20 weeks! The halfway point, right? This is a big milestone in any pregnancy, but after losing Sophie, halfway doesn’t roll off of the tongue quite as easily.

I remember week 20 with Sophie and it was my last week of naive pregnancy bliss. I recall posting on social media and telling my friends that we were halfway there. In hindsight, we had far surpassed our halfway mark and we met our daughter only two weeks later. So, I really hope that we are only halfway to meeting our baby, but I won’t be speaking that phrase so effortlessly anymore.

Shannyn's 20-week bump: Halfway...hopefully!

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

Week 20 also brought our anatomy scan.

This high-risk pregnancy has allowed us to get ultrasounds done every week to check in on our baby and also to check in on me. Since my water broke so prematurely last time, they are using my cervical length as the only indicator of a possible repeat scenario. They are watching out for shortening or signs that the cervix is preparing for labor. Everything has looked great so far according to my doctor, but I had a feeling walking into the anatomy scan this week that something was different.

My husband had to give me a bit of a pep talk walking into the scan this week. We’ve been there every week so these should feel mundane and routine, but I was still desperately hoping for no surprises. We got in there, checked him out from head to toe, and saw that baby boy looks great! Cue the tears and the heavy sigh. We were so excited about this news, but I knew the appointment wasn’t quite over.

Shannon's Anatomy Scan

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

We moved on to check my cervical length and as soon as I could see the screen I could tell it looked a little different compared to past weeks. I looked at my husband in a bit of a panic. The ultrasound tech took some measurements and she couldn’t tell me anything one way or another so we waited for the doctor to come in. He opened the door cheerfully after the scan and said that everything looks awesome with our baby! He also casually pulled up the cervical length images on the screen and said that there’s some slight widening at the top of my cervix but there’s nothing to be concerned about because the length is still looking really good.

I walked out of that appointment fixated on this “slight change.” This is the beginning of the end in my mind. This is about the same time as when my water broke with Sophie. This is how we lose another baby. We went home, I tried to remind myself that the doctor said we had nothing to worry about, but then I had some cramping and increased discharge (sorry, TMI) and I lost it. These are some of the signs I ignored in my last pregnancy and we lost Sophie shortly after. I drove myself crazy that evening and I wouldn’t move from the bed because I didn’t want to do anything that could put more pressure on my cervix. No one could convince me that we weren’t about to lose this baby, too. I called the next morning and scheduled another appointment as soon as I could get in. We did another scan and everything looked the same.  The doctor came in and reassured me that my cervix is looking strong and there is nothing to be worried about.

What? You mean, I’m fine, our baby is fine, and there’s nothing to worry about?

It took about 20 “therapy sessions” with my husband and an unbiased medical mind to talk me off the ledge. My grieving heart and mind made a mountain out of a molehill. It’s so hard to explain to someone, but this “slight change” in my cervix was so much more than that when I got the news. This was the answer to why we lost our daughter. This was the reason my body let me down last time. This is why we have to live with a lifetime of pain. I crave answers more than anything after our loss and this was the answer!

It isn’t the answer – at least not yet. This is great news, in theory, but it’s also a tough pill to swallow because we’ll never know why we couldn’t keep our sweet daughter. In hindsight, I want to go back and just enjoy the good news that we have an active and happy baby boy growing strong in my belly. These things are never straightforward or easy, but I am trying to give myself grace. So here’s to hoping that this is our halfway point this time and that we have 20 more weeks in this pregnancy before we meet our son!

Share this story!