At 35 weeks pregnant and with not much further to go for this high-risk pregnancy, I find myself looking back over the entirety of these 35 weeks so far. It’s hard to believe that now in mid-March, I’m here still growing this sweet baby boy who was conceived in mid-July.

Tracy's 35-week bump - looking back

Author’s Personal Collection/Tracy McLaughlin Jaskot

We found out the good news in early August. That month seems so long ago and like a blur. I was trying so hard not to get ahead of myself but I caved and bought a separate small pocket calendar for my purse to write out all of the gestational weeks if I were to stay pregnant through full term. I’m a pen-and-paper type of person and my main pocket calendar is my life, so I didn’t want to have to white-out the labels of how many weeks pregnant I would be on all of the Saturdays if something were to happen to the baby.

Looking ahead to this month back then seemed like a dream. But I was hopeful, so I wanted to put out into the universe that I had faith that this COULD last that long.

And here we are. The closer we get, the more real it seems.

I am a part of some online groups of women who are due in April, just like me. I have enjoyed the camaraderie and love seeing happy and loving birth announcements, of which there have been several already. There have also been a handful of devastating birth announcements – from women who are at my gestation or even further along who have lost their babies before, during, or shortly after birth.

I reach out in the comments section as a loss mama, offering as much peace and strength as I can as a virtual stranger. I let them know that they can private message me if they would like to. In their hellish and confused first moments, I encourage them to not miss the opportunity to take photographs of and/or with their angels – something that almost happened to me, if it weren’t for the quiet insisting of my nurse whose niece had just gone through pregnancy loss herself.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, the organization that sends amazing volunteer photographers to hospitals during baby loss situations, whom I declined because I felt that our time with our son was too private for that, touched up the beautiful photos that our nurse took with my phone. They did this at no cost, and these photos are some of my most valuable possessions to this day.

As a slightly more ‘seasoned’ loss mama nearly four years out, I do take comfort in comforting those who are newly initiated into this club that no one wanted to be a part of. But there is an extra sting and sadness when the new loss mama has been just as excited as I have been for her little one(s) on the same exact timeline as me as we have cheered each other on during our simultaneous pregnancies.

It makes my son’s movements that I feel right now seem even more pronounced. He’s alive. He’s active. He’s been measuring ahead since day one. He could survive. What kinds of things could go wrong between now and my planned C-section in a few weeks? I know of too many now, and my body has a 50 percent track record. All of my babies have been perfect, but my body failed one out of two so far.

I can look back on this pregnancy and celebrate and reminisce about some truly amazing times.

Fun outings with my little family, finding out his gender, sharing his growing with my toddler, her at first saying, “no,” when we told her that there is a baby in Mama’s belly, her now saying all the time that Mama has a baby in her belly, and being able to shop for a baby boy again.

And there have been trying, scarier times as well. I had a small amount of bleeding at 10 weeks and went to the ER, terrified that I was losing him. After a long, long wait to be seen after initially being checked in by a nurse, the ultrasound technician said, “Well I am supposed to wait for the doctor to come in and I can’t say anything definitively but if you look over here (at the monitor, my eyes had been a combination of closed or laser-focused on the ceiling through tears up until that point), you can see the baby moving, there it is,” reassuringly. I breathed a big sigh of relief as I thanked her. The bleeding turned out to be caused by a small subchorionic hematoma which eventually resolved with rest and luck.

All in all since then, this has been my smoothest pregnancy of the three I have had, and for that I am truly grateful. In reality, I am also just so grateful for the fact that we are here in the first place, and that we’re nearing the most important part.

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