crawling slowly to the 2nd trimester

Everything has been going well with the little babe. But it’s been over a week since the last scan, so my nerves and fears and paranoia and anxiety is back.

We had the NT scan last Thursday at the Perinatal Diagnostic Center. The sweet ultrasound tech, named Carlos, performed the scan, taking his time and explaining what he was doing the entire time. The nuchal fold measured less than 1mm (anything under 3mm is considered low-risk). He went on to check the basic anatomy of the baby, assuring us that all looked good. He checked to make sure there were two legs and two arms. He showed us the baby’s hands and together we counted all ten fingers. He measured the crown to rump length and we saw the baby was measuring 5 days ahead with a heart rate of 174. He tapped my belly to get the baby to move around and into the positions he needed to take all his measurements. At one point, the baby fell asleep, and so he gave my belly a few small thumps to wake him/her up from its snooze. The baby woke up, moved around a bit and then…began rubbing its eyes.

My husband and I melted. It was such a human response.

As the ultrasound tech continued to take various measurements, he stopped to point out to me that my uterus was contracting. We could see the contractions on the ultrasound and it was blocking images of the baby that the ultrasound tech needed. He told me contractions were normal and would probably subside within a few hours, and that it can sometimes happen if the mother is overly tense or anxious.

My eyes filled with tears. Which doesn’t take much these days.

I know it’s normal to be anxious at a scan like this, but anything that reminds me that I am overly tense or anxious reminds my of why I’m feeling this way. And then I feel vulnerable, damaged, and weepy.

When the ultrasound tech realized that I was so nervous, he started trying to assure me, in his sweet calm way, that everything he was seeing so far was really good. My husband squeezed my hand. 

And even my anxiety couldn’t stop me from grinning ear to ear watching our little babe on the screen, moving all around, dancing, and being adorable.

When the scan was over, the doctor came in to talk to us about the results of our blood test. She said our results came back with the lowest risk for downs syndrome she had seen in a really, really long time. She said she had just been in the hallway marveling at the results with the other nurses. My husband and I just stared at each other with stunned happiness. I felt like I had just won a prize. But whenever I get good news, I immediately think of my friends and readers and fellow bloggers who perhaps have not gotten that same good news recently, and I feel guilty. At the same time I feel so happy and relieved, my heart also breaks a little. In those moments, I feel so close to the pain and heartache that so many others have felt, and that I have felt so many times before.

And once again, the confidence I felt that day, after seeing a strong baby and receiving good test results, has slowly faded over the last week. Even though we have made it so far and are so close to making to the 2nd trimester, a place I’ve been desperately seeking for so long, I still feel the same uncertainty as I did when I first got that positive test. I know if it were anyone else I would have no doubts at this point that they would be holding their healthy baby in about six months. But I still feel so vulnerable, so scared that some way and some how this baby will still get taken away from me.

I have to remind myself everyday of all the positive news we’ve received over the last two months, all the statistics that are in our favor, and that at no point has our baby given us a reason to think he/she is not a fighter and a surviver.

And today, I am 13 weeks pregnant.

After 22 months, 3 positive pregnancy tests, 2 miscarriages, 2 surgeries, 1 D&C, 5 doctors, and countless tests and procedures, I have finally completed my very first twelve week eternity.

For that I am filled with awe and gratitude. And as always, keeping hope.

a year ago today…

A year ago today, I learned that pregnancy #2 was not viable. I was eight weeks along, full of hope that the miscarriage ending pregnancy #1 was indeed a fluke, as everybody said. But instead, we saw an empty gestational sac on the ultrasound screen, and with our spirits crushed, we were forced to decide whether or not to go forward with the D&C I ended up having two days later. Today, exactly one year later, I once again sat pregnant in the OB’s office, with that same timid hope, yet terrified of what news we could possibly receive.

I have so much gratitude that what we ended up seeing on the ultrasound screen today was completely different from what we saw a year ago. We got to see our little peanut, still with a healthy heartbeat, still dancing, still measuring strong. Today was our first appointment with the new OB, with a doctor and ultrasound tech I had never met, at an office I had never been to before. I got really scared to go this morning. We had received so much good news at our RE’s office lately, continually seeing strong heartbeats and growth, that subconsciously I thought that if we went somewhere new our good luck streak would end. I was afraid for anything to change. Even traveling over the holidays had me spooked. As long as I was in my same routine, I felt everything would be fine. As long as I did everything the same as when our good news had come, then I would feel ok. But leaving our home, traveling across the country, dealing with the stress of airports, and having a different day to day routine made me really anxious that it would change things. 

We also told my husband’s family over Thanksgiving, since it was our one chance to share the news in person. Initially, I had been excited to spill the beans, but as it got closer I started to feel a lot of pressure and anxiety. I know my in-laws are so excited to become grandparents, and I don’t want to let them down, yet again. And I know that none of this is in my control, but I feel responsible for the outcome nevertheless. With our first pregnancy, we waited until after our first ultrasound to tell them, but then miscarried three days after sharing the news. I still held that association in my mind. Irrationally, I felt that if we told them, then a few days later it would all get taken away.

I am starting to learn that having these irrational thoughts and fears doesn’t make them real. They are just thoughts and fears.

Our little babe is still thriving. While I should be 10w3d according to my LMP, the little one measured 11w4d. I’ve consistently measured a few days ahead, but this was a huge jump. My doctor wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, and debated moving up my due date by a week. But she said that earlier ultrasounds tend to be more accurate with dating, so we decided to continue to stick with the LMP to assign the due date. She said right now, it only really matters in order to time the first trimester screening correctly, so that I don’t miss the window because my baby is measuring ahead.

I also brought up the fever I had when I had the stomach flu about two months ago. I had a fever for about 3 days, which hovered around 101, but spiked at one point to 102-103. The fever was right around when implantation most likely occurred. It’s been a nagging fear that’s followed me, and I’ve worried and fretted incessantly that we are at increased risk for neural tube defects as a result. Although my doctor agreed that fever and flu during pregnancy is not a good thing, she said since it happened before four weeks I was in the clear. In addition any medications I took (which was mostly Tylenol) before that four week mark would not have an effect on the development of the baby. I pray she is right, and am going to choose to believe she is right, just for some much needed peace of mind. She said if the fever and flu were to affect anything, we would have had an early miscarriage. But we are passed that point and she said our baby looks strong.

I feel so grateful today. Last year, as Christmas approached, I was in a world of pain, despair, sadness, and grief. I was reeling from losing our second baby, wondering what that meant, and had so many questions and fears swirling inside of me. On Christmas day I just felt alone, grieving what never would be. When I got pregnant last year, I thought that this Christmas would be the first Christmas with our son or daughter, and that my parents would have their first Christmas with a grandchild. This will indeed be my parents’ first Christmas with a grandchild, but only because my brother had a baby instead, just a few weeks before my due date. I feel blessed to have my nephew and love him to pieces, but I was really afraid to go into this holiday season empty once again. All I’ve wanted was to have Christmas with my little babe, whether on the inside or out.

I’m thinking of all my readers and fellow bloggers who are facing the holidays this year with heartache. I know how hard it is. I know how much it can hurt, and how isolating it can feel. My heart is with all of you. All I can do is hope that this is the last one, and that next year you either have a baby in your arms or a baby in your belly. My thoughts are with all of you.