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.

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