Our little jelly bean isn’t so little anymore! They are about the size of a plum (though not nearly as heavy) and demanding more and more food – the time of eating second lunch is here. Between eating more and my tiny growing bump, I am so thankful for the maternity clothes already in my closet. When I was pregnant with Austin, I resisted buying them until I absolutely had to, not realizing that I could have been much more comfortable. I also feel freer to wear them because I have already told my close family, friends, and coworkers – much sooner than I did with Austin at 16 weeks.

Emma's 11-week bump: Feeling hopeful

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

I remember trying to stick to the status quo, waiting weeks until it was “safe” to share the news.

Surprisingly, I find myself more comfortable sharing the news earlier in this pregnancy. I tried playing it safe before and still lost my baby, so all social norms have been thrown out the window. Sharing Austin’s story and talking about my feelings (good or bad) with the people I’m closest with helps me so much, so why wouldn’t I share the happy news of another pregnancy? Wouldn’t I want them to support me through the ups and downs of this pregnancy too, regardless of the outcome? One day I hope we can live in a world where all women and families feel like they can equally share their joys and struggles without feeling ashamed or judged.

I have been riding the wave of positivity ever since my ultrasound last week.

Not only did it give me the reassurance that my baby was still alive, but it also gave me the confidence that all of the pregnancy symptoms I have been experiencing this time around are normal. I also know that I am down to about a 2% chance of miscarriage. Though I have been on the wrong side of the odds before, every day the chance of loss gets lower and lower, which means that the chance of meeting my baby gets higher and higher. I won’t be completely worry-free until they are alive and in my arms, but I will take any relief to my anxiety where I can get it.

An extra dose of hope came this week in the form of a new bundle of cuteness when one of my friends/coworkers gave birth to her second child. Our pregnancies have overlapped the last two years, so seeing her grow and birth a beautiful baby boy brings me so much joy. Immediately after losing Austin, it was quite difficult for me to see all the baby commercials on television and receive the constant promotions via mail and email. I wanted my baby back. How could we have lost him? What more could we have done that would have changed his fate?

As time passed and I learned to process my grief, I am no longer triggered by the sight of another baby or any of the ads.

I have realized that even though I miss Austin, I am still happy for parents who have pregnancy success. In fact, I think I am happier for them compared to before losing Austin because I understand all too well the infinite number of things that need to go right to bring a child into this world. Whether this increased sense of joy comes naturally for all parents after they have their first child or if it is a parent after child loss thing, I’ll never know.

Either way, I am so happy for their family and have a renewed sense of hope for this pregnancy. Live births do happen and they can happen to me too. I find myself being able to focus more on the future in a positive light rather than wallowing in fear. I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can. There was a period of time after losing Austin that I felt guilty whenever I felt happy, like I was moving on without him. I now know that I will always carry him with me, in all that I do. I also believe that he would not want me to be sad the rest of my life – he would want me to be happy. So I am going to enjoy these good days while they last and do my best to not feel guilty.

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