There’s an examination room at my OB’s office that I’ve nicknamed “The Butterfly Room” because the artwork is butterflies. Creative, I know. But it’s my little Ryan Room there, and I’m always so happy when that’s the room I’m placed in at my OB visits.
I’ve been seeing my OB again since I was only 7 weeks pregnant. Much too early for a regular pregnancy. And even though Brayden’s pregnancy was smooth sailing and as of right now there’s nothing to indicate any troubles with this pregnancy, my OB is still open to treating me like I’m high-risk. (Mostly because I’m high risk of a mental breakdown, I’m sure, but I’m still grateful for her).
Usually my OB visits are uneventful. It’s the same OB I had with Ryan and Brayden. She knows me. She lets me ask crazy questions and make unnecessary requests for ultrasounds I don’t physically need but that mentally get me feeling good, so I’m happy that we decided last pregnancy to stick with her. I see her every 4 weeks. Which is a change from Brayden. I saw her every 2 weeks then, but told her for now, I feel comfortable going the regular 4 weeks. It is largely thanks to my home Doppler for this. Until I can feel movement, I need to hear that galloping sound of a baby’s heartbeat to have comfort everything is okay.
I didn’t get the Doppler with Brayden until I was about 17 weeks along because everything I had read told me I wouldn’t be able to hear anything until then. It was a long 17 weeks only hearing him every 2 weeks at the OB. This time, though, I gave it at shot at 12 weeks – my OB heard the baby with little difficulty at 11, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. And there it was. The faint repetitive thumping of a tiny little heart. It’s done wonders for making me feel like a “normal pregnant woman.” Not incessantly worrying to the point of being unable to focus on anything else, as was the case with Brayden a lot of the time in those early weeks. Now, if I’m worried, I listen, and I relax.
I had been getting comfortable in our routine, this new baby and me. A tummy rub in the morning. Racing around to get Brayden off to daycare, me off to work. Small pauses throughout the day – was that a flutter? A typical evening at home with Brayden and Rich. A quick listen in to baby’s heartbeat before bed. I am managing – thriving really. I can do this.
Routine is good that way. It keeps your mind occupied. It keeps you focussed. It’s the changes in the routine that can sometimes be problematic.
My OB’s office is not usually as busy as it was yesterday when I went in for my routine check-up. It was a packed house of women in all different stages of pregnancy. We had the “waddlers” ready to go at any moment it would seem. Those at about the halfway mark, chatting away to each other about home renovations and prenatal classes. And then in walked the post-partum check-up, mom, dad, and 6-week old baby in tow.
And it just hit me.
Remembering sitting there in an empty office, my sad 6-week post-partum body, with my useless empty arms. I’m sure Richard was there with me, but I was still such a zombie back then that I can’t really quite remember.
I just saw this little family walk in and before I knew it, I was thinking, “That should have been me. That should have been us.”
But I’ve HAD that moment since then. I’ve had the 6-week check-up with Brayden in tow, the nurses making a fuss about how sweet, how big, how peaceful he was.
And yet, here I was now, tears sprung to my eyes, at the remembrance of the time I was robbed of that moment. And then the spiral effect of resenting the casual way everyone around me seemed to be talking of birth plans and nursery colours. (Don’t get me wrong, I still think of these things too, but it’s always with caution. “If baby comes home…” “If all goes to plan…”)
I’m repeating to myself, “Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry,” when the nurse calls my name.
I practically sprint through the office doors to step on the scale and take my blood pressure. I manage to small talk my way through this once again familiar routine. She leads me to the examination rooms, and settles me into The Butterfly Room.
I sigh and inwardly smile, starting to regain my composure and feeling more like myself. Bringing myself back to the present moment.
The nurse leaves and I sit down and continue to wait. But this time, comforted by the baby who didn’t come home, smiling at me from those butterfly prints on the wall.
He’s got me.
And I’ve got this.
Even though it turns out pregnancy after loss, even with a beautiful rainbow already in my arms, is still no joke.
23 weeks to go.