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3/5 The First Bad News

March 5, 2018 | 18 1/2 weeks

In December, we discovered that we were expecting again, due Aug 2, but this did not carry the same joyful tune that it once did for us. After 6 uneventful pregnancies, giving us our 6 beautiful children, we experienced 2 losses last year. It was a really hard time for us. The pain and sorrow that I felt at the death of an unborn child was not at the same level as that of the death of a grown child, but still, I got a taste of that heartache. I know life goes on, and the loss of a child makes us more thankful for the ones that are here, but the memories linger and the pain resurfaces. It hurts, no matter how old the child is.

Being pregnant again brought mixed feelings. Feelings of joy & excitement, of course, but so often in the early months, those feelings of joy were overshadowed by a feeling of uncertainty. I was so worried that this one would be a miscarriage, too. In my anxiousness, I developed a habit of checking for blood every time I went to the bathroom, day or night. Every single time. I had to force myself not to check anymore. There was a time in January when I suddenly stopped feeling pregnancy symptoms, and I was convinced that the baby had died, but an early ultrasound instead showed a little baby with a strong heartbeat wiggling around inside of me. Still, though, it was hard for me share that we are expecting again.

A couple of subsequent appointments & good bloodwork results at 16 weeks all pointed to really good signs, and I was finally feeling less apprehensive about the baby & more comfortable sharing. In February, I sent out an announcement to friends and family, and I began to tell people in person, too (and I was beginning to show).

We went into my 18-week anatomy scan excited to see our baby up on the screen again and excited to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. Our last 2 babies were surprises, and we wanted to find out this time. Our plan was to keep the news to ourselves for a month and then do a big reveal to family on Easter Sunday.

I remember on the way to the ultrasound, mentioning to Aaron that I thought I should be feeling more flutters by now, but I wasn't prepared for the bad news we were about to hear.

Once we were in the ultrasound room & all set up, we expected a cheerful, "ooh, there's baby" but instead the first question the ultrasound tech asked me was, "Are you leaking amniotic fluid?" Um, no, not that I was aware of... After that was complete silence. I finally just plain asked whether or not there was a heartbeat. There was, but it wasn't a great heartbeat: there was some fluid around the heart. Legally, the ultrasound tech couldn't give me much information, but from what I gathered, baby was measuring smaller than expected, there was less fluid than expected, and there was a little bit of fluid around the heart. She had my midwife consult with me before I left, and I was told further that it looked like there was something wrong with baby's kidneys in addition to the other things. I was charged to rest, hydrate with alkaline-electrolyte water, and see Dr. Devore, a perinatologist & maternal fetal medicine expert.

That was my first time ever having bad news at an ultrasound. We went home disappointed, but hopeful. As soon as I had a chance, I googled what I knew and tried to read up on and prepare myself for whatever condition my baby might possibly have. I came across all sorts of things, but the fluid around the heart made me think that we might be having a Down Syndrome baby. Definitely not the "healthy baby and pregnancy" what we were praying for and imagining, but at the same time, I thought: what a great family we would be for a special needs child to be born into, with 6 older siblings to love on this special baby.

We did ask whether we were having a boy or girl, and the tech told us what she thought, but that news kind of got lost amidst all the other news.

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