I was 21.5 weeks when my water broke with Teddy. I thought I was “safe”. I had just had my anatomy scan the week prior. How could something go SO wrong, this late into pregnancy? I had no idea about PPROM – Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes. I didn’t think a woman’s water broke until she was almost ready to deliver. The idea of losing my baby had never even crossed my mind. There it was again, that innocence of pregnancy.

And as we take each new pregnancy day by day, we look forward to the milestones.

My pregnancy with Teddy was my first. It was bright and shiny, full of wonder and hope, nothing but pure excitement for the life that was growing inside of me. I read a pregnancy book, I made plans for the nursery, I registered for items I probably didn’t need. My shower was planned and my heart was ready for all the love I had to give to our sweet boy. The only milestone I initially waited for – was the 12-week milestone. Hitting what everyone called the “safe zone.” Which to a loss mom, is no longer a thing. We know the worst can happen at any stage. But for all moms – the chances of miscarriage is significantly lower after that gestation. And it can put a lot of relief on anyone. Plenty of people wait until that mark to even tell loved ones they are expecting, and I was one of those people.

Elizabeth's 22-week bump: Milestones in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

For both my pregnancies after loss, with Nathan and with Delilah (our current babe on the way) – we’ve waited so impatiently for today. Hitting week 22.

And it feels like a weight is coming off my shoulder – getting to the point where we lost Teddy. Teddy hit 22 weeks exactly the day he passed away. 22 weeks was also the time in which our doctors told us they could medically intervene. Teddy passed away during labor, and we never got the chance to fight for him after he was born. But we made it – we made it to this week, this exact day, and I’m feeling such relief. I know my hospital specifically, god forbid anything were to go south, could attempt to provide life-saving measures at this point. We aren’t there, and as far as we know Delilah is a healthy, happy babe doing just fine in my belly. But it’s relieving knowing there are options. And relieving knowing we made it past the point where their brother passed away.

It’s hard – not getting stuck in the what-ifs of a pregnancy, and trying to stay optimistic all the time. You’ve been through hell. You lost a child, your baby, a piece of your heart. That never leaves your mind as you are carrying this new life. And it’s terrifying, at the same time. But sometimes you just have to feel your feelings – it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to remind yourself that this new life is not a replacement, but an addition. A new piece of your heart to love, just one that will be in your arms. And it’s okay to celebrate every single milestone that you choose. Whether it’s making it to a certain week, a specific date, the first kick, or tickle you feel. Every moment you feel relief in pregnancy after loss is a milestone in itself.

Elizabeth at 22 weeks, holding Nathan - Milestones in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

Today I’m thankful to have reached week 22, my biggest milestone during pregnancy.

I know Teddy is watching over us, making sure his little sister stays safely tucked inside my belly, and listening for his little brother who can clearly say “sissy” now – although he has no clue what it means. I wish with everything in me he was here to physically be a big brother to his siblings, but we have our own personal guardian angel, and I will take what I can get.

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