Monday, January 11, 2016

pregnancy after miscarriage

I wrote this blog post on December 14th, the night before my world was turned completely upside down. I was waiting for my NIPT results (non-invasive prenatal test) to reveal the gender so I could include it in the blog post and share it with my personal Facebook announcement. I was not anticipating the results to be the beginning of the end of our daughter's precious life.

I've decided to share this post without changing a single word that I originally wrote. I think it's important for me to remember exactly what I was feeling and how much fear consumed me for so many months. It's real, paralyzing and so intense when you are in that moment. And now in hindsight, I wish more than anything my body had miscarried early on like last time. Such a painful change in perspective. Every time I wrote "happy" I used italics...as if I knew deep down it was going to be a fleeting feeling. 

I only had 1 week of joy in this entire pregnancy and for that, I feel like I have been robbed. I spent 4 months praying her heart would keep beating and never once considered something worse happening. I've been defeated. For anyone going through pregnancy after miscarriage, my advice is to let go of fear and enjoy. Really really enjoy. I know that it's easier said than done, and if someone would have told me that 5 months ago I would have been angry. But I know now that none of the stress or worrying changed anything because none of us are in control.


--------------------------

Written December 14, 2015. 

I announced my pregnancy on Facebook today, so I guess it's really official now. 

We are expecting a baby ____ on June 4, 2016. 

Breathe.

This is a difficult day for me. For one, it took me a very long time to feel more excited than scared about this pregnancy. So as you can imagine, I'm feeling very vulnerable. I'm also aware that my announcement today may inadvertently cause pain, sadness, disappointment or anger for someone else and I absolutely hate that. To anyone that may feel that way, I do not take offense. I can honestly say that I know how you feel.

Despite my feelings towards Facebook baby announcements, I decided to share my news because it's time that I celebrate this baby with confidence and finally let myself be happy.

Like I said, it took me awhile to get here. Once James and I made the decision that we were ready to start trying again, I started seeing my angel baby's due date everywhere. I'm not exaggerating... I would look at my phone, 11:11. I would wake up and roll over to look at the clock, 11:11. Billboards, receipts, sports scores, license plates...I must have seen it at least 10 times a day for almost a month. And then, my positive pregnancy test. It had to be a sign. After that day they seemed to disappear almost overnight, despite my best efforts to find them.

I was planning to document my next pregnancy and all of the emotions and feelings that came with pregnancy after miscarriage. What I did not expect was to find myself staring at a faint pink line with a pit in my stomach and tears running down my face. 

I felt like a deer in headlights. We were planning this and I felt "ready," but I wasn't. And I don't think waiting any longer would have really made a difference. My miscarriage had burst my bubble...that one that always told me everything was going to work out in the end. I knew I'd have fear and anxiety around this pregnancy, but I had no idea how strong and consuming that fear would actually be. I was absolutely terrified and didn't want to allow myself to emotionally connect to something I might lose.

I took a pregnancy test every morning for weeks, trying to compare the faintness of the line to the previous day. Was it getting darker? No...my pregnancy couldn't possibly be progressing. I spent weeks running out to the store to buy pregnancy tests like a crazy person. I had a horrible shoulder knot and convinced myself it was an ectopic pregnancy. Nope, just stress. For awhile, James and I almost ignored the fact that I was pregnant because I didn't want to talk about it for fear of jinxing it. My nausea went away for a few hours and I was sure I had lost the baby. My nausea came back in full force and I was sure I had lost the baby. Instead of thinking about my baby and who he or she will become, I found myself preparing to hear those words again, "I'm sorry, there isn't a heartbeat."

My nightmares about miscarrying started up again with a vengeance. I would wake up sweating multiple times a night and found myself checking the bed sheets for blood. Every time I felt a bit of pregnancy discharge I ran to the bathroom in tears, convinced that I was bleeding. I've cried a lot. Hormones + fear is a lethal combo, let me tell you.

I went in for an early ultrasound at 5w6d. My doctor's office rarely schedules anything before 6 weeks, but my doctor was going to be on vacation during my 6th & 7th week so the receptionist waived the rule after hearing the desperation in my voice. It was extremely difficult to walk into my doctor's office for the first time since my miscarriage. Every emotion from the last visit was still lingering in the room. I felt suffocated and I think I had a full blown anxiety attack at one point as I made eye contact with another mother with the same fear in her eyes. James never let go of my hand. We got back in the room and the ultra sound technician prepped us that it may be too early to hear the heartbeat. But everything I had read said that I would, so I took her words as worst-case scenario.

We didn't hear the heartbeat.

All we saw was a gestational and yolk sac. "It's still early," she said. "Come back in 2.5 weeks and we will check again." What did this woman know? I demanded that I see my doctor. We waited another 45 minutes until they were able to squeeze us in. My doctor came into the room with a concerned look on her face and said, "Well, we really should be seeing more at this point. You are measuring more around 5 weeks than..."

I interrupted her and said "I'm 5w6d!" She looked back through her paperwork, pulled out her calendar and started counting the weeks. "Ohhhhh yeah you're right, never mind... you're totally fine."

Um, really?

It was a complete mind fuck. I understand that she wasn't prepared to see us and I understand that most of her patients are well past 6 weeks when they come in to see her, but check the damn paperwork before you do that to someone, please. Our whole lives are hanging on every word you say. Needless to say, the next 2.5 weeks were the longest of my life. I cried myself to sleep most nights praying that I would hear the heartbeat at my next appointment.

I was sick with a fever at 7.5 weeks. My whole body ached and my headache was really intense. I was convinced it was happening. I called the nurse and she said I could come in for blood work to check my hormone levels, but when I arrived, the doctor said it was just the flu and to wait for my ultrasound the following week. I started crying the second I got back to my car. When I finally pulled myself together and looked at the clock, it was 11:11. (Thanks baby girl.)

At 8.5 weeks pregnant we went back in for our follow up ultra sound. I think I was even more scared for this appointment because this was it... we will either see a baby or not. Within seconds our baby was on screen, heart beating and arms waving. It was one of the most magical moments of my life. For the first time in months I cried tears of happiness. And when the doctor said our chance of miscarriage at that point went down to 3%, I felt myself actually exhale for the first time in weeks. Unfortunately, that relief only lasted about 3 days and I was back to over analyzing every symptom of miscarriage.

When I was almost 13 weeks, we decided to schedule announcement photos for our Christmas card. It was terrifying to schedule, and I checked my home fetal doppler for the heartbeat before we left and when we got home, just to help ease my mind. I'm so glad we did them, though. It was honestly the first day I celebrated my baby and didn't think of him or her as some wish or future dream. I'm so appreciative of AVA Photo & Design for capturing that day and celebrating with us.

I continue to share my experiences because I can't be alone in the crazy. I can't, right? I still have to remind myself everyday that I am not in control. I am not in control. A difficult pill to swallow for us control freaks.

I am well aware that a million things can still go wrong with this pregnancy, delivery, and every day following. All I can do is take it one day at a time. And today, I'm celebrating.













No comments:

Post a Comment