Pregnancy should be a time of elation and excitement but after a miscarriage, pregnancy can be filled with anxiety, fear and worry. I understand these feelings wholeheartedly and share my story with you about struggling to find the joy in pregnancy after experiencing several losses.
We found out I was pregnant after the holidays and the new year began. It was a happy surprise after the distraction of Christmas and birthdays at the beginning of the year. This pregnancy is our third attempt at completing our family with a third baby. We have two beautiful healthy children that arrived after two uncomplicated and healthy pregnancies. We suffered two concurrent miscarriages after my two normal pregnancies that were devastating and emotionally exhausting. From the moment I saw the home pregnancy test turn positive with this new pregnancy, many emotions began to unfold.
Initially, I was excited to know we created another life. The excitement quickly turned into surprise. How did that happen? We had been discussing if we should try one more time to add to our family, but my confidence was waning that we would be successful if we tried to get pregnant for the fifth time. Yet here we go again!
Then came the worry and fear. The worry of waiting to see over the next few months if this baby would survive. The fear that we would experience yet another loss. I was overanalyzing every twinge and cramp, checking for blood every time I went to the bathroom. I desperately wanted to feel happy and overjoyed for this pregnancy, but doubt was clouding those feelings.
I also felt guilty because I didn’t want to put the baby pounds back on my body to find out we were miscarrying again. I felt selfish for feeling that way. I was also feeling impatient. The need to know as soon as possible if the pregnancy was viable, loomed over me.
A week after the positive home pregnancy test, I went in to see my OBGYN. She was excited after conducting my early ultrasound. My untrained eye couldn’t see the difference between this pregnancy and the last one we lost, but her positivity began to radiate through me. My OBGYN put me on progesterone and baby Aspirin to help push along a potentially healthy pregnancy. Taking the medications made me feel like I was doing something to help my baby, giving me some sense of control.
We went in weekly for ultrasounds and each week the baby grew and my OBGYN’s reassurance began to allow me to feel joy about this pregnancy. After my 10 week appointment and ultrasound, I was elated to see a baby on the screen waving and moving around with a healthy heartbeat. It began to feel like a possibility that this pregnancy would survive.
As each week passed, the fear and worry of miscarriage remained but I felt more confident. I reached out to a friend who had a similar experience of multiple miscarriages before a healthy pregnancy. Talking to her helped ease some of the anxieties I felt, knowing that she had some of the same emotions that I did. I started to tell people that I was pregnant through casual conversation and many of my friends shared their stories of miscarriage before healthy pregnancy. Knowing I wasn’t alone in this journey was comforting. I also realized that with each passing week, a miscarriage would be devasting, but we had been through it two times before and we would get through it, if it happened again.
As I write the words you are reading, I am almost 14 weeks pregnant, nearing the beloved second trimester. I am still fearful for a miscarriage and anxiously waiting for the second trimester to come and for our next OBGYN appointment to hear the heartbeat. I realize that I’ll probably feel anxious to hear the baby’s heartbeat each month because I am no longer blissfully untouched by miscarriage.
Finding joy in pregnancy after experiencing loss is complicated. I’ve accepted that maybe I won’t be able to feel fully happy until I am holding a healthy baby after birth. Though the losses we grieved were difficult to endure, I am hopeful that experiencing the anguish, will allow me to savor this final pregnancy.