If I’m being honest, every week of this pregnancy has been one big emotional rollercoaster. However, this week my emotions seemed particularly heightened. I’ve felt excited, hopeful, sorrowful, and utterly anxious all within the same day.

Baby laundry - Hannah's Bump Day Blog, Week 32: Heightened Emotions

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

I started off the week by washing some of my rainbow baby’s clothes.

As I sorted through his laundry, there were knots in my stomach and tears threatening to fall. I looked at it all sitting in the washer, and I decided I needed to take a picture. Sounds weird, right? I guess I felt that it was a moment worth documenting. Though most would just see a load of laundry, I saw so much more. Intermixed in the washing machine were hand-me-downs from my daughter, clothes lovingly bought for my first son who died, and clothes bought and gifted to us for the baby in my womb. Seeing them all together and choosing to wash them brought more emotions over me than I could keep track of. I was nervous, hopeful, and heartbroken all at once. It all just made me want to cry. I never thought something as simple as doing laundry could be so emotionally trying for me.

Getting started was the hardest part. It got easier with each load. As the room filled with the smell of baby detergent, I actually started to feel excited. I closed my eyes as I inhaled and imagined holding a sweet-smelling newborn in my arms. I would be lying if I said that moment wasn’t followed by intrusive thoughts of doubt and fear. However, I’m choosing to allow the good to triumph over the hard. I’m praying, hoping, and believing that I’ll be dressing my living, breathing baby in those little clothes and wrapping him snuggly in the blankets that are now washed, folded, and waiting for his arrival.

That night, I woke up and went about my usual routine of checking my belly for movement.

It was one of those times that I didn’t immediately feel the baby move. Usually, I can keep myself calm for a bit before resorting to panic, but that night, panic set in immediately. I poked and prodded on my belly, silently begging my baby to move. Once again, my little guy was just sleeping. He started moving around shortly after I woke him up. When I finally got back to sleep, I had a terrible dream. I won’t go into detail, but I woke up feeling sick to my stomach about it. Thankfully, I also woke up to an active baby which put my mind at ease. It seems that any bit of positivity regarding this pregnancy welcomes anxiety with open arms.

The next day, we had a private ultrasound.

My last ultrasound was my anatomy scan, and it was not enjoyable physically or emotionally. Not to mention we only got a quick glimpse at the baby’s profile. I wanted at least one more scan that I was able to enjoy before bringing this baby earth-side. In the days leading up to the ultrasound, I actually felt excited. It wasn’t a medical test. Plus, I had the reassurance of consistent, obvious movement that I hadn’t really had before. Initially, the baby was in the perfect position to get a good look at his face. My heart melted when I saw him on the screen. Obviously, I know he’s there, but seeing his little features made it feel that much more real. He soon settled into a position that made it harder to see his face, but I didn’t mind. I was just glad to see every bit of him that I could. We got to see his hands, legs, feet, umbilical cord, and the back of his head once he turned around at the end signaling that he was done! We even saw that he’s got some hair on his head, which confirmed my suspicions considering the amount of heartburn I’ve had. It was a sweet memory made and a great way to get to know this baby a little bit more. I look forward to the day that I get to marvel at his little features while he’s safely in my arms.

Hannah at 32-weeks pregnant, holding an ultrasound image

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

As I near the end of this pregnancy, I also near the one-year anniversary of my loss.

I’m hitting milestones with both my loss and my current pregnancy at the same time. That might explain why I’m a little more sensitive these days.  Sometimes it’s hard to navigate the intensity of all of my emotions. I’ve experienced new waves of grief, but also moments of pure joy. I can’t even keep up with it all sometimes. I’m anxiously awaiting the day that my pregnancy after loss journey comes to an end, and I get to start the journey of raising my rainbow baby.

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