It really does seem completely different this time around.
With Jack, I remember looking at myself in the mirror the morning of 16w0d. We were in a hotel room in Springfield, MO, getting ready to go to the university for Katie's dance competition. I wore my maternity "Pom Mom" sweater that Katie had embroidered for me for Christmas. I asked Forest if he thought I looked pregnant yet or still just chubby. He (of course) said that I looked totally pregnant and he read me the "What to Expect" iPhone update for 16 weeks, as he had each Saturday since downloading the app. I looked in the mirror and I felt worried. I guess part of me knew all along that my sweet baby wasn't meant to come home with us. I never felt confident in the pregnancy - it all seemed sort of surreal and kind of disconnected.
I still sometimes can't believe the rest of the events that unfolded that day actually happened to me. It was so horrible and painful. And, at the same time, it was like I was floating above myself - or maybe I was off to the side somewhere. Part of me wasn't connected to my body or my mind. Part of me knew it was going to happen, I guess. When my water broke in the ER I looked at Forest and said, "It's over". He was in shock. He just kept shaking his head and saying, "I can't believe this is real." I'll never forget the look on his face. I'm sure the look on mine was more resigned. I knew there was no hope for my baby once my water broke.
I cursed myself for feeling like I would've been "disappointed" finding out for sure that Jack was a boy. I always "felt" like he was a he from the time I saw the + sign on the HPT (and maybe even before that). Even though I didn't feel right "wanting" a girl, I couldn't help it and I was trying to prepare myself to not be disappointed. But, of course, when it came down to it, I really just wanted my baby to live and I saw - all at once - that I did want a boy. I wanted that boy. I wanted my boy.
Anyway, far too many of you know exactly what those emotions are like - I cannot put words around it as well as others can. For those who don't know what it's like, I hope you never do.
But, like I said, this time feels competely different. This time, at 16 weeks, I don't care if I "look" pregnant or just chubby. I know it's real. I've seen my babies on ultrasound now 8 times. The ultrasounds haven't been disconcerting since the 4th time, once they were finally measuring the same size as each other. I have been reassured that my cervix is not actually incompetent - it hasn't budged and is still >4 cm, curved, and closed. There is even a fair amount of uterus (about 3 cm) above my cervix before we even get to Miss Zoe (that's Baby C1's real name). Yesterday the peri (who is awesome) was looking at my chart with me and he saw that I wrote this was my 3rd pregnancy. He asked how far along I was when I delivered Katie. I said, "40 weeks, 3 days." He said that he is giving a talk just next week about the difference in risk for a woman who has delivered full term and has also had a PTB (pre-term birth) vs. a woman who has had a PTB without a full term delivery. Basically, he feels like my risk is dramatically lower given the full term delivery and my currently confirmed long cervix. I said, "So what happened last time, then?" He said that, obviously, we'll never know, but he would highly suspect an infection. Poor cervix - I've been falsely accusing her.
In related news, as of yesterday's scan, we are 90% sure it's a boy and a girl. Perfect.
ETA: I only told you one name, above, so: our baby girl is Zoe Ruth and our baby boy is Egan Mitchell :)