My ill-fated attempt at journaling began when my grief was still very fresh on August 2, 2016. Ultimately I decided handwritten journaling is not an activity I enjoy…there’s just something about that blank page, and when your hand starts to hurt that makes it unappealing and keeps the words from flowing very easily. So I’ve switched to blogging as a way to express my feelings in writing. On that day in August, I began journaling about my pregnancy with Jacob. I hadn’t journaled while pregnant, and I was immediately regretting that and wanted to remember everything possible about the 9 months Jacob was alive inside my womb. Here are the words I wrote to start my pregnancy journal, and then a summary of my first trimester, week-by-week:
“Right now I should be sleep-deprived & exhausted but full of joy watching Jacob grow in his first weeks of life. But sadly, Jacob only made it through a couple tumultuous hours. Now I’m left with only memories to keep Jacob alive in my heart. Memories of that fearful & sad night & early morning two weeks ago. Memories of holding him & wondering how it was possible to feel such joy & love at the same time as such overwhelming fear and sorrow.
While I was pregnant, all I thought about was the end goal of getting to meet Jacob at his birth & trying to be the best mother I could for him as he grew up. If I only knew that those 9 months I carried him would be my only time with him (plus a few hazy hours in the hospital), I would have cherished them so much more. Here are the limited memories I do have of that precious time.”
Week 4 (for those of you not familiar with how pregnancy is dated, week 1 would be the first week of your cycle, week 2-3 when you conceive, and week 4 the earliest you could get a positive test): 11/11/15 I woke up early to take a pregnancy test before Erik went to work, and it was positive! Because of my miscarriage in August at 8 weeks, Erik and I were very nervous, but excited. We wanted to keep our mind off the understandable worries we had, at least until passing that 8-week mark.
Week 5: We told our immediate families at Thanksgiving because it wasn’t hard to figure out (no wine for me!) but we didn’t want to celebrate or discuss it. I started having nausea that week, and struggled to eat at certain meals, especially when meat was involved. Since I never had nausea during my first pregnancy, I was thankful for it thinking it was a good sign that baby was developing.
Week 6: I flew to Houston and had a great weekend catching up with friends there. Our activities were definitely limited by my constant, all-day nausea though. My pregnancy app said the baby was the size of a chocolate chip, so my friend Amy nicknamed Jacob “Chip” until we had a real name.
Week 7: Friday, 12/11 was my first doctor’s visit, and we got to see Jacob on the ultrasound. I was too nervous to enjoy it much, but really happy to see his heartbeat and learn that he was growing on track.
Week 8: We hosted a gathering at our house and I hid my nausea and pregnancy pretty well…I managed to sneak alcohol-free wine from the fridge to make people think I was drinking :). P.s., alcohol-free wine isn’t very good, I wouldn’t recommend it except to fake people out.
Week 9: We began sharing the news with the rest of the extended family. I remember awkwardly telling my side of the family at our Christmas dinner saying something along the lines of “we are excited but still really nervous because of the miscarriage.” My brother congratulated me for telling the family in “the most neurotic way possible”. Oops!
Week 10: I had some of my first cravings: fruit and blueberry pancakes :). I also got my blood drawn on 12/31 for the Harmony chromosomal testing that would tell us whether we were having a boy or girl and also our risk for a few different abnormalities. I didn’t really have a gut feeling that I was having a boy or a girl, although my rational brain told me girl (based on statistics because it seemed like everyone I knew was having boys recently).
Week 11: Attended my first prenatal yoga class, which I became obsessed with and attended as much as possible through the duration of my pregnancy. We anxiously awaited our Harmony results.
Week 12: On 1/11 I got a call from my doctor’s office telling me that the results were normal (low risk) for chromosomal abnormalities (sigh of relief) and that I was having a boy! I surprised Erik (an Eagle Scout himself who is still active in supporting the boy scout program) with an Eagle Scout t-shirt that said “be prepared” on it (unfortunately they didn’t have any onesies at the boy scout’s store). We shared that news and Jacob’s name with both of our immediate families. We traveled to the Cayman Islands for a family vacation with Erik’s parents and sister, and had a great time, despite my continued nausea. My blueberry pancake craving persisted and I had to find some down there!
Week 13: We had my second appointment with the doctor, and ended up having another ultrasound because we couldn’t find the heartbeat with the doppler. It was a very scary few minutes until they could get me moved into an ultrasound room, but then we got to see him again, and he was wiggling around. We started telling more friends about the pregnancy after that appointment, and started to feel a little more confident and excited about bringing home a baby boy in late July!