Last Thursday, we had our 20 week anatomy scan. The next morning, we were booked to jump on a plane to Hawaii for our babymoon. I had just finished up a big push on a project for work, and I had been looking forward to this appointment and this trip for a very long time.
I arrived at the scan my usual bundle of nerves. Even though through this entire pregnancy, the milestones I felt I needed to hit to feel assured kept getting pushed further and further out (once we hear a heartbeat I’ll feel better, once we hit 10 weeks, once we get to the 2nd trimester….) having a healthy and normal prognosis at the anatomy scan would truly be a heavy weight off my weary shoulders. I couldn’t wait.
The scan went almost completely perfectly. The baby was moving a lot, covering his face with his arms, hiccuping and fluttering about. All organs looked healthy and the baby is measuring quite big, in the 80th percentile. My cervix was over 4cm and was closed. They confirmed I have an anterior placenta, which disappointed me slightly since I want to be able to feel every little bit of movement as soon as possible. But I was thankful for no real placenta issues to be concerned about.
At the end of the scan, the doctor came in and told us that they saw a “bright spot” on the baby’s heart (technically called echogenic intracardiac focus). Apparently this has no impact on the health or heart function of the baby, but is considered a soft marker for Down syndrome. Because both of my first and second trimester bloodwork had come back so low risk (1 in 21,000), and the doctor did not see any other soft markers for Down syndrome during the scan, she was not overly concerned, but did offer the MaterniT21 test to us. We decided to do the test, because apparently I’m willing to spend any amount of money in exchange for peace of mind. I’ve gone this entire pregnancy so far with a nagging, unsettling pit in my stomach that at any moment this could all get taken away, and have struggled so much to believe this baby is actually coming. I didn’t want to spend the second half of my pregnancy continuing to carry those feelings. I wanted to release them and be done.
We left the scan a little unsure what to think, trying our best to reassure each other and keep our concern in proportion to what the actual risks were. The rest of the evening was hectic and included a trip to the emergency vet with my dog (she’s ok) and scrambling to get all our packing done for our trip the next day. But I felt unsettled, dazed, and overwhelmed with concern over my baby and my dog.
We vowed that we would use this vacation to take a break from worry.
It took about a day and a half of relaxing and exploring the beautiful island of Kauai, top down in our jeep with the sun and wind whipping our hair, but I finally released my nagging thoughts and worries and embraced all the things that make me happy and smile these days.
My husband had let the hotel know ahead of time that we would be celebrating our babymoon, so when we arrived we were inundated with congratulations. I was so overwhelmed at how beautiful the St. Regis hotel and the surrounding area was, that by the time we got to our hotel room I had tears of gratitude streaming down my face. I felt so grateful to be in this moment, to finally be celebrating our baby to be, and in the most exquisite way possible. And I felt so grateful for my husband, who spent two years traveling and often putting in grueling 80 weeks, but who’s hard work allowed us to book this extra luxurious vacation entirely on points. I wanted to soak it in and be in this moment forever.
But the next morning was the real pinnacle of our trip. We woke up before sunrise (I woke up at 4am out of sheer excitement) and drove to the east side of the island where the sunrise would be directly over the ocean. In my hand I had the envelope with our baby’s gender inside. I could hardly deal I was so excited. We got to the beach just as the dark started fading into light, and as we stood facing the ocean, I started opening the envelope just as the burning yellow of the sun started to crest the horizon.
We are having a boy!
My husband exclaimed, “I knew it!” and danced around in celebration. I laughed and freaked and hugged my husband. I felt like deep down I had known it too, although I always claimed to have no idea. But I also felt a little bit of shock and disbelief…at how real this was becoming and that I would be a mom to a little boy. I realized that in all my daydreams about become a mom I had inadvertently always pictured a little girl. Maybe it’s because it’s what I know, maybe it’s because I grew up around so many boys and longed for female companionship growing up. To realize I’d be having a boy instead gave me this whole new world to think and fantasize about, and that felt surreal, thrilling, and completely odd all at once.
But I also felt so, so happy.
Having a boy lit a spark for my husband, who is now feeling a connection to the pregnancy in a whole new way. He couldn’t stop talking about his mini-me, and all the activities they will do together, and letting every stranger who walked by know our news.
I also realized how amazing it was to get five undivided days together to process, talk, and daydream about our future son. The rest of our trip was lovely, with poolside reading, exploring beaches and canyons and hikes, complete with indulging in daily Hawaiian shave ice, but the glow of our gender reveal made the trip carry an aura of magic to it.
On our last day, as we stopped for lunch before heading to the airport, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office. Our MaterniT21 results came back normal. I blinked back tears, and had a silent moment of gratitude that I didn’t spend our entire trip twisted and stressed about the ultrasound finding.
Our little boy is healthy as can be.