I’m 20 weeks pregnant. My mind goes straight to the thought that I have reached the cutoff between a miscarriage and a stillbirth. If I lose this baby, it will be considered a stillbirth. That feels like an accomplishment!

That’s certainly not something I thought about in my first pregnancy. At this point I had already felt “in the clear” for a couple of months now. I will never feel in the clear this pregnancy, but I do feel better than I did even a couple weeks ago. Now that I can feel him move, I get reassurance without going to the doctor’s to hear a heartbeat. I know he’s alive today. That makes me feel so grateful. I have today with him. 

Last week we had the targeted anatomy scan. I was anxious for what the results could be, but I also anticipated a magical moment watching him wiggle around like Ginny’s anatomy scan. I underestimated the heaviness of the dark room and quiet sonographer. I’m glad Daniel’s parents were with us. They were able to bear some of the tension in the room. I guess because I am high risk, the sonographer spent maybe one minute on his face and profile and the rest on his heart and other organs that I couldn’t make sense of. At one point she apologized for being so quiet, “Sorry some of these measurements are really hard to get. I have to focus.” That didn’t make me feel better. My mind was wondering what could be wrong. At least I could see his heart beating. I saw 4 chambers; that’s a good sign. 

The mixture of flashbacks of Ginny’s last ultrasound, the long wait for the doctor, and the disappointment of realizing we were only getting two pictures was enough to overwhelm me. The ultrasound pictures of Ginny are the only pictures we have of her alive. I look at those pictures all the time. They are what I will look at for my whole life; they are priceless to me. What if I only get these two pictures of this baby? What if that’s all I get of him?!

The doctor came in. Everything looks good! That’s a big relief. 

She goes on to say that the next ultrasound will be scheduled for over two months from now. What?! I thought I was getting more monitoring. Two months is a long time to wait when you feel like your placenta could stop working at any time! The doctor explained that there is not much they can do prior to 28 weeks. But after 28 weeks, I will get growth ultrasounds and non stress tests. I feel helpless until then. I asked for more pictures. The doctor was going to ask the sonographer if she could send more. 

Daniel and I then met with the receptionist and scheduled appointments out until July. We finally left after 3 hours. 

I felt so exhausted. I felt overwhelmed. I was glad that everything looked good, and our baby boy was measuring on track. I was disappointed that the appointment wasn’t the amazing experience we had at Ginny’s anatomy scan. I was frustrated that there isn’t more we can do to protect our son. I was upset at myself for not asking to spend more time looking at his face and hands. I felt guilty for not being happier and more grateful after getting a good report. I still felt afraid. 

As soon as we got in the car after the appointment, I broke down crying. It was all too much for one afternoon, and I missed Ginny. 

I’m realizing this is the reality of pregnancy after loss. You want so badly to be positive and cheerful and enjoy every moment, but there is an emotional barrier that can’t be ignored. Fear gets in the way, and grief is part of all your experiences. Hope is still there though. It is harder to see always, but love brings it to light – love for both children. 

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