Yesterday was Judgement Day. That’s what I’ve been calling it – the day that we would go in for our first “real” prenatal appointment. It was a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded, just like my first ultrasound. It’s scary to know going into something that it’s either going to be a wonderful experience or a devastating one. There could be no in between. Either we would get to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time or we would be told that there was nothing to hear, that we had lost the baby, that I was about to have another miscarriage.
Upon arrival, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and go pee on a stick. Thankfully, M was with me to help me answer some of the questions. I have a terrible memory, and I think it’s even worse with baby brain. Honestly, sometimes I’m amazed I don’t forget my own head lately. A ton of the questions were around drug and alcohol use, and some were even about our financial situation. I can imagine that this would be an important one for the government, as they want to know whether they’ll have to be supporting this new family. I’m so thankful that we are in a solid situation with our house and our jobs and no debt. When I came back with the pee stick, the receptionist took one look at it and asked if I had any sweets that morning. I thought about it for a second, then remembered what I had for breakfast… “Um, I had Pop Tarts…” I answered guiltily. She said “OK, then, that explains it. It’s fine then.” I felt the need to tell her that Pop Tarts are not my usual breakfast – that I usually have Multigrain cereal and fruit. Oops.
The doctor seemed nice enough. Very open to questions, I noticed, and he even stopped whatever he was doing to fully give me his attention whenever I did ask something. Sometimes, my family doctor will continue writing as she answers, but not this doctor. I really appreciated that. He started with some of the basics, checking my breathing and that sort of thing, until he finally said it was time to listen for the heartbeat. He said that it could still be very faint as I was only 13 weeks and my uterus was still sitting back in my body, but that we could give it a try.
I think I held my breath and looked anxiously but excitedly at M as he pulled out the listening device. He began to move it around my belly, and we could hear the whooshing as he tried to locate the heartbeat. Then suddenly, faintly, I heard something…. ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. then it was gone, then back again. Our baby’s heartbeat!!!! I thought for sure that I would cry when I heard it, but I was nowhere close to tears. I think I was just concentrating so much on listening for it, and watching M’s face as he listened intently as well. I think because I had no reaction, the doctor asked “Do you hear it?” and I breathed out a yes. He searched for it some more and there it was again: ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. like a drum hidden deep in a cave.
We asked if it was safe to start telling people now. The doctor said everything looked great, and that the chance of miscarriage is now very low.
Our baby is in there, it’s real, it’s heart is beating, and I’m finally starting to feel like it’s safe.
I knew it would come up eventually, and now it has. My sister in law and her hubby have been trying to concieve for about a year now. I was concerned about what her reaction would be when we announced that I was pregnant because we never told anyone that we had started trying. I knew that she would be upset, hurt and likely disappointed when she found out that I got pregnant before she did. It’s completely understandable. They really want to start a family, and because they had told people that they were trying, they have had to deal with people always asking “How’s it coming? Are you pregnant yet?” I can imagine how frustrating that could start to become after more and more months passed and you had to keep saying “No, not yet.” It would be difficult enough dealing with the monthly disappointment personally – but having it out there for people to ask you and remind you about it constantly would start to become painful.
When we told our families, the inevitable question did come up: How long have you been trying? That was a tough one to answer, because technically, I got pregnant right away. But we started trying back in August – it just didn’t work out the way we had hoped it would. When we started trying again in November, we thankfully got pregnant right away again. I don’t think I had prepared myself enough for that question, and so I blurted out “Uh, a couple months”, which is sort of true, I guess.
Yesterday, it came out that my sister in law had made a comment about how it sort of sucked that we got pregnant after just a couple of months, when they had been trying for over a year. I knew that this would be in her head, and I was prepared to get a comment about it at some point, but it still stung. If only she knew…
What would she choose – to be in their situation, where they hadn’t been able to conceive for a year, or to be in ours, where we lost our baby?
I wonder if I will ever tell her, or anyone for that matter, that I had a miscarriage. I still don’t think I could mention it out loud to anyone but M and my doctor without bursting into tears. Maybe in time that will change. Maybe it will be different once our baby is born and I know that it is safe and sound.
I’m sure most people would expect this title in week 39 instead of week 12, but for me, this is a very important week. One more week to go until I finish my first trimester, which means the chance of miscarriage goes down to less than 1%.
All the signs have been good: exhaustion, nausea, bloating, headaches, swollen breasts, increased urination, insomnia, vivid dreams and did I mention exhaustion?? Most importantly of all: no spotting. I try very hard to not check the tissue every single time I have to go pee, but it’s hard not to and it’s a battle I often don’t win. Sometimes, I am able to force myself not to look, but it’s like the default setting is to always check. Luckily, there has not been a drop of blood to speak of. (Except for another charming pregnancy side-effect: hemorroids, which I covered in a previous post.)
I cannot get over how tired I have been. Normally, I’m a bit of a night owl and I never really go to bed until about 11PM. Now, most nights I’m ready to pack it in by 8:30! I haven’t been much fun on the weekends, since my internal clock doesn’t care that it’s Saturday night. I’m just plain tired out… What’s crazy is, I always wake up and find myself wide awake at some point in the night, and I can’t fall back asleep for what seems like ages. It makes me regret going to bed so early, but I just feel like I can’t stay awake past 9PM most nights.
Next Wednesday is the big day – I go in for my first real prenatal appointment. My family doctor doesn’t deliver babies anymore, so she referred me to another clinic. I’m happy, because it’s right across the street from the hospital where I want to do the delivery, and that’s the hospital they work with. It’s a very good hospital and a good friend of ours is a nurse there. However, there is a more sentimental reason I want to give birth there: It’s the hospital where my dad died. I really think of my dad as my guardian angel, and I want him to be there with us.
I’m both looking forward to and dreading next week, just like when my ultrasound appointment was coming up. It should be a great day, where we finally get to hear the baby’s heartbeat. But there is still that fear inside of me – what if something goes wrong? What if they do the checkup and find out that I had or will have another miscarriage? I don’t know that I could survive that. I’ve now had 12 weeks to connect with and love this little baby. It would destroy me if I lost him again.
It seems like ever since I had my miscarriage back in October that I’ve been wishing for a time machine. I’ve wanted to push time forward, make it move more quickly. Fast forward to get my period. Fast forward to when we could start trying to conceive again. Fast forward to Christmas day so we could take our home pregnancy test. Fast foward to 8 weeks and 1 day, so I could make it further than last time. Fast forward to my ultrasound so we could see the heartbeat. And now, fast forward to next week so I can finally hear that heart beating fast, telling me that you are safe and sound, and that you’ll really make it this time.
Fast forward to September so I can meet you and hold you in my arms and tell you to your tiny lovely face that I love you.
I’m terrified of needles. In fact, my doctor once teased me that the little kids were braver than I was when it was time to get my shots. So you can imagine my growing dread as the date of my blood test arrived.
I had to go in for the usual prenatal bloodwork before “the big day”, aka my first real prenatal appointment with the prenatal clinic. My appointment at the clinic is for next Wednesday, so I went in for my bloodwork last week. They check for all sorts of things, like your blood type, Rh factor, rubella and any STIs. (Side note: When did they change it from STDs to STIs??) I had to go in to see my doc first to get all the forms, then would head over to one of the many labs to get the actual blood drawn. She was very pleased to see me, because she knew how hard I had taken it when I miscarried back in October. That seems like eons ago now, but the feelings are still very sharp and clear in my mind. She told me about all the things they would be checking for, and she didn’t mention HCG levels. I asked if they check that and she said they don’t do that unless there’s concern that something is wrong. They just assume that your HCG levels increase throughout your pregnancy, and they don’t check it in routine prenatal screening. I know it sounds like I’m being paranoid, but I wish that they checked for that anyway, just to be sure.
Even though we had a very positive ultrasound only a couple of weeks ago, I’m still scared. I still want every reassurance possible that everything is OK this time, that the baby is growing and safe and healthy and that it’s little heart is still beating away. I still get terrified sometimes, and I try to tell myself to just relax. Nothing has happened that should cause me to think that anything is wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve had plenty of good symptoms, if you want to call them that, like bloating and nausea and dizziness.
My waistline is definitely growing now, too. I can easily hide it with sweaters or looser fitting clothing, but in a t-shirt and yoga pants, there is no denying my little belly isn’t so little any more. I had sadly given up on my skinny jeans weeks ago, but I found a handy little trick online at WhatToExpect.com. Just loop in a thick elastic band through the button hole and use it to wind around the button so you don’t have to do it up! Then you can still zip your jeans and hide the elastic with a longer sweater or top! It works great! M laughed when I showed him my little trick, but honestly, you could never tell if I didn’t lift up my sweater.
It was sort of fun this weekend to see family and our two friends who are in on our little secret. I could wear whatever I wanted and they could see that stuff is starting to happen down there. I showed my friend, V, the picture of the ultrasound and she was screaming and so excited. We also popped by M’s dad’s place and it was so cute to learn that he’s already keeping his eye out for baby hockey wear so that he will have something cool to give baby in December.
The plan had been to wait until the end of the first trimester before we told anyone that I was pregnant. However, as the date of our first ultrasound approached, we decided that we would tell our families the weekend after. I approached this with some skepticism and worry, since last time we planned on telling my mom, I miscarried just days before. Funny how your mind plays tricks on you… it’s not as if it would cause a miscarriage again, but I couldn’t help but worry. It’s as if I’m always scared to tempt fate. Like at any time, the fragile little life inside of me could be lost because of a stupid decision I made to repeat something I’ve done in the past.
A lot of my worry faded as soon as I heard the technician say those wonderful words: “I see a heartbeat.”. Even better was the fact that they gave us a printout so we could take home the very first picture of our baby. That was last Thursday. I called my mom to ask if she wanted to meet us for sushi on Friday night. There is a sushi place right by her house that we used to go to all the time when we lived in that area, and I told her that I missed the way they made the food there and that we were going to head out that way. She agreed to meet us there at 7. I carefully packed the picture of the ultrasound in my purse, and we wrote in the card that we had planned on giving her way back on October 27th – my birthday, and the day we were going to tell her I was pregnant the first time. M put the card in his jacket pocket.
We went into her place first instead of meeting at the restaurant. After a bit of small talk at the front door, M said – “Oh, check this out, you’ll think it’s funny.” He pulled the card from his pocket and handed it to my mom. She had no idea what it was. She pulled the card out of the envelope and read it carefully as we watched her. A slow realization crept across her face as she read it silently again.
“Really????” she cried.
I hugged her as I said yes, and both of us teared up with joy. She said she had a funny feeling all week that I was pregnant (she often has little intuitions like this) and she was beaming. She’s been waiting to be a grandma for 7 years now, and now she’s finally getting her wish.
On Saturday, we told M’s mom, who was thrilled as well, of course. M is sure that she’s already planning on what she’s going to need to buy for baby’s first Christmas stocking. On Sunday, we told his dad, who surprised both of us with how excited he was. Apparently, it was their Christmas wish to become grandparents. I told them that we had gotten the positive pregnancy on Christmas Day. It was wonderful to be able to tell our family that we are expecting. It makes it feel more real, and at this point, I just want as many things as possible to add to that feeling.
The only difficult part was seeing the reaction of my sister in law. She and her husband have been trying now for a year, with no luck. I know it’s been hard because they really want to start a family. He let the cat out of the bag around Christmastime last year that they had “pulled the goalie” so to speak. They didn’t keep it quiet that they were starting to try, and so a lot of people always ask them if they’re pregnant yet. I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. Month after month with nothing. M wondered aloud to me whether it was harder for them to not be able to get pregnant or for us to have had to deal with a miscarriage. I don’t think I could say if there’s one that’s harder than the other. I’m sure each of us would argue for our situation because we’re the ones who went through it and all of the pain and frustration that goes along with it. She did congratulate us, of course, and I know she is happy for us, but I was worried about how she would react when we broke the news. We told them that only family knows at this point, and that we are not going to say anything to anyone else until the end of the month.
I am 10 weeks now, so I know that this is one of the big milestones. At this point, the baby goes from being classified as an embryo to being a fetus. More importantly, the risk of miscarriage goes way down to about 5%. The next big milestone is 13 weeks, of course, when it goes down even further to 1%. The date I’ve circled on my calendar is Feb 25, the day I can really start to breathe easier and know that it’s really going to happen for us this time. I’m feeling positive, but there’s always still that bit of fear in the back of my mind. I hope that all the love and good wishes from our inner circle will keep things going along well for the next three weeks.