This topic has been something that I’ve been thinking about ever since I found out that I was pregnant. It’s a sensitive subject and emotional subject, and it may be a bit difficult for me to write, but bear with me. Pregnancy after a loss and/or infertility is much different than a normal pregnancy. A “normal” pregnancy may consist of naiveness, innocence, and happy thoughts of ten months out. However, after you experience a loss, go through infertility, or both, your thought process is unlike it was before. For me, pregnancy the second time around has differed so much from an emotional standpoint.
I wanted to write about this and bring awareness to it as I think there’s sometimes a gap between these two types of women (or three, if you experience infertility).
- You’ll be checking for blood multiple times a day…but this still doesn’t ease your mind. My first pregnancy ended in a missed miscarriage, meaning the baby had passed (ours around week 12), but I had literally no symptoms of an impending loss. No blood, no cramping- nothing, and we found out at an ultrasound at 14 weeks. This time around, I’d check every time I used the restroom even though I knew that this does not ensure that all is okay. We did have a little scare when I was 13 weeks as I had some brown spotting (brown means old blood and red means new blood. Red is not a good sign). It happened in the late afternoon after cleaning and running errands all day, and I spent the rest of the evening laying down, drinking lots of water. I called my doctor the next morning and she said to come to the hospital to get it checked out. Long story short- they couldn’t determine the exact cause, but baby was doing great and I was put on light bed rest for a few days. We were so relieved, but I felt awful as we missed Tyler’s promotion ceremony that morning to get pinned Captain (he was actually promoted November 1st) 😦 Anyways, checking will be constant.
- You’ll become worried when your morning sickness dissipates. Yes, most women are ecstatic when they start feeling better, but my mind started to wander when I’d have a few hours or days where I wasn’t dry-heaving constantly or running to the bathroom. It’s very common for all day sickness to come and go, and even though it wasn’t fun not feeling well, it was comforting to me as it reminded me that I was, indeed, pregnant. You see, the first time my morning sickness started to ease up around week 11 and by week 12 I was feeling totally back to normal…and that’s when the baby passed, so that was obviously on my mind. This time my doctor offered to give me medicine to help with the sickness, but I politely declined. It probably sounds crazy, but I didn’t want the meds in my system. I am fortunately not currently working outside of the home, so I had time to rest and take naps if I needed to. Keep in mind that I’m also one of those women who do not eat lunch meat, soft cheeses, or literally anything else that you “aren’t supposed” to eat while pregnant. Great for those women who have the balls to do it, but I don’t as I’m not risking anything.
- You’ll be absolutely over the moon but also incredibly terrified. The first time around I was like most other first-time pregnant women- I knew miscarriages occurred, but I never thought that it’d happen to me. A loss hurts no matter how many weeks along you are, but I believe the further you are in a pregnancy, the more difficult it is to grasp that it truly happened. We waited two years to see two pink lines again. We watched some women who were pregnant the same time I was have their baby, then get pregnant and birth their second…That being said, when you do get pregnant again, you’re afraid that it’ll happen to you once more as reoccurring loss is a very real thing for some couples. It’s a very bizarre feeling to be so happy yet scared at the same time. It was NOT comforting when people would say that it wouldn’t happen again- no one can predict the future. However, my doctor just kept telling me to “just believe” at every appointment and that this is a different pregnancy, a different baby. I still hold onto those words 🙂
- You won’t give a shit if the baby is a boy or a girl. I think this is why I had such a difficult time when people would ask if it was a boy or girl and/or what we wanted. We honestly did not care whatsoever (if my husband did deep down, he never told me)- we just wanted a healthy baby. I know, I know- that’s what everyone wants, but it’s the truth. As I mentioned before, I didn’t care if we had a boy first to be the protector should he have siblings one day or whatever. I was the oldest and no one protected me and I didn’t turn out that bad 😉 We do think it would be nice to have two children closer in age than we were with our siblings, but part of the reasoning is because of our age. However, I’m super close with my brother and sister and I don’t believe age really matters when you’re adults, but it does impact things when you’re kids. I’d love to have children that have a close bond just as I have and for my husband to get to see that (sometimes I think he wonders what the hell I could possibly be talking about with my family every single day haha, but I think that’s part of what makes life beautiful- having such connection!). Who knows, we may just be blessed with one child and we would be perfectly happy with that!
- When women bitch about the pitfalls of pregnancy you’ll still get annoyed. I get it- morning/all day sickness isn’t fun, but complaining about it openly on social media outlets will still drive you effing nuts. Some people crave for attention more than others so while it may seem innocent to them to share every single day about how shitty they feel, it can actually be hurting a lot of people. I know- appeasing everyone is impossible, but it’s more about just being a mindful human being. I’d literally bring plastic Wal-Mart or Target bags with me when I left the house the first 15 weeks because I was afraid I might barf at any second, and I still have bouts of nausea at 22 weeks…but you’ll never hear me complain (obviously I’d tell those closest to me that I felt sick when asked, but it was never bitching because as I said earlier, it was a comfort and I was so grateful for that). Certain things may seem sucky, but you know what’s even suckier? Going through morning sickness for weeks and weeks and feeling so much love and so much excitement for this little one growing inside of you, only to have it taken away when you stupidly thought you were in the “safe zone”. Then yearning for it again so long and so hard, spending countless hours crying over negative pregnancy tests and pregnancy announcements, getting shitty test results from the doctor, feeling so alone and angry and sad and everything in between, and enduring uncomfortable and painful procedures to try and get some answers. You look at the miracle of life a tad bit differently, and know that feeling like shit or being constipated or breaking out badly or being tired ISN”T SHIT in the grand scheme of things.
- You’ll still experience pregnancy jealousy- This is a biggie. I thought I was crazy at first, but I’ve spoken with several women in the loss and infertility community that said they feel the same way. Even though I’m pregnant, I still get weird when I’m sitting at the doctor’s office for an appointment in a room full of super pregnant ladies. Yes, I have a bump, but when women are visibility more pregnant than me, I wish it were me because I’m still so scared. I’ve heard from some women that this feeling eases up once you hit viability, but I don’t know. I’m truly happy when I see pregnancy announcements, but I still wonder how long they were trying. If they announce it super early, I wonder how they have the strength to do so. The innocence that some women have that never endured a loss or infertility and that have had happy, worry-free pregnancies can be aggravating, especially when they try to give you advice. It’s a very, very different experience.
***I wanted to add a bit more to this before I publish this as I experienced this yet again today while waiting to get my oil changed. I had an ultrasound this morning for another cervical length check, and when I was leaving the room after it was finished I glanced at the nurse’s computer screen and thought I saw the length measuring almost one centimeter shorter than it was about five weeks prior. One centimeter may not seem like a lot but it is when it comes to your cervix during pregnancy. I could still kick myself for not asking the nurse about it, but I know they can’t release much information to you. I’m apprehensive and a bit scared right now and I should be able to pick up the results on Wednesday. I won’t go any further about this until I actually read the report and discuss it with my doctor…but while my car was being tended to, I saw a mother feeding her newborn baby in the waiting area and I once again felt those feelings of jealousy. I’m not even sure if that’s the right word to describe it…it’s more like super intense feelings of hope and desire that I’ll get to that point one day. It took me everything now to to cry. Anyways, it probably sounds odd, but I’m just being real…
- You’ll be be hesitant as to what to say when asked if it’s your first. I was kind of taken back when asked if it’s my first, and it was obviously by random people that didn’t know us or by nurses. I always tell the nurses no, it’s not my first. It was (and still is) odd to me when they say, “One child at home?” and I again proceed to say no, the first was a miscarriage. I don’t like how it’s sometimes assumed that I already have a living child. I know people mean absolutely no harm when asking this, but it puts me in a predicament. Do I want to say no- that this is our second, and our first was a late first trimester loss- to those that are asking me just because outside of the doctor’s office? No, because that makes people uncomfortable. And some people don’t recognize miscarriages as “real” children. Or do I say, yes this is our first? This answer makes me feel guilty and sad for not recognizing our first baby. A few times when I said it’s our first, they proceeded to say something along the lines of, “That’s awesome you guys waited so long!” (they obviously knew my age or that we’ve been for quite a while). Seriously…these remarks make me wanna dropkick them…but once again, they don’t know any better… I know I’ll struggle with this question my entire pregnancy, but I truly want to acknowledge our first loss without sounding dramatic or making others feel awkward. But then again, I don’t want to feel uncomfortable either. I’ll always feel that if miscarriage and infertility are more openly discussed, it’ll become less taboo and women will feel less alone.
I know there are so many other instances I could discuss regarding the differences, but I’ll stop there for now. I don’t mean to segregate those that have not endured a loss or infertility from those that have. These are just observations from my personal experience and from what I’ve discussed with other women in similar situations. I feel that the women that I’ve encountered that have been affected are much more guarded than those that still retain the innocence and naiveness of not suffering, but that’s not always the case. However, pregnancy is an absolute beautiful thing and we are all on different paths emotionally and physically with one common denominator- a smooth ride and healthy baby 🙂