Since my last post, I’ve had two ultrasounds: my last with the RE, and my first as a new OB patient with the local OB. Everything is still looking good — growing right on track, nice strong heartbeat, and I even got to see those first little twitchy movements on the ultrasound today. My official due date is Nov 7, though I’m currently measuring two days ahead, which puts me somewhere around 9w right now (I was measuring 9w0d today, though according to LMP/EDD I’m 8w5d).
The weird thing is, I felt totally calm until after the ultrasound today, and then I got all shaky and weepy and was barely able to hold back tears while I was talking with the new midwife in the practice during my appointment. She must think I’m nuts — everything looks perfect, and I was an emotional wreck anyway. I should have been thrilled. I’m honestly not sure I can explain why I was so weepy today. Yeah, yeah, pregnancy hormones and all that… but I think it’s also just because with everything I’ve been through, pregnancy is so darn stressful, even when things look good. In fact, especially when things look good, because I’m an expert at handling losses at this point, but I also know that the later I go, the harder it will be if this pregnancy ends. There’s the fear of getting attached, the fear of getting hurt as much as I was hurt when my daughter died. And, let me tell you, when that little nubbin was kicking its little arm and leg stumps on the ultrasound this afternoon, I was amazed and a little in love in spite of myself. Just dreaming that this might work and we might get to add another baby to our family… it’s so big, and so incredible, and I’m just afraid to even start to believe that it might happen. Hence the tears and shakiness. This is wonderful, guys, but it’s also really intense.
I mean, the plus side of almost losing it in front of the midwife is that when I asked if I could come back in two weeks instead of five for a heartbeat check, she didn’t even hesitate — and she also offered to let me come back as often as I need to for reassurance. I really don’t think I would have been able to stay sane waiting 5 weeks to know that everything was OK. They might consider me a normal (if geriatric) OB patient, but I am pretty far from emotionally normal, clearly.
She did try to reassure me with the old line about how “a normal heartbeat at this gestational age means that you have a less than 5% chance of miscarriage,” but I put the kibosh on that. I told her (gently, I think) that those numbers don’t really mean anything to me since losing a pregnancy at 18 weeks (and I didn’t even add that they almost certainly don’t apply to me, since 2nd and 3rd trimester losses are highly correlated and MFM told me I have a significant risk of placental issues in all my pregnancies). I have long since stopped expecting doctors to have any idea about what it is like to lose pregnancy after pregnancy in the first and second trimesters. I do appreciate it when they try, but I sort of feel like whenever I’m feeling up to it, it’s a service to the others who will come after me if I try to give them some insight into what it feels like and what is and is not reassuring, so I’m glad I spoke up a bit today.
Anyway, next week is my intake appointment with MFM, along with the bloodwork for NIPT and the other standard first-trimester testing, and then the following week I go back for a quick check-in with my OB, and then it’ll be time for the 12w ultrasound. So, at least I have weekly opportunities for reassurance over the next few weeks to help me stay sane.
If I am lucky enough to make it through the first trimester, I have to start worrying about the fact that my pregnancy is pretty much at the worst possible timing for an academic, but that’s a subject for another post. There’s nothing I can do about it now, other than trying (and failing) not to think about it, because it would really make me feel a lot better to have a plan but I can’t make one until I’m ready to tell my department chair that I’m pregnant. I mean, after four perfectly-timed academic pregnancies in a row, it figures that the awfully timed one would be the one that sticks, amirite? I’m also trying not to freak out about the fact that this baby and my tenure packet are due exactly the same week. But hey, cross that bridge when I come to it, right? These are really very good problems to have, in the grand scheme of things.
And that’s the update! Hopefully, my updates will be similarly boring and normal from here on out. Wish me luck!