19 weeks + 4 days pregnant

Yesterday was my twenty week scan and in the days leading up to it I felt incredibly nervous. This was my ‘anomaly’ scan… even the name stuck fear into my heart. It’s the scan where they confirm whether your baby is developing ‘normally’. The scan where they look for problems or issues. In the week leading up to it I had countless nightmares about it and the revelations that it would bring.

In my last pregnancy, the significance of the twenty week scan never even registered with me. I called it the ‘gender scan’, and saw it merely as an exciting opportunity to find out the gender of our baby. Blissful naivety. 

Now, experience has given me a fear of scan rooms and taught me that ultrasounds sometimes bring agony and heartbreak. I’ve also been introduced to a community of women whose twenty week scans have revealed devastating news. These stories plague my thoughts. 

Through my own loss I’ve encountered hundreds of women, each with their own devestating story to tell. A complicated pregnancy is almost my sense of normal; it’s 100% of my experience and a reality for most of the women I’ve met too. 

I certainly find it hard to relate to women who speak of ‘easy’ or ‘uneventful’ pregnancy experiences. This week I read a forum post where the poster was complaining about not being able to find out the gender at her 20 week scan as baby was ‘uncooperative’. She was upset as she had planned a gender reveal party which was now ‘effectively ruined’… it’s hard to relate to her upset and not feel agitated at how much she was taking for granted. She had seen a live, healthy baby and to me that is reason enough for celebration. 

Our 20 week scan was a difficult experience for me. I have begun to feel baby move more and more over the last week, but in the day before the scan I felt much less. I think some of the time my paranoia made me doubt what I was feeling and I started to worry that maybe something had gone wrong. 

When the sonographer confirmed the heartbeat, I had a huge sigh of relief. He’s ok. On the screen he appeared to be such an active baby but unfortunately lots of his movements appear to be muffled by my anterior placenta which acts as a barricade between he and I. I hope that his movements will become stronger soon to ease the doubts that creep into my mind at times. 

The sonographer worked through a list of checks. Each time he would inform us of what he was looking at and I would hold my breath until he said all was ok. The heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the brain, the abdomen, the limbs, the face, the feet. He seemed to take an agonisingly long time analysing each one. Each time he gave an all clear I exhaled a little more, like an over inflated balloon that was releasing air until it was finally flat again. Baby was ok. It was such a relief. 

I remember none of this anxiety in my twenty week scan with Nieve. I took it totally for granted that everything would be fine and probably spent the whole time infatuated by her movements on the screen, blissfully unaware of any prospect of bad news. 

Our sonographer was fantastic. I appreciated how thorough he was, even though it felt like an agonising wait to know all was ok. His meticulousness eradicated all my doubts. He also had a lovely manner; he seemed to really enjoy his job and experiencing the scan with us. We all laughed as baby fiddled with his nose and struck amusing poses. In those moments I felt such an optimistic happiness and sense of ‘normal’. It was blissful and I wish I could bottle that feeling up and make it last forever. 

And so here we are, almost at the half way mark in the pregnancy and that feels like an amazing achievement. It’s certainly been a bumpy and difficult ride but there have also been intervals of joy too. As I lie here this morning, I can feel my baby boy moving. It’s such a beautiful and reassuring feeling. I’m so thankful for everyday of this pregnancy, despite how hard it is, it is hope.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”


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