I have a habit of checking my email and twitter account from my blackberry each morning before I get out of bed. Yes, it's partially a technology addiction but it started because I had to wake up a half an hour early in order to avoid any mess from my morning dose of progesterone gel. Either way, it's a habit I now enjoy as I am not a morning person and it gives that little bit of time to really wake up before having to be "up". This Saturday though as I checked my email I was ready to hop out of bed from excitement without the 30 minute buffer. There waiting in my inbox were two separate pregnancy subscriptions welcoming me to 13 weeks and the start of my second trimester!
I have been of course counting the weeks and days as they pass by but for some reason it never registered that such an important milestone was upon me until it happened. The sense of joy, relief and gratitude I feel at reaching this wonderful new stage of pregnancy is almost impossible to express. I suddenly felt more connected to Snow Pea than ever before and more excited to think about the day I will hold my baby in my arms. After losing sprout, I have definitely been more guarded and a little disconnected. Not that I am not enjoying and loving every second but I still keep taking it all moment by moment. Reaching this point of pregnancy feels like a dream come true and makes everything feel more real than it did before.
Making this new stage feel even more real and even more exciting is that today was the nuchal translucency scan. For those that don't know the NT scan is done between 11 and 14 weeks to measure fluid at the back of the neck as an indicator for down's syndrome. They also measure the baby's growth, heartbeat, and take a look at the developing limbs and organs. Since you're already in the office with your belly all jellied up, the u/s techs are usually also kind enough to show off all kind's off other cute baby parts. It was incredible!
This was our first really good "tummy u/s" too which somehow made it feel that much more real to me. Every other time we had gotten a good view of Snow Pea it had been with wandy, so we were always looking from an unconventional angle and it's not exactly where I think of the baby as being. As soon as she put the probe on my belly we could see Snow Pea moving and kicking around and as soon as the tech declared how active our baby was, Snow Pea promptly fell asleep. For those of you that know Chad, you know this is definitely a trait of his that he has so kindly passed on to our child. He can fall asleep anytime, anywhere and sleep for 13 hours if he has nothing forcing him to wake up. As much as it drives me nuts that my husband can sleep like that, I have to admit it was cute and a bit endearing to actually witness Snow pea doing it.
Of course though, Snow Pea being asleep wasn't entirely conducive to the scan and the tech had to keep bouncing little one around to get the correct position. And again, being my husband's child, Snow Pea wasn't exactly easy to wake up. But after a bit of jiggling she finally got the view she needed and reported everything looks right on target. She also gave us our very first listen of our sweet little miracle's heartbeat. It was music to our ears, and one of us got a bit teary eyed. It measured at a very healthy 143bpm.
We soaked up every second of seeing our baby in profile for the first time and relished watching the twitches that looked like full body hiccups. Then the tech asked if we'd like a guess on the sex. Since neither of us are great at waiting for surprises we said yes so she pointed out the little nub between our baby's legs and explained the difference between males and females at this stage of development. Based on the position and angle, she predicted that our baby is made up of XX chromosomes as opposed to XY but of course nothing is definite this early on. I will say though that based on my research, this office does have a high rate of accuracy, as does this method of prediction when done by a skilled tech. Of course, we aren't betting the farm on this but since our approach to parenting is more gender neutral to begin with, if the prediction does change later it wouldn't be the end of the world. The most exciting thing about possibly knowing the sex is just feeling that much more connected to Snow Pea as a real person and not an "it". (Although, truth be told, Chad REALLY wants a girl so he's even more excited right now)
I just can't believe that we've reached such an amazing milestone and I can't stop looking at my sweet baby's newest pictures. My favorite thing to do lately is go through them in order and watch Snow Pea grow, starting with the very first picture on transfer day when Snow Pea was just a large clump of cells. This is truly an amazing experience and after all it took to get here, I am incredibly grateful for every moment.