It seems like every pregnant woman measures their pregnancy in milestones, whether it is conscious or not. For a typical pregnancy, most women celebrate the first ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat, finding out the sex of the baby, the anatomy scan, sometimes reaching 24 weeks, or the mark of viability, and finally, the birth of the baby. Simple milestones that every pregnant woman wants to reach.
In the mind of a mom who has lost a child, we always think of the pregnancy in terms of loss milestones. For an early miscarriage, this may be getting past the week you lost the baby. Or for a later loss, getting past the time that you first found out about the bad news. For a loss like mine, that was as late as 32 weeks, and with a pregnancy as full of bad news as my prior one, I had a lot of milestones to past. This also includes prior losses I have had that were earlier in gestation.
First milestone was getting past the doubling betas.
I had an early miscarriage where the betas were never quite doubling like they should. This pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage when my levels started dropping. Strangely enough, they were falling and then started rising again. I had to be given a methotrexate shot in order to bring my levels all the way down. As soon as I had a positive test this time, I was getting betas done with my RE. I even paid to go have some done on my own just for my piece of mind. They were all rising as they should, so I officially made it past milestone one.
The second milestone was then getting past the NT scan.
With our angel daughter, I had it done with an MFM at 13 weeks. Due to my last pregnancy, I was referred out to an MFM this time for testing as well. This was the point in the last pregnancy that we found out about the possibility of the CDH with our daughter. They could already tell that the heart was not in the correct place and some of the organs had been moved up. This was obviously a very scary milestone for us to pass. We passed it this pregnancy. We went for the NT scan and were told that everything looked normal and they confirmed we were having another girl.
I considered our next milestone the appointment after the NT scan.
With our angel daughter, they told us that it looked like CDH was happening, but that she wanted us to come back to confirm. So we obviously tried to hold out hope that maybe she had made a mistake and the baby was just at a weird angle or something. I went back two weeks later at 15 weeks just to get the confirmation of the CDH. I had an appointment with this pregnancy at 16 weeks and we were again told that everything looked normal. Still, even with all of the positive news, I couldn’t help but worry.
After this came the anatomy scan.
We didn’t find any new issues with our angel daughter at the anatomy scan. Everything was just confirmed, but she was bigger so we were able to see more of what was pushed up in her chest cavity. I was nervous about the anatomy scan this time because I was still afraid that the CDH would somehow develop late and pop up or that we would find some other type of issue. But again, we got the all clear. She is a normally developing little girl.
And as thrilled as I am about this and as excited as I am for this baby, I also had a moment of anger. Anger that my angel daughter didn’t get a chance to even take a breath outside of my belly. That she didn’t get a chance like my son or this baby. Why is she the only one who didn’t get a chance? The anger has since passed, but it hit me a few days after the joy of the anatomy scan. It is so complicated having conflicting feelings about the excitement and joy of a new baby and the sadness and loss of our daughter. And I don’t want the feelings about our angel daughter to take away from the joy of this pregnancy and this daughter.
The next milestone for me won’t really be until the 32 week mark, which is when we lost our daughter.
She developed hydrops and was stillborn. I am only 19 weeks now, so I have quite a ways to go. 13 more weeks to get past the most major milestone of them all. This is one of those times I am grateful that this is my busy time of year at work because I am hoping that it will help the time pass quickly.