On July 27 of this year, I had my second D&C operation of 2022, due to a missed miscarriage a few weeks prior. That day was definitely one of my lowest points this year, and Matt and I had a deep and serious conversation on our long drive home from the hospital after the procedure was over. We were both heartbroken and exhausted from back-to-back losses, and the second one was even harder because we’d heard a heartbeat at 8.5 weeks along and had thought that everything would be fine that time around.
We discussed so much on that car ride home (including the possibility of Matt applying for other jobs and us moving), but one thing we were both starting to finally settle on? That we (especially I) only had it in ourselves to try for one more pregnancy, and that was it…no matter the outcome.
Our original plan when we first got married was to have five kids. As I went through one complicated labor and delivery after another (topped off with a complicated pregnancy with my third where I was put on bed rest for weeks), coupled with my increasing age and health issues, we thought it prudent to maybe stop at 4.
After 2022 brought us so much loss, I finally had to come to terms with the idea that we might be stopping at 3.
So, when I took my next pregnancy test at the end of September (on my 36th birthday, coincidentally), I had reckoned myself to (try and) be at peace with whatever the outcome once I saw that double line.
After I had a bit of bleeding around 7 weeks, we went in for an early ultrasound. I obsessively researched and worried and shed tears in the days I had leading up to the appointment. But then…a strong heartbeat.
No longer one to trust in strong heartbeats, however, we scheduled another appointment for two weeks later, at 9 weeks along. I googled miscarriage statistics and tried to reassure myself that the odds were on my side, but I still walked into the waiting room of my doctor’s office with my heart throbbing painfully against my chest and anxiety in the pit of my stomach. But then…another strong heartbeat.
We decided to tell our families that same day, just because we knew this would be the last pregnancy no matter what, and we wanted support whichever way the outcome went. If we lost another baby, I didn’t want to feel as alone as I did the time before…I wanted a crowd around us this time, mourning alongside us.
But then today – today! – a 12.5-week ultrasound that showed a perfect baby with an adorable profile that reminds me strongly of my youngest son’s, and…a strong heartbeat. A HEARTBEAT!!!
While my anxieties about this pregnancy will probably last throughout, I will admit that today I experienced a waterfall rush of relief, as if I’d been holding my breath for the last 8 weeks. Even though I’ve felt much (MUCH) sicker this pregnancy than with the two I lost earlier this year, my anxiety was still often strong that we’d have to endure one final, devastating loss, because I can no longer take a healthy, normal pregnancy as a given.
But TODAY, I feel joy and a more sure hope that I’ll be able to hold this final baby in my arms and add the final stocking to our fireplace mantel that I bought years ago and fill that last empty chair available at our kitchen table. I rejoice that the thought of chicken still makes me feel terribly queasy and that my body desperately needs a nap every single day around 1:30 p.m. I pay attention daily to every sensation, knowing that I am just days away from feeling the first flutters of movement, if my pregnancy with my youngest is any indication.
It still sometimes feels like a dream.
But, if all continues to go well, that dream will become reality in late May of next year.
***Note: I’m technically due June 9, but with my history, the doctor predicts the baby will be here sometime between mid to late May. I am 12 weeks and 3 days today.