While the first trimester of my pregnancy was a dream, the second was well, not as easy. Physically I could not have felt better and I’m still wondering what I did to get so lucky to have had virtually no negative symptoms the entirety of my pregnancy.
But emotionally and mentally? The second trimester was a whirlwind and even now I still struggle daily with anxiety and fear of something being wrong with my son’s health. This all stems back to my traumatizing 20-week anatomy scan where I was told baby boy was suffering from a severe complication that had a high likelihood of fatality. I will never forget how hopeless I felt lying alone and masked on the exam table covered in ultrasound gel and having a doctor casually tell me to be prepared to discuss terminating the baby that I had just started to feel move in my tummy. That experience and the week of complete terror and depression that followed is something I will vividly remember for the rest of my life.
I already wrote a long post that delves more into what happened at my 20-week scan– you can read it here. In that post I also shared that we’d made the decision to move all of my care to a new OB and high risk maternal fetal medicine group in my Pennsylvania hometown. It was the best decision and I now feel so much more confident in my medical care.
At my 21-week follow up anatomy scan with my new MFM doctor, we received the joyous news that the fatal complication that had been seen a week prior was nowhere to be found. It was honestly the happiest moment of both Nick and my lives. We sobbed in the car afterwards. That week in between those two ultrasounds we truly thought there was a chance we’d never meet our son.
So how is baby boy doing now? I wish I could say that my 21 week follow up scan was the last scary appointment of my pregnancy journey, but three weeks later we were thrown another curveball. We scheduled another ultrasound for 24 weeks just for my own peace of mind and to double confirm baby boy’s health was 100% in the clear. Unfortunately at that ultrasound another complication was found.
As you can imagine I completely lost my mind when we were told the news. I dissolved into sobs and started having a panic attack in the exam room. Thankfully Nick was with me (my new doctor has been allowing partners at all appointments) because I know I would have passed out had I been alone. After getting over the initial shock that we had a new cause for concern, we sat down with our doctor and a genetic counselor to really wrap our head around the finding and the best way to move forward.
I don’t want to get into the specifics of the exact complication because I know I won’t word it right and honestly I just don’t think it’s vital to share, but I will say that it thankfully is not nearly as serious or threatening as the first complication we were told about at 20 weeks. Because of the genetic testing I had done early in many pregnancy, we were able to rule out the complication was an indicator of any serious chromosomal disorder. I also had a series of advanced blood work done to confirm that I hadn’t passed on any type of infection or virus to baby boy.
In addition to testing, I began seeing my MFM for bi-weekly ultrasounds to monitor baby boy’s growth and development. And guess what? Over the last three months he’s been hitting every single milestone!!! Perfect weight, perfect brain, perfect heart, all vital organs functioning great, normal heart beat and blood flow, all ten fingers and toes…
Since we’ve been able to cross out so many of the serious diagnoses babies can contract in utero and the fact that he is growing right on track with no apparent issues or distress, our doctor is very hopeful that our boy is going to arrive happy and healthy. The reality is that sometimes there’s no explanation for the abnormalities seen on ultrasounds. In our little guy’s case this is simply something that’s just “there” but thankfully doesn’t seem to be having any negative affect on him.
I was really really hoping the complication would clear by my 32-week scan last Thursday and I could share the good news in this post, but his little beauty marks (as I refer to it) are still there. That said, our doctor is still feeling very positive that it’s not going to be a cause for concern at birth. He also was comfortable scheduling my next ultrasound for 36 weeks (in a month) versus the bi-weekly routine we’ve been doing.
One thing I’ve learned in this journey is that medical technology can be a curse and blessing. On one hand we have the ability to gather so much detailed information that can lead to early diagnoses and life-saving interventions, but on the other hand that knowledge can cause a lot of fear and anxiety– especially in pregnancy where you truly can’t get a clear picture of a baby’s health until birth.
While I was a complete wreck two months ago, I’ve since come to a place of peace with our situation. I know that it’s impossible to confirm with 100% certainty that baby boy is fine and healthy until he makes his grand entrance, but feeling his kicks and endless moves, plus seeing his wonderful growth and development every other week has really reassured us that he’s going to be OK and perfect. We already just LOVE and adore him so much!!!
As the weeks have passed and we get closer and closer to his August 30th due date, we’re not focusing on the small chance of something negative happening and instead are busy preparing for life with a sweet little newborn. We’re so excited to meet him and are counting down the days!
I know that I have a tendency to keep things very lighthearted and sunny here on my blog and Instagram, but I hope sharing this shows that no pregnancy journey is perfect. Every couple and family has their struggles though I pray everyday that ours will have a happy ending ❤️️