Dear Ultrasound Technician,
Please be gentle with me. Today is a big day.
Today marks the first time I’ve ever been this pregnant.
You see my first baby was stillborn at 20 weeks gestation. In fact, we never even made it to the anatomy scan because I went into preterm labor that we couldn’t stop. We’d hoped to stop the contractions and buy time until it was safe for her to be born, but my pregnancy with her quickly and traumatically ended less than 24 hours after I found out I was in labor. She was born quickly and quietly, and our hearts shifted from exploding with excitement to breaking excruciatingly.
So, I never got to this part.
I never made it to this scan, so I don’t entirely know what to expect. I don’t know how long this appointment will be and I don’t know how long I’ll be sitting here waiting – expecting – to hear bad news. Waiting for you to tell me there’s something wrong with the baby.
I’m scared. I’m nervous about finding out any possibility that this baby is not coming home. I’ve been in the baby loss world so long, I know too much about how babies die. And so many from the loss community found out at this very appointment that their babies wouldn’t survive.
I’m excited. I’m anxious to see how the baby is doing. I can’t wait to see this baby and to learn more about their growth and development. I desperately want good news and cute ultrasound pictures to show off to all my family and friends.
I’m sad. I know as I watch this baby wiggle and squirm on the screen, there is someone missing. From here on out, we’re reaching milestones and celebrating parts of pregnancy that my first baby never got to experience. That I never got to experience. And as of today, that’s how my parenting will be: celebrating one while missing the other.
All of these emotions will be in play today.
All at once. I’m not sure how they’ll manifest. If I’ll be quiet. If I’ll cry. If I’ll be happy. If I’ll hold my breath throughout the appointment and sob in my car afterwards. I’m not sure what will happen. But I know it’s all complicated and I’m not sure how to explain it all. But please try to understand.
I’d appreciate it if you took your time today. Start with checking the heartbeat. Stay there a while and let me listen to the beautiful sound of my baby’s heart beating. Linger a little longer over those toes and little hands. Marvel with me at the sight of that profile. Take a few more pictures than you might normally. I’ve never been this far along, and I’m scared that this scan may be this baby’s last. You see I’m not convinced this baby is coming home with me yet. So, I’m trying to make as many memories with this baby as I can just in case.
Please don’t rush this.
It goes too fast and if it’s all I have with this baby, I want to know we made the most of the time we had. And if the baby makes it home, I want to remember how far we’ve come.
A Courageous Pregnant After Loss Parent