I heard something in a podcast about two months ago that totally shifted my view on the definition of a soulmate. Christina Pazsitsky had her long-time friend Jenny Pentland guest speak on That’s Deep Bro about whether soulmates are real and what that all means. Jenny said she strongly believes soulmates are not just romantic lovers, they’re souls that have somehow stuck together since the beginning of time and when one life ends and the other begins they spend each and every day yearning for that connection that they were so familiar with in previous lives until they meet again. That’s how I felt about my Bruno.
The moment Bruno was conceived I felt an immediate connection and an overwhelming hunch that he was getting ready to come into my life, our lives. Viviana didn’t believe me when I kept rubbing her belly and telling her that our boy was growing in there really snug. See, we had tried for so long that she had given up hope. I hadn’t. I knew my baby was coming.
She called me at work one day and I knew exactly what she was going to say. I quietly walked out of a meeting and went into an empty room and stood by the window smiling so much that I could feel the creases on each of my cheeks stretch to their maximum capacity. “Mariel…*silence*…I’m pregnant.” I KNEW IT! I held in my happy screams and took a deep breath and excitedly replied, “I knew it!” She said, “how did you know?!” as though she was still in shock and I simply said, “because I felt it.”
And that’s how it begun.
We were completely smitten and overjoyed and couldn’t stop smiling and loving each other the following days because we had finally made him. Our bug had finally come to us.
It wasn’t long before we had our first scare. On week 6 Viviana called me at work and said she couldn’t stop bleeding. I told her it was probably normal and to let me know if it got worse. About an hour later she sent me a picture of her blood-soaked pantiliner and multiple blood clots that just didn’t seem right. I called her and told her to meet me at the hospital and I immediately sent an out of office message stating I’d be gone the rest of the day. The whole drive to the hospital I kept thinking that it couldn’t be real. That maybe she had old blood that had to come out.
When I got to the emergency room they told me she had already been taken into the ultrasound unit and that I likely wouldn’t be able to go in there. I didn’t care. I found my way around and snuck into the dark room where a very nice lady with a hijab was getting ready to scan my wife and my baby. It was a little hard to see him at first because he was so small but suddenly I saw a little heart flutter and I held on to my wife and said, “there he is.” We were so relieved.
Viviana was wheeled into a regular ER room and about an hour later a doctor came in to review the ultrasound images with us. She said Viviana had a subchorionic hematoma and that 25% of women experience this condition. She said there were no signs of miscarriage but because this was such a fragile diagnosis Viviana would be at-risk for miscarriage moving forward. She said these hematomas normally resolve themselves and some women go on to having normal pregnancies. We were hopeful.
We were also cautious though and we put off decorating the nursery because we were afraid of getting attached. We did continue to make plans for our baby and playfully argued about the sex of the baby. Viviana wanted it to be a girl, I kept telling her I knew it was a boy and that she should just accept it.
At 9 weeks she bled again. We were visiting her family in Dallas and woke up one morning with her thinking she had peed in her mom’s bed. She woke me up frantically when she realized she was bleeding and I ran to get her mom from the other room. We rushed to the hospital where again we heard our baby’s heart beat. He loved to scare us! Again the doctor said the bleeding could be due to a hematoma but that he couldn’t find one in the ultrasound upon review. We made an appointment with our OBGYN and they too said everything looked normal. We went on to living our normal lives.
One morning around 13 weeks Viviana said she felt queezy. I refused to let her help me with yard work even though she really wanted to at least pull weeds because she was tired of feeling useless. I think we argued for a minute because I wouldn’t let her do things she normally would be able to do. After finishing yard work I came back in to start cleaning the inside of the house. I had just started mopping the kitchen when Viviana yelled panicked from our bathroom. By the time I got to her there was already a lot of blood on the bathroom floor and on her. This was the most blood we had ever seen. I helped her get her clothes on and we rushed to the hospital for the third time. The doctor we saw this time did not seem very positive about it all. He told us all the bleeding looked like Viviana may be having an active miscarriage.
We were sent to the ultrasound wing again and we held on to each other so tightly because we didn’t know what to expect. I saw my baby’s heart beat again…and something else. The ultrasound tech looked at us and whispered that she wasn’t allowed to make assumptions but if she had to guess, she’d bet we were having a boy. Viviana laughed because she couldn’t get over my face. I was so proud and so complete. My boy was still growing strong and was kicking and moving his arms around like he wasn’t even bothered by all of mama’s bleeding.
Dr. Not-So-Positive came back after a few hours and said he was shocked that our baby was safe and sound in mama’s belly and said he couldn’t find any openings or hematomas on the ultrasound images. He referred us back to our OBGYN practice.
At our next ultrasound visit, the ultrasound doctor said he didn’t understand what was going on because everything “looked fine.” He did write orders for Viviana to go on bed rest and suggested we follow up with our OBGYN. She too said there was