families, though, I cannot say that – it’s not that the will to live was any less, but the circumstances were just not right.  Something interfered with that will to live – chromosomes, or exposures, or a million other things.  But to think of the many, many pregnancies that continue despite horrific odds is quite daunting.

I think about this a whole lot, especially in the recent weeks, when we had the appointment to discuss the fetal ECGs we will have (because my body makes antibodies that cause congenital heart block) and then, a week later, my bio professor, discussing the various nuances of heartbeats and such, flashed up an ECG of a second-degree heart block.

The kind that my poor kid might have.

The kind that, actually, is desirable, compared with 3rd-degree heartblock, which would be fatal.

The kind that will certainly challenge whatever will to live our kid seems to have.

(I started to cry in the middle of the lecture.)

(Thank you, God, that there are literally 200 people in the lecture hall.)

We will start our fetal ECGs on April 9th.  We are praying for a healthy heart in the meantime.  (Don’t you like how I pepper my random prayers in these posts?  For 32 weeks, and for a healthy heart….?)

Fast forward to today:  there is just SO MUCH dust in our house that I decided to escape to a coffee shop to study (obviously going very well, thankyouverymuch…I’m working on it) and in an effort to get a TINY bit smarter, got some tea.  Some caffeinated tea.  Mostly because I know that I am fully incapable of drinking an entire cup of tea, so the max caffeine going in would be minimal, and it *might* make me smarter.  Maybe.

Anyway, I’m sipping my tea, thinking how awesome I am for drinking an entire HALF CUP of tea (really, I suck at drinking hot drinks – I usually use them to smell something yummy and warm my hands) when I decided to maybe check out the ingredient list on the type of tea I selected.

People, I am an idiot.

The tea has CLOVES in it.  That is really bad!  Cloves are really bad!

I mean, I didn’t KNOW that ahead of time, but seriously?  Seriously?!?  I am a reasonably intelligent, educated person, and who the HELL drinks TEA without checking the ingredients against a big huge internet database of What Not To Ingest?!?

The only saving grace I can think of is that I didn’t drink much of it, and really, it’s not MUCH in there – probably not even as much as what might be in some apple pie (right? Please tell me that’s right).

But still.

I mean, I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions already (!!) and I don’t really need to encourage things in that area…

But then I think about the kids I used to work with – I used to work in a prenatal cocaine study.  I was blinded to the kids’ exposure status, but half the sample was exposed to cocaine, cigarette smoke, some alcohol, some marijuana (actually, the MJ made the kids smarter – no kidding) (there are probably some confounders in that particular finding, so this would really not be a suggestion to go out and hit up some weed) – anyway, the point being, the kids were exposed to a LOT.

And they were, for the most part, perfectly HEALTHY.

The will to live.

I am really, really, counting on it.

Damn cloves.