This blogger who I enjoy reading about so much–partly because we’re in the same boat with sons around the same age and because we’re both due with baby #2 in July–wrote a post that really struck a chord with me. I was right there in her mind. I got it. This was her honest post. And this is mine:
I won’t tell you that I don’t think the timing was right for this little baby or that we’re not excited or happy to welcome a second bundle into this world–nothing could be further from the truth. But, it’s been a real eye-opener, this pregnancy. I have been so wrapped up in Ian and his little personality and all that unfolds day-to-day in his life, that I sort of forget that I have another little person growing inside of me. And I get that this is normal since with your first pregnancy, you don’t have another little person to take care of so you just daydream about the day you will meet your baby and fantasize about your new life as a parent. So I forget save the moments for when I look into the mirror and see clothing fitting differently and a swelling belly. And the kicking I have started to feel.
It’s no huge secret with my first pregnancy that I was extremely anxious. Every little thing I ate I questioned. Not because I’m a health food nut, but because I was worried that I would get Listeria or food poisoning or that I would miscarry. Because I hadn’t done this before, grow a new life. Be pregnant. And I didn’t want to mess up. I was anal about everything–walking around enough on flights because of the potential blood clots I could get from sitting too long, making sure my coffee was always decaf even though I ordered it as such, following up with my doctor to make sure I could fly overseas even after she said it was fine to do so. Some of these things may sound stupid, especially to a woman who has already been pregnant before–but to me, I was so worried I’d fail and lose the chance to get this right. And for the first time.
So now I am pregnant a second time. And I’ve never been more relaxed. I know what to eat and what not to–and what causes me undue anxiety. I know the whooshing and stretching feelings are all part of the process. And I know what to expect at ultrasounds, blood tests, and of the neverending series of pee cups at each OB appointment.
But at my 18-week ultrasound, one that is memorable for so many couples because they find out the gender of their baby (but we do not since we opt for a surprise at the birth–a truly amazing experience, unlike any other), I didn’t expect to learn about a cyst, a soft marker, a something that could potentially go wrong.
And the whole thing terrifies me. Terrifies me to the point of not knowing how to act, feel, or be. Terrifies me to even speak about it. But I’m getting better at it. I have to. For my sanity, for the baby, for the future. And hopefully, I won’t have to pretend it’s all okay because it will be. I yearn that it must be.
My story goes like this: We had what we thought was a pretty uneventful in-depth ultrasound at the 18-week mark (and by uneventful, I mean routine which in my mind equals very good). The 18-month ultrasound is a time to survey the baby and its anatomy. I know you are never in the clear for everything, which is why they have ultrasounds. I had had genetic testing at 12 weeks as we did when I was pregnant with Ian, but I did that more for selfish reasons–you get to have not only a blood test (which isn’t the part I was excited about), but an ultrasound–a chance to see our little one at the early stages. At the 12-week ultrasound we got optimal test results and review of the baby. And adorable first pictures of the baby.
At 18 weeks, we were very clear with the tech that we did not want to find out the baby’s sex. We got an image of the baby to take home with us. We got asked questions about Ian, my pregnancy with him, how I feel this time around, and other run-of-the-mill inquiries. They saved the news for the end of the ultrasound that would spread some shock and shake my relaxed pregnancy into one of doubt.
The scariest thing I heard was not that our baby has a cyst on its brain, which it does. We learned that the “cyst” is not truly a cyst even though they call it that. It’s more like a fluid pocket. And the best part is (and yes, there is a best part), it does not affect the baby’s brain, development, personality, or thinking–it is just an isolated finding. In fact, tons of people today–perhaps even you–have one. And with the technology available today, a cyst like this is appearing on more and more ultrasounds. So then, what? And that was my reaction. What is the problem? What’s the big deal? The cyst can be a soft marker for a disorder that is serious but rare. In other words, although our risk is still small, it’s elevated in that our baby could have this disorder. And if it does? Well, it’s from one extreme to the next: either the baby is fine (and we are assured that given only this marker and given that all other parts of the baby appear to be developing normally, that the baby is 99% healthy, normal, and just like any other baby born into this world as perfect), or, given the slight chance this baby does have this disorder, the baby has a dim chance of survival.
It’s shocking, it’s scary, and for us, amnio is not an option. So, in all my life, I don’t think I’ve wanted to speed up time any faster than this, to know that in several months, come delivery day, that our baby is just fine. Because without amnio, that is the only way we know that baby is born healthy.
The odds are in our favor that all turns out okay. I want so much to trust in that and in God. I know He has a plan for all, but it doesn’t make me feel entirely better. It certainly makes Ian’s first ultrasound issue seem like a mere pimple on an otherwise perfect complexion. And to just look at him now after all that worry!
I want so much for everything to be okay. I hope that God agrees that I deserve it. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I don’t. For me to share this publicly here is scary for me, too. I don’t want pity, I just want therapy to let out this thing that I have pushed to the side in hopes that we are part of the 99% and that our little #2 bug is really okay as he or she kicks up a storm inside my heart.
Please pray for this little baby. Its kicks are a reminder to me to replace doubt with prayer and tears with hope.
itsy bitsy mama