Before I bury the lede: our ultrasound went well. It was an emotional day, for sure, and a long one. We were at the hospital for four hours and saw two technicians and our genetic specialist. I used every tool I’ve got to just get through the waiting around and wondering and I know N was pretty anxious even though he hid it pretty well. I’m sure it’s just as hard to go through the ultrasound as it is to sit (for 45 minutes) wondering what’s happening in the other room. When he was finally allowed to come in and see the screen for himself he looked pretty destroyed.
The technician I saw was actually the same woman who did our anatomy scan for Odin. (The follow-up one we had after we were flagged for issues.) She remembered me and I was both grateful and terrified to be in that room again, with the first person who knew that our lives were about to change in an unimaginable way. She was kind, but professional. She explained right away that we’d have to wait to talk to the doctor about the results but that she could tell us about the heartbeat and the sex. The baby was very active and it felt like it was taking a really long time. I did my best not to cry and to keep breathing. About halfway through she caught me fidgeting and asked if I was okay. And I said, “it’s just really hard not to try and read your face.” She was as reassuring as she could be and said, “for an early scan like this the baby is still very small so things are hard to see. I just have to look hard. I can’t tell you much but I will say this: things are very different this time.” And she said it in a way that let me read between the lines for her positive message. I relaxed just a little bit.
Eventually N was allowed to come in and the technician told us with a fair amount of confidence, given that the baby is still very small: it’s a girl. Once again we were able to see her moving around, legs crossed, bum view, profile (mouth opening and closing), hands waving and it was incredible. The technician purposely left her image on the screen and left the room so that we could take pictures in the cell-phone-free zone.
And then we waited.
And then we had another ultrasound done by a radiologist who said, “don’t worry! We just want some more pictures. Everything is okay.” I felt reassured, N looked worried.
And then we waited some more.
We eventually saw our genetic specialist (who is an angel on earth) and he walked us through the results. We both wish he had opened with “everything is okay!” but he eventually did get around to that after a bunch of clinical descriptions. It looks like our baby girl is okay. We will have another scan and an echocardiogram in a few weeks (Odin had a complex heart condition so they want to check on this baby’s heart) but so far everything looks normal.
Since that day I’ve run the gamut of emotions from relief and joy to extreme grief and sadness. It’s like all of the anxiety and worry that was taking up space in our hearts about this pregnancy has been released (or at least abated) and now my heart is full of sadness and I’m missing my boy so much. It’s been like the early days all over again. I’m back to thinking about his body and the weight of it in my arms. I’m back to crying when I look at his picture (beside my bed; I look at it every night before I go to sleep), I’m back to feeling overwhelmed by the idea of missing him until I die. Which leads to feeling guilty for not feeling grateful to have a healthy pregnancy, which leads to feeling guilty that I’m not my best self for this baby and for work and for my family and friends. Which leads to feeling isolated because of the complicated feelings. And then I worry about this baby and if I’ll resent her for not being Odin. Or that I’ll be able to love her like I love Odin. Basically, it’s a lot. It’s confusing and it’s sad. Now that people are finding out that we’re expecting a baby we’re getting lots of congratulations messages and inquiries about how we’re doing. And it’s so hard to reply sometimes. The feelings we feel are all over the place. We are happy and we are sad. I just have to go easy on myself and hope that people will understand (or at least accept) that they may not hear from us.
Rationally I realize that this, too, will pass. We have wonderful (personal and professional) support and I know I’ll work through this phase. It’s just so hard to see outside of a dark cloud when you’re this deep in it. I think part of what might help me is more journalling and maybe some kind of project for Odin. Something that I can focus on and feel like I’m doing for him. August 19th is The Day of Hope and last year I made a flag for Odin. I don’t know if I’ll have time to complete one this year, but maybe I’ll try. It’ll be a journey figuring out how to parent him and fit him into this new baby’s life but thinking about that is another way for us to include him in our lives, which I’m glad for.