How Pregnancy After Miscarriage is Even More Terrifying
Pregnancy is scary.
Pregnancy after miscarriage is terrifying.
I got pregnant pretty quickly after I lost my first baby. I lost my first December 12 and was pregnant again February 13th.
I was in shock. Could this be happening all over again? Was I over the first pregnancy? Can you ever really be over a pregnancy loss? My relationship with my partner was in a weird place because I had become super dependent during my mourning. How the hell were we going to go through this all over again?
What was a quick pregnancy after a loss like?
1) I didn't trust a single healthcare professional.
After a 10-year ongoing endometriosis battle, I wasn't exactly the biggest MD fan. Throw in horrid care after pregnancy loss and I was battling every doctor, nurse, and midwife that came in my way.
There were signs in my first pregnancy that indicated the pregnancy wasn't progressing. Had I known this, I would've been more proactive about my healthcare. Nothing can stop a miscarriage. If it's going to happen, it'll happen. But I had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks with ultrasounds indicating my baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks and 3 days. So I walked around for 12 weeks like I had a perfectly healthy baby when my little one didn't even have a heartbeat.
I requested copies of all my medical records. Every ultrasound and all bloodwork that was done for this pregnancy was checked over by me 5 times. I googled everything. I had an ultrasound at 9 weeks where 2 subchorionic hematomas were found- the doctor that gave me my results said everything was good and looked fine. On my way out of his office, I read my report more closely, found that there were 2 hematomas, and did my own research.
So yeah, I double check everybody's work.
2) I checked the baby's heartbeat like I was my own midwife.
Do I wish I wasn't so crazy? Maybe. But you know those fetal dopplers your ob/midwife/family dr has to check on baby's heartbeat (usually after you're 12-week appointment)? I own one.
I bought a fetal doppler from a consignment store in my area. It was around $100.00, but I would've given my left leg to be able to know that baby was doing okay, whenever I needed some reassurance. And after a miscarriage, you need a whole lot of assurance.
They say if the baby is in a perfect position, peeking above your pubic bone, and you don't have an anterior placenta, you can hear the fetal heartbeat as early as 10 weeks. So at exactly 10 weeks gestation, I busted out the doppler that I had ready to go and got real oiled up. After about 20 mins of fiddling, I found a heartbeat that sounded like a galloping horse, and I was elated. About 50% of my worries had gone away as soon as I was able to heart that heartbeat of 165 bpm.
Now fetal dopplers are a bit controversial. But I knew how to keep baby the safest. Only listen to the heartbeat for 10 seconds, if you can't find it after a few minutes try again later, etc. etc. But that little machine got me through my first trimester without completely stressing over every little thing that could mean I was miscarrying. It saved my sanity.
3) I was completely out of control, even when I was controlling everything.
Sure, I double checked my own blood work and found my own baby's heartbeat. But even the most diligent of parents can't prevent miscarriage, and I knew that. Hearing the baby's heartbeat would make me feel better for about 5 minutes, then that creeping fear would come back and literally haunt my dreams.
You can try to do everything right, but miscarriages aren't ever your fault.
4) I'll never be over it.
You're pregnant again and it is amazing. Sometimes you even forget about the massive hole in your heart until someone asks you if this is your first pregnancy. Then you remember your heart and how it aches.
For Mother's Day this year, I had no idea that I was still in so much pain from my first loss. I stayed in bed and cried until it was 3 pm. I felt so guilty and shameful that I had let days go by without thinking about my first baby. But crying and acknowledging that I wasn't okay made me feel better somehow. Remembering that I had another baby before this one calmed me down.
5) There is no safe zone
Everybody knows that miscarriage rates drop dramatically after 12-weeks gestation. Does that help? No. I'm 20 weeks pregnant and still have nightmares of loss.
The truth is that just when you're starting to feel comfortable, you'll remember that making a baby isn't an easy feat. All of the conditions need to be just so in order to create life. So even though you might be 12-weeks and 3-days pregnant, it doesn't matter. You'll probably be afraid until you have a crying baby in your arms.
What terrified you about being pregnant after your miscarriages?