As I walked into the imaging room, I was working to keep my emotions under control. Everything was just below the surface and I felt I would lose it any at moment.
“Before we get started, we need to go through some history,” said the imaging technician. I don’t know what I thought that meant but I was not prepared for her questions.
“What pregnancy is this?”
“Fourth.” I gulped on my emotion. Phew, that was harder than I expected, though I wasn’t expecting the question. And I wasn’t expecting the next: “How many living children?”
“One.” I choked. Everything I had been working to keep under the surface boiled up and the tears flowed. I tried to ignore the anxiety until I knew for sure but the experiences of the past year and the cloud they carry over this pregnancy resulted in testing my emotional constraint. I lost that battle.
Rewind time and I’m sitting with my midwife discussing this newest pregnancy. As we concluded the conversation, I got onto the table with anticipation of hearing my baby’s heartbeat—of having my mind and heart given peace that this life we created was doing well and thriving. But she couldn’t find the heartbeat. I was ten weeks and one day along. I was at that in-between stage where a heartbeat could be registered with the Doppler. Or not. I told myself not to expect too much. But that is easier said than done, especially when I could tell my midwife wanted to hear that reassuring sound as much as I did. The more she strained to located it the more the anxiety grew. After some time trying, she stopped and tried to reassure me that it was early and not to worry. I agreed. In her second breath, she offered to send me to imaging to verify that the baby was there—that they had a heartbeat and to rule out a third miscarriage.
Waiting for the lab tech to confirm seemed to take forever. Finally, she turned the monitor towards me and pointed to a flickering on the screen. “This here, this is the heartbeat.” Relief and tears. It was now officially, official. We had a baby.
As I pulled out my maternity pants just nine weeks into the pregnancy, I seriously thought we might be preparing for twins. This was my fourth pregnancy experience but the first time I had experienced weight gain or showing inside the first trimester. Despite my fast-growing tummy, it was confirmed that there was a single babe—a baby who looked and measured just as they should and one that we are very hopeful to welcome this December.
Our positive pregnancy test came in April. My cycle was due April 12. I woke up that morning and took a test. Negative. I knew I needed to be patient. We’d been so spoiled in the past and able to get pregnant quickly. To feel as if I was in control and ‘guarantee’ pregnancy this particular cycle, I marked the calendar for an 11-day stretch of intimacy-required time with the hubby! I was determined to ‘hit the window’!
That day and the next came and went with no sign of my period starting, so on Friday morning, April 14, I took another test. It was Connie’s birthday. The test came back positive! I was so happy… and relieved… and concerned. A mix of emotions overwhelmed me. But most of all I was so grateful for another chance and for our success in conceiving.
When I was pregnant with Connie, despite extra monitoring of my cervical length, I didn’t worry and I was so happy. Ignorance. That was the blessing I was afforded then. I hadn’t experienced a loss and knew only to hope and be optimistic. Our losses have stripped me of that ignorance. I worry, I analyze, and I prepare for the possibility of another loss. But before that, I remind myself of my blessing and I hold faith and hope that this pregnancy will be as wonderful as our first–that we’ll be spared the heartache we had with the second and third.
The first several weeks of this pregnancy I had a feeling that I can only describe as “waiting for the bottom to fall out.” I knew this life was not guaranteed. Once I reached the 9-week mark, I was past the point when we lost Morgan; it felt really good to get past that week. Around the twelfth week, I decided that the bottom would not fall out, that we will hold this child this December. I’m two weeks shy of when we lost James; getting past that will be another relief but will also bring increased concern as the baby grows and poses a threat to any weakness of my body. We have many more weeks ahead, specialists to meet with, decisions to make, and lots of praying to do.
Our newest hope is our strongest yet!