Baby kaboom

We have this joke that Dylan and his dad are electromagnetic. Streetlights have a habit of burning out when either of them passes by, and it’s even worse when you get the two of them together. Blown transformers. Block-wide blackouts.

I’m hypercharged too, or at least I used to be. I was born with an electrical disturbance in my heart–an extra circuit that kicked in at odd times and made my pulse gallop at 200+. When I was 18 I had a minimally invasive procedure that cured it. They threaded a catheter though my vein and essentially melted my mutant wiring away. Supposedly, it’s not genetic, but a few years ago we learned my mom needed the same procedure for the same reason.

I’ve heard the baby’s heartbeat several times now at the doctor’s office, and so far, everything’s fine. “Beautiful,” the doctor said.


Since I’ve been gestating, three transformers have blown on my street, one of them while I was standing less than 100 feet away. Last month, my car battery died–the thing was less than two years old. A few days ago, I discovered that my external hard drive at home had gone kaput. And yesterday, my work computer took a dirt nap, too.

Clearly, there’s only one reasonable explanation: I am carrying a 1.21 gigawatt baby.

My very first inkling that I was pregnant happened while I was sitting at my desk at work. For no reason in particular–not coffee, not sugar, not stress–my heart fell into a crazy rhythm: Every third beat, it threw in an extra one, extra hard: ka-BOOOM! This odd syncopation came and went, came and went, over and over all day. It wasn’t racing; it was just… improvising.

In all my arrhythmia spells as a kid, I’d never encountered anything like this. I’m a worrier by nature, and this kind of episode had all the makings of a full-on Elaine freakout. But I wasn’t scared.

From my work as a science writer, I’ve learned that estrogen has a powerful effect on our circuitry; it’s thought to be the reason women are more prone to arrhythmia than men. So my immediate thought was not that I was relapsing, not that I was having a heart attack. I was calm–pleased, even–and certain that this was a sudden shock of estrogen. A lightning bolt of blastocyst. My little baby kaboom.

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