It was February 26th at 5AM; I was heading on a bachelorette party the next day and since we’d been trying again (and I was about a day late) I figured I should take a pregnancy test just to be sure. I was hopeful, as I had been the months before, but wasn’t feeling any of those early pregnancy symptoms I had the first time so was very sure it was going to be negative. Matt had just left for work, I took the test and let it sit to register. I started brushing my teeth and noticed in the corner of my eye the test had stopped blinking,
With toothbrush in hand and a mouth full of toothpaste my eyes widened and I stared blankly at this positive pregnancy test. I was immediately overwhelmed with a sense of excitement as I picked up my phone to call Matt. There was no way I could wait all day for him to come home to tell him. He picked up the phone and I immediately started crying. He had only been about a mile away from home at this point so he turned around and headed home so we could be together for a couple minutes.
He walked in the door and I was sitting on the stairs, pregnancy test in hand and tears just flowing down my cheeks. I was so excited, but I also was so damn scared.
In my heart I knew it wouldn’t be fair to this baby to live in fear for the next couple weeks waiting for our Doctors appointment but in my head I knew how hard it was losing our first baby. The immense overwhelming sadness that I thought would never go away. It’s a feeling you can’t truly describe until you’ve lived it. You are so incredibly excited but you are no longer blissfully unaware of the pain of the “what could happen”. I talked with my parents and some close friends who also reminded me that it wouldn’t be fair to this little babe to live the next few weeks in fear but more importantly they reminded me that while those months were some of the hardest months Matt and I had endured in our personal lives, we made it through.
So I tried. I tried to remain excited and not let my fears and anxiety get the best of me. Some days were better than others but it was really hard to let myself get “excited”. As much as I tried there was always this voice in my mind saying, be cautious.
Throughout my waiting and personal anxiety a pandemic began. A pandemic that brought it’s own fears to my mind and to life as we knew it. I started working from home on March 13th. As the pandemic became more serious, events/appointments started getting cancelled. Stores, gyms, and non-essential businesses began closing and I began to seriously worry that my Doctors appointment may be cancelled; fortunately it was not.
March 26th at 8:30 AM we drove to the Doctors office. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my entire life. Matt and I held hands driving to the appointment but didn’t talk much. Walking into the office felt very eerily familiar of our September visit. Upon check-in the front desk told us that Matt could attend the sonogram but due to Coronavirus restrictions he was not allowed to stay in the office for the entire visit; he would be required to stand out in the hallway of the office after the sonogram.
Hearing my name being called by the sonogram technician almost feels like a dream now. As we walked back, the same steps we took in September, my heart started beating faster and I started taking some deep breathes. As the sonogram started Matt and I grabbed hands; I was staring straight up at the ceiling as the Tech began and I felt my hands shaking. It was quiet and then I heard the Tech say “that little motion right there, that’s the heartbeat“.
Tears immediately started flowing. And then she turned the sound on for us to hear our little one’s beating heart.
The Technicians are not able to tell you much but she printed out some photos and told Matt he had to leave and I was to wait for the Doctor. The office was still while I waited. Was the heartbeat strong enough? Was the baby big enough? Was everything ok? Were just a couple of the things running through my mind as I grasped tightly onto this photograph of our little raspberry sized baby.
After some time the Doctor finally came in, with a big smile on her face she assured me that despite measuring just shy of 8 weeks our little one had a very strong heartbeat.
I don’t know if I have ever felt more relived – I immediately asked her if I could text Matt, knowing he was anxiously waiting outside in the hallway, and she said of course. Leaving that appointment they set me up for another sonogram in two weeks to ensure the baby was still growing properly and they would determine if our due date would change. While we had a strong heartbeat, based on my history my Doctor didn’t want me waiting until 12 weeks to be seen again.
While this created some new anxiety, waiting another two weeks, I was hopeful and just kept replaying the Doctors words in my mind; “a strong heartbeat”.
April 9th at 3PM was our next appointment. This time, the pandemic had worsened and they were only allowing patients into the office. Matt drove me to the office but unfortunately had to sit in the car. Walking into the sonogram room I immediately asked the Tech if I could FaceTime my husband. She was the kindest soul and said “Absolutely. This is a weird time and whatever I can do to make it a little bit less weird for you, I will”.
Seeing our little lego man sized baby pop up on the screen brought on yet another wave of emotion this time – the tears were flowing and the Tech told us a little more, let us listen to the heartbeat and just kept telling us how cute our little gummy bear baby was. I couldn’t have asked for a better 10 week check in.
At this point we were measuring closer to our 10 weeks so the Doctor decided they wouldn’t be changing our due date. We would again have another sonogram in two weeks for the regular 12 week check up. Having the reassurance from the Doctors that our baby was progressing and within the normal variance for growth helped to make things feel “normal” for a while. Yet I still hesitated on allowing myself to be “excited” or even look at baby things online. It was as though my mind kept pulling me back to that gut wrenching news we had received back in September. Yet still, I took everything day by day and waited another two weeks.
April 23rd at 9:30 AM we got to see our now plum sized baby. Again, FaceTime was our only option for Matt to be able to be a part of the appointment but he was atleast able to experience it in some manner.
As soon as I turned the phone toward the screen he excitedly said “WHOA, our baby is HUGE”. The Tech and I both started laughing. The Tech took some measurements and everything was looking good. Watching this little babe jump around on the screen was mesmerizing; I could have sat there all day long. We again got to hear our little one’s heartbeat, it feels as though every time I hear it I can’t help myself but cry tears of happiness. I never thought a sound could bring about such intense emotion.
So here we are, ending the first trimester with a baby growing by the day. Our journey with this pregnancy has only just begun but I almost feel like I can’t remember a time without this little one. We were lucky enough to be able to find out the gender of our babe on May 5th and we are happy to share that a baby boy will be joining us later this year. Each day is a new day and while my anxiety shows it’s head in different ways day by day it’s still very present. Talking with friends and other Moms I’m not sure if that “anxiety” or worry truly ever goes away. It just surfaces in different ways throughout your child’s life.
I’ll share more of my first trimester experience over the next few days but felt it was only necessary to be honest and first share the emotions that I’ve been dealing with over the last few months.
With all the excitement of this new little boy we will never forget our first baby.
It would be a disservice to the many women and men out there right now to not recognize the fact that our journey has not been long. There are many of you out there longing to be parents and struggling with your own loss, IVF journey and struggles. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. This has been our journey so far and I share it to share some hope. Some hope alongside some real emotion that pregnancy after a loss, after a traumatic experience is not easy but that there are rainbows after storms and we are currently cherishing our rainbow until he makes his appearance in November.
To each of you reading this with tears in your eyes longing for your own child, please know you are not alone. I personally am sending you love, strength and hope. Know that your feelings are valid and in one way or another you will find your rainbow.
All my love,
A special thank you goes out to Kait of Kaitlyn McNamara Photography for capturing these beautiful images for Matt and I. Also, a special thank you to Lynn Cipollone of @Lynny_C for custom making the meaningful sweatshirt for our little guy and the bandana for our fur babe.