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"/> pregnancy after a miscarriage

Pregnancy after a Miscarriage

2018 October 1
by Jennifer

I wrote about my first miscarriage shortly after we received the heart aching news that there was no heartbeat at the 13-week appointment.  That was March of 2016.

What I didn’t share quite as publically was my second miscarriage that happened in December of that same year.  Nine weeks, no heartbeat.  You know why I didn’t write about it?  It wasn’t that I wanted to keep it private.  I learned from sharing the first time and getting a resounding chorus of “me toos” that there is healing power in being open with this all-too-common loss.  I didn’t write about it because I had nothing to say.  I was so so sad about our second loss, but having a second miscarriage also made me a little bitter. I was frustrated and feeling sorry for myself and just plain pissed about having to go through it all again. I thought I learned all the lessons the first go round and I simply didn’t understand why I – we- had to deal with another loss.

It took a few months before I was physically and emotionally ready to try again for baby #3.  I had to feel okay about setting myself up for more pain and disappointment and the possibility that this could happen again. But I couldn’t quiet that desire for another child, and we couldn’t deny the feeling that our family wasn’t quite complete.

So eventually I got back on the horse (bow chicka bow wow) and started trying yet again for illusive baby three.  And thanks to a cocktail of COQ10, Clomid, canoodling, Pregnitude, and prayer, in June of 2017, I saw the faintest plus sign on a pregnancy test.  My heart skipped a beat but I immediately tempered my joy. I pressed pause on the imaginary highlight reel of this child’s life before I let it start running in my head.  I even kept the news completely to myself for a few days, not even telling my husband, as I oscillated between excitement about the future and fear of the unknown.  One morning over breakfast, I casually slid the positive test across the table towards My Man.  He was excited… but guarded.  We knew enough to know that a positive pregnancy test is just the first step, and that there are 40 long weeks ahead.

I didn’t immediately calculate my due date, nor did I sign up for the BabyCenter emails that inform you weekly which obscure fruit or vegetable matches the size of your growing fetus.  I thought it best not to know whether my baby was the size of a radish, a Japanese eggplant, a kumquat or a star fruit.  I didn’t let myself go there.

I went to the first ultrasound around eight weeks and I can clearly remember how badly my knees were shaking as I put them in the stirrups. The past two times I had been in that same dimly lit room, my heart had fallen through the floor at the silence and stillness on the screen. I started crying the minute the ultrasound technician opened the door. “I’m a little nervous” I told her.  “I know,” she said. “I saw your chart.”

My tears started again when I heard the heartbeat and saw the little flicker on the screen.  I was relieved and hopeful, but still hesitant to shout news of this pregnancy from the rooftops.

Back in at 10 weeks for another ultrasound and the blood test that detects chromosomal abnormalities and can also tell you the gender of the baby.  Um, science is magic.  We are finder outers as far as gender goes, but opted to not find out at 10 weeks.  It felt wrong to know the gender before I even knew if the pregnancy was viable.  Between appointments, my constant nausea and exhaustion were pleasant though uncomfortable assurances that something was hopefully happening in there.

It was a long walk to the perinatologist for my 13-week ultrasound.  I was again on the verge of tears as we waited for the doctor.  This one was big.  It was this appointment where we got the sad news of my first miscarriage, and it is after this appointment that, assuming it goes well, miscarriage risk drops significantly.  All was well.  Exhale.

It wasn’t until after that appointment that my husband and I actually talked for the first time about the fact that I was pregnant and the realities of having another baby.  Over lunch we discussed questions like Where will we put this child’s nursery? What if it is a boy? How would we feel about another girl? Who is the child’s father? Etcetera.  We cautiously started to let ourselves get excited about our growing family.

After a successful 18-week appointment wherein I got to hear the pitter pater of the little heartbeat, I unpacked my maternity clothes.  It had been weeks since I could comfortably zip my regular jeans, but in the beginning I was too afraid about the emotional toll of having to lug them back up to the attic if we got bad news.  I was immediately reminded how maternity jeans are ah-mazing and how I will likely wear full panel elastic waist jeans from now till forever. And I finally FINALLY put the baby’s due date on the Google calendar.  I don’t make a trip to the mailbox without putting it on the Google calendar so to think that I didn’t put such a significant event on the cal certainly says something.

The world loves a pregnant lady, but it took me a good while to accept congratulations on this pregnancy and partake of the perks that come with the prenatal package.  In the early weeks, whenever anyone said congrats, I wanted to diffuse it and temper their expectations the same way I was always checking my own. “Congratulations!”  They would say. “Well I had two miscarriages so we’ll see.” Or “Thanks, it’s still early though.”  But as the weeks passed, I finally accepted congratulations, put my hand on my ever-expanding belly, smiled and said “thank you.  We’re really excited.”… “And yes. Please carry my groceries to the car.”

I was gradually settling into this pregnancy, and each week that went by, I was able to remove a brick from the anxiety backpack I had been carrying.  I let myself start dreaming about life with three children, and timidly pressed play on my dreams about the future.  It was around this time that we told our daughters that I was pregnant.

Despite settling into the idea that this may actually happen, I had a chorus line of “what ifs” dancing in my head approaching the 20-week appointment.  That is the ultrasound where you can officially find out the baby’s gender and where they carefully examine every vital organ for potentially scary abnormalities.  I went in feeling anxious and left that appointment feeling grateful and relieved. We looked away as the doctor was scanning the anatomy and left the appointment with an envelope disclosing if #3 is a boy or a girl.  SPOILER ALERT! A(nother) girl.

As my third trimester creept by, I did not take a single kick for granted.  Bring on the nausea, the insomnia, the restless leg syndrome (most annoying pregnancy symptom), the cankles, and the corn flakes (#1 craving). I was so beyond grateful to be in the magical miraculuous baby baking business once again.

And on February 10th, when I finally got to hold the precious baby I had been praying for, I felt like I won the lottery.  Having two miscarriages may have stolen my blissful innocence from the experience of pregnancy, but it made this child’s birthday that much more meaningful. Babies are freaking fracking MIRACLES and I am still pinching myself that I have been blessed with three.  She was well worth the wait.

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