Late last week we had our first ultrasound with the ob/gyn at exactly 10 1/2 weeks. A few days prior to that we hit a small road bump when Elle received a call that she had tested positive for a UTI and would need to go on antibiotics as the baby was currently in danger. Despite some scary stories of side effects causing problems with fetal growth (leading to loss) and the fact that we are still in those critical early weeks, it became clear to us that the antibiotics would likely be less of a threat to the baby than the infection itself. While most women online were confident that the medication was just about as safe as it gets, I couldn’t help but feel tortured by my own thoughts and fears that perhaps this was the beginning of the end.
Needless to say, I was anxious to get to the ultrasound, and while the minutes counted down ahead of our appointment, my heart pounded in my chest.
And then the image of Sweet Pea popped up on the screen.
As perfect and beautiful as ever, the baby had grown tremendously, measuring right on track at just under 4cm. The relief that flooded through me was instantaneous (in fact, I’d prefer weekly ultrasounds for my own sanity, please). This time my Grandma was able to join us for the Skype session, and the three of us watched in awe as the baby wriggled and danced on screen for several minutes, hardly ever stopping and seemingly attempting to roll over. Even though Sweet Pea is still only about an inch and a half long, all of the major organs have already developed, and we were able to clearly see the arms and legs as well as a defined profile. We were even able to distinguish each tiny finger of the right hand while Sweet Pea moved and stretched, oblivious to his or her captive audience. It was one of the most amazing, humbling experiences of my entire life, and I have played each precious moment over again in my mind dozens of times in hopes of committing all of it to memory.
And yet, the fear is never really gone. Every week I think: Next week will be better. Next week will be easier. And then we reach the next week, the next milestone, and I still don’t feel safe. I worry that at any moment someone will notice that I’ve been given this gift and come to take it away again. It doesn’t take my psych degree to recognize that I’ve developed extremely warped thoughts and feelings regarding fertility and the reproduction process. The fact that there is a sort of PTSD among many of us who have had to battle against our own bodies in order to try to have what comes naturally to everyone else is becoming increasingly clear. My concern is that the constant anxiety which dwells in the pit of my stomach will never go away.
Thankfully, we still have so much to celebrate. I try not to take a single day or even a moment for granted. I never forget that there are so many who would gladly take on my minor problems in order to watch a child of their own grow and develop week by week, even from this distance that often feels so painful to me. Little by little I am slowly starting to let myself imagine us with a baby in January. At 11+ weeks I remain too afraid to visit Pinterest for nursery ideas or to check out baby name books from the library, but I am hoping we can eventually get to that point. Perhaps by the time of our next ultrasound (a full 6 weeks from now), we will be able to relax more. It is then that we will learn the baby’s gender and finally get to attend an appointment in person. If that wasn’t hard enough to wait for as it is, I am going crazy simply at the thought of not knowing what’s happening with the baby until mid-August.
If you’d like to see the latest ultrasound photos of Sweet Pea, click here: https://inpursuitofafamily.wordpress.com/ultrasound-photos