One year ago this week my world came crashing down. My husband and I went in for a routine doctor appointment at 12 weeks only to discover the baby we had already grown to love and cherish was no longer with us. The next couple of months were the hardest of my life. The pain was so deep and so very real. I cried, I yelled, I was angry (very angry), and I didn’t have any clue how to dig myself out of my hole.
Even a year later (and at 33 weeks pregnant) the pain is still there. My eyes are already filling with tears as I start to write this. I was told from the very beginning that the pain and sadness would never truly go away, you simply learn to live with it, which is true. While I’m in a much better place emotionally than I was back then, that piece of my soul is still very raw and tender.
As much as I wanted to stay in a ball on my couch after my miscarriage, life does go on. And, for my husband and me, life took off at lightning speed. We closed on our house a week later, we fell head-over-heels in love with our newborn nephew, we took an impromptu trip to Europe to visit close friends, both of our brothers started planning their weddings, and slowly, but surely, a new normal took over. We smiled, we laughed, and we survived.
After we were given the all-clear to start trying again, we jumped feet first back into it. Trying for a baby the first time was tough, but having this dark cloud hang over us was even tougher. After a couple of months of negative tests, I was convinced something was wrong. I became lost in fertility forums, which both made me feel better and made me super paranoid at the same time. It was a toss-up of stories of women who conceived right away after a miscarriage, those that went on for years after a loss without another positive test, and those with multiple losses. After fighting so hard to climb out of my hole of depression, I began to sink back into it.
And then a miracle happened. There was a second line. It was faint – so, so, so faint – but it was there and it continued to grow stronger.
Suddenly my over-the-top emotions were tossed into a whole new realm – the one of pregnancy after miscarriage. I’d read so much about trying to get pregnant after a loss, and the initial joy after seeing that first positive test, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the heightened fear and panic. Gone was my innocence and the assumption that everything was going to be okay, in its void was constant worrying and the knowledge that it’s not always okay. I waited to tell my husband about the first test because I was scared it wasn’t real, I waited to call the doctor because I was scared she wouldn’t find a heartbeat again, I questioned every “symptom” I wasn’t experiencing, and instead of celebrating our miracle, I burst into tears every night hoping against hope that this little one was a survivor.
I’d love to say that fear goes away, but it doesn’t. I still have mini-panic attacks before every doctor’s appointment, I still use the heart rate doppler I purchased in week 10 on a weekly basis, I still do kick counts every night and, if I don’t feel her move for a while, I poke her so I can get that reassuring kick back. I politely nod when anyone talks about the future because it makes me nervous. I even have semi-panic attacks when I work on the nursery because what if something happens and she never uses this room? I haven’t even bought a ton of baby stuff and get shakey hands whenever I do. The fear of loss is strong and I hate it. I miss the innocence, I’m jealous of those who can just casually talk about the future assuming everything is going to be okay. I want that. I want to go back to that, but I can’t.
The hardest question I’ve received this pregnancy is “Is this your first?” I’m never sure how to respond. “My first pregnancy that’s made it this far” or “Technically it’s my second, but we’re hoping to make it to the end with this one.” There’s no good answer, so I usually nod with a polite yes. I never knew a question could cause so much confusion or pain until it was directed towards me. There’s a lot of common questions or statements you learn not to ask while pregnant, that’s one of them. You never know the expectant mother’s story or what they went through to get to that point.
A year ago we lost our first baby and today we’re less than two months away from meeting our rainbow. While I can worry, panic, and obsess with the best of them, I’m also incredibly thankful and grateful we were able to conceive again after our loss and to be carrying our miracle. Every time I feel baby girl move around inside, I smile knowing she is healthy and strong. I don’t have a birth plan because I know it doesn’t matter. In the end, anything can happen, but the ultimate goal is for baby girl to arrive happy and healthy – no matter how she chooses to do so.