“Mystique is rare now, isn’t it? There aren’t that many enigmas in this modern world.”
—Benedict Cumberbatch, English actor
The summer of 2005 found me in a distressing place. I was on vacation in London with my husband—and was six months pregnant with my daughter—when I started experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions. It wasn’t the first hiccup of the pregnancy. I’d had a mild hemorrhage during the first trimester. Fortunately, after an uncomfortable flight, we made it home to California.
The contractions continued the following week, more than four an hour, so I went to the hospital to be examined. Driving there, every possible worst-case scenario ran through my head. What if I gave birth early? ...