It’s been three weeks since my private ultrasound. The day of the scan, I walked into the room, lay down on the bed, and waited to see signs of life on the screen. As soon as our little one came into view, I saw movement. I let out the breath I’d been holding and settled into enjoying the next fifteen minutes. The baby was very active, with a strong heartbeat. We were hoping to learn the sex of the baby, and the ultrasound tech was able to find it almost immediately. We’ve decided to confirm it again at my anatomy scan before sharing it with anyone. After it’s confirmed and we tell our family and friends, rest assured this is a topic that I will cover. We left with more pictures of our baby than we could have hoped for and a full video of the session. Private ultrasounds can be so incredibly special. For a few days, I actually enjoyed my pregnancy for the first time. But, of course, eventually, anxiety started to creep back in, slowly eating away at my joy.

Hannah 17 weeks pregnant, holding Koda's Molly Bear - Sorrow and Joy

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of ups and down.

Logically, I know that it’s normal for movement to be inconsistent at this point in pregnancy, but sometimes all reason just flies out the window. Some days I’d feel the baby move frequently, others, I’d feel nothing obvious. On one particular night, after a few days of minimal movement, I absolutely panicked. I’d reached fifteen weeks and was fearful that it was the beginning of the end. I had a rough night full of prayer and tears that ultimately resulted in me letting go of what was out of my control and going to sleep. The next day, I felt our little one move all day long. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions.

A week later, at sixteen weeks, I started to feel true kicks, not just flutters. I even felt some kicks from the outside! I was teary-eyed as I sat on the couch one evening, feeling my baby kick over and over. I never reached this point with my son, Koda. He stopped growing at around sixteen weeks though his heart continued to beat for a little while longer. I felt a mixture of thankfulness and grief in that moment, which I’m learning is very typical of pregnancy after loss. Later that week, I went to the doctor for a heartbeat check. It took the doctor a second to find the heartbeat. I started to get nervous and then realized she was smiling. She told me that she could hear the baby moving and even kicking the doppler! It was making it hard to pick up the heartbeat. She did find it, though, and I could feel the weight lift off my shoulders as I heard that reassuring sound.

Now, I’ve reached seventeen weeks pregnant.

My little one is still very active, and I feel kicks almost daily now. I’m finding that I’m starting to feel more hopeful and excited than apprehensive for the first time this pregnancy. Still, the next few weeks are full of big hurdles for me to jump – the anatomy scan, my loss gestation, the first Christmas without my Heaven Baby. My grief has been heavy lately between the holidays and reaching these gestations again. I’ve cried a lot – both tears of sorrow and tears of joy. It’s sometimes confusing to grieve the should-be two-month-old baby that’s missing while celebrating being four months pregnant. There’s a lot of guilt that surrounds these conflicting emotions, but ultimately I know that it’s ok to feel it all. Sorrow and joy can coexist where they need to. Right now, I carry both in my heart.

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