The ultrasound showed the tiny blip. The miniature beating heart fluttered almost undetectably. Holding my breath, my neck straining, I almost missed it until the ultrasound tech announced the beat was good and strong. A single tear fell down my left cheek, a bit of relief releasing from my tensed muscles.
Since that initial appointment a month-and-a-half ago, we’ve had four more. Four more ultrasounds. Four more chances for bad news. Four more moments bursting with relief. Four more restless nights, tension headaches, sweaty hands, and queasy stomachs.
Our guards came down a bit after our latest appointment with the maternal fetal medicine doctor; we breathe a tad easier knowing this baby doesn’t appear to have the same joint contractures Sophia had. It doesn’t seem to have any heart anomalies they thought Sophia had. It moves blissfully around the screen, often waving and kicking its feet, all of which Sophia barely did. We inhale a bit deeper. We sleep a bit sounder. We have a larger piece of hope to which we cling.
Being far from carefree, we are fully conscious of the long road ahead: many extra doctors’ appointments due to so many confounding factors, plentiful ultrasounds to ensure baby is growing right and pre-term labor doesn’t start, seemingly countless days left to worry, infinite minutes left to attempt to soothe our anxieties.
One day at a time, we have made it to 13w 5d. One day at a time we will carry on. One day at a time, we are thankful for the each second we still have with this baby. Anything beyond a day and the overwhelming fear of more tragedies, painful memories of traumatic moments, and the mental and physical exhaustion from the fight we are putting up would consume us.
Despite the prolonged struggle, we love this baby. We may be crazy for putting ourselves through this for the fourth time, but at this point it is starting to feel worth it. Baby Sprout is worth it.