I have been writing this post in my head for well over a month and even have a few attempts saved in my drafts folder. On one hand, I want to capture our processing of all that has happened in full, technicolor detail. On the other, it feels too personal to share; uncharted territory for me, considering all the gut-spilling I’ve done on this blog over the years, but there it is. But, I want to share why I’ve been so silent, here and in your comments sections, and also get you up to speed on where we are now, so here is the nutshell version:
When we went for our “first look” ultrasound in November, Baby B’s NT measurement was high and we were given 1:86 odds of Down Syndrome, compared with 1:2611 on Baby A. Baby B’s risks of other trisomies were elevated as well. We told no one for weeks until I finally opened up to two friends – one over email and one during a weekend lunch date in which I held her hostage for four long, self-absorbed hours. M and I did a bunch of research and soul-searching and doctor-grilling and decided to book an amnio during the same office visit as our early-January anatomy scan with the hope of declining the amnio on the spot if Baby B’s heart and other organs looked okay on the ultrasound. And – thankfully – we were able to do just that when Baby B sailed through without a hitch. As did his brother. (Did you catch that? We decided to find out the sexes this time and we are having two more boys. Heaven help us.) We’ve had one more in-depth cardio scan since that ultrasound and everything still looks good. They will continue to look at the boys’ hearts monthly from here on out, along with the standard growth scans. (The anatomy scan also revealed that Baby A’s placenta is completely covering my cervix, but it’s early, so I’m hoping it will move away with time.)
The weeks between the NT scan and the Amnio-That-Wasn’t were dark times. I have never felt so vulnerable. Even though I knew Baby B's odds weren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things (1:86 = 1.2%), they seemed enormous compared to Baby A’s and it put an impenetrable dark cloud over my pregnancy as a whole. Before the NT scan, I’d been anxiously awaiting the end of the first trimester to shout our news from the rooftops. As it turned out, we had very close friends who didn’t even know I was pregnant until just shy of 17 weeks. Basically, if I didn’t *have* to tell someone because they came face to face with my rapidly growing belly, they didn’t get to know. I was terrified to tell anyone about the babies in case one or both would not be ours to keep. I felt like a fraud every time I told someone it was twins; like I needed to follow it up with “…but, one of them may be very sick.” It sounds like an overreaction now, but at the time, the fear was paralyzing. Around 13-14 weeks, I realized my subconscious had built a protective wall between me and my pregnancy and I'd prevented myself from developing a connection to the babies. It freaked me out and I launched a concerted effort to tell more people, and then to lock in on their excitement and try desperately to make it my own, but I just couldn’t. The fear was stronger than any amount of will or logic.
Ultimately, telling more people (including the eventual FB announcement) and the two clear scans have helped a lot, but the fear has left its mark as well. I no longer fear for Baby B’s health in the specific, intense way I once did, but the sense of vulnerability remains, similar to how your calf aches the morning after a charlie horse woke you during the night. The experience has been a powerful reminder of how fragile everything is, how little control we have, and how quickly things can change or be lost. I’ve had intermittent cramping and spotting over the past few weeks (too much activity, I’m sure) and at one point, I felt so worried it was the beginning of the end, I called my OB and went in right away (sooo not my style), only to learn my cervix was long and closed and perfect.
I will be 24 weeks on Friday. So close, I can taste it. I couldn’t be more anxious to reach a milestone.