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The Fertility Diaries: 3 Friends, 3 Paths to Pregnancy

A Second Chance continued...

The couple later learned that they'd put the band in the wrong place on Nora's chest, which is why the alarm kept going off that night. Over the next few months, the monitor's recording device indicated only a couple of real "apnea episodes," in which Nora's breathing stopped for 20 seconds or more. "Most babies have these episodes, though," says Jenny. "But because these babies aren't wired, most parents don't realize that it's happening. After what we went through, I couldn't have another child without the monitor. I wouldn't have been able to sleep!"

With Nora feeding as often as every hour on the hour, Jenny soon found herself caught up in a whirlwind of breast-feeding, day/night confusion, cracked nipples, and sleepless nights. Her delight in her daughter sustained her, but it didn't leave her immune to the stresses of new motherhood. "There's no sainthood that descends on you when you've gone through infertility or losing a child," she says. "I'm human just like everybody else and I've sometimes cried right along with Nora when she's been crying for four hours straight. But even during those difficult times, I'm just so incredibly grateful for her. I don't want to say that other parents aren't, but I just have this incredible love for her because of what we've lost."

An Easy Pregnancy

In light of her friends' difficult quests for parenthood, Carrie found herself sometimes embarrassed by how completely uneventful her pregnancy continued to be. "I've been lucky. Apparently, I have one of those pregnancies that they write about in books or something," she says. "At all of my doctor's appointments, they keep telling me that I'm just average for everything — I'm right down the middle."

As of her second trimester, Carrie and her husband, John, 32, still hadn't decorated the nursery or settled on a short list of boy and girl names (they wanted the baby's sex to be a surprise to them). They had, however, bought a fluffy elephant baby chair, which their dog deemed an excellent toy.

"We're not froufrou people — the nursery isn't going to have a theme or a mural on the wall," says Carrie. "We're going to paint the walls a color and put in a crib and a dresser and call it a day. And we'll go into the hospital with small lists of names we like, and then decide what seems right." Carrie admits that after seeing the painful losses her friends had experienced, she might have been procrastinating on the baby preparations a little because she knew how unexpectedly things could go wrong. But for the most part, she says, taking the onset of parenthood in stride is just in her nature; as one of six children, and having seen seven nieces and nephews come into the world, she's very used to babies.

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