Boy oh boy. Pregnancy. Such a wonderful and magical time in a woman’s life, filled with wonder, excitement and bliss. Most women can’t wait for this day (I couldn’t wait either). But when I peed on that stick in my tiny new bathroom, in my tiny new rental home, with my new husband eagerly sitting on our new bed, the amount of fear and anxiety rushing through my mind hit me like a ton of bricks. And then BOOM! That lovely little plus sign that fills most women’s hopes and dreams felt like it had just added another 20 pounds to my racing heart as it sank to the bottom my stomach. I ran into the bedroom with tears of terror in my eyes as I flashed the plus sign stick to Brendan. We sat on the bed in silence for what felt like 5 hours.
Now obviously this isn’t how I pictured feeling or telling my husband once I became pregnant. I had an entire plan mapped out in my head for how this would go down (preferably in a year from now). But we have come a long way since the day of the eclipse, when we found out we were going to be responsible for another human. Every day we get more and more excited for our future, finally accepting that this is the path God chose for us. And while it happened barely a month after our wedding day, it’s what was meant to be, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Many women struggle to become pregnant and I completely feel for those people who long for a little one. We are incredibly thankful and blessed for what God has given us.
While we have accepted and are excited that we are becoming parents, pregnancy has NOT been a walk in the park…let me tell you. We have been through quite a lot with this little one already and it’s only been 4 and a half months with her. Soon after finding out I was pregnant, I started getting pretty severe cramps. Now I’ve obviously never been pregnant before so this scared me. I was at work so I was debating on either going down to the ER or just calling the doctor. I opted for route number 2, since I had no bleeding, and scheduled an early ultrasound. When we went in for the appointment a few days later the cramping had thankfully subsided, but they wanted to do an ultrasound anyway to be sure. The tech began searching for our little fetus. A minute goes by when she says “well, I see two gestational sacs here”….ummmm what?!? I automatically knew what she meant, while Brendan probably sat there clueless until she elaborates, “it looks like there are twins here”. Then to top all this news off, she continues by saying “only one has a heartbeat”. So. Many. Emotions. I was so confused, happy and sad all at the same time. She explained that I probably had what they call a “vanishing twin”. The nonviable fetus without a heartbeat would most likely be absorbed by my body within the next couple of weeks.
This was a lot of information to take in. The doctor told me there is nothing I did nor could do to prevent this from happening. They have been seeing a lot more cases of vanishing twin syndrome since they have been able to do earlier ultrasounds. So many women probably go through this without even knowing. It is crazy to think that if I hadn’t been so neurotic about my implantation cramping, we would have never known that I was once carrying twins. While we were both a little sad, we decided not to dwell on it and be happy for the little viable fetus that we did have. It was confirmed at our 9 week appointment that the other baby was gone.
About 7 weeks into my pregnancy is when the first trimester plague hit me. And while I know many women have it worse than I did, it was still one of the worst things I have experienced, physically, in my life (yes I know labor and birth will be much worse, but hey I haven’t been there yet). I was hit with morning, midday and night sickness. I only puked a handful of times, but the nausea itself was awful. The only food I could stand to eat was bread. And then irrational cravings would come over me. I needed all the donuts, fries, chicken tenders and ice cream. Foods I rarely eat but suddenly needed or I would die. And then there was exhaustion, well there still is but it was a lot worse during the first tri. I needed multiple naps throughout the day to function. And if I worked the day before I would just sleep and lay on the couch the entire next day. No motivation to exercise or even be a living human.
Fast forward to my 12 week first trimester screening appointment. After learning about the vanishing twin I thought maybe the remainder of our pregnancy would be uneventful. LOL. Joke was on us. During the first tri screening they take blood samples to measure markers for chromosomal abnormalities as well as do an ultrasound to measure fluid behind the baby’s neck, which can indicate a chance for Down Syndrome. The ultrasound looked great, but a week later we got a phone call…and here come the bricks hitting me in the face again. I was told that one of my markers indicated a slightly higher risk for the baby having Down Syndrome (0.5% chance instead of 0.001%) While this still seems low, it was high enough for her to be concerned and send me to a high risk specialist. At this appointment they assess all my risk factors such as family history, ethnicity, age, etc. Everything on paper looks great, but that stupid abnormal marker from the blood test. We decided to go with another more thorough blood test instead of doing something invasive. The doctor seemed confident that the first test could have been a false positive since I am young, healthy and have no family history of any issues.
It took two weeks for that second test result to come back. And it felt like a year. I felt so helpless and scared. What would we do if we had a sick child? It wasn’t necessarily the mental issues that come with Down Syndrome that scared me, it was other health issues that can come along with it. Heart issues, musculoskeletal issues, respiratory issues. These are huge potential problems associated with this disease and I didn’t know how we could possibly handle all of it. We are barely prepared for a healthy child as it is. Luckily, I have a supportive husband who gave me a lot of comfort during this time. He made me feel more confidant that no matter what happens, God only gives you what you can handle. And I had to believe in that.
The test came back negative, meaning we are back to low risk for the baby having Down Syndrome. However, the specific marker that came back abnormal from the first test could possibly indicate placental issues during the third trimester, which could cause low birth weight or pre-eclampsia. All this means is I get to see the baby more often on the ultrasound to make sure she is growing properly. I am confident that everything will go smoothly and our little girl will be just fine!
At around 14 weeks I finally started feeling semi-normal again. Back to eating mostly healthy (but desserts are still a must) and enough energy to go to the gym (I can get by with one nap a day). I am currently 18.5 weeks and getting more excited by the day. I have started to feel her kicking, and let me tell you, every time we see her on the ultrasound she is like a a gymnast. Constantly moving around and she loves to sit on her head near mommy’s hip bone. She is currently measuring right on track in the 55th percentile and is about 8oz. Her anatomy scan came back perfect. So far so good! I am barely showing yet, which makes me a little sad, but I am sure it will happen soon enough.
So as you can see it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows since finding out we were pregnant. But every day gets easier and more exciting. It also is a huge help that I have two sister in-laws that are pregnant as well, so I have a nice little preggers support group. It continues to amaze me how incredible women are, that we have the ability to carry, grow and deliver a human being into the world. And while it isn’t without some pain and suffering, it truly is God’s greatest blessing to us girls.
And the adventure continues.