March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month, and while I consider myself truly blessed to be pregnant again after two miscarriages, this pregnancy has definitely taken its toll on me emotionally.
Whenever someone has asked me how my emotions have been during my pregnancy, I say it’s like a rollercoaster. Experiencing pregnancy after loss (especially after multiple losses) really messes with your ability to connect and trust that things are going to work out.
I’ve been documenting some of the things I’ve been experiencing over the course of the last 4 months to show that despite being fortunate enough to be pregnant again, it is far from sunshine and daisies.
The Things They Don’t Tell You When You’re Pregnant After Loss
How emotional it was stepping into BuyBuyBaby for the first time since my loss. I felt like a fraud, like I didn’t belong there, like I was entering the store prematurely.
The numb wall that came up when I told my family. I couldn’t feel the joy they were feeling, just numb. Before, I was afraid people wouldn’t be happy for me, that they would just be concerned. Now, I’m the one that can’t be happy for me.
How uncomfortable it made me when anyone at my RE/OBGYN’s office congratulated me. I immediately thought to myself, “Don’t congratulate me yet.”
How to answer the question, “Is this your first?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question, and it always leaves me speechless. Like how do you answer that after loss? Yes, if this baby makes it to term it’ll be my first. Or no, this is technically my third. But really though, how do you answer that?
How hard it is to share the news with friends who have experienced loss and/or currently experiencing infertility. Makes it even worse when they flat out stop talking to you.
All the emotions that engulf you leading up to each ultrasound. The day of my 12-week ultrasound I was so nervous and emotional that I almost missed the turn into my doctor’s office which caused me to get in a minor car accident. I was okay physically, baby was totally fine, and no one got hurt, but BOY was I shaken up! Thank God Joshua was there waiting for me and handled everything.
When you start to feel fine and worry that things may not be okay even though it’s totally okay for you to feel fine! Both my previous miscarriages were “missed miscarriages” meaning my baby had stopped growing but I wasn’t experiencing any of the typical miscarriage symptoms. So when you start to feel fine you wonder if something is wrong. The symptoms become a blessing and a curse.
How in denial I was over my pregnancy symptoms. Bloody nose? Must be the weather. Feeling sick? Probably something I ate or I ate too much. Feeling tired? Working too hard. Have to pee more? It’s because I’m drinking a lot of water.
All the different ways I feel like I am jinxing myself. Telling people? Jinxed it. Taking weekly belly photos? Don’t do it, you’ll jinx it. Breaking out the maternity clothes, working on my registry, planning the nursery, any form of acknowledging this pregnancy feels like I am setting myself up for disappointment.
How hard it has been going to yoga. When I’m practicing, it forces me to be still and that’s when all the anxious feelings that I’ve been suppressing come up. Almost every class I’ve been to within the last 4 months I’ve cried at some point during my practice. There have been a few weeks where I’ve missed class either because of work or not feeling well. It was only this week that I realized perhaps on some level I’ve been avoiding going to yoga because it’s easier to distract myself with the stress and busyness of work than to be relaxed and still with my feelings.
That my relationship with God wouldn’t be instantly repaired. My relationship became strained around the time of my first loss, which was also around the same time of the 2016 election, and to be honest, I haven’t gone to church regularly since. I’ll admit, I was angry, and I still am. I couldn’t understand why God let this happen and pair that with the overall hypocrisy that this political climate has brought, the last thing I want to do is go to church. I read a book last year that helped me get through some of those feelings, but I still have a long way to go. And the thing is, despite being pregnant, I have a hard time trusting God right now because of what happened with the last two. It’s my own journey, and I’m working through it.
How paralyzing it was to decide if I wanted to know the gender early. My last loss was discovered when we went in for our 20-week gender scan. Everyone I know that is expecting around the same time as I have found out their gender, and they keep asking me when I will find out mine. I didn’t want to go to a separate place where their sole purpose is to celebrate the baby’s gender because I didn’t want them to be the ones delivering the bad news again.
How scary it is to not HEAR the heartbeat. When I went in for my heartbeat check appointment last week, I went in fully expecting to hear the heartbeat. After all, with my last pregnancy, I heard it clear as day at week 14 and week 16. I had no idea that it was normal to not hear it due to a variety of factors, one of which is the baby’s position. The tech was picking up a heartbeat on the doppler but we couldn’t hear it, which after an ultrasound showed it was because of baby being upside down and snuggled in the back. Even though I got to see my baby and its heartbeat and everything was FINE, I relived ALL of my previous trauma from the moment we didn’t hear anything on the doppler all the way to being transferred to the ultrasound room. It was awful, and it sucked out any joy I had seeing my baby.
How hard it is to plan for the future. A lot of my statements include the word “if” these days because I’m preparing for the very real possibility of things going wrong.
That there is nothing anyone can say or do that will truly bring me comfort and peace. Nothing. All of this is hard, harder than I thought it would be. So while I am “fine” and baby is “fine” I’m working through a TON of stuff emotionally.