This week has brought a rollercoaster of emotions with many conflicting emotions at the same time. Enjoying this pregnancy when I can while trying to manage the constant underlying fear that something may go wrong without me knowing. Missing Austin while hoping this pregnancy ends differently.

Emma's 13-week bump - My 2nd Mother's Day

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

A few days ago, we were able to see our jelly bean again thanks to the NT screening. While everything looked fine, I didn’t appreciate the pushy scare tactics the doctor was trying at the end of our appointment. He kept pressing for our plan for monitoring during this pregnancy and I advised that our midwife K understood our desire for increased testing towards the end of pregnancy and that we would determine the best course at that time. Well, that just wasn’t good enough for him. He began pushing that we need to start weekly nonstress tests (NST) at 34 weeks and should be induced at 38 weeks.

While I agree with the NST plan, I did not appreciate his pushiness, especially since we have over 20 weeks until we get to that point!

In medicine, a provider should always look at the pros and cons of treatment options, including doing nothing. They should also discuss those options with their patient, which he did not do at all. He just said this is what you need to do while the judgment of planning for a homebirth radiated from him. Yes, I had a full-term pregnancy loss and will support almost anything that will help prevent that from happening again. But I am also more involved and informed than most patients. I was the only patient my former OB had ever seen do their own KB stain calculation to understand how much blood Austin had lost because of the fetal-maternal hemorrhage.

My major in college was Biochemistry and I took all of the required pre-med courses at a time when going to medical school was my path. I also read countless medical textbooks and scientific articles to try and find the missing piece to explain Austin’s death. Regardless of my background, he should give every patient the courtesy of discussing their treatment plan options. And he should also understand that women in a pregnancy after loss have more than enough stress and anxiety on their own and don’t need anyone else adding to it. Needless to say, I will be going to a different perinatal testing center for future scans and am so thankful for the care K provides. Okay, rant over!

This year, Mother’s Day was a bit different than last.

Last year, Mother’s Day was the one-month mark of losing Austin. I was still deep in my grief, trying to understand why we lost him. Was there something we missed? Was there something more we could have done? My arms felt empty, a giant hole where my baby once was. This year, I snuggled with my Austin bear and just had a relaxing, peaceful day with my husband. The mixture of conflicting emotions continued. Missing Austin. Trying to remain positive with this pregnancy. Appreciating all of the well wishes and Happy Mother’s Day messages from those close to me; thankful that they recognize my motherhood. Doing my best to ignore the sting of the “Happy” when I don’t quite feel 100% cheery.

Probably the best thing I received was a letter from one of my nephews. It read “Have a good day Auntie Em <3 Carter”. He is so young yet so thoughtful. Though we haven’t been able to see him much since losing Austin, I’m told he asks about him often. He even picked out a tree to plant in his memory. I like to think that they would have been best buddies. After all, you would think they were twins based on their baby pictures.

Mother's Day card

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

As I transition from the 1st to the 2nd trimester, I am trying to have faith in the process.

The mild pregnancy symptoms I was having are fading away. If it weren’t for my frequent trips to the bathroom and not fitting into most of my pants, I wouldn’t feel pregnant at all. I hate not being able to tell what is happening inside of me. I have three weeks until my next scheduled appointment and am just going to trust my body, do what feels right, and take the signs from the universe that everything will be okay. The rabbits hopping around our yard is Austin watching over us. Seeing the biggest rainbow I’ve ever seen just yesterday is a sign of our rainbow to come.

Share this story!