Pregnancy After Loss

One year ago today I was eight weeks and three days pregnant. We were going in for our first ultrasound to check for a heartbeat. I can remember telling myself – and Kyle – not to get too excited yet. That first trimester miscarriage was so common. I still never expected to walk out of that office knowing our baby was dead. I spent the rest of the day crying, clutching the only picture I would ever have of our first child, and frantically searching the Internet to see if it was possible the ultrasound tech had simply missed the tiny flicker of a heartbeat. I won’t go into the details of that story right now. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

I want to address what it’s like for me this time around. This year, I’m just about ten weeks farther along than I was last July 28th. I’m well into my second trimester. Things are going well so far, for which I am so grateful. Still, this pregnancy brings not only happiness, but many other feelings as well.

1. It’s hard not to worry.
I check for blood every day. Every single trip to the bathroom. Any new symptom (i.e. round ligament pain) is immediately googled. I don’t think any point of this pregnancy will feel ‘safe’. If I don’t feel movement for a while, I panic. I do not think I will truly relax until after our child is in our arms.

2. This baby could never replace the child we lost.

If our first pregnancy had not ended in miscarriage, that baby would be nearly five months old now. They would have a name, a personality. Likes and dislikes. They would be their own little person. Kyle and I will never get to know them here on earth. This new baby is a new little person. Not a substitute.

3. It’s hard to let myself bond with this baby.

I was looking forward to taking pictures every week of my growing bump. I wanted to document every single moment of this pregnancy. However, I find myself afraid to do so. Even now, at nearly the halfway mark, I’m scared to lose it all. I can only hope that future pregnancies won’t hold so much anxiety. Every little kick I feel makes it that much easier to get excited, though. I need to remember that losing this child will hurt regardless of how close I let myself get. I shouldn’t let it stop me from bonding with my baby.

4. I’m jealous of women that have a child to show for every pregnancy.

Yes, I know that I’m currently in the midst of a pregnancy. I’m aware that there are couples who try to conceive for years without success, whereas it only took us 8 months. However, we have grieved for a lost child. We wrapped up their tiny body and laid them to rest. I wish we never had to experience that. The fact that I am so envious of those who have never lost a child is a constant source of guilt that weighs heavily on me. I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I do. It’s something I need to work on.

5. Every doctor’s appointment is terrifying.

Sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor makes me feel sick. Every time I wonder if I’ll be leaving in tears. I always wish I had someone with me. I’m always tense until the doctor is able to find the heartbeat. As soon as they find it, I relax – but only for a little while. I know how quickly things can go wrong. I’ve considered buying my own doppler for home use, but decided not to (too many articles advise against it).

6. I over analyze every aspect of this pregnancy.

My positive pregnancy tests never seemed dark enough for me. I didn’t have much nausea at all in my first trimester. I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t had crazy cravings. I took all this as a sign that the baby must not be growing properly. I’m learning to remember that each pregnancy is different. Still, I would be better off without Internet access.

7. I’m scared to buy anything just yet.

I’ve heard stories about women that come home from the hospital after losing a baby, only to be faced with the heartbreaking task of packing up a fully stocked nursery. Folding a few maternity shirts after our miscarriage – all never worn, with the tags still on – was difficult enough for me. I cannot imagine having to find a place to keep clothing for a child that never made it home from the hospital. I know that very soon a day will come when I’m ready to start getting everything we’ll need. For now, I’ll focus on perfecting the registry.

Honestly, there is just too much running through my mind on a daily basis for me to accurately capture all of it in one blog post. There are no words to fully explain what a pregnancy after loss feels like. There is joy for what has yet to come, but also sorrow for what has been lost. I hope and I pray that this pregnancy continues to go smoothly. I can’t wait to hold this baby in my arms in just five short months! Until then, I’ll try to remember to cherish this special time the two of us have together.

Pregnancy Post: 18 Weeks

Oh hey there, 18 weeks! Little baby D is already the size of a sweet potato – or a croissant if baked goods are more your thing. Roughly 5.5 inches long, and just over 6.5 oz, our sweet little babe now has fingerprints, toe prints, eyelashes, and quite possibly some hair! Oh, and he or she can hear my voice now! One scary fact that I read in one of my many pregnancy apps: if baby is a girl, her ovaries currently hold her future children – our future GRANDCHILDREN. That’s trippy, yo. At my checkup today baby’s heart rate measured 146bpm. I haven’t gained any weight just yet; however, I was overweight at the start of my pregnancy. I’m not too concerned with the lack of poundage just yet. The doctor said my belly is measuring just perfectly so far.

I’ve been feeling pretty great! Baby’s movements are getting easier and easier to feel! My one consistent pregnancy craving to date? Any and all soups. I have no idea why. My brother suggested that maybe it means I’m craving salt; however, I don’t want any other salty foods. I was craving sour things a couple weeks ago. I overdid it on WarHeads, leaving my tongue raw for at least a solid week. Lesson learned. This morning I noticed the faintest start of what I assume is my linea nigra. It’s hardly there, but I see a line. No crazy stretch marks just yet. I’ve noticed what looks like the start of some on the sides of my chest and the tops of my thighs.

We’ve nearly hit the halfway mark and I couldn’t be feeling more blessed. As far as pregnancies go, this one has been pretty wonderful. We’re just two weeks away from finding out if we’re having a boy or a girl! I’m not sure if we’ll tell anyone the name we settle on. I’ve only had one person react negatively to one name idea, and that was enough for me. Loved ones, please take note: if we do share a name idea with you, please refrain from cringing and saying, “oh, I don’t like that…” We have thought long and hard about these names for over a year now. We haven’t yet settled on one for a boy and one for a girl. Rest assured, our children will not be named Wingspan or Banjo. We’re keeping it timeless and classic, I promise.

We haven’t had any scares so far – no cramping, bleeding, etc. My parents have even offered to drive me back out to California in September. I was looking forward to making the trip back to Twentynine Palms with a friend of mine who is also pregnant; however, those plans changed. My fellow 2/7 wife is having a very difficult pregnancy riddled with ER visits, medical procedures, and constant, excruciating pain. I would like to take a moment to ask all of you to keep her, the baby, and her husband – who is overseas with Kyle – in your thoughts and prayers. They have a long road ahead of them. They could use all the love and good vibes possible.

Thanks for reading, beautiful people. Until next time!