Adios, First Trimester!

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. 🙂

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18 thoughts on “Adios, First Trimester!

  1. sewingbutterfly

    I am so glad you are all still travelling well. Congratulations on your little boy 🙂 I hope he continues to grow nice and strong. I appreciate how honest you are about your feelings.

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! It is hard to be honest about these emotions sometimes, but I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Honestly, I’m already moving past it, and feeling very protective of our little guy. We have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m just hoping that things continue to go as well as they have been.

      Reply
      1. sewingbutterfly

        It is hard to be honest, but sometimes it is the easiest way to ensure we DO move past things. I find envy and jealously to be the ones I struggle with at the moment. But being honest, even just with myself, about those feelings helps deal with them so I can get back to other, more pleasant ones!!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks so much. 🙂 I am so thankful that everything is going well, and honestly, I’m already moving past those initial feelings of disappointment and feeling very protective of our little guy!

      Reply
  2. hopingforatakehome

    Congratulations on your NT scan and your NIPT results! Really great news. 🙂 I’m waiting until after the NT scan this week to tell more people as well. That sounded like an awkward conversation with your department admin. Unfortunately not everyone is sensitive or thinks before they speak. I’m sorry you have to have those conversations! I also think it’s great that you and your husband can be open with all your feelings, including the more difficult to talk about ones. I think you guys are going to do great 🙂

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you. 🙂 I know that our department administrator can be difficult sometimes — she means so, so well, but she’s just a bit clueless about a lot of things, and generally lacking social skills. She’s one of those people who will walk into your office when you’re frantically busy and want to tell you all about her grandson’s band concert for 20 minutes, and won’t take the hint even when you try to keep working and saying “hmm, yes” at appropriate intervals! So it wasn’t surprising, just a bit frustrating/bizarre.

      At any rate, we are mostly just thrilled about all the good news from the tests that have been coming back these last couple of weeks. Hard to believe it’s already been a week since our NT scan — while I’ve been traveling, time has been flying!

      Reply
  3. My Perfect Breakdown

    I am so glad you had a wonderful scan and that you are having a boy!! I think your reaction to the news of his gender is totally normal! I always wanted a little boy before all of our losses, but now I want a girl and i know part of my desire to have a girl is wrapped up in our third loss of a little girl, the only one that we know the gender of.
    Also, I am so sorry that you are dealing with such insensitive comments from people. Unfortunately, people just don’t seem to get it. I do hope you have people in your life who do get it and who do offer you support when you need it.

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      It’s so helpful to hear that you’ve had these complicated feelings about the sex of your babies as well — and it’s really interesting to hear how they’ve changed over time with your experiences! I can’t wait to find out the sex of your baby (I know you can’t wait even more than I can’t wait). 🙂

      The insensitive comments are mostly just exhausting at this point, since I often feel like I need to educate the people making them (I know I don’t actually have any responsibility to do so; I think it’s just part of my personality). Our administrator is pretty socially clueless anyway, but usually it just matters a lot less and I can let it roll off me. To be fair, I’ve also had some really nice conversations — my department chair was surprisingly sensitive (his kids are older, but I know he and his wife experienced a miscarriage at the end of the first trimester in between the two living children). He was appropriately appalled at our 30% risk of placenta-related complications, and was very supportive. And yes, there are lots of people in our lives who do get it and are offering support. We’re really very lucky in our close friends and family.

      Reply
  4. Wifey

    Whew, that’s a lot to deal with. You are handling it so, so well. Congratulations on the sweet baby boy! I know you have to be feeling so many mixed emotions, but at least you are being honest about them and working through them. Fingers crossed for continued good news!

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks so much! Really, we’re in a very good place right now — good news all around, and just some sticky stuff to deal with on the margins. I’m just so grateful that everything looks good for our baby boy so far! Thanks for telling me I’m handling it well — sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, so it helps to hear it from someone else. 🙂 Glad things are going so spectacularly well for you guys too!

      Reply
  5. newchancesnewhope

    Congratulations and welcome to the 2nd trimester!! So pleased that all came back well with the tests. I’m sure you’re still feeling anxious but you couldn’t ask for better at this stage! xxx

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you — and welcome to the second trimester to you as well! Of course I’m still feeling anxious (today it’s a twinge in my lower right abdomen — trying to decide how foolish I’ll feel if I call the OB about it). 🙂 But you’re right — for now, everything is looking great!

      Reply
  6. dandisnow

    I had much the same reaction when we found out we were having a boy. The shock took a good week to wear off. I had to figure out what it was I was feeling. Not disappointment, just sadness. Would I ever know what it was to mother a girl? Would that huge crate of clothes stay unworn? I’ve made my peace with it and I’m looking forward to meeting our little guy. I just miss my baby girl too.

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Yes, this, exactly. It’s not the idea of mothering a boy that makes me sad, but rather the loss of the opportunity to mother a girl — and the fear that I might never get that experience, when I was so close to it the first time around. Most of the time these days I’m OK with it, although I did have a moment earlier this week when I got sad about it again. But you’re right, I really AM looking forward to meeting our son, it’s just that I miss my baby girl too. And pregnancy hormones have never made any of this emotional stuff any easier, that’s for sure! I’m sure our little guys are going to be the light of our lives — it really is just a strange situation to be in when the only thing you know about your baby is what their chromosomes are. I think the reality is always going to be that you’ll fall in love with the whole person who emerges, and sex chromosomes just won’t matter when there *is* a whole person to love.

      Reply
      1. dandisnow

        I think you are right. I know I will be so in love when I see his little face. It’s hard to imagine loving another babe as much as I do my daughter, but I suppose even “normal” moms worry about that. 🙂

        Do you follow ameliakyoga on Instagram? I’ve really loved following her story; she lost her son, Landon, then went on to have a baby girl named Lily. Her photos are beautiful, but the insight she has shared has been really encouraging to me as well.

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