It was the end of August 2020, by this point I had endured six losses, one blighted ovum missed miscarriage, one 7 week trisomy 3 baby girl missed miscarriage, and 4 chemical pregnancies. All with no real answers as to why I was miscarrying. At this point, my body hadn’t been pregnant for two months, which was the longest I had gone in the year and a half I was trying to conceive for the second time. I was desperately trying to get pregnant again, all the while, not wanting to see a positive test at all. I was truly traumatized by positive pregnancy tests, they had done nothing but let me down during this much different ttc journey than my first.
I remember feeling lost and not sure what to do. Do I keep tracking every ovulation, taking progesterone three days after tracked ovulation, and then waiting for my body to show me signs of pregnancy and tests to show a positive or negative? Either way, it would trigger me. My awareness of my body and it’s responses to pregnancy were in overdrive. It didn’t matter if I tested for ovulation or even pregnancy, I just knew. After so many times being pregnant, I just knew.
My mind and body was suffering. Dealing with loss is weird because every month, despite all of the heartache, there is still a hope, like maybe this is the month. But I truly didn’t know what to do. I decided just to move on and allow faith to decide. I prayed for direction, a sign, something. I just knew I couldn’t endure another loss. So I moved forward, not tracking, just living, something I hadn’t done for awhile, all the while dealing with a pandemic to top things off.
September came, I didn’t track ovulation but I knew when I did, because hyper self awareness is definitely a part of recurrent pregnancy loss. And after experiencing cramping way earlier than period cramps, I decided to test. Again, I knew. I tested positive, again. And here comes the tidal wave of anxiety and awaiting blood test results to see if my HCG was going to let me down or drag this out.
After a few long days of awaiting bloodwork, I got the news…
My HCG levels tripled in 48 hours! That is great news, you want it to double, so tripling is amazing. But that celebration is short lived, because my trisomy 3 baby girl had great HCG levels, we even saw a heartbeat. So the feeling of celebration was just not in my mindset. The waiting began again until I could get in to see a heartbeat. Until then, every cramp, bathroom visit, or weird feeling was followed with intrusive thoughts.
The waiting did pay off because we got a beautiful first ultrasound visit with a strong heartbeat. It was like we overcame a huge obstacle, but, again, we knew we had a lot of obstacles to tackle in our future.
Each visit, each blood draw, seemed daunting, like how can this baby make it when the others didn’t?! What makes this different than the rest?! I just didn’t have answers and that made the mental struggle harder. I dealt with a lot PTSD symptoms, anxiety, worry, depressive episodes, and a lack of connection, which then made me feel even worse.
Pregnancy after loss makes you feel robbed of truly enjoying the true beauty of pregnancy. Not to be confused with being ungrateful grateful, because I have been extremely grateful since the beginning, but the trauma takes over and really overshadows any happy feelings that should be happening.
It wasn’t until I could feel baby kick, at around 18 weeks, that I started to calm some. It is comforting and helps build the connection that has been lacking due to the past.
It is still hard, healing takes time. I am 7 months pregnant now with our healthy, rainbow, baby boy, and while baby is viable and things are looking great, I won’t truly relax until he’s here earth side with me. I am writing this to not just share my story, but to help others feel less alone. The struggles of pregnancy after loss just aren’t discussed much and they are feelings that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Society puts an emphasis on only wanting to hear about the good stuff, how grateful you are, and that’s it. Women shouldn’t feel guilty for having traumatic feelings trigger them during their pregnancy. It is normal and should be supported, maybe more people would reach out for help, instead of suffering alone.
Did you know that one in four women have had a miscarriage? Did you also know that 85% of women who have had a miscarriage, will go on to have a healthy, successful pregnancy? That is a lot of women, and a lot of women who may be feeling the same way, and we don’t know it. So, if you are one of those women, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Pregnancy after loss can feel like…
- Walking on egg shells
- High highs and low lows
- Physical tension/pain
- Hyper self awareness
- Lack of connection with baby
Women who experience pregnancy after loss are at a higher risk of developing a perinatal mood disorder, even after baby has arrived. So it is so important to start healing and relying on support if this is something you are experiencing.
Pregnancy after loss is more than I ever imagined and I looked for resources to help, and I just couldn’t find anything that met my needs, so I created it. I created a Guided Journal for Pregnancy after Loss. It is a journal that prompts you to express some of those feelings that need let out. The pregnancy can peak anxiety, worry, PTSD, and a roller coaster of emotions that should be expressed. This journal gives you that space to get it all out. This journal promotes keeping your mindset in the present and moving forward with 40 prompts, 40 positive affirmations, 40 gratefulness cues, and the space to write down whatever comes up for you in that moment.
Benefits to journaling, affirmations, and gratitude cues…
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Express feelings you may not be ready to share
- Start healing from your losses
- Record the important milestones for you and baby
- Keep thoughts organized
- Shift your perspective
- Encourage positive, present thoughts
- Builds connection to baby
- Promotes releasing and letting go of feeling that are no longer needed
- An excellent tool along side of therapy or counseling
A positive pregnancy test after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss can seem like a time to rejoice. And while, it is something to celebrate, and something anyone trying to conceive (even after a loss) is striving for, it comes with a load of uncharted emotions. These emotions can be overwhelming and trigger anxiety and fears of possibly experiencing another loss. This can be devastating on your mental health. Much love to you if you are awaiting your rainbow or struggling during your rainbow pregnancy. If you are someone who is supporting a woman through these times, be patient, listen more, and say less, she really just needs to know she is not alone.
“While pregnancy loss has taught me that nothing is guaranteed, my rainbow pregnancy taught me that anything is possible.” -Jenny Albers
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