Two big pieces of news this week: (1) We had a normal anatomy scan, and (2) as of today, this pregnancy officially moves into second place of my five pregnancies in terms of how long it has lasted.
The anatomy scan on Tuesday morning was blessedly uneventful. It was my husband’s first time seeing the baby on ultrasound, which was pretty special for him (he came to every single prenatal appointment for my first two pregnancies, but when you have a toddler somehow all our time disappears and “divide and conquer” becomes a survival strategy). This baby moves around a lot (which was also commented on at the 13-week NT scan), but apparently is more cooperative than S, because they didn’t have to tilt me upside-down or make me walk around and they still got all the views they needed — unlike with S, who was so stubborn that we had to wait four more weeks to get a decent view of his aortic arch. The ultrasonographer was quick and efficient, not chatty, but that was fine — she just kept snapping pictures, saying “looks perfect,” and moving on.
The doctor who came in afterwards was fine, but could really work on his bedside manner. Basically his job was to tell us that the scan was normal, but that of course a normal anatomy scan doesn’t guarantee a problem-free pregnancy or birth. Instead, he delivered the message in such a way that it sounded basically like he was saying, “There are SO MANY ways a pregnancy can go wrong! I mean, you’ve already had a normal NIPT, but that’s only really good at detecting Down Syndrome, and of course the anatomy scan is normal, but it doesn’t pick up everything and you could still do an amniocentesis if you’re really worried about catching every uncommon chromosomal abnormality, but even that doesn’t rule out a whole host of other birth defects!” Luckily, my husband and I weren’t too fazed by it, since we do already understand the limitations of the tests and the probabilities that go along with them, but this doctor must freak out a whole lot of families — and he’s in an MFM practice, so you’d think he’d know better!
Otherwise, 18w is feeling OK so far. It is hugely reassuring to have the normal anatomy scan under our belts (a milestone I never had in my pregnancy with my daughter). S’s sleep has been a little rocky lately which means I feel the pregnancy fatigue a little more acutely, but my anxiety level is MUCH lower in this pregnancy than it was with S. I mean, I’m still far more anxious than I was in my first pregnancy, and I assume more anxious than someone who has never experienced loss and maybe particularly late loss, but I do not have the acute panic with every minor twinge that I had during my pregnancy with S, which is a huge relief. I think the big difference is that when I was pregnant with S, I had no experience with what a normal pregnancy was like, since our daughter had died, so even stuff that I had experienced in my first pregnancy (because it was totally normal) freaked me out in my second pregnancy because I didn’t know if that was a sign that whatever happened to my daughter might be happening again. Now I have one normal, full-term pregnancy under my belt, which gives me a much better sense of what’s normal vs. what I actually need to freak out about.
And this week is another big milestone in the sense that this pregnancy is now officially my second-longest-lasting of my five pregnancies so far. I think second place is a great place to be, and in my ideal scenario (healthy live birth within days of my due date) it would stay there until the end, since I don’t really want to go a week past my due date again! The milestone of a normal anatomy scan has also opened us up more to starting to think about logistics: names (boy names are hard!), rearranging our house (relocating my husband’s home office as we turn the current room into the new nursery), figuring out what furniture we need (e.g., are we going to try to do the transition to a big-kid bed, or buy another crib? Do we need a second glider?), and all of the other things we’ve been studiously ignoring up until now. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s fun to plan, and it feels good to be able to believe in this pregnancy enough to start actually making plans.
Another piece of ultimately good news is that our little campus daycare seems as though it should have a spot for our baby in March, which is when we really need it. They’ve been horrible at communication (first they told us yes, then they told us no, then today the director emailed that we’re in again), but ultimately it looks like they’ve worked out a solution that should be reasonable. The problem is that our daycare is so small that it only has four infant slots, but they rigidly age-group the kids by fiscal year so having an infant starting in March means that if they reserve an infant slot for our baby next year they are essentially only able to have three infants the first eight months of the fiscal year, which is a loss of about $10k in tuition for them. The director was going to save us the spot anyway (which is why she originally told us yes), but then the “executive board” (two parents who are now on my blacklist) decided that the cost was going to be too high so they were just going to ignore the fact that we had top priority on the wait list and not offer us a spot until the new fiscal year in July 2019. I mean, there are all kinds of dumb things going on there, including the fact that $10k is a miniscule fraction of what our family will be paying the daycare to send two kids all the way through from infant to preschool, and also compared to what they’d lose if we pulled our our older kid before he switched to preschool, since they have a lot of pressure on infant slots but usually have trouble filling all the preschool slots — and if we had to find another daycare for our second baby, the probability that we’d pull S out is actually quite high, since he’d be transitioning to preschool anyway and it’s better to make that transition a bigger one for him than to totally disrupt an infant’s routine four months into daycare to get them in the same place.
So anyway, the upshot is that the infant/toddler teachers were apparently just like, “Um, why can’t we just move S to preschool a few months before his age-mates to free up a spot for one of the older infants to officially become a toddler and then we’ll be able to open a new infant spot in March?” So, it looks like S will move upstairs to the preschool about a month after his third birthday (which I think will be mostly a good thing — being the oldest in his age group means he’s occasionally seemed bored and frustrated at the end of the year when he’s ready for big-kid things and gets barred from them because of the arbitrary age grouping). His age-group buddies will join him in July, but since he’s currently in the same classroom as the group who will be moving up to preschool this year and therefore he already knows them, I’m not too worried about the social aspect of moving rooms a few months before his age-mates.
So anyway, the point is that things are good, and we’re thinking about the future and starting to plan for a new family member, which is a nice place to be. There’s always that part of me that fears making plans or telling people (like my students) about my pregnancy, because what if…? But I’m mostly able to accept that those fears will always be there, that the possibility of another loss will always be there, but that it’s OK to be optimistic and hope and plan in the meantime. In a way, having faced the worst in the past makes the worst seem at least hypothetically more manageable this time around. I hope beyond hope that it won’t happen again, but I know that if it does, we’ll get through it, because we’ve done it before.