Week 25 has been a week full of transitions. After announcing our pregnancy to the world last week, I feel free. I wasn’t necessarily hiding this pregnancy, but I also wasn’t going out of my way to let people know I was pregnant – as I interacted with folks, I just let it come up naturally in conversation. However, there were times where I didn’t bring it up at all because I didn’t want to be bombarded with questions about how I was handling this pregnancy. Breaking the news and having those initial conversations, whether after losing Austin or after sharing I was pregnant again, were always filled with anxiety as I braced for whatever their reaction may be. And now that everyone knows, I feel free from the anxiety of those initial reactions.

Emma's 25-week bump: Transitions and Transformations

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

We had a prenatal appointment this week with our midwife and everything is still looking great.

Baby is in the middle of a big growth spurt, which is evident by how much I have been sleeping lately and how difficult it has become to bend over and tie my shoelaces. I’ve also started to steal my husband’s t-shirts because they are looser and comfier than my own non-maternity clothes. And by our next prenatal appointment rolls around, we will have had a growth ultrasound and started our next birth class to prepare for our home birth. It feels like everything is starting to fall into place, which is a great feeling.

Jelly bean’s kicks have been picking up lately, especially in the evening and around bedtime. They are especially active when Mike is reading aloud or practicing his Spanish lessons before bed, so I think we know who the baby wants to read them bedtime stories. All of the kicks have really helped Mike feel more involved with this pregnancy, which is really special. It also warms my heart every time he says good morning or good night to Jelly bean.  They are already so loved and I can’t wait to see their beautiful face Earth-side.

Our hypnobirthing class is officially over and the changes I see in myself are huge. Not only have I learned all of the breathing and meditative techniques for birth, but more importantly, I can now envision a happy ending for this pregnancy. I am no longer grouping Austin’s birth and this birth together in my mind and am instead thinking of them as distinct, individual events. Giving birth is always a transformative process, and I am excited to see how life changes after Jelly bean’s arrival.

My transformation after Austin’s birth was unexpected, but I can’t imagine my life without it.

Before losing Austin, I always wanted to feel like I had a bigger purpose in life, and now I feel like I have found my purpose. I am Austin’s mom and am meant to share his story in hope that others feel less alone while also bringing awareness to stillbirth/pregnancy loss. And now with this pregnancy, an additional layer of purpose has been added with the same goal: to tell Jelly bean’s story. In doing so, I hope that others who are pregnant after loss feel less isolated, while also removing the stigma surrounding loss and pregnancy after loss.

Along the lines of raising awareness, we are preparing for a 5k at the end of the week that supports the Star Legacy Foundation to further stillbirth awareness and research. Our families will be coming from out of town and we can’t wait to share the day with them and all of our wonderful friends who have supported us over the last two years. The 5k was virtual last year, so it will be great to get the full experience of honoring all of the angels and feeling the support of our loved ones.

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