Entering the third trimester feels surreal when so much of my identity when I’m pregnant is tied to a second trimester loss. With my first rainbow I thought that once I got past my previous point of loss, 24 weeks, I would feel better.

But instead, I felt a little bit out of control. I didn’t know what 28 weeks ‘should’ feel like, what 32 weeks ‘could’ feel like, which pregnancy symptoms were okay for 34 weeks and which weren’t. It felt like an expansive uncharted territory and I was quite literally taking every single day at a time, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Tracy's 28-week bump - The "Home Stretch" Trimester

Author’s Personal Collection/Tracy McLaughlin Jaskot

During this pregnancy, I’m feeling calmer, but of course, there is still a feeling of unease.

At this point, I am already well attached to this baby boy, which feels amazing and so scary at the same time. I am getting used to his movement habits and guessing his personality features based on them. I adore seeing him at our monthly ultrasounds.

And yet, every day of both of my rainbow pregnancies, I let my mind wander to ‘what if’ I lose this one on this particular day at this particular gestational age. What will that mean in my life? How will that shape my family and our future? What kind of connection can I remember from our pregnancy? What beauty, grace and love can I capture right now to keep forever if this is all the time I get with him?

That particular train of thought might seem a bit morbid to have daily – and it really is more of a passing thought – but I can’t help it. It’s an instinctual, unpreventable thought process that my brain goes through to protect and prepare myself in ways I couldn’t imagine and didn’t imagine during my first pregnancy when I was so blindsided by the fact that he was already gone.

A loss is a devastating loss, no matter the gestational age or circumstances. And although I didn’t feel well and was frustrated with the medical care I was receiving at the time, I wasn’t in any way expecting THAT.

I had been too fortunate beforehand, to be in a position of the assumption that things would naturally work out, or at least be somewhat okay. So now armed with the knowledge that yes, in fact, the unthinkable could happen to me and did, as hard as it is, I prepare myself for the worst just in case.

Aside from those moments, the third trimester for me now means hopeful nesting, online shopping for sweet baby boy pajamas, and logistical planning that will likely prove unnecessary because once he’s here it will all go out the window. We’ll be on his schedule, I hope to nurse him like I did with my daughter, we’ll enter a ‘newborn survival time,’ and I know now that I can do it and that I’ll love it.

This will be the first time our family goes from one living child to two, so this trimester also means getting and giving so many cuddles to my toddler, in complete awe and anticipation that my heart will grow even more than it already has throughout my motherhood journey so far. We’re here, we have made it this far. We can do this.

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