Bumpdate Weeks 9-13, Pregnancy Diary

I was on cloud nine when month three began. We’d just had our first ultrasound, heard our baby’s heartbeat and were told that everything looked healthy and normal (read last month’s bumpdate for more). Oh, the relief! Read on to find out what weeks 9-13 held, including the results of our genetic testing, a terrifying pregnancy scare as well as whether we choose to find out the gender!

Bumpdate: Weeks 9-13

After our dating scan, I went back to my GP to get the radiologist’s report. While the technician had already told us that everything looked completely normal and there was nothing to be concerned about, we still needed the official report from the doctor. Thankfully, it reinforced everything we’d been told! Exhale. Now that everything was confirmed and looked good, my GP gave me my hospital referral and arranged my next tests.

Feeling like we’d overcome our first major hurdle, we were in a happy bubble for the rest of the week. For the first time in my entire pregnancy, I actually felt like I could relax a little. I knew that we had A LONG way to go and there were lots of other tests to come but for now, everything was perfect and I was clinging on to that.

Ben and I had decided that we definitely wanted to do non-invasive genetic testing (NIPT) to make sure that our baby was healthy and that there were no chromosomal issues. There were a few different options. For some reason, the Harmony test is what most couples go for but after looking into it, we decided to go with the Percept test. Not only does the Percept test look at all 24 chromosomes (the Harmony test only looks at 3), it’s about $150 cheaper, is not-for-profit and is done right here in Melbourne. It was a no-brainer for us. Why would we pay more for less information? So at just over 10 weeks I went in to get my blood drawn. They can already find the baby’s DNA in my blood at this stage. Amazing, huh?

A few days later, while we were waiting for the results, I woke up to some brown spotting. I completely FREAKED, immediately thinking that there was something terribly wrong. In my last pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, I’d had brown spotting the day before my D&C and I knew of another friend who’d also had the same thing with her missed miscarriage. Had the baby died since our last scan? I raced to the doctor. She didn’t seem overly concerned since everything had looked so healthy in the last scan but she gave me a referral for another ultrasound just in case. The cloud of calmness I’d been floating on for the past few weeks vanished and I was back preparing myself for the worst-case scenario again.

Thankfully, I got an appointment that afternoon. Walking to the clinic, I felt strangely removed from the whole thing and a bit numb. It was as if my heart had started to build walls around itself. Within seconds of the wand being put over my belly though, I knew all was okay. Not only could we see the flicker of the heart but the baby was moving. Moving! All the measurements were taken and everything was still right on track with the baby growing at the normal rate. They couldn’t find any cause for the bleeding and it might have just been that I’d been on my feet too much the past few days. Words can’t describe how grateful we were.

Just a couple of days later we were flying up to Byron Bay for Easter so we headed back to the doctor to get the results of the genetic test. Welcome back again, anxiety, you old friend! Most miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities so I wondered whether that had been the case with our last baby. We never got to find out. I so hoped everything was okay this time around. Knowing how anxious we were about all the testing going on, as soon as my doctor closed the door she said, ‘All the testing came back as low-risk so everything is fine’. Phew! Another BIG hurdle jumped.

Bumpdate Weeks 9-13, Pregnancy Diary

Week 11 bump

Since the genetic testing also looks at the sex chromosomes, we had the option to find out the baby’s gender if chose to. It’s such an individual, personal decision but we’d decided that we wanted to. Ben is someone who doesn’t really like surprises and needs time to feel prepared. I’d also been struggling really hard with feeling connected and attached to the baby, I think because of my history. Subconsciously, I guess it was a way of protecting myself.

But this wasn’t how I wanted to be. I felt that by finding out the gender, it might help me form a bond with this little life. It might make it all feel more real and help me start imagining our family’s future. Because I DID want to imagine it. I didn’t want to go through this pregnancy guarded, only half believing it was happening. I wanted to be all in. Knowing the gender, I knew, would help me get there.

We had the doctor write it down on a piece of paper and tape it shut. I quickly had to go next door to get my blood drawn for ANOTHER test, the combined first trimester screening. All the while I was carrying around that precious piece of paper in my purse and it was torture! As soon as we were done, Ben and I raced out to the car to open it up. There was no way we could wait until we got home! The moment we read that piece of paper is one of my favourite moments of my entire life. And finding out was like flicking a light switch. Instantly, everything just felt so much more real. I am so glad we found out. I just feel so much more connected to the baby now.

So I guess you want to know what we’re having, right? We’re not going to announce it, sorry! We’ve only told a few of our nearest and dearest but we’re saving the big surprise for you! Let me know what you think we’re having in the comments – I’d love to know!

When week 12 came around and we were up in Byron Bay, I started to feel as if I was slowly emerging from the darkness. I still felt tired but the nausea seemed to be gradually easing. The light of the second trimester was ahead, I could feel it! If I didn’t eat regularly enough, I’d still feel queasy and I continued to feel really tired at night. But slowly my energy was starting to return.

After flying home, it was time to head in for our next big ultrasound: the nuchal translucency scan. This is the one where they usually look for signs of Down Syndrome or other chromosomal disorders. Because of the genetic testing, we already knew with 99% accuracy that the baby was low-risk for all these issues so I didn’t feel as anxious heading in to this appointment. Instead of worrying about Down Syndrome indicators, the technician instead focused on the baby’s structure, looking at all the main organs and making sure everything was developing normally.

It was a bit hard to get good pictures because we have a little acrobat in there! We couldn’t believe how much it was moving, flipping around from side to side, stretching and flexing its muscles. At one point it even turned to us and gave us a little wave (you can see it in the ultrasound image on the left at the top of this post). So special! Looking up at that screen was mesmerising – I could stare at it all day, every day.

Thankfully, everything looked perfect and we left the clinic just feeling like we were the luckiest people in the world. This whole growing a life thing is such a miracle and we are so unbelievably grateful that everything is going well. Having been on the opposite side of things before, every day forward is a massive cause for celebration.

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Bumpdate Weeks 9-13, First Trimester

Tell me: do you think we’re having a boy or a girl? I’d love to know what you think!