Taking it step-by-step…
I dreaded even looking at my due date. I had decided after my first miscarriage that I would never look this far ahead again. I had an idea of the month in which the baby would be due, but did not want to focus on a date that seemed an eternity away. Instead I chose to focus on shorter milestones that I could ‘celebrate’ (along with hubby) as a way of helping to manage the anxiety of this pregnancy.
I thought i’d take a little look back on these ‘key’ mental milestones and why/how they helped me to start to believe that this pregnancy might lead to our lucky rainbow.
6 weeks – First early pregnancy scan
The first milestone as this is usually when you can see a heartbeat on ultrasound. My local Early Pregnancy Unit were absolutely amazing at supporting us through the early stages and offered us early reassurance scans. I found the first one the most reassuring as this confirmed a viable intrauterine pregnancy. Again, we would be on this journey towards parenthood…
12 weeks – Dating scan
This is the milestone that every other couple looks towards right?
Actually by the time it came to our dating scan we had already had three reassurance scans as we were being monitored by our EPU fortnightly. I must admit that the time leading up to this scan is when I struggled the most as we had lost three previous pregnancies between 8 and 10 weeks. The reassurance of the EPU scans seemed to last only minutes after leaving the room.
However, after our dating scan (which admittedly was nearer the 13 week mark) we started to feel like a normal couple! We felt able to share our news with close family and friends in the same way that normal couples would do. This I feel was our first step into allowing ourselves to start to believe that we may be embarking on a normal pregnancy journey and hopefully meet our child.
16 weeks – Midwife appointment
For me, a huge moment was hearing our baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. I had already started to develop a little bump around this time, but I had played this down as a reassuring sign that my pregnancy was progressing well. Instead I needed concrete evidence/reassurance and this was delivered during my 16 week midwife appointment. Both my husband and i were overwhelmed with joy at hearing our little ones heart beating away…
20 weeks – Anomaly scan
Again another normal milestone for most mothers-to-be. The purpose of this scan is to ensure that all of baby’s major organs are developing normally. Again I had chosen to underplay the physical signs and symptoms that had continued to progress. I had a growing bump, had started to feel little flutterings in my abdomen and to be frank looked pregnant according to EVERYONE that I had seen. Still, there were seeds of doubt and I once again needed to see a good anomaly scan. Thankfully we had an uneventful scan. A normal scan. We left the hospital in slight shock… Could it really be true? I cried.
24 weeks = VIABILITY
No sonographic reassurance with this milestone, but a huge medical milestone as 24 weeks is when a baby could potentially survive outside the womb. For me however, 24 weeks represented recognition. I had already lost 4 babies, but none of these will ever be recognised in the eyes of the law. At 24 weeks at least my baby’s life would be recognised no matter the outcome.
28 weeks – The Third Trimester
By this time I really did believe that I would be having this baby. I thought it was time to recognise that. I wrote my first blog post and vowed to try to keep looking forwards in a positive way. Unfortunately I had spent two thirds of this pregnancy in fear of what might happen. The third trimester represented a time for me to start enjoying the present. A time to enjoy being pregnant, to embrace my growing bump and movements, and to dare to dream about the most amazing life experience ahead. I started to buy more items in preparation for baby and started a countdown to baby’s due date (and maternity leave!). I got lucky with my symptoms (or lack of) and was truly able to enjoy this time of my pregnancy.