In the days before the 6 week scan, I nearly vibrated with anxiety. I was so worried that we would lose the new baby; so afraid to bond, lest this baby die too. All I could do the day before the appointment was pray and repeat mantras like "Faith over Fear." There is a wonderful song written by Donald Lawrence and performed by Janna Long (of Contemporary Christian group Avalon) called "Somebody Loves You". I listened to that song on repeat for days before the ultrasound, and on the drive to the hospital that morning.
I see you standin' there all alone / Feelin' like all hope is gone / You cry yourself to sleep every night / Nothin' ever turns out right / Well, I'd like to encourage you / Just to let you know you'll get through / There's a light on you from above / Oh, don't you know.../ Somebody sees / Somebody knows / Somebody sits high and looks low / Somebody's watching / You're not alone / Somebody loves you so / Well, I know you don't understand / Just how you fit into the plan / Life has been so unfair / Sent you problems too hard to bear / Well, I'd like to encourage you / Just to let you know you'll get through / You gotta stand tall and be strong / Oh don't you know.../ Somebody sees / Somebody knows / Somebody sits high and looks low / Somebody's watching / You're not alone / Somebody loves you so/ Don't you know somebody loves you / Don't you dare give up the fight / Just reach deep down inside you / Oh, my God is there to guide you / And when you really need a friend / Don't hesitate to call him / He will be there to answer your prayer
I finally came to the conclusion, after listening to the song dozens of times, that no matter what happened with this pregnancy, God would get me through it. I couldn't bear the thought of losing another baby, but I was reassured that God saw me, He cared, He loved me so much, and He had a plan...
As soon as the tech began the scan, we saw a tiny baby. Soon after, we saw a flashing heartbeat. Seeing that sign of life was wonderful. The baby was measuring on track; the heartbeat was nice and strong. The tech printed me an ultrasound photo with the words I HAVE A HEARTBEAT typed on it. I walked out of the hospital with a permanent smile -- couldn't help it. The sun was shining, it was spring and our baby had a heartbeat!
There were several things that got me through the pregnancy, anxiety-wise. Losing a baby stripped me of naivety. I knew now that not only do people die, babies die, mine included. A few weeks after the ultrasound, I rented a Doppler online. From about 10 weeks along until I could feel the baby move regularly, I kept it, and when I felt myself being sucked into that spiraling vortex of fear I would check for the heartbeat.
From early on in the pregnancy, I began having pain and it would continue...
When I was beginning the second trimester, the due date for the baby we lost came and went. Two of my friends remembered me. One sent a beautiful e-card, and the other left me a voicemail saying she was thinking of me and hoping I was ok. It was touching to me, that even though I was expecting a new baby, the one we had lost had not been forgotten.
At 19 weeks 3 days, we had the ultrasound. Jonathan & I went together. Right away we saw the heart, still beating away (a sight I never became unaffected by), and little girl parts. She weighed 12 ounces and measured about 9" crown to rump. She had a cute little nose and little stick-out ears like Mommy and big sister Hannah. She looked perfect -- spine, brain, legs, feet, hands, elbow, shoulder and stomach. Her dates were right on track. We were so beyond thrilled and excited for Hannah to have a sister, and to be expecting a healthy baby.
As the pregnancy went on, Hannah became increasingly excited about her baby sister. At 22 weeks, we went to the county fair, where 2.5 year-old Hannah went on her first (kiddie) fair ride with Daddy. I waved to her from outside the little fence, and she held out her hand like a traffic controller, hollering, "Stay there, Mommy! You won't fit!"
At 24 weeks, she was resting with her head in my lap when my stomach made a sound. She leapt up, alarmed, and exclaimed, "OH! Nally, you scared me!"
Jonathan asked her, "What did Natalie do?"
"She burped, with her tiny mouth, in my ear."
By the beginning of the third trimester I was experiencing so much pain, it was difficult to function. I had a break-down at an OB appointment and for the remainder of my pregnancy I took prescription pain meds (safe for the baby), and used a heating pad to help with the pain. I also went to see a chiropractor and began having regular adjustments. Chiropractic care helped a lot and I was able to take less pain medication.
The last several weeks of the pregnancy were difficult. I felt like she would never come. I was huge and heavy and hurting, and trying to chase a very active toddler was nearly impossible. But finally, 1 year and 2 weeks after losing our previous baby to miscarriage, I went into labor.