On the Morning of My Ultrasound

When I was pregnant with my first, everyone I talked to was anxious to know what I was having. I had decided near the beginning of my pregnancy that no one outside of immediate family should know the gender of my baby  before the baby shower–lest I be showered with gender-specific clothes and not receive any of the essential items that I was hoping others would buy for me instead.

On the day of our mid-pregnancy ultrasound (about 19 weeks), my husband came with me and he held my hand. When we were asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby, we adamently answered in unison, “Yes.” I was pleasantly surprised when the technician revealed that our Little Moore was actually a girl. Somehow, I had imagined that she was a boy and didn’t think I would have a girl until a subsequent pregnancy. Perhaps it was the lack of morning sickness that led me to think that it couldn’t have been a girl, but all of those thoughts faded with a smile when I realized that I would be the mother to a firstborn daughter. I had also prayed that God would allow me to have both genders as a mom, but especially that He wouldn’t give me all boys (there is nothing wrong with all boys, but I am totally the mom of a daughter!). As an excited mother-to-be, I had already picked out her name long before I knew who she would be: “Layne Blythe” or “The Joyous Path.”

Layne at 19 weeks in August 2012.

Layne at 19 weeks in August 2012.

 

Flash forward nearly two years to the day (today!) and I am going to another maternal/fetal medicine office to get a mid-pregnancy ultrasound. This time my husband is unable to get the time off of work to come with me, so my mom is coming to watch my daughter and offer support.

Before I became pregnant with this baby, I decided that I didn’t want to know the gender during my next pregnancy. There are so few surprises in adult life (and I am rarely surprised), and I want to know what it feels like to be able to meet my child for the very first time on the day of his or her birth. When Layne’s birth was disappointing (not Layne, but the birth itself), I vowed to do whatever I can to avoid another c-section in the future. I changed to a midwife who supports women who want a vaginal birth after caesarean, I started to revise my birth plan and I have prayed and prayed not to go through that experience again. However, I know that birth is its own animal. I can do everything right and still face a situation that is completely out of my control. I want to know that on the day of my son or daughter’s birth, if I am wheeled down the hall to undergo another painful surgery, that I have a surprise left to enjoy. I want my husband to be able to announce to the room and to the parents, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” I genuinely want to be surprised.

However, ultrasounds are a glimpse into the womb not afforded to my parents’ generation. It is like a movie trailer with the most interesting topic I have ever seen. It is like watching the future unfold inside me–a sneak peek into the rest of my life.

I desperately want to know if I am having a boy or a girl. I want to know that God is giving us a boy so that I will be assured that our family isn’t all girls. I want Caleb to have a little buddy to follow him around. I want a little man to dress in mini-man clothes and learn about all things boy.

I want my daughter to have a sister only two years younger than her so that they can share playmates, clothes and little league teams. I want another little girl to wear the hundreds of adorable girl outfits that I packed away with tears in my eyes as my daughter outgrew them. I want a “second daughter” much like I am the second daughter.

Short of twins (which I am not having), I will not get both of these with this pregnancy. God already has filled one of the above scenarios, and most likely it is way more in depth than I have summarize above. Knowing the outcome brings excitement, relief and months of planning. Not knowing, however, brings wonder, hope, and anticipation.

Today I may not find out the gender of my baby (unless it is unavoidable on the screen), but I will learn that my baby is healthy and growing according to schedule. This is all I can hope for as a mother. God has the rest all planned out.

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30 Weeks: Fear is a Four Letter Word

There is nothing like impending motherhood to remind me of how little control I have over anything in my life. This uncertainty is just exacerbated by my raging hormones and constant re-thinking of every choice and decision I make on a daily basis.

Yesterday, I had a 30-week ultrasound to determine my baby’s growth and development. After marveling at detailed facial features (this baby might have my nose after all) and a perfectly functional heart (I could see all four chambers), I was informed that this child is in the 95th percentile for growth.

Wait a second….My child is big?

My shock transitioned into slight vindication when I realized the explanation for my 3.5 pound weight gain over the last few weeks, but then that quickly receded into fear. Fear for my child’s development, fear that I had somehow missed something with all of my blood sugar checks, fear for my ever-still-so-small lady parts!

The doctor only made it worse by bringing up cesearan section talk in the exam room following the ultrasound. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that my 5’2” frame probably would do better with a 6-7lb baby than a 10lb baby, but I resented him for even mentioning it yet. I resented my doctor for always bringing up every worst case scenario. I resented him for dismissing my objections with bringing my baby’s health into it.

“It isn’t about what you want. You might not have a choice…..”

I made sure to let him know that while he is only thinking about this child, I am thinking of my (up to) three other unborn children and their health and safety with delivery in the future. He told me that Vaginal Birth after Cesearean is common (yeah right!) and I shut down a little. The same doctor who told me that he would like to see me get to 38 weeks before induction due to my diabetes then told me that inducing early wouldn’t help me and that we would have to discuss scheduling a c-section if the baby continued to grow at this rate.

Frustration, coupled with pregnancy-magnified anxiety clouded me the whole drive home. I wasn’t thinking clearly and my mood was sour. I have done everything I can possibly do to ensure that my child has every fighting chance and a normal, non-diseased life. What the heck am I supposed to do now???? I put one hand on my belly while driving as if to excuse my child from having done anything wrong. 95th percentile should belong to children of really tall people, but if I am supposed to birth a linebacker, then so be it.

“My fears have worn me out…” – Switchfoot, Redemption
It wasn’t really until this morning that I realized where my fear and resentment were really coming from. When I failed to look to God to answer me in my distress I found my thoughts getting darker and more angry. Like the child who gets upset when his older sibling tells him he won’t get to do something when the parent or babysitter has clearly said otherwise, I looked only to my own doubt and frustration and never once thought that maybe God knows a little more about this child than the doctor does.

Psalm 139

13 “For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”

“My frame was not hidden from you….Your eyes saw my unformed body….”

We can look at my child through monitors and sonograms and modern technology, but God sees this child with His eyes. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows exactly the date and time that this child will pass through to this side of life and all my doctors can do is estimate, guess and rely on technology to make decisions. They do their best, but when they tell me educated guesses about my child or my ability to bear this child naturally, I can’t throw a fit and feel defeated. I have to look to God (who knows the ACTUAL weight and height and whose nose the child has) to give me my answers.