Ok, so I completely choked! Like I’ve said before–I can know and do all the mindful practices breathe deeply, place my hand to my head, put on essential oils like bergamot for emotional regulation and Frankensence for trauma, recite the mantra, “I trust in this moment we are OK,” and still choke up when I hear a song play that reminds me of “it” (all our losses and anxiety layered into this) or do yoga like I have done before getting bad news or seeing symbols of comfort like a rainbow, a balloon, a heart-shaped rock or a praying mantis and then worry it’s maybe a sign of cause for worry reminding me I will be ok if instead, it’s not good news this time.

Peace at the beach - Carmen's bump day blog, Week 18 - anatomy scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

This week we had our anatomy scan. The news we received was good news! But the flashbacks come back.

I still get teary-eyed as I think of it. I try to be so strong, and I’ll never forget the ultrasound tech who said, “You don’t have to be strong for me,” and handed me the Kleenex box my eyes always fill up when I think of that moment.

Carmen with her three living children - Bump Day Blog, Week 19 - Anatomy Scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

Today, I cry still, but for different reasons. Look where we are, where we’ve come, and how humbled I constantly am to be right here in a dream I never could have imagined just six to seven years ago when after four losses I never thought I’d be a mom.

The thing is, Phillip (my husband) remembers, too, and has flashbacks.

He just doesn’t speak it as openly as I do. His first ultrasound of a living baby (with our Kaia) was at this very same hospital. We waited two weeks for bad news, and what Phillip remembers is the “ultrasound tech acting weird.” This was the first time he had ever seen a baby on ultrasound, which was supposed to be exciting for him, and it was then before, until it wasn’t, and he stripped himself of this joy that I’m always grateful for every time I get to see my babies on ultrasound one more time.

He only came to two more ultrasounds with my son Case (our first living baby) and Jude to confirm the lack of kidneys, as I know the shock of Kaia (who was terminated for medical reasons at 24 weeks) has haunted him ever since. It was not because he didn’t want to support me. I just think his faith in seeing what looked like a normal healthy baby on the screen and knowing that doesn’t mean anything sometimes shattered his trust in ways.

The problem sometimes with having an ultrasound in smaller remote hospitals is we worry they won’t get the results read in time. We were fearful of that as we came back to this small town hospital.

I remember being totally alone at our anatomy scan with our Jude (who was terminated for medical reasons at 21 weeks). At this point, it was not my first rodeo. It was my fifth baby that I got to see on ultrasound. It took place in our bigger city hospital, where I instantly got the worst news right away. Neither scenario is good. I was forced to remember how all things can be taken away in an instant or in a dreaded wait.

The thing is, the news is the same whenever you receive it. They can’t change that for you, but it’s still very hard news to receive.

Carmen and Phillip waiting for their anatomy scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

Phillip surprised me by showing up at this anatomy scan. He wanted to support me, and when he wanted to with Jude and Ayda, Covid highjacked that.

I was nervous at first, as I had a student. What if she doesn’t get a clear picture? Phillip knows how I love students, working in a teaching hospital myself, but it actually helped me.

I have to believe she was sent for me, as I quietly said to the tech teacher, “We’ve just had two terminal diagnoses in the past, so I’m sorry if I appear a bit scared.”

The student started rhyming off everything she saw…

Look at that beautiful CSP

Here are the full chambers of the heart.

The left kidney and the right kidney. Each time another tear fell when I heard each organ named, as I automatically worry about either malfunctioning or lack there of. “That’s gorgeous,” echoed the teacher tech.

Never in all my years has a tech talked during my ultrasounds. It’s part of their practice. I totally get it, until the bad news is delivered by the radiologist or doctor, and then the ultrasound techs want to cry with me.

The teacher tech ended the exam by saying, “Nothing seams ‘funky.'”

This was the reassurance I needed.

Rainbow car, seen on the way to Carmen's anatomy scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

Prior to coming to the exam, I had passed a rainbow car just after coming from my dental cleaning. Then I remembered how I had done my ultrasound first with Jude. I found out the bad news and then went to my dental cleaning and told them numbly that they could still do the x-ray (as it didn’t matter anymore anyway). Remembering where I was at this exact same gestation in my pregnancy, the PTSD is real. Yet I think about how this time when I came out of the dentist appointment, unlike with Jude, it was not raining. The sun was shining bright. This is a different pregnancy.

rainbow reflection - Carmen's Bump Day Blog, Week 19: Anatomy Scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

Then I step inside my van, turn on the radio, and there it is…

The lyrics:

“Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”
~ Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

Releasing the emotions that have been held

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

The tears fall, and in these moments, I realize how much I’ve been holding on.

In moments like these, that choke you up and out of it. It was a good release. I let it all slide!

I cried again when I saw Phillip, out of the purest love. I always tell him not to come and that I’ll be fine to protect him and mostly myself, but of course, I always actually want him there. I cried again when we both looked at our baby, that looked GORGEOUS! I couldn’t stop looking back and forth at the screen and Phillip to my loves. Even though this day of the test won’t tell us anything, it just means so much for him to be there, and that’s where we are.

Next week I meet our high-risk OB, who will have the results (and that feels more nerve-racking). Right now, we know that baby didn’t show its face or genitals, and that, for now, we can deal with. It’s another chance to see baby again. But, we’re not at next week, yet. We’re here together again, marveling at our little bean that we adore very much.

Carmen's 19-week bump - anatomy scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

PS This Week’s bump picture has a dragon fruit because I could not find an artichoke, but I liked that reference.

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