As we have walked this journey of loss of our second child, it has been healing for me to open and honest about our experiences. Today, I wanted to share a bit of my perspective on what it has been like for me to experience pregnancy after a loss.
The first trimester was ESPECIALLY hard.
However, after months of hard work processing my grief, I finally came to a place where I felt at peace with the decision to have another baby. Because I had already been through the entire first trimester with an active toddler during my second pregnancy, I felt like I at least knew what I was getting myself into in that sense, but I will never forget the emotions of the day that I had a positive pregnancy test. I felt so many things, but the biggest one was an overwhelming sense of peace that whatever happened, everything would be okay.
For the first few weeks, I continued to feel that same sense of peace. I had an ultrasound around 6 weeks because of intense cramping in my right side that I worried was an ectopic pregnancy. Blessedly, everything was fine, and I was overjoyed to be able to see our baby’s tiny little heart beating that day. It was a small reassurance that things were, for the moment, as they should be.
As the weeks ticked by — especially as we made it to double digit weeks — the stakes felt higher. Once we got closer to the point where we knew we lost our baby last time, I began to feel a lot of fear and anxiety. I knew that statistically, once you have seen a heartbeat on ultrasound, the likelihood of miscarriage drops significantly, but I also knew from my second pregnancy that doesn’t always mean it still won’t happen. But we made it to my 12 week appointment — and when we heard the heartbeat on the doppler, I cried tears of relief. And then when we heard it again at our 16 week appointment — where we found out in my last pregnancy that we had lost our baby — my husband and I both breathed a little easier. And things started to feel… different, as though we truly were writing a different story this time.
I have worried more about this pregnancy than either of my other two.
This time though, I have been acutely aware the entire pregnancy of exactly how many weeks pregnant I am. I have also been extra-focused on self-care: listening to my body and trying not to overdo it, resting when I need to, and continuing to see my therapist to make sure that I am taking good care of my mental health as much as my physical health.
This pregnancy has been bittersweet.
This time, though, I know that this very well may be my last pregnancy. I don’t take things for granted, and even though it has been physically harder in many ways (including breaking my foot when I was 14 weeks pregnant and spending 6 weeks in a boot!), I have really tried to savor each stage. In spite of the challenges, there has been so much joy, and I’m so grateful that we have made a point not to lose sight of that!
This pregnancy doesn’t diminish our loss.
There have been many, many times in this pregnancy where I have cried about the baby we lost, wondered what life would look like now if things had turned out differently. I find myself wondering who our baby would have been, how our family would look now, what this last year would have brought. I know that I always will.
I’m endlessly grateful that our loss is also part of our son’s story — he calls his sibling in Heaven “angel baby” and will bring “her” up often — but it still doesn’t make it easy. Even as hard as it can be, though, I feel comfort in sharing our baby’s story so that others will know the impact that that short, sweet little life had on our family. Our second child who is always loved, and never forgotten.