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Friday, April 15, 2016

pregnancy after miscarriage: the journey continues

I remember feeling like nothing would ever improve. 
I'd always feel this emptiness in my stomach, in my heart. I remember worrying that it wouldn't happen for us, that we wouldn't get what we planned on before the miscarriage. It was like I was stuck in an endless tunnel of darkness and sad tears flowing down my cheeks.

I remember people telling me it would get better, I'd get past this, the miscarriage, the loss. I'd wake up one day and feel OK, I'd stop crying some time. I'd laugh again.

I didn't believe them, but I tried to anyway since I knew I couldn't stay in that sad place too long. I was a busy mom after all.

They were right. Eventually I felt so much better and even went days without thinking about it. Hard to imagine at the start of a miscarriage experience, I know. I eventually felt ready to move past this experience, not forget but to move to a more positive space.

I became pregnant. I smiled instantly taking the test. 
That little positive sign was faint, but it was there, no doubt. I took a few more tests. I had to be really sure this time. I was worried from that first moment.

From there I was scared, excited, nervous and happy. I was overjoyed and then skeptical. I was worried that something would go wrong. I didn't want to mess it up, despite knowing women do NOT cause miscarriages. I wanted to tell someone because I felt alone and worrying alone isn't great. I wanted to keep it from everyone at the same time so that we didn't jinx anything to go wrong. 

I wanted to pretend I didn't go through a miscarriage. I wanted to pretend it was all good, perfect, nothing could happen. I wanted to start planning a baby nursery and picking out maternity clothes for this new season I was in. I wanted to call my mom. And then a second later I wanted to hide, pretend it wasn't happening, not that I wasn't grateful to be pregnant, I wanted this desperately. But I was afraid... so scared of something bad happening. I never had this fear with my first two babies. But now, after something bad did happen last fall, I know it CAN happen. And that thought is terrifying to me now. Because it's a reality. And that's devastating to admit.

Pregnancy after miscarriage is so hard. It's hormones times 10. 

It's emotions you can't explain to anyone else. It's feeling SO blessed one moment, realizing how lucky you are, that things work in your body, it's all going to be great, OK, you can relax now, it's happening, what you wished for. And then instantly it's dread and worry and wondering and questioning everything. The fear of the unknown coupled with the fear of knowing exactly how things could go wrong, unfortunately, because you went through it once before. 

I looked for blood the first 6-8 weeks. I went to the bathroom more just checking. I was in tears at my first appointment and my amazing nurse reassured me that was normal to worry, and she suggested I check every other time, not every time. It helped me... I started to no longer look for the bad.

I stopped running, afraid I'd shake things up too much. It kills me not running, but I was too afraid. I avoided all the things they tell you - no feta cheese here, when I ate it nonstop with my first, not realizing it could be bad for moms. Every gas pain, I worried was something more.

When I didn't feel sick at 6 weeks when I thought I felt sick then with the last pregnancies, I prayed to God to make me sick so I'd know that things were OK. I didn't feel sick at all with the miscarriage pregnancy... I knew then something was wrong, I get sick with pregnancy, if I'm not sick something is wrong. So this time, I prayed I'd get sick. Well, be careful what you wish for I guess... a week later I became sick day and night for another 6 weeks! And that reassured me actually. I told myself that was good, suffer now through sickness, but it'll be good in the end.

I closed my eyes for the first ultrasound. I gripped my husband's hand, praying silently that everything was OK. I remembered the terrible moment the last time I lay on that doctor's table waiting to see something on the ultrasound. I remember feeling hopeful and excited and happy... only to see an empty black hole sac in there. Now, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, preparing myself for the worst. When my husband said to open my eyes, seeing the heartbeat and little itty bitty gummy bear baby wiggling around... I cried. I was relieved.

When we went for the 12 weeks ultrasound, I cried again... just could not believe it was real and OK and healthy and mine.

I'm more cautious this time around. 
I'm worried about things that I never thought of before like if I raise my voice, is that going to make something bad happen? If I take my prenatal pill a little later in a night is that bad? If I don't wash my apple am I going to get sick? Stupid worries. Things that make no sense.

This weekend I changed out my clothes drawers for maternity clothing. As I was doing it, I asked my husband if he thought I was jinxing us now... and I pictured myself later on taking those maternity clothes out, sad. It was a terrible thought, but one I could not control and that I find myself feeling randomly. The hardest part about these hormonal emotional feelings post-miscarriage while pregnant is that I KNOW they are dumb. I know they don't mean anything... but I can't prevent them from happening sometimes.

They are not consuming me, especially since seeing the ultrasounds and realizing we're getting past the scary points in weeks along. But they're there, when they were not there with my other pregnancies. I worry that moms post-miscarriage can let those fears ruin a good thing and the enjoyment most women feel when pregnant. I'm trying to not let that happen, I'm enjoying moments and talking more openly now.

I'm in a good place now that we've told everyone and their excitement is contagious to me- I'm settling in more and being hopeful and positive. I'm believing that all will be OK this time. The only way to live is hopeful, right? 

I realized that before we'd announced this pregnancy at 12 weeks, I'd been saying "I'm pregnant" but not "I'm having a baby." Now I'm settling into saying there is this baby in there and I'm so blessed being able to say that. So grateful.

It was scary at first, but part of having what we want is believing that we can. I'm hopeful again.

Just the way I felt when I went through my miscarriage and was on a mission to help other moms who had gone through one themselves open up and share their experiences in an attempt to feel less alone, I'm hoping moms start talking about this, too. Pregnancy after a miscarriage is a thing. It's a wonderful, beautiful, amazing thing, truly. What a blessing to have something amazing after a loss! But it's also a scary place to be, especially in the beginning when you aren't sharing the news with others or when you are waiting and waiting to get to second trimester to feel a little more secure.

I'm hoping to feature some moms on my blog here explaining how it felt to them to be pregnant after a miscarriage. I'm hoping that it will help moms feel less alone going through those tough emotions and worries.

Remember to hope, moms. Stay strong.

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