Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Being Pregnant after a Loss (Part 1)

Here's the thing.

For me, being pregnant is pretty scary. I'm not speaking of the "oh my goodness, I'm going to be a parent to this child and be responsible for feeding them, cleaning them, training them, and nurturing them" type of scary.  I'm sure some of that is there.  I would be doing myself and my family a disservice if I didn't recognize the awesome responsibility that comes with being a parent.   But then again, I moved an 8 year old that I hardly knew into my childless home with only 2 months notice back in 2009, and the only reason it took 2 months was because we had to file court documents and go to a hearing in another State (and those things take time).  I guess you could say that we are pretty open to life in all the forms it comes to us.

For me, pregnancy is scary in a "did I sit wrong, or sleep wrong, or move wrong, or eat wrong, or breath wrong...and is my baby still alive" type of way.  Think about it: One minute you are going about your day completely unaware of the miracle taking place, and the next there is a new life that has been created and is growing within you, completely and utterly dependent on you. For everything.

It took me something like 3 or 4 years to get pregnant the first time.  Then, after all that waiting, I lost my first two babies, right in a row, 5 months apart, in 2010.  After that, it took me more than another year and a half to get pregnant again.

You don't look at a new pregnancy the same way after that.

You can't.

You don't trust your body to be able to do what is is supposed to in order to nourish, protect, and sustain your little one.

When I saw that very faint extra pink line confirming a positive pregnancy test super early at 11 DPO, I cautiously told my husband because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.   I didn't call my mom to excitedly tell her the good news.  I got ready for the OBGYN appointment that I had that day for my annual exam.  That was the only reason I took the test anyway.  So that on the off chance it was positive, I could ask for a urine test.  And a blood test.  And talk about my options for hormonal support.  Because I couldn't trust my body to do the right thing.

After repeated loss, I was hopeful, but afraid to be excited.

I took some blood tests and a prescription for some progesterone to help things out until Sprout's placenta could do it on its own.  Just in case.

My fist HCG levels were low (looking back I was only 3 weeks along, and the numbers were perfectly normal for that early) but I was told to take another one on 48 hours to see if I was miscarrying or not.  I was such a wreck, I could barely function.  All my prayers were something to the effect of "Please Lord, not again."  That was also when I started calling this little one "Sprout".  I'd say "Come on Sprout, get big and strong for mama.  Keep growing and make big numbers.  You can do it."

My numbers more than doubled. My doctor, satisfied, told me that he didn't see any reason to keep sticking me every 48 hours and he'd see me in a month.

My doctor seemed content, but I was still pretty worried about Sprout.  His brother(s)/sister(s) didn't make it much farther than Sprout had already come.  I lost them both in the first trimester.

My older sister called to tell me that she was pregnant when she was 6 weeks along.  (Her baby girl was just born in January!) This was/is her first baby.  She's never experienced a loss.

When I was 6 weeks along, my doctor had me scheduled for an early ultrasound, to confirm pregnancy (because of my history, they did it earlier than they would otherwise) and I got to see that tiny heartbeat.  Did I make an announcement? No.  Because I had been 6 weeks along before.

While my fears were eased in that moment, watching that tiny heart flutter, I was back to a paralyzing fear the next day.

When I was 7 weeks along, I saw one speck of blood, one time, after using the bathroom.  I was convinced for the next two days that it would be only moments before the miscarriage bleeding started.

If all you have experienced is loss, that is what you brace yourself for.  More loss.

As long as I am being honest, for the first 13 or 14 weeks, every cramp, or ache, or ligament pain, meant that I was going to miscarry.  I checked for blood every time I used the restroom.  Every time.  *Sigh*  Who am I kidding?  I still check for bleeding and I am 22 weeks along.  Sprout weighs a pound, and I'm still not always convinced that my body won't betray me.  (I'm gaining more confidence in Sprout's though.)

I told my family I was expecting at Christmas, when I was 10 weeks along.  The only reason was because  I had always thought I would like to make that type of big announcement at Christmas, and only because the week before at 9weeks along, my doctor was able to find the heartbeat with the Doppler.

I know how rare and lucky, and amazing it is to be able to hear the heartbeat at 9 weeks.  I know intellectually, how amazing that is, and what a good sign it can be.  I know that it isn't uncommon to not  hear a heartbeat with a Doppler until as late as 13 weeks.  Knowing something isn't always the same as actually knowing something. I hope that makes sense.

Was I convinced that there would still be a heartbeat at my 13week appointment?

Absolutely not.

If I remember correctly, they had to take my blood pressure twice that appointment.  At the beginning, it was not "high" per se, but it was higher than usual.  After my appointment, having heard the heartbeat again, they took my BP a second time and it had gone back down to normal.

After 13 weeks, and especially when I made it past 14 weeks, I was able to relax a little more.  I started walking again, I started some light pregnancy fitness.

I breathed a sigh of relief and concentrated on the blissful fact that I was now in my 2nd Trimester!

No comments:

Post a Comment