It’s been almost 8 weeks since we announced to the world that we were expecting another baby. And for more than a month, this post, with only a title, has been sitting in my drafts. I’ve really struggled with all of my feelings surrounding pregnancy after pregnancy loss. I’m still not sure how I feel.
We were devastated by my first miscarriage, I was almost 13 weeks pregnant, I had a pregnancy announcement post written and ready to go once I was officially 13 weeks and out of the first trimester. I never got to publish that post. It had the most adorable picture of M holding a sign announcing that he was going to be a big brother. Then all came crashing down. Honestly, I’m glad it came crashing down before the post went live.
Then 4 months later, I got those 2 glorious lines on a pregnancy test again, but 9 days later, our world came crashing…again. I was traumatized, I sunk into a deep depression for a few months and as my first due date approached. Not only was I not pregnant with my 2nd child, I wasn’t even pregnant with my rainbow when that due date rolled around. February and March of last year were rough. I mean, some of the roughest moments I’ve been through internally. I remember breaking down at work, sobbing because I hadn’t told people yet that I’d had a 2nd miscarriage and my due date was approaching and I felt like the pain was never going to end. I tried desperately to put on a smile and act as if I was doing okay, but I wasn’t.
After that, we took a break from even trying. I went through my emotional healing, allowed my body to fully heal from two miscarriages, and allowed myself to be content with the idea of being a family of three. Then August of last year hit. I had a pregnancy “scare.” We hadn’t been trying but my monthly visitor was over a week late. I kept getting negative tests so I called my OB. I was told to give it the weekend and then call on Monday if I either got a positive test OR didn’t get my period. I got my period and it resulted in a conversation between Hubs and I on what we were going to do about trying to have another child. It had been almost a year since my first pregnancy loss, I felt more content and ready to have the discussion again.
Wouldn’t you believe, that first month, September of last year, I peed on a stick and got those two anxiety filled lines. Seeing those two lines was wrought with emotions and honestly, excitement was not one of them.
Fear. Anxiety. Stress. Sheer Terror.
Not only were we facing a 4th pregnancy, if it lasted we had to face the possibility of having another heart baby. There was nothing exciting about this pregnancy, we couldn’t feel it, in fact, we denied it for the longest time. We didn’t talk about it, we ignored it. It was harder for me since I had actual symptoms this time – morning sickness, fatigue, sore breasts. I still tried to ignore most of it and just went into a safe spot in my head, convinced my symptoms were in my head, convinced it would all end.
My first ultrasound at 8 weeks was…well, it was “eh.” Sure, it was great to see our baby on that monitor, doing seemingly well. But we’d gotten to that point before and I new all too well that 8 weeks pregnant was nothing and so much could go wrong. I still hung the ultrasound picture up on our fridge and shared with our parents and siblings.
A week later, I was convinced I was miscarrying. I went to a catholic school to see a child and they were singing “Awesome God” in music class, I practically went running out trying to not burst into tears at work. My symptoms were gone, I was convinced that this was the end. I ran to my car and called my OB asking for blood work. The nurse said absolutely and she faxed the orders over to the hospital. She called me that afternoon with the results. The first words out of her mouth were “you’re numbers are good!” They were really good actually! *sigh of relief*
The Anxiety Didn’t End…
The first heartbeat check? HOLY S**T! Talk about stressful! I was 10 weeks, my OB swore he heard it right at the beginning, but I had heard nothing. Then, for what felt like a lifetime, I mean, it was excessively long, he searched and searched. He searched so long that he started the conversation of sending me for another ultrasound. All I could think was “not again, not again, not again.” But then! There it was! My OB was so excited! All he said was “There it is! Do you hear it, do you hear it?” I adore him. He explained that baby was hiding behind my placenta which made it hard to find the heartbeat. Could this baby make it easy? Nope. However, the nurses said I could stop in anytime for a heartbeat check if I needed to. I adore the whole practice.
My first trimester, my OB had me going in every 2 weeks for a heartbeat check. I did end up getting my own heart doppler as well and that helped keep me calm until I could feel movement – thank goodness for a friend who gave it to me! Once I reached my 2nd trimester I started on the every 4 week OB schedule. I couldn’t make it 4 weeks though so I did go in to the OB for a heartbeat check once and then after that, at least every 2 weeks I was checking with my own doppler. Once I noticed the flutters around 18 weeks or so, I stopped using the doppler.
The 20 Week Ultrasound and Fetal Echo
The panic and fear hasn’t stopped though. The 20 week ultrasound was rough, I kept waiting to hear that something wrong, that there were markers for something. I was sure we’d get some sort of bad news. Once my OB assured us everything looked good we could relax some while baby girl kept her legs crossed, making it hard to find out the gender. That’s my girl! I at least felt comfortable sharing with the world after this ultrasound though.
21 weeks, my fetal echo with M’s cardiologist. Once again, the fear hits. Were we going to end up with another heart baby? What if he found something wrong? Ugh!! The stress! He was awesome though, he kept stopping during the hour and half fetal echo to let us know that everything was looking good. Aside from the fact that I felt like I was going to pass out from laying flat for so long, it went well. I’m so glad M’s cardiologist was willing to do my fetal echo for us. When it was nearing done, I just started to cry. I couldn’t handle the emotions anymore. It was finally starting to feel real that we could actually have a healthy baby this time. It was totally surreal and I couldn’t help but be a big ball of emotions.
The Fear Still Exists
I wish I could say that since then I’ve been able to relax, and I have, some. The fear is still there though. I still worry about everything. And, before you say, all moms do. I’ve been the “normal” pregnant mama who worries about something happening, I’ve been the “seasoned” pregnant mama who’s been there done that with a pregnancy. The anxiety I feel can almost be debilitating at times. I break down crying in the car, I poke at my stomach to make baby girl move so I know she’s okay. I’ll drink sugary beverages (that I don’t even want!) to make her squirm about and remind me that she’s still in there and doing well. I worry about her movements when she does move. I worry, what if she’s moving because she’s in distress? What if these movements mean something’s wrong? This is not “normal” my friends. I should enjoy her movements, they should make me relax. And they do, usually they do, but I still have that above and beyond worry that something is going to go wrong.
I worry about the placenta detaching.
I worry about the cord being wrapped around her neck.
I worry. Constantly. I worry.
This is my normal. This is normal for any mother who’s been through pregnancy loss, who’s had a baby who wasn’t “okay.” I know what I’m feeling is “normal” for my situation, but I hate it. Yes, hate. I hate that I can’t just enjoy this pregnancy, be excited, and plan like a normal person. I almost had a panic attack when I bought two onsies for baby girl. It was a panic moment of “What if something goes wrong?! And then I have these onsies for her!” This is what I deal with in my head, constantly.
I try so hard to just be content and accept that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. The farther into this pregnancy I get, the harder it gets since I grow more and more attached to this baby and more attached to the idea of having her in my arms. I so desperately want to hold her in my arms, breathing, beating heart, 10 toes, 10 fingers. Hell! She can have 11 fingers and 9 toes, whatever! As long as she’s breathing with a beating heart and in my arms, maybe when that moment happens I’ll be able to relax, maybe.