Search results for 'hcg'

Pennies from heaven

23 Jan

If you know me, you know that I have a thing for feathers.

They mean something to me;

they serve as signs from the Universe and they remind me that my lost loved ones are near.

They are a part of my deeply superstitious nature,

and I believe in their power.

But, feathers are not the only symbols that have a deep, profound place in my being.

There are, in fact, many signs that I keep an eye out for,

to let me know that my angels are watching,

or that strength is near

or that everything is going to be OK.

So, while I’m on the lookout for feathers,

my eyes are also peeled for pennies.

My Nanny also had a thing for pennies.

When she’d find a heads up penny on the ground, she would call them “Pennies from heaven”.

I wrote about this in my college Thesis,

entitled, “Just a Little Bit of Dancing: A Cubist Family Portrait Through Writing.”,

which was a collage of love and life and loss in my dad’s family.

My Nanny’s love of pennies was something that many family members would mention when interviewing them for my Thesis works.

It was something that I held on to.

I grew to love pennies,

and to check them out, whenever I would spot them.

In the weeks leading up to my finding out that I was pregnant, I saw scores of feathers;

They were everywhere I’d look. I knew that they meant something.

But, just in case I needed a little extra proof, my Nanny left me one extra clue,

not only to let me know that yes, I was expecting,

but that she would be there for me,

and with me,

every step of the way.

The night before I was to receive my pregnancy test results,

I was jumping out of my skin. I could focus on nothing else, especially not the graduate work that I had to complete. But, I had to do some reading for a “Vernacular writing” seminar, and had not yet been able to find the book I needed, so I put all of my energy into the quest to find it.

Finally, I was able to track it down at my local library, but only in large print. Fine.

That would do.

I perused the large print book shelves until I found the title that I needed, and when I grabbed the book, I noticed that there was a slight space between some of the pages.

I folded it open to find that there was something stuck in page 36.

A penny.

Heads up.

From the year my husband was born.

Nanny was telling me that she was with me. That it would all be OK.

And it was.

Nanny came around throughout my pregnancy, leaving feathers to let me know that all was well.

One, most powerful instance came when she visited both me and my dad.

In trying to find something to wear, I reached into the back of my closet and found a sweater that she had bought for me before she passed away, nearly 12 years earlier. She allowed me to pick it out from the Adult GAP, which was, of course, a really big deal at the time. And, because it was something I needed to grow into,

it still fit.

I wore that sweater on a date night with my husband.

He brought me, on a whim, to a neighborhood sushi restaurant.

He didn’t realize that it was the sushi restaurant I had always gone to with my Nanny and Poppy. It was our special place. They were the people with whom I tried Ikura and green tea ice cream, and it was just our thing.

So sitting there, in that back room,

at the same table that I had shared with my Nanny,

in the sweater that she had bought for me over a decade earlier,

I felt her.

I felt her presence.

I felt her excitement.

I felt her love.

I was anxious to tell my dad, and called him first thing the next morning.

My mom picked up the phone, so I began to tell her the story, unable to contain my emotions.

As I was saying the words, “Nanny is around.”, my dad picked up the phone, interrupting us,

saying the exact same thing.

“Bex, Nanny came into my dream last night.”

And he went on to tell me that she was in the dream, at the hospital when the baby was born, and that he saw her holding my child,

a little girl,

with blue eyes.

I cried.

She was, most certainly, around.

At that time, I said, “Well, I believe it. But, let’s wait and see how my baby turns out to be. We will see if Nan was right, after all.”

5 months later,

my baby was born,

during a scary, unplanned C-Section

as my Nanny’s favorite song filled the room,

having come on the radio,

just in time for her to wail along.

She is a girl.

She has blue eyes.

Nanny was right.

She always was.

And so, this week, when I started to see pennies around, I didn’t have to question whether or not it was my Nanny.

I just knew.

So, it didn’t come as a great surprise to me when my father picked up the phone in the morning,

to tell me that Nanny had visited his dream once more, and that he got to watch her playing with my daughter.

Nor did it come as a surprise to him when I told him that I had been feeling her around.

That I had been seeing feathers.

And pennies.

One of my students even brought in a book for me to read, about a grandparent and grandchild, and their love for lucky pennies.

Okay, Nan.

I get it.


But, no sign was as powerful as the one she sent me last night,

as I saw my daughter crawl over to an object on the floor and begin to play with it.

I ran to grab the small trinket from her hands,

before it found it’s way to her mouth,

and had to gasp when I saw what it was.

A lucky penny.

Held heads up.

From the year that I was born.

A penny from heaven.


If you know me, you know that I have a thing for my angels.

They mean the world to me.

I depend on them for strength and I believe that they watch over my daughter,

as she plays each day

and as she sleeps each night.

And no matter what you believe,

I know, in my bones,

that there is a reason why these signs appear for me;

they keep my loved ones alive,

and let me know that they are not missing anything about this most special time in our lives.

And for this, I am not only blessed,

but I am also



One Year Ago, Part 3

13 Aug

Tonight, as we placed the baby in her crib,

and she stroked her own full, delicious cheeks with her tiny delicious hands,

I couldn’t help but to realize that she was wearing a very special nightgown;

This gown was the very first anything that my husband and I bought for the baby.

It is butter soft, and filled with beautiful designs, in neutral colors (of course. We didn’t know the sex back then!)

with tan owls, green trees, and a hot air balloon, floating towards a most placid cloud.

This was her first gift,

as it was the first tangible representation of her presence in our lives.

But, weeks before we stumbled upon this most precious nightgown,

I had been going crazy over a faint line.

Well, 2 faint lines, to be exact,

as I had taken 2 pregnancy tests,

each identical in faintness,

and in 2-line-ness.

Yes, I had a box of digital readout pregnancy tests stored in my closet,

and yes, I was far too nervous to use them.

The idea of seeing “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” spelled out so concretely was still too frightening for me.

I preferred to live in a state of paralyzing anxiety and unknown for several days,

of course

That’s just the way I roll.

The weekend (FINALLY) rolled around into Monday,

and it was time for me to get my blood taken.

Of course, just as my arm was being pricked,

the courier came to pick up the blood for analysis.

I. missed. the. pick. up. by. two. minutes.

This meant an extra 24 hours of waiting.

In those 24 hours I panicked

I watched the Sex and the City Movie

I bawled

I ate Mommom’s Sweet and Sour Meatballs (what? Spoiler Alert: I was pregnant, after all)

I paced

I ran to the bathroom every 7 seconds

I prayed.

And so, on that Tuesday, having waited days since my first two-liney pregnancy test,

I could wait, no longer.

I would be hearing from the doctor’s office that afternoon,

and I could not spend another day pacing around the house,

so my mom took me out to be distracted.

We ended up at Home Goods and TJ Maxx. If those places couldn’t distract me, nothing could.

And, it worked.

Kind of.

I walked the aisles,

(and used their potties, several times)

and watched the clock,

willing my phone to buzz.

As I paced sightlessly up and down the aisles, I stroked my ears.

It sounds strange, but even though I had seen so many feathers that week,  I still needed a little extra dose of strength, so I wore my sacred good-luck earrings,

two hanging, silver feathers,

that my husband had given me for my 22nd birthday.

They gave me solace that day (just as they continued to do at every doctor’s appointment I had from that point on. But, I’m getting ahead of myself).

Finally, at 3:17 pm,

I felt my phone vibrate

as my heart fell into my stomach.

It was the doctor’s office.

It was time.

I will never ever forget what I heard on the other end.

“Hello?” I answered, shaking in my hands, my voice and in every other part of my being.

“Rebecca?” the nurse, Beth, asked.

“Yes?” I could not breathe.

What followed was one simple word–

a word that I can still hear, as clear as day, as if I’m still holding up my phone, quivering, in the little boy’s aisle of TJ Maxx.


Full disclosure, I can’t even type this without crying.

I remember that she read my HCG and Progesterone levels to me.

I remember that, at that moment, I turned around to see my mom peering over a display of clothing, and I smiled at her.

I remember that we both started to sob, instantly.

I remember that Beth, the wonderful, amazing nurse, came to my first ultrasound, just because she was so excited for us and our miraculous news.

I remember that when I hung up the phone, my mom told me that if I had a son, I would have to name him “Max” in honor of good old TJ’s.

I could barely get my fingers to work, but I dialed my husband at work.

He was waiting for my call.

He barely choked out his greeting.

“Love….are you ready to be a daddy?”

And then, he told me the most amazing thing. Lying across his desk was a giant, brown feather. Yes, a feather, indoors, in his office, in the middle of August. He immediately sent me a photo, so that I could see his marvelous sight. We took it as a sign. Not only was I pregnant, but our loved ones were with us, telling us that everything was going to be alright.

Now, before finding out I was pregnant,

I had these elaborate plans of how I would tell my family members.

I had dreams of “Grandparents” greeting cards,

sappy toasts at family dinners,

and oh, I don’t know, surprises,

but, I couldn’t wait.

Let me tell you, none of my fantasies involved a scorching hot parking lot of TJ Maxx. But, that’s the way life works. You plan, and then life kicks in.

So, on that afternoon, one year ago,

I could have never imagined the most beautiful, angelic baby, that would soon be mine.

I could never have pictured the happiness that I would soon know,

nor the craziness that would also be born in me.

I could never have dreamed that so much beauty could have been hatched

out of something as simple

as a few feathers.

“hope is the thing with feathers…”

25 Jun

I believe in angels.

I don’t mean that I believe in the winged icons that hang with halos as holiday ornaments.

I believe in benevolent forces, the spirits of those we’ve loved and lost, that watch over us, protect us and guide us through our days.


When I’ve needed help, or dug down deep for strength, I’ve been given a sign that a loved one was with me.


My grandmother passed away when I was thirteen.

That year I became a Jewish adult, as I became a Bat-Mitzvah.

A new woman was added to our family.

And, sadly, a woman was lost.

We said goodbye to our matriarch,

As Life took away the centerpiece of our own dining room table.


Before she passed away, when she knew that she would be leaving us,

We asked her how she was feeling.

She said that she knew she would be back.

She knew she would be around,

Able to look after us.

She told us that she would come back as a bird.

We asked her how we would know she was there, since birds are all around us.

She told us to look for feathers.


Since that time, I’ve been blanketed by feathers when I’ve needed the warmth.

Feathers have reminded me to have strength.

Feathers have given me faith.


In the two weeks before I found out I was pregnant,

A wish that I hoped with every ounce of being would come true,

I saw at least 20 feathers.

They were on my front porch.

They were on the sidewalk, as I walked the dogs down the street.

They were poking out of my shirt

(and this was August, mind you….it was not as if I was wearing a down coat).

So before I officially knew that I was pregnant,

I just knew.

As I’ve said, even though I knew, in my head and in my heart, I didn’t believe that my wish had actually come true until the nurse called me on that late August day and said nothing besides, “Congratulations, dear.”


I called my husband at work.

He answered, nervously.

He knew that I would be receiving my test results in that hour.

I asked him if he was ready to be a daddy.

He didn’t say a word, just sobbed softly.

“I knew it,” he told me. “There’s a giant, brown feather lying across my desk.”


That feather told us more than those HCG blood test results ever could.

I was pregnant.

Our dream was coming true.

Our loved ones were watching, celebrating from above.


I saw many birds and many feathers throughout my pregnancy.

They always just appeared,

just when I needed them.


The night that I had my daughter, I didn’t see any feathers. I could barely see anything. It was my fourth trip into labor and delivery. Nothing was going as planned.

When they wheeled me into the OR in the middle of the night, I was lying on the operating table, and I felt scared.

I didn’t feel particularly strong.

I couldn’t find my faith.

When my husband was allowed to come back in the room he held my hand and didn’t let go.

The anesthesiologist, peering over the tall blue draping that separated my head from my abdomen, told me that it was time.

The baby would be coming now.

I still felt scared.

Then, my husband squeezed my hand and told me to listen to the radio. I hadn’t noticed that the radio had been playing the entire time that I was in the OR.

My ears perked up.

It was “Desperado”, by The Eagles.

It was my grandmother’s favorite song.

At that moment, I knew that we would be ok.

The chorus of our own angels were with us, serenading my daughter as she entered into the world.

Don Henley sang,

It may be rainin’

But there’s a rainbow above you

You better let somebody love you

Before it’s too late.

And the next sound we heard was the tiny wail of my daughter’s first cry.

I have never heard a more perfect sound.

And I know, with all of my heart,

That my angels were listening with us,

Smiling from above,

The rainbow that would forever shine on our precious baby girl.


So, the next time you see a feather,

Lying in a place that it really shouldn’t be lying,

I hope you that it makes you smile.

And I hope that it gives you faith.

Because no matter what you believe,

Or don’t believe,

Your loved ones are all around you.

It just depends on how hard you look.

pregnancy brain(less)

18 Jun

Being pregnant is amazing, truly.

A miracle.

And what they fail to mention in all of the “What to Expect” books is that being pregnant is like receiving a brain transplant. Not only does your mind no longer work properly, but it also encourages bouts of actual insanity.

Remember the The Iced Tea Incident?

Unfortunately, that wasn’t just some end-o’-preggo anomaly.

I can remember being 6 weeks pregnant and calling the doctor to request and immediate ultrasound. I was nervous.

I felt less nauseas.My morning sickness had stopped.

For an hour.

This craziness wasn’t me. It was the HCG speaking.

Or, at 12 weeks, when I went food shopping, checked out, loaded up my bags, got into my car, and then realized that I hadn’t paid for my groceries. Just walked right out of the store with a cart full of stolen food.

Hey, what can I say, all of my oxygen was going to baby. Brain, be damned.

I once got a very pregnant pedicure next to a woman who mentioned that she was a doctor. An internist, mind you. Can you guess how many questions I managed to cram in to that thirty minutes of “relaxation”?

And then there were the Google searches. I could wave my crazy flag freely in the privacy of my own home.

Of course there was the weekly search of, “what baby looks like at X weeks”

And then there was, “dog jumping on pregnant belly”

As well as “do coffee shops accidentally serve caffeinated coffee posing as decaf”

And “do babies in womb get scared by blowdryer”

And, who could forget my desperate searches at 38 weeks and beyond for “videos of how to stimulate pregnancy acupressure points in order to bring on full term labor safely at home”

But, in the end, things went back to normal. My morning sickness returned while I was in the waiting room for that early ultrasound. I went back into the supermarket and paid for my groceries. The sweet doctor from the nail salon will never get that pedicure back, but at least it gave her practice, right? And my baby came right on time, at 40 weeks exactly.

But hey, at least I now know where to locate acupressure points Spleen 6 and Bladder 32.