When I wrote the post What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage Until I Had One, I talked about the fear of pregnancy. I talked about how pregnancy after miscarriage would never be the same. I was just predicting, and I wish I could say I had been wrong. But I was right. This pregnancy is very different because of my previous loss.
How Pregnancy After Miscarriage is Different
“No, it’s my second.”
You wouldn’t believe how many times people ask if this is your first pregnancy. To strangers, I just respond yes. I don’t want them to feel awkward or uncomfortable by bringing up a sad subject. But at the hospital, you have a ton of paperwork to fill out and tons of questions to answer from nurses and doctors and midwives. They always ask, “Is this your first pregnancy?” To which I must reply, “No, it’s my second.” Then there’s this pause before saying the first ended in miscarriage.
I can still remember writing the number two when asked how many pregnancies I’ve had and then having to write the number zero for how many times I’ve given birth. It’s like the reality and pain of your loss hits you all over again. And the fear of losing this new pregnancy screams at you.
“Is everything OK in there?”
The day of my first ultrasound I was scared to death. I threw up that morning — not from morning sickness — but from nerves. I was scared the entire time until I heard the midwife say, “There’s the heartbeat!” My second ultrasound was the same way. They weren’t even going to do an ultrasound, but I know the nurse saw the fear in my eyes. I was so nervous and scared, I could barely remember my own birthdate! Again, it wasn’t until I saw for myself that the baby was alive that I felt relief.
Each doctor’s appointment will now be full of nerves and fear until I see that everything is OK. I find myself wondering just a week or two after an ultrasound if everything is OK in there. There’s no way to know if the baby is still alive until my next appointment.
“Well, I think I’ll wait until next week after my ultrasound.”
I only knew of my first pregnancy for two weeks before miscarrying because I found out late, but that was still enough time to download all the pregnancy apps, start a pregnancy Pinterest board, tell as many family and friends as I could, and even get a few baby things. This time around though, I took my time. In fact, I know that I put things on hold.
I tried not to think too far ahead just in case. It was like a defense mechanism. As if planning things and getting excited would someone make a loss worse. I didn’t want to think about planning a gender reveal party until I had my second ultrasound. I didn’t buy anything for our baby until I hit 12 weeks, and we didn’t announce our pregnancy to the world until we hit 12 weeks.
There’s a whole lot of “if I can just get to 12 weeks…” and then “I’ll feel better once I hit 16 weeks…” and even “I won’t be so scared when I get to 20 weeks…” I think once you’ve experienced a loss, once the “it won’t happen to me” idea gets blown to bits and you realize just how common it is — there’s a constant underlying fear no matter how far along you are. And that fear can completely rob us of our joy if we let it.
How Do We Overcome the Fear?
In that previous post, I said the following:
I know that the next time I get pregnant, it will be a time of fear. I will be haunted by my loss and all the possibilities of what could happen. The excitement will still be there, I’m sure, but it will never be the same. I imagine it will feel like a race to hit week 20 — when your chances of miscarriage drastically decrease. My next pregnancy will definitely be a time of leaning on God and trying to trust Him.
There have definitely been times where this pregnancy is full of fear. However, I have found myself in prayer during those times. Asking God to give me peace, asking Him to keep this little one growing and developing. I ask God for protection and good health for both baby and myself. The fear is inevitable, but if I switch my focus and fix my eyes on God who I know is good and who I know wants the best for me, I can lessen the fear. I can focus on the joy. I can go out and buy something for the baby rather than wait until I know we are in a more “safe zone.”
During the first trimester, especially at the beginning, there was a lot of praying, “Please let us keep this one.” I prayed that simple prayer over and over. As I move into my second trimester, the fear has lessened. I know the chance of loss is still there, but I feel as if this pregnancy is so very different from my first. I really feel in my heart that this baby is here to stay. Each week it becomes more and more real that this could really be it. This could be our first child here on this earth. It’s incredibly exciting, and that’s what I want this whole experience to be — just completely exciting.
Have you experienced pregnancy after miscarriage? How was it different for you? How did you overcome the fear?
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