Or at least some variation of this picture. Happy. Excited. Only gaining weight directly in your belly.
I can tell you honestly that the first 25 weeks of my pregnancy were anything but that picture. In fact, if there was a picture that was the exact opposite of that woman's expression...that would have been my face. I told the story of the first 25 weeks of my pregnancy with M.D. with a friend of ours at a birthday party (after he was born). When I finished with my story she looked at me and said, How are you going to convince yourself to get pregnant again? I told her...I hope this experience files under my "short-term memory". So what happened?
10 Weeks Pregnant
So, Steven & I headed into the doctor's office and she brought over the dopplar-heart-beat-listening-machine. Guess what we heard. Nothing. Silence has never been more terrifying. The doctor moved the machine all over my stomach. She was very patient. I was panicking. After multiple MULTIPLE attempts to hear the heartbeat, she decided we needed to head up to the hospital for an ultrasound. She printed us out an order for an urgent U/S and we drove up. I was dying inside. The order for the ultrasound said something along the lines of, We're going to see if your baby is still alive...But in doctor lingo of course. We had the ultrasound, M.D. was very much alive.
20 Week Ultrasound
This could not be happening. I'm going to send you to a Perinatologist at the U of M to do a more in-depth ultrasound, to check for other indicators. I honestly couldn't even hear what she was saying. I really don't think it's anything to be worried about. Well, it's not your child. You have 2 healthy children WITHOUT special needs. I really do love our doctor, but I didn't want to hear anything anybody was saying....except.....Steven. Sweet, wonderful Steven who was sitting next to me, watching me lose my mind, said quietly, Laurel, it's okay. We will love him exactly the same no matter what. He's still our little boy. WOW. Best husband/father ever.
We couldn't get in to the Perinatologist for 2 weeks. 2 WEEKS! It was during this time that I asked myself the question, ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? This is supposed to be fun. This is supposed to be magical anticipation, shopping, nesting. I would take morning sickness every day, swollen everything, worst pregnancy symptoms you can imagine over this feeling. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life.
The end of this part of the story is pretty obvious. We went to the Perinatologist. No other indicators of Downs Syndrome. Only "abnormality" the specialist saw was, He has very long legs. Yup. I was okay with that. I still am okay with his long legs.
However, in the meantime I had googled and web-md' the crap out of this heart-spot indictator. While it reassuring that it often times was NOT an indicator of Downs, I also was struck with a huge fear because I read over and over again that most-times, Downs syndrome is NOT diagnosed pre-birth. That often times the indicators are not obvious enough to see even in our most-detailed ultrasound machines. I lived every day of my pregnancy, from that day forward, with the fear that this could happen. I had never considered it an option for our reality before becoming pregnant. I decided I was not going to be convinced that M.D. was without Downs until he came out of me and I looked into his eyes and saw that he did not have that disability. I came to terms with the fact that he still could. I read a lot of information on children with Downs. In fact, if you ever want to read a really inspiring and truthful article about giving birth to a child and then realizing they have Downs Syndrome, please read this. I can't tell you how many times I read it while pregnant. Read it even if you're not pregnant, done being pregnant, or never want to be pregnant. It is a an amazing yet heartwrenching story. The best is reading this woman's blog posts today (so check those out as well).
So we weren't "having fun yet" but we did, eventually, have a lot of fun. We still are having fun. And now, having gone through all of that with my pregnancy with M.D., I can honestly say that I am not fearful of being pregnant again. I now know the miracle that is creating, carrying, and giving birth to a child. I realize, after going through all of that, that there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to control or manipulate any part of that (other than to remain healthy myself), and that only God is in charge. There is no use worrying when such a beautiful miracle is taking place. The only thought should be thankfulness, excitement, and joy.