This is just a quick, fluffy little piece. Nothing too serious! Thanks to spikes-storm for putting the idea in my head!

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MARCH 23

Lily gave me this journal today. (We haven't told everyone that I'm pregnant yet. Lily knew, though. She guessed! Go figure. Am I really glowing?) She says I should keep a pregnancy journal and record all my thoughts and feelings and dreams and hopes for the baby. I don't know. I haven't kept a diary since I was like 12. I just don't see myself being that disciplined. Still, it's a great idea, and the book is really pretty. It's covered in this chintz fabric and has a little gold clasp. Oh, no. Maternity is making me all girlie.

OK. So. How do I feel? Excited, happy, but pretty much like I felt a few weeks ago before I was pregnant. Not sick yet.

MARCH 27

Still not sick. Feel great. Woody is convinced he's got morning sickness, though. I think his refusal to eat dinner had less to do with nausea and more to do with my complete inability to make a decent spaghetti sauce. I should just let him cook.

He's so excited. He's just over the moon. He brought me flowers again today. I love this man.

MARCH 29

I feel good. I've been reading that I might get sick and feel really tired, but so far nothing. I've been craving olives, though. And I've got a sweet tooth for the first time in my life. I've been eating that sugary breakfast stuff Woody likes. Believe me, he does not like to share his cereal.

I broke down and bought a copy of "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" on my lunch hour and spent the rest of the afternoon reading it and completely ignoring my reports I was supposed to be writing. I've learned more than I want to know about everything that can possible go wrong in the next few months.

There's a lot.

MARCH 30

Still not sick. I'm beginning to think it's all mind over matter. If you don't think you'll get sick, you won't. I am not going to get sick.

APRIL 3

I am sick.

So much for my theory. I got up, felt great, ate a bowl of Woody's Lucky Charms, drank a glass of orange juice and promptly did the Technicolor yawn in the downstairs bathroom. Nice.

Yes, I am sick. Sick sick sick sick sick. I threw up two more times today. All I kept down was a handful of cocktail peanuts, and then I read in "What to Expect" that I shouldn't be eating peanuts. I can't win.

Did I mention I'm sick?

APRIL 4

Here's what I did today:

Woke up.

Barfed.

Drank a glass of milk.

Took a shower.

Barfed.

Lay like a blob on the sofa all afternoon.

Ate half a jar of olives and three Oreos.

Barfed.

Went to bed.

APRIL 5

More of the same. Except I went to work. I've managed to pawn off all autopsies this week and focus on my backlog of paperwork. I ate a bowl of cantaloupe, which is possibly the most stomach-churning fruit known to man. I used to love cantaloupe but now the very smell of it makes me want to...

OK. I'm back. Apparently, not only does the smell of cantaloupe make me sick, but even writing the word cantaloupe makes me do a mad dash for the toilet.

This is not fun. Who's idea was this?

APRIL 6

"What to Expect" suggested getting some of those air-sickness elastic wristbands to fight the morning sickness (which is a misnomer, BTW. More like morningnoonandnight sickness. Whoever came up with the term "morning" sickness was obviously not a pregnant woman). I'm supposed to gently press on the wristbands when I feel sick. Something to do with pressure points.

So, I tried it and promptly barfed.

I'm coming up with all the terms I can for vomiting: Throwing up, tossing your cookies, puking, barfing (my personal fave), ralphing, yakking, praying to the porcelain god, riding the porcelain bus, blowing chunks, booting, heaving, hurling...

APRIL 14

Haven't written in about a week, but barfing is not something I really think I want to remember in years to come. Tomorrow is my first prenatal visit. Woody's going to take off work and come with me. I'm a little nervous. Every day I wake up and think...what if something goes wrong?

APRIL 16

Wow. All I can say. Wow. There are just no words.

Heard the baby's heartbeat today.

I've been so nervous ever since I did that pregnancy test on the morning of our anniversary. What if the test was wrong? What if I'm imagining this whole thing?

But I'm not! We heard the heartbeat! Strong and steady. And so fast! I knew I'd lose it, but I looked over at Woody and he had tears in his eyes, too. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this man?

I AM PREGNANT! I'M GOING TO BE A MOMMY!

P.S. Due date is November 15th.

APRIL 20

Got sick at work. Everyone is a weeeee bit suspicious. Why is that I can be up to my elbows in intestines without a problem, but the smell of a tuna sandwich makes me throw up?

And what is up with my hormones? I've been, shall we say, a little bit irritable. Just ask my husband. We got in this huge fight because he didn't notice my new haircut. I must have cried for an hour after dinner, and he was just bewildered. Poor guy.

Pregnancy! It's one big party!

APRIL 27

Haven't written much lately. Too sick and very tired. Woody has really picked up the slack around here. He's been doing all the housework, and cooking. And best of all, he is indulging me in my new love! Taco Bell! Taco Bell bean burritos are the greatest invention EVER, IMHO. They are the only thing I can keep down. Cantaloupe? No way. Cheese sandwich? Absolutely not. Smelly, stinky, greasy Taco Bell food? Awesome. I've been living on it, and it's a good thing the local drive-thru is open 24 hrs a day. Well, good for me, not so good for Woody, who has had to make more than one Taco Bell run at 2AM lately.

MAY 2

Today was a monumentous occasion. I did not throw up! I felt like I was going to throw up, but I did not. It is a red letter day. Managed to keep down a ham and cheese sandwich, a salad, and a glass of milk.

MAY 3

Not sick. Felt a little queasy, but kept it all down. Goodbye, 1st trimester! Hello, 2nd trimester.

MAY 6

Felt great all day. I guess the worst is over. So, we celebrated. Woody and I went out for dinner, where I ate all my steak and half of his. I got dessert, too. I'm making up for lost time.

Woody's been great. I don't think I have fully appreciated him. My hormones are all over the place, and he's been patient. One minute, I'm sobbing, the next minute, I'm...let's say...amorous. Ah, hormones! Woody was worried at first, kept asking if we might hurt the baby. I assured him no, we weren't going to hurt the baby. But I'm having fun now that I'm not puking every hour on the hour, and Woody certainly isn't complaining!

I couldn't get my pants zipped this AM. I am determined to wear my own clothes as long as possible.

MAY 12

I had my 2nd OB/GYN appt today. Apparently, I am OLD. "Advanced Maternal Age" they call it. My BEHIND!

Woody came with me again, and I had an ultrasound. Everything looks great! We've decided not to know the sex.

Oh, one thing. It looks like I have a low-lying placenta. Nothing to worry about now, but it is something they want to keep an eye on. It will probably migrate north before the delivery. It usually does.

So much can go wrong! It's a wonder anyone ever gets born.

MAY 15

We decided to tell everyone about the baby. Everyone was thrilled. The guys have been so solicitous: carrying my files for me, bringing me juice. The baby is going to have a lot of uncles.

JUNE 1

Whoops. I've been neglectful. Haven't written in a couple of weeks. Nothing is going on. So, I guess I'll take Lily's suggestion and write down my dreams for the baby.

I hope he finds his calling in life. I hope he finds something he likes to do and that he works hard to be the best he can be.

I hope she will live in a world that encourages her and accepts her for who she is.

I hope he lives without fear.

Most of all, I hope she has love in her life. I hope she gives love, and that it comes back to her tenfold.

JUNE 10

I've been spotting a little bit. Scared me, so I called the doc, but she says it is fairly normal. She'll take a look at our appt next week.

JUNE 13

OB/GYN appt today. The baby's vitals are good, but the placenta hasn't moved yet. The doc still isn't worried, but there are potential problems if the placenta stays where it is and blocks the birth canal. When she started using terms like "hemorrhage" and "premature labor," I almost lost it. Woody was there, and he kept me steady. We're taking it day by day.

JUNE 30

Wow, I've been negligent. I've had so much energy lately, that we've been taking advantage of it, and I've just been too busy to write. We've been decorating the baby's room. Since we don't know the sex, we chose a neutral Pooh theme. DAMN! The people who manufacture baby furniture and accessories are Evil Genuises! They know that even the most level-headed parent-to-be (me) will be swayed by the more sentimental parent-to-be (Woody) into not only buying the crib and the sheets, but the matching diaper caddy, curtains, lamp, trash can, rug, dresser, etc. etc. etc.

It is cute, though. I must admit.

JULY 10

Just got back from a nice mini-break. We hadn't planned on going anywhere this summer, but I feel great, everything's going well, and I won't be able to travel in the next few months. Next few years, really. This was one last opportunity for the two of us to get some alone time. And did we have alone time! We just went out to the Cape, but it felt like we were on the other side of the earth. We holed up in a B&B and went a full day without seeing another human being.

We talked about baby names. Emma if it is a girl, a combination of Emily and Anna (Woody's mother). I like it. If it's a boy? That's a bone of contention. Woody's stuck on this presidential thing. His dad's name was Thomas Jefferson Hoyt, and he wants to carry it into the third generation. Harry Truman Hoyt. I am opposed to that one, to put it mildly. Harry Hoyt? Sounds like some kind of horrible skin condition.

But anyway. We had a great time. Perfect. We walked down the beach one night around sunset and saw a little family having a picnic. Mom, dad, and a little girl, maybe a year old. Dad was dipping her toes into the water, and she was laughing and squealing. We just stood and watched for awhile. Woody had his arms wrapped around me, his hands on my little bump of a belly. I swear he was crying a little bit, but he denies it.

JULY 15

OB/GYN appt. Everything is fine with Emma/Harry, but the doc is getting concerned about the placenta. She's going to take a look at the next appt. If things haven't improved, they might put me on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy so I don't (and here were those words again) go into "premature labor" or "hemorrhage" to death.

It would figure that this was the first appt Woody wasn't able to make. I drove home crying and called him. He came home from work as soon as he could, even brought me a bag of Taco Bell bean burritos to make me smile.

Still, I'm scared, and I think he is, too.

JULY 27

I broke down and went shopping for maternity clothes. Nothing I own fits anymore. I grew out of my last pair of jeans. I've been in denial and have been trying to struggle into them for the past week. I thought I wouldn't find anything I like, but I got some cute things at Old Navy, including a sexy black dress. Maybe I can convince my husband to take me out for a night on the town.

AUGUST 5

It is hot. Not just hot. Jungle hot. Africa hot. And I am about 10 degrees hotter than anyone else. We got one of those plastic wading pools at KMart, and Woody filled it up with water and we put it in the back yard. I just lay down in it and stayed there all afternoon. Woody said I looked a little like a beached whale, which I didn't think was too funny, but he's right. I'm getting big all of a sudden.

AUGUST 10

I went to Sam's Club and bought an economy size vat of Rolaids. Heartburn. Another fun side effect of pregnancy. Bye-bye, Taco Bell bean burritos. This is a sad day.

Spotted a little bit, but it stopped.

AUGUST 12

Something is wrong. I'll write more later.

AUGUST 14

Back home.

It's been a hard few days.

I had started spotting on Wednesday, but it stopped. I woke up on Friday AM feeling a little crampy. Things just got worse from there. I was showering, getting ready for work, dressed, ate a little breakfast. When I got up from the table, there was a blood stain on my pants the size of my hand.

I can't quite explain how terrifying that was, the thought that something might be really, really wrong.

Woody hadn't left for work yet, thank goodness, and he drove me to the hospital. He held my hand the whole ride there, just repeating over and over, "Everything is going to be fine." I'm not sure he believed it himself, but it helped. Just having him there helped.

They ran tests, did another ultrasound, and the situation with the placenta has worsened. I've been put on bed rest until the baby is born. I cried and cried when I got the news, but Woody tried, as always, to put a positive spin on it. He said as long as I am confined to bed, I can use the free time to learn a language or take up knitting. Ha Ha.

But at least everything is OK right now. I'm scared, but if bed rest gives us a fighting chance, I'll do it. Let's hope the next three months zoom by.

I don't know what I'll do if something happens. I love this baby already.

AUGUST 22

I've been getting lots of visitors. Dad comes by almost every day to make me some lunch. On the bright side of things, it's been nice to spend time with him. We've talked a lot about the past. About mom, all the lies. I don't think I can ever really forget about some of the things dad has done. Too much has happened. But I can forgive, I think. I know Dad wants to make things right. I think he's looking on this baby as being his chance to start again.

I pity Emma's boyfriends when she gets to be a teenager. She'll have a father who's a cop and a retired cop for a grandfather who is like 6'5" to boot. Talk about intimidating. Of course, if Woody has his way, she won't date until she is 35.

Lily came by and said she thinks the baby is a boy. She was right about me being pregnant, so who knows?

SEPTEMBER 12

I lost the journal for a few weeks, and since I am confined to bed, I couldn't get up and look for it. Woody found it in the laundry basket.

Since I last wrote, I have listened to every book-on-tape ever recorded, and I now know how to say, "Where are the toilets?" in ten different languages. Bed rest is nothing if not educational.

SEPTEMBER 27

My feet have swollen so much, I can't wear my shoes. But it really doesn't matter, since I am confined to bed and don't have anywhere to go.

My heartburn is so bad, I can't eat anything more exciting than mashed potatoes.

My hair is falling out.

My gums are bleeding.

I've got so many stretch marks, my belly looks looks like a map of the NYC subway system.

I can't find a comfortable sleeping position.

I'm huge. Hindenberg huge.

SEPTEMBER 30

Woody came home with some cocoa butter for my stretch marks. He rubbed it all over my belly and then rubbed my feet, too. I think the bed rest has been hard on him, too. But he's been patient and supportive.

He's really changed these last few months. He's amazing. I don't know why I never noticed it sooner. I guess I was too wrapped up in my own drama. He's amazing and has gotten more amazing. He's been through things that would make any other person curl up and die. I don't know anyone who is as strong and decent and good as he is.

I think he's gotten handsomer, too.

OCTOBER 15

One more month to go. I am about to go INSANE. Human beings were not meant to lie in bed for three straight months.

I had a dream last night that I gave birth to a litter of puppies.

OCTOBER 16

I am reading in this new book about birth practices around the world that the Native Americans used to make the father tie a string around his testicles, and each time the mother had a contraction, she would pull on the string. Sounds fair.

OCTOBER 19

I'm really scared. What is something goes wrong? What if something happens to me or the baby? What kind of parents will we be? I know I shouldn't dwell on it, but I have nothing else to think about.

I didn't want kids. I swore all throughout my twenties that I would never marry and never have kids. Even when Woody and I got married, I wasn't really sure how I felt. I wanted it in kind of an abstract way, but the reality of it terrified me.

Now, the reality is that I could very well lose the baby, and I am more terrified than I ever thought I could be.

OCTOBER 22

Oh, God! I'm bleeding! It's bad. I think I'm going into labor. Woody's not here. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't let anything bad happen. I can't get ahold of Woody, and I left about 20 messages. Where are you?

Dad's on his way. He'll take me to the hospital, and Woody will meet us there if/when he gets the message. I'm just trying to occupy my mind while I'm waiting for Dad.

I'm so scared. This hurts. Please let everything be OK.

OCTOBER 30

I haven't really been able to process everything that has happened since October 22nd. I'm still numb. I guess maybe it will always be a blur.

We got to the hospital about the same time as Woody, and they immediately took us up to surgery. The bleeding had slowed, but I was still contracting. I needed to have an emergency c-section.

It was serious, but I remember the mood in the operating room being professional but fairly light as they got me ready for the surgery. There was joking and talking, and they even let Woody in. I remember that.

And then...this is where I kind of lose things...my pressure started dropping, and they knew they would have to get the baby right away, or they could lose us both. I can see Woody, stunned, being propelled backward through the operating room door by one of the nurses. I remember saying, "I love you, Woody." In case I didn't make it, I wanted that to be the last thing he heard me say to him. And I said, "I love you, Baby." If I never met him, if he never drew a breath, I wanted him to know love, to know that I always loved him and always will. And then, I'm told, they put the mask on my and I drifted off.

When I woke some time later, Woody was there with me. He was sitting beside my bed, and his eyes were red and puffy. It terrified me, and I feared the worse. But then he smiled, a huge, radiant grin and said, "We have a perfect son, Jordan."

"We have a son," I repeated, and we both cried and laughed and cried some more. "We have a son."

We have a son! A beautiful, healthy little boy. We compromised. His name is Andrew Jackson Hoyt. We call him Jack. For being born almost a month early, Jack's a tough kid. (Must have been all those Taco Bell bean burritos) He was 6 lbs. 11 oz., but his lungs were perfect. He's got lots of dark hair and blue eyes like his dad. I know most babies have blue eyes, but I think his will stay blue.

Max is great with Jack. I think it's given him a new lease on life. Everyone at work can't wait to see the baby.

Woody is...I don't know if I can adequately describe how wonderful it's been to see him just totally fall in love with this perfect little creature. He said he wasn't sure he could love anyone more than he loves me, but then he realized that love is an infinite resource. The more you give, the more you have to give. I know exactly what he means.

Me? I'm okay. I'm sore, that's for sure. They don't know if I'll be able to have any more kids, but I can't even think about that now. How could we top Jack, anyway?

We were in the hospital for about five days. I lost a lot of blood in surgery, and they almost had to do a hysterectomy. But I'm getting stronger every day. I'm even nursing Jack! Nobody's sleeping much at the Hoyt household, though.

I'm pretty much bed-ridden right now (we know what that's like), so Woody brings me the baby when it's feeding time. I was nursing him yesterday afternoon in our bed, and Woody stayed there with us while I fed him. I managed to stagger into the bathroom afterwards for a quick shower, and when I came out, Jack had curled up and fallen asleep on Woody's chest. It was the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen.

I crawled in bed with my guys, and the three of us curled up together. A little family.

My family.

THE END