Back in July, on the anniversary of our miscarriage, we announced that we were expecting our rainbow baby. It’s hard to believe that I am now well into the third trimester of this pregnancy, and that our newest little love will be joining us in just a couple months!
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.
Healing Takes Time
One thing I haven’t shared much is that is that it took me a long time to feel ready to try for another baby. For the better part of a year, I didn’t feel mentally or emotionally prepared to face another pregnancy, let alone the possibility of losing another baby. There were times when I wasn’t even sure I would ever get to that point.
However, after months of therapy and the hard work of 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 there. 😉
But I will never forget the emotions of the day that I had a positive pregnancy test—but the biggest one was an overwhelming sense of peace that whatever happened, everything would be okay.
The First Trimester
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, the point 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.
A Rollercoaster of Emotions
I have often heard that pregnancies after the first are so different. You tend to be less focused on the details, forgetting how many weeks pregnant you are, sometimes even forgetting you are pregnant in the early weeks because you are so busy with the day to day details of caring for another your other kid(s).
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’m taking good care of my mental health as much as my physical health.
Savoring Pregnancy in a Different Way
In many ways, I feel as though I have savored this pregnancy more because of our loss. When I was pregnant with our son, I loved being pregnant and didn’t experience many physical complaints at all. However, I also took many things for granted because I always expected to get to have the experience again.
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!
Having a Rainbow Baby Doesn’t Diminish Our Loss
Although this pregnancy has been redemptive in many ways, it will never, ever replace the child we lost. It will never erase that chapter of grief and sadness from our story.
There have been many, many times in this pregnancy where I have cried about the baby we lost and wondered what life would look like now if things had turned out differently. I often find myself wondering who our baby would have been, how our family would look now, what this last year would have brought. And I know I always will.
I’m endlessly grateful that our loss is also part of our son’s story. He calls our baby in Heaven “angel baby” and brings her up often. As hard as it is sometimes, I feel comfort in sharing our baby’s story so that others will know the impact that her short, sweet little life had on our family.
She will always be our second child who is always loved, and never forgotten.
Thanks to Kelsey Joy Photography for this and the many other gorgeous photos from our family maternity session this fall!