Well, here I am, 12w2d pregnant and staring the end of the first trimester in the face. There’s a lot to love about the end of the first trimester — I’m already feeling much less nausea, for one thing!
On Thursday we had our NT scan, and everything was looking great. The NT measurement was 1.3mm, which is nice and low, exactly as they want. Our little guy was making life difficult for the sonographer, and she had to jiggle my belly a bunch of times to get him to flip over several times so she could make all the right measurements. He was wriggling up a storm, which was really cute, and we got some great shots of his profile, his face, and his foot (the only body part that the sonographer decided to label on the printouts, for some reason!).
Oh, and you might have noticed the pronouns. We got our NIPT results back on Monday, and found out that our baby is at low risk of all the common chromosomal abnormalities… and it’s a boy!
I mentioned before that I had some anxiety about finding out the sex of our baby, especially given how excited we were to be having a girl the first time and how I let myself run away with dreams of mothering a daughter. Well, I’ll admit it (although never to my son!) — when I found out it was a boy, at first I felt numb, and then a bit later I cried. I wasn’t really crying about having a boy — as I sobbed, all I could think was “I want my little girl back” and “Why did she have to die?” It wasn’t really about him as much as it was about losing the dream of a daughter all over again. I felt incredibly guilty about it too — still do, in fact. All along I’ve said that I just want a healthy baby, and I’ve meant it. I’m now pregnant with an apparently healthy baby, and I do not at all underestimate how lucky I am to be here. I’m going to love this kid with every fiber of my being, no matter what his chromosomes or how often he pees on me when I change him — I know that, of course. All my feelings about this pregnancy are just so complicated, and wrapped up in the loss of our daughter. I’ve tried to give myself permission to be honest and feel what I feel about everything we’ve been through, and this is part of that process. (My husband felt the same way, if you’re wondering. After we found out he asked “Are you disappointed?” and I said “Not really. Well, maybe a little,” and he said, “It’s OK — I am.” And then we talked about it.)
Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it will mean to raise a boy, and I’m starting to come around to the idea. For one thing, there is so much variation in what it means to be a “girl” or a “boy” that it’s almost laughably meaningless — I know I’ll feel differently when there’s an actual little person in front of me than a single-attribute mental construct. I’m far from a “girly” person anyway, and my dreams of being mother to a daughter never included mani-pedis and tea parties (I’m pretty sure I disappointed my own mom when I not only scorned the whole white wedding dress thing but also refused to wear so much as a speck of makeup at my own wedding). 🙂 I have plenty of things in common with someone with stereotypically “male” interests, after all. It also helps me to think about our baby as a little version of my husband — my husband is one of my favorite people on the planet, and having a mini-him around the house would be pretty great. I also think that a lot of my nervousness about raising a boy comes from just not having a lot of experience with boys. I was raised almost exclusively by women, and the two cousins that I was close to growing up are both women. So I’m starting to think about raising a boy as an opportunity for learning and growth. xykademiqz left a very sweet comment on my last blog post about being a mom of three boys, and I loved her thought about how being a mom to boys has let her understand and really love men and boys in general in a new way. That sounds to me like an awfully good thing, and I’m looking forward to that opportunity for growth as a human being. Of course, I’m sure that being a mom to a living child will make me grow in new and exciting ways no matter what. 🙂
Other things that have happened in the last ~week or so since I wrote:
- I met the little girl who was born to my close friends a few days after my daughter’s due date. She’s unsurprisingly adorable and sweet, and she took to me right away. I was nervous about meeting her, worried about how she would remind me of what we were missing out on and what might have been if our daughter hadn’t died. Well, she did, but when faced with an actual little girl I was able to see her primarily as herself rather than as the concept of our daughter who might have been. It wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I’d feared.
- We’ve started telling people about this pregnancy — I told my coworkers after our NT scan, because I’m really starting to show and I don’t want to make them pretend they don’t see it. It’s been strange, and sometimes sad to have these conversations. Some people have been great, really hopeful for us while also sensitive to our loss. Some people have made clueless remarks, as expected. I had one conversation with my department administrator that got awkward and more detailed than I’d intended. I mentioned that this pregnancy was considered high risk, and she was really confused about why. She said, “Why, just because you lost one?” (Ouch.) I told her it was more about when and why our daughter died, and she asked what I meant. So I wound up telling her about the placental abruption, and she was still kind of confused. She said, “Is it your hormone levels? My niece had to go on hormones until she felt the baby move.” I told her that that wasn’t it — for one thing, I’d already felt the baby move when our daughter died. So she asked, “Wait, when did you lose the first one?” and I told her 4.5 months. She said “Oh, I thought you lost it closer to this point, like three months!” and I said no… this was all sort of weird, because I’d told everyone in the email I sent about our first loss that it was at 18 weeks, but I think people just don’t do the math and realize that 18 weeks is actually almost halfway through a pregnancy and well into the fifth month. It’s a little odd that she’s only realizing now a little bit of what we’ve been through. It always bothers me when I wind up in a situation where I have to explain to someone that what happened to us was not a typical first-trimester miscarriage — I never want to minimize the emotional impact of first-trimester miscarriage, which is often deep and profound, but at the same time I want people to understand that losing a baby in the second trimester often has long-term implications for future pregnancies that a single first-trimester loss does not. It’s a fine line to walk.
Anyway, the headline news is that things are going really well so far, we’ve had nothing but good news from our first trimester screening, and I’m excited about entering the second trimester (whether you want to call it 12 or 13 or 14 weeks, we’re at least right on the cusp). As we’ve started to talk to more people about this pregnancy we’ve had to start dealing with a wider range of reactions, but so far that hasn’t been too traumatic — unlike after the loss of our daughter, I’m generally in a good place emotionally, and excited about the pregnancy, and that makes it easier to deal with insensitive remarks.
Now I’m at a conference for a week, then my husband and I are going on vacation for a week, and then it’s back to prepare for the impending semester. We’ve got a quick check-in planned with the local OB when I get back from vacation, and then the next big milestone is our early anatomy scan at 17 weeks (the MFM said she usually does an early anatomy scan for couples with a history like ours, and I admit that a good anatomy scan a week before the point of our first loss would be a huge reassurance). That’s all the news that’s fit to print! Here’s hoping that all y’all are enjoying the last dregs of summer too. 🙂