***I read an article yesterday with the same base line of this article. I'm writing my version because there are things I'd like to add in with from my perspective. To read the original article, click here.*
Pregnancy can be an emotional, yet joyful time for a soon to be Mommy! The anticipation of meeting your newest family member builds up over the nine months and by the end of the pregnancy everyone is anxious to meet the newest family member.
However, the joys, hopes, and dreams are changed for those who are pregnant after a loss. Well, as a matter of fact, EVERYTHING changes and the angel Mom is never the same with any future pregnancies.
Here are the things I wish I would have been told before my pregnancy with my rainbow:
1. TTC (Trying to Conceive) is an emotional nightmare. My husband and I decided that we wanted to try for our rainbow baby about three months after the loss of our precious daughter. I didn't realize how different it would be. The fun was gone and it was work once we had the agreement of my doctor. (He suggested I waited three full menstrual cycles before trying again.) The first month we tried, it wasn't successful and I felt as if I failed. The feelings that went through me were overbearing. I had a hard time with TTC and just sex in general. The fun and quality time with my husband turned into a bunch of thoughts like "I wonder if it'll happen this time?" or "I pray I'm tracking everything right so it happens now." I anxiously waited for that time of the month and when it arrived, I broke down and cried. I honestly felt like it was going to take me forever to conceive or I wasn't ever going to again. At this time, I no longer trusted my body to do it's thing because it had just failed me several months before. Then the cycle of TTC started again. It was really depressing mixed with fear and anxiety.
2. Finding out your pregnant isn't the same as it once was. The moment the positive test came in I had mixed emotions about it. During the time we were TTC, I would imagine what the moment would be like when I finally saw that our prayers were answered. Would I scream with excitement? Would I cry from fear? Would I tell others right away or keep the news to myself? I was four days late and felt as if it was a joke. My cruel body was doing it again. Boosting up my spirit with hope only to crash it at any moment with the dreaded menstrual time. I didn't tell my husband that I was going to take the test. He was sleeping from working the night before and I ran to the store to get the test. I took the test alone in the bathroom and those three minutes felt like forever. POSITIVE! I couldn't believe it. Literally. I thought the test was wrong. It was too good to be true. I've heard it said that if it feels too good to be true...it usually is. This is what kept running through my mind. I thought the test had to be wrong and it that it was a defective test. Of course, I took another one. That too was positive. I fell to my knees and cried. Part of me wanted to believe it and the other part was trying to tell me it was a joke. Fear and anxiety snuck in at this moment even more. Once I pulled myself together and told my husband, all I could think of was "What's going to happen?" "Will I be able to handle another stillbirth if it were to happen again?"
3. You'll constantly expect something bad to happen. Realization of the new pregnancy took a while to sink in even after taking two at home tests, I needed to have it confirmed by the doctor. This was a task all on it's own. With a stillbirth in my history, I was considered high risk from the start. The doctor did a urine test to confirm the pregnancy. This one was positive too. However, I didn't think it was right. The doctor pulled me into the ultrasound room and showed me the sack, baby, and the flicker of a heartbeat. This is when I allowed it to start sinking in. I was really pregnant. From that point on, I constantly worried about what I would see when I needed to use the restroom. I was always expecting to see blood. I was told it's normal after experiencing a traumatic ordeal like we had with our daughter. The fear that at any moment something bad will happen only leads to even more anxiety and fear.
4. The bad pregnancy symptoms most people dread, become your best friend. I know in my first pregnancy I didn't feel anything regarding those symptoms. However, with my angel I had the morning sickness like crazy. It started within my pregnancy with my rainbow too. But this time, I welcomed it. I wanted to feel sick and have my breast hurt. This was a sign to me that everything at that moment was okay. I would panic when I felt good. I automatically thought something was wrong and ran to the bathroom once again expecting to see blood. When the first trimester was coming to an end and so did the symptoms, I kept thinking something happened and the baby had died.
5. Doctor appointments ease some of the fear. I lived for the visits to the doctor. I would count down the days until I was able to go in. However, when it came time it also brought on a new set of worries. "Will there be a heartbeat this time?" was the main question I'd ask myself on the morning of my appointments. With being high risk not only did the doctor want to see me but he also requested ultrasounds too. I remember the first ultrasound with my rainbow. I was waiting in the doctors office holding back tears because of the fear of no heartbeat when it came time for the ultrasound. At this point, this was the first ultrasound I had since I lost my daughter and I was afraid my rainbow would have the same fate. By the time I was laid back on the bed and the tech was checking the heartbeat, I could no longer hold back my tears. I cried and without realizing it, I held my breath until the tech said the heartbeat was there. This became routine at every visit.
6. Others will expect you to be okay now that you're pregnant again! What I didn't realize is that I thought this too. I thought that since I'd be pregnant... I'd be okay but this wasn't the case at all. I was and have been far from okay. Being pregnant after a loss doesn't make all those feelings from the loss go away. In fact, they only become stronger. At times I sat and remembered my pregnancy more with my angel than with my rainbow. I'd sit on the couch listening to the heartbeat on the at home doppler I purchased while remembering my angels heartbeat. This was the case during the entire pregnancy. I believe this is okay because you can't forget one child because you have another.
7. Anxiety will over take you in the first trimester when you can't feel the baby move. I remember saying that once our rainbow would begin moving, I'd be okay. However, the road there was rough. I wanted so badly to feel our rainbow move that I ached for it at times. This would be another indication that the baby was fine. It seemed as if the first trimester went by very slowly.
8. However, you'll worry even in the second trimester after you can feel the baby's movements. I waited so long for the movement of my rainbow. Once it had happened I wasn't sure about it. I panicked when I couldn't feel the baby move with each movement, which caused me to run back to the heart doppler again. So it wasn't as reassuring as I thought it would be.
9. The fact that you WILL obsess about the baby moving as time goes by. When the kicks were more frequent, I needed to feel them. I felt like something was wrong if I didn't feel my baby move. When I wouldn't feel him move, I would began to panic and fall back on the heart doppler. I was very tuned into the baby's movements.
10. When seeing another pregnant woman, jealousy will happen. I know this one to be true. I still do it to this day during my 34th week of pregnancy. I get mad, too. The reason is because they still have that innocent joy within their pregnancy and they don't know this new world I was forced into. At times I caught myself immediately disliking her because of her genuine smile that wasn't hiding fear in the deep dark shadows of her heart. Do I have joy now? Yes, however it's always mixed with another emotion. I don't believe I'll ever feel pure joy when it comes to my kids again.
11. You will Google or call your doctor with EVERY symptom you have. I can't tell you how many times during this pregnancy I have resorted to Googling what was going on with me and then calling the doctor. Each new thing that happens within pregnancy will have one wondering if it's normal or if it's an indication that something is wrong.
12. Any speed bump between conception and delivery will scare you! When I was diagnosed within this pregnancy with Polyhydramnios, which is too much amniotic fluid. I went home and cried. I explained how this made me feel in another post here. This put me on bed rest and to limit my activity to ensure I didn't bring on pre-term labor. Deep down inside I felt as if my baby had the same outcome as my angel. Each appointment is only more anxiety and doesn't help to calm me until I hear the words: You're baby isn't in danger.
13. Fear doesn't go away as you reach birth. My loss was at 40 weeks 5 days. I have no days to "just get past" and nothing to ease my fears. The fears of loss with my rainbow only increase as I get closer to D-day. Everything during pregnancy isn't predictable and this is scary. With six weeks left, I'm a bundle of nerves and there's nothing I can do to provide some comfort.
These are my comments with each point made in the original post. I hope this helps someone out there to see how things have been for me pregnancy wise and I hope this gives some insight to someone who is PAL.
If you are PAL, add your comments below if I missed something on my end.
Not PAL? Did this article help you understand better?