However, at my appointment, the doctor couldn't find Aubree's heart beat. A quick ultrasound showed that something was very, very wrong. Over the next couple of days we learned that our little girl's heart was very broken and we were told she would not survive to birth. I spent the next 15 weeks researching Heterotaxy and all of Aubree's complex heart issues, consulting with doctors across the country, and praying for a miracle. But Aubree decided to write her own ending and left when she was ready. I carried her for 31 weeks and gave birth to her in a silent delivery room. We spent eight hours with her before we said goodbye and left the hospital empty handed.
Today I sat in that same office for a routine prenatal exam. We found out at the beginning of February that Baby #3 was coming in mid-October - nearly the exact same due date one year later. Today's appointment went well. Baby's heart beat was hard to find, but only because the little one kept moving away from the doppler. Apparently his or her sisters have stretched things out enough that there's plenty of room to run around in there ;) We did get to hear a normal heart rate for just a few seconds in between kicks and flips. We've already had two ultrasounds and have a few more scheduled to keep a very close eye on things as baby grows. So far, everything is measuring perfectly and baby is doing great. And just like his or her big sisters, baby is a thumb-sucker :)
I wish I could say that I was excited. I am not unhappy by any means, but pregnancy after a loss is unimaginably difficult. Gone is the innocence of getting a positive pregnancy test and blissfully day dreaming about nursery colors. Through this journey I have met some wonderful mommas who have lost babies for various reasons. Now I feel like I know all too well just how terribly wrong things can go. Just because we have no indication of heart defects doesn't mean I won't have a freak placental abruption during labor, or have a cord accident at 39 weeks. Sure, the odds of that happening are very very small. But so were the odds of Aubree getting Heterotaxy. We had better chances of winning the Powerball Jackpot than of her getting Heterotaxy and all of her complex heart issues on top of it (and yes, I did buy a few lotto tickets to see if that bad luck could extend the other way - but sadly it didn't). I am extremely glad this baby is developing normally. But until I hold a screaming baby in my arms and get to take that baby home with me, I am not letting myself get too excited.
In three more weeks we will have a very detailed scan to check every part of baby's anatomy. We will hopefully also get to learn what flavor of human is currently incubating :) Although I am anxious to have a name and to start preparing for a baby, I am really torn on finding out the sex. A girl would be great because I had my heart set on a sister for DD. But a girl will never replace Aubree. A boy would be nice because we have two girls. But a boy will also mean that DD won't have a little sister (at least not right now). It's going to be such a bittersweet moment. No matter what the sex is, it's going to be a very painful reminder of who we are missing.