15. A different kind of waiting

For all the waiting we’d done up until then (3 years of it by that point!), this was a whole new level of waiting, nervousness and expectation. The only way I could cope was to draw up a daily chart of the 40 weeks, and mark each day off as it passed. I marked on little milestones to break up the 9 months, so there was always something close-by to be counting down to – the next scan, a midwife appointment, bank holidays, days off, each trimester, viability, full term… It helped me to claw back a bit of control.

We kept having weekly scans and at each one I was just as nervous. The 9 week scan was perfect – our baby was growing just as it should be, we listened in to the heartbeat (183 bpm) strumming away. We found the wait between the 9 week scan and the next scan at 10+3 particularly nerve-wracking – it was somewhere between 9-10 weeks in our second pregnancy that our little angel stopped growing. I was on tenterhooks for any changes in my symptoms, but there was nothing I could detect, we just had to wait.

The 10+3 week scan was on 19th September 2013. We literally held our breaths, I was shaking all over and we didn’t dare look at our consultant as she started scanning. Thankfully she let us know very quickly that all was fine and we turned around and basked in the beauty of our growing little life.

After that scan, we plucked up the courage to tell our parents our news, but with a heavy dose of caution that it could all be snatched from us again. Gone was the early joy we had, and in its place the news was shrouded in uncertainty and maybes.

Our next two scans came in quick succession – a 12 week scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit on 30th September, followed by our ‘dating scan’ at 12+2 on 2nd October. This really helped us, as I stopped the heparin following the 12 week scan (42 injections done!), so it was so reassuring that all was still ok at the following scan 2 days later. The ‘dating scan’ was our first experience of life in the antenatal screening rooms, having never made it past the doors of the EPU previously. It was weird to see all these naive couples excitedly awaiting their first scans, whereas we had already had 5 scans up to that point and we were still as nervous as ever.

Following these scans, it was time to stop the progesterone too – we were really nervous about just stopping all medication in one go, so I tapered off these slowly and stopped completely just before our next scan. The next scan we had was on 17th October, I was 14+3. We were completely transfixed watching our baby move around in my tummy on screen (whilst I was still not feeling any movements yet) and the sound of its little beating heart was extremely comforting. We were discharged from the EPU at this point and it felt so surreal to have reached the end of the first trimester.

At that point, our next scan wasn’t scheduled until our anomaly scan at 19 weeks. For us both this seemed far too long and we booked in two private scans (at 15+5 and 17+5) to keep us going. It was at the second of these scans that we learned it very likely we were having a baby boy!

We were still very much living a day-by-day existence. My bump was growing, but was disguised quite easily and we had still only told our parents and a couple of my close friends, so it was very easy for it all to feel very dream-like. I began to feel a few tiny flutterings in my tummy, which were getting stronger by the day. The moment Matt could feel some of them with his hand on my tummy was magical. Around 19 weeks (and our anomaly scan) we began to see movements from the outside and it began to feel a bit more real, although we still talked in ‘all being wells’ and ‘ifs’, not daring to believe this could finally be it. We learned that Matt could hear the baby’s heartbeat if he listened in at my tummy and this really helped when we were feeling especially anxious.

Our 10th scan was our anomaly scan on 21st November. As each thing was checked off and declared ‘normal’ we breathed a sigh of relief. We also got the confirmation that we were, in fact, definitely having a precious baby boy.

Christmas 2013 came and my bump was now too big to disguise and I let some close friends know that we were expecting – I felt weird revealing this news, as though it was too soon to be sharing with the world (despite the fact many people would have told people months ago). A week or so later and my bump was evidently baby (rather than chub!) and people felt confident enough to congratulate me without me actively telling them I was pregnant. I can’t explain how much these congratulations made me cringe inside – for me, more people knowing meant more people I would have to ‘un-tell’ when things didn’t go to plan. I tried to accept these congratulations with the joy in which they were given (but I apologise if my reaction to your excitement wasn’t as you’d expected!)

We were still deemed ‘high risk’ and so additional consultant appointments were booked to review everything and we were given two additional scans for our reassurance (27+3 and 31+3) – both confirmed that our little guy was growing just perfectly. Twelve scans in all and we were still feeling nervous! We started to buy things and get prepared, re-decorating our spare room into the nursery we had always thought it would be. Again, these things made us feel extremely uneasy – how would it be for us to have to return home baby-less to this house full of baby things?! But still, we had no option but to bury this uncertainty and ready ourselves, in the hope that maybe, just maybe it might actually be our time.

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