Somehow it has been a full two weeks since my last post. In that time a lot has happened: we traveled through parts of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, drove through the mountains along the Cabot Trail, ran into a moose and her two babies while taking an afternoon hike, had our second ultrasound, and reached the 8 & 9 week marks in the pregnancy.
A few photos from our trip:
I have seen many beautiful places so far in my life, but Cape Breton Island is absolutely stunning. We had talked about visiting this area for years, and it was great to take some time to travel before our lives change drastically in the next few months with the start of grad school and (hopefully) having a baby. But, being even further away from where our little one is growing and developing was difficult for me. For as much as I love to travel (and it is truly one of my favorite things in the whole world), throughout our trip my heart was beating two time zones away and my mind was preoccupied with the health, safety, and progress of both Elle and the baby.
Learning how to manage the surrogacy and long distance parts of this pregnancy– whether at home or while traveling– has been challenging for me at times. I am so grateful to be able to say that I trust Elle completely. I have no doubt in my mind that she is doing everything in her power to give our child a great start in life. But there are very few times when I am not reminded that this is an abnormal situation.
Each week as we reach another small milestone in the pregnancy, I research the ways our baby will be developing in the coming days, look up photos of what he/she might look like, and read about how Elle’s body is starting to change. Every single website and book is directed at mothers-to-be who are carrying their own babies. Absolutely no one takes into consideration that you may be starting a family in any way other than what is traditional. And it sucks. I know we are part of such a tiny fraction of pregnancies, but as someone who has spent so much time feeling isolated and devalued with regard to fertility, I had hoped to feel a little more included. Clearly I don’t fit in here. Usually I don’t even feel like I belong.
A few times on our travels it came up that we are expecting, and of course, every single person assumed that I was the one carrying the child. Not one of them could look at my body and tell that it is a dangerous place for a baby. They had no idea what we had to sacrifice to get here. And to be honest, I loved every minute of it. I loved being able to pretend– for just a little while– that we are normal young couple, pregnant naturally like everyone else. But just like the end of the trip, that had to come to an end. We are home again now and I am back to being the woman you know who couldn’t carry her own child.
Thankfully, this past Friday we were given good news at our second ultrasound. Our baby has grown noticeably since the first scan and we saw some easily recognizable features this time. It is incredible to know that all of the major organs will have already developed, even though the baby is still only measuring about 2cm long. In just two weeks “Sweet Pea” (the name Elle & I have been using for the baby) has more than tripled in size and will continue to grow rapidly. We were also able to hear the heartbeat again, which has climbed up to 170bpm. Best of all, almost as soon as we were able to see the screen, the baby gave us a little wave followed by a jump later on in the appointment. It is in those moments that there is no pain over the road we had to walk. It may not be normal, it definitely isn’t traditional, but nothing matters more to me than having that baby in my arms someday.
I won’t be adding ultrasound photos to my posts out of respect for those who may be reading this and struggling, but if you would like to see the 8-week pictures you can visit the designated page via the blog menu or click here: https://inpursuitofafamily.wordpress.com/ultrasound-photos