Friday, January 28, 2011

why ultrasounds make me anxious

Today's the big day.

The day we've been talking about and waiting for since this pregnancy surprise started.

Our 20 week ultrasound.

And while I really am excited about finding out this little one's gender, there are other feelings that come up at this point every pregnancy... feelings I've been only somewhat consciously fighting to keep at bay in the last few weeks.

There are many women -probably the majority of women- who go through their pregnancies experiencing nothing but joy and excitement and happy anticipation from the day they get that positive test result until the day they leave the hospital, new baby wrapped in arms. Unfortunately, I know that that's not always how things play out.

I know the shock of learning that the baby you're carrying is very sick. I know the pain of hearing a fatal diagnosis for the little one that you've already carried for four months and come to love unconditionally. I know the fear of never knowing, from one day to the next, whether your unborn baby is even still alive... waiting each morning for those little reassuring kicks before being able to even get out of bed. I know what it's like to watch your baby take his last breaths and have to hand his tiny body over to a stranger only a few hours later. I know what it's like to wake up the next morning (still on the maternity ward -surrounded by beaming parents and new babies- because the hospital was COMPLETELY FULL that night) and feel the reality of your loss wash over you in almost suffocating waves of grief.

I know what it's like to leave the hospital with empty arms...

Our journey with Nathaniel started at that 20 week ultrasound. What we'd incorrectly assumed would be a "routine" scan. 

And so at this point with every pregnancy, it's hard not to think about how this same moment (five and a half years ago) completely changed our lives. Yet even as I write this, the new little one inside me is kicking me, trying -I hope- to tell me that everything is okay.

But what if it's not?

Our experience with Nathaniel taught us many things...

It taught us about ourselves and each other.

It taught us that the type of love we have for our children -even our unborn children- is not something that can be turned on and off... even if convinced that not loving would be easier.

It proved what an amazing, loving and supportive immediate and extended family we each belong to. It showed us who our real friends are.

It taught us, in a very real although painful way, that God is who He is and His promises don't change, even when our circumstances do.

It taught us what grief really is... because we had NO. IDEA.

It gave us the ability to truly empathize with others who are hurting.

It gave us the opportunity, in our weakness and brokenness and pain, to find a new perspective on life... this one and the next.

It showed us we were stronger than we thought we were.

These are all things that were "bought" at a price. A very dear and precious one. We would no more trade these lessons learned than we would give up our time with Nathaniel... even if it would've saved us the pain of losing him. I'm not saying that these things justify his death or make it okay, but I know that his life -and his pain of his loss- weren't wasted.

So what if this ultrasound shows us something other than a perfect and healthy baby? What if we once again hear the tech's voice go from happy and chatty to grave and silent? What if the results bring the type of news that is every parent's worst nightmare?

I know we'll survive. We survived before. And we have three other little boys at home to show us on a daily (if not minute-by-minute) basis that life is worth living and that loving is worth the risk.

(All that being said, we'd appreciate any prayers or thoughts or happy/healthy/calm vibes for this afternoon. Like I said, I'm excited (REALLY!) but it's impossible to not feel a growing sense of anxiety and fear mixed in with the anticipation.)


  1. the fact that you share this so openly is a gift.
    a gift for those of us who have shared in those fears ( the chatty t osilent ultrasound room? the loudest silence you will ever experience. ever.).

    i am so excited for you guys and this babe:)
    and you would not be feeling human being if you were not anxious.

    thinking of you:)

  2. positive vibes, clutching ganesh and crossing fingers, toes and all appendages for good measure.

  3. Amy and Peter, Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you. Hugs, A. Dianne

  4. Hugs Amy! I am sending you all the positive vibes I can!

  5. Hi Amy! Sending you positive vibes!

  6. I have prayed and am now waiting anxiously for an update!


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