Hope and Hurt: Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy can be hard. You have the combination of pregnancy hormones, morning sickness, food aversions/cravings, all of the physical changes that come with growing a human being, and not to mention dealing with the reality that your family will be adding a new member. And sometimes, in addition to all of this, you have to deal with the difficult emotions of previous loss in pregnancy.

Miscarriage is a devastating loss that has more impact than just the initial loss. In any subsequent pregnancies that previous loss and hurt impacts you. Sometimes in ways you don’t expect.

I can talk about this topic of pregnancy after loss, because it is my current situation. I am pregnant with what will be our 3rd child, but this is my 5th pregnancy. My two daughters are 3 and 9 months old, and inbetween being pregnant with them I experienced two losses through miscarriage.

When I was last at the Doctor’s office they were reviewing my health history and all of that fun stuff. And then my least favorite question came up. “How many pregnancies have you had?”

“5” I answered as if that wasn’t a painful answer for me.

Next she asked, “How many living children?” 

“2” Again said matter of factly, like it was just a number. 

I really hate that I have had 2 miscarriages. It is something I try not to dwell on. I experienced the pain, both physically and emotionally that comes with losing a baby before you even get to meet him or her. I grieved and mourned the losses and the what could have been. The pain is still there, but it isn’t always something I have to deal with. Then moments come, like the one in the doctor’s office and I feel like my wound must be revisited. 

So here I am, experiencing the joy of new life and also fear. Fear of experiencing the loss and pain again. And while that fear is valid, I have to make a conscious effort to not dwell on that fear. I don’t want to be stuck in my fear or defined as afraid, instead I want to fully embrace the joy that this pregnancy is. But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Facing the Doctor’s Appointments
It’s not that I am afraid of the doctor. But in some ways I am afraid of the news the doctor could bring. Especially in the first trimester. What if they can’t find the heartbeat this time? What if the ultrasound goes wrong? What if I hear the bad news?

The first miscarriage I didn’t see coming. We had an ultrasound and within the first 30 seconds I knew something was terribly wrong. You could read it all over the ultrasound technician’s face and feel it in the silence in the room. And then the words confirm it, there is no heartbeat, your baby is no longer living. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I knew miscarriages happened, but I never expected I would have one. We walked into this office excited to see our itty bitty baby squirm and bounce around on the screen. And instead received news that left me feeling slightly numb.

Within 6 months I experienced my second miscarriage. And again we found out the news after an ultrasound. I knew it was possible to have another miscarriage, but it felt unlikely. But when I found out about this loss it felt like getting kicked while you are down. 

Now with my daughter Emma and also this pregnancy, I was very nervous walking into that early ultrasound. Part of me expected the silence, the lack of movement, and then the bad news. But in those first 30 seconds I felt relief as the ultrasound technician pointed out the heartbeat and the squirming, active baby. I could experience the joy and excitement in that moment. 

I know with my upcoming appointments some of that fear and uncertainty will remain. The further into the pregnancy I get the more it will fade away. In the meantime, these appointments will be tough, but all I can do is take it one week at a time and one appointment at a time. 

Announcing the Pregnancy
I found out I was pregnant with our daughter Emma last October. I wasn’t surprised by the positive pregnancy test. For over a week I was almost positive that I was again pregnant. But I waited. Part of me was just too afraid to see another positive test and know that that didn’t mean in 9 months I would be holding a baby. I knew now the risks. I knew the heart ache. I was afraid. But I took the test and it confirmed that I was pregnant.

Next came telling people about the pregnancy. Obviously my husband was the first to know. But then who else should we tell?

{Photo Credit: Mandi Pool of Lily and Sparrow Photo Co.}

With my first miscarriage we were waiting to announce at our family Christmases that I was pregnant. We had cute announcements all ready and even had a friend take pictures for us to send out a family Christmas card announcing to our friends and extended family. The week of Christmas I found out I was miscarrying (at roughly 12 weeks). Only a handful of close friends knew, but we hadn’t made our big announcement yet.

With the second miscarriage we announced to both family and friends a little earlier this time. A few weeks after our announcement I found out that I was miscarrying the baby. In some ways it was hard having to tell everyone about this miscarriage, but in some ways I found it helpful and encouraging. 

When it came to announcing my current pregnancy I was again a little unsure. We told close family and friends early and then made a bigger announcement at 11 weeks. It was tough. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, what if I miscarry? Will it be more painful to have everyone know? Is it easier to wait until later, just in case? But I didn’t give into the fear. We shared this pregnancy. And with that comes the joy, and if a loss comes in the coming weeks or months we will have support through that. 

Pregnancy Symptoms 
Some pregnancy symptoms are annoying and really an inconvenience. But to me the pregnancy symptoms are a piece of hope. The heartburn, fatigue, growing stomach (and shrinking waredrobe of normal clothes) and nausea are a reminder of the unseen life inside of me and I try to enjoy that. 

Finally when that first kick is felt, it is the best feeling. There is nothing like feeling of your baby kicking around just enjoying life in the womb. I vividly remember feeling my daughter Emma kick HARD for the first time. It was earlier than I expected, but so encouraging to feel. I am already anticipating feeling this baby jab at my ribs and make his or her presence more known.

Even among the good doctor’s visits and growing pregnancy symptoms, I know I will experience ups and downs. Some good days, some harder ones. I am thankful for the support of family and friends who celebrate the joy of the moment with me. Although the fear lingers, I will always choose to grab hold of hope. Pregnancy is 40 weeks long, but I am taking it (and enjoying it) one day at a time.

3 Responses to Hope and Hurt: Pregnancy After Loss

  1. Brenda Haynes April 21, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    💕💕💕💕

  2. Cheryl Rounds April 30, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    Hi, Brenda. My name is Cheryl Rounds . Tenille Rounds is my beloved daughter by another mother, married to my son, Matt. I so wanted to be there for your ‘conference’ when she told her story, but was unable to. Thank you for inviting her to share this story. I know God is using her experience to impact others for his glory & am so very thankful for her willingness to obey his direction. Isaac was a gift extended to our family for a such a short period of time, but his birth certainly challenged my faith in so many ways..God is good ALL the time & uses every circumstance to bring him glory. Even in heartbreaking moments, his promises are true… May God bless you & yours as you strive to follow him.

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 2, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      Yes Cheryl, even in the heartbreak and pain God is good. Thanks for your comment.