The lasting affects of miscarriage

We’re on full-fledged Baby Watch 2015, and in honor of my pregnancy that is now 39 weeks 1 day, I’m publishing a post from September that’s been sitting in my drafts folder.

The lasting affects of miscarriage  |  nextlifechapter.com

I can see my feet if I’m sitting down and I swing them way out.

 

After I wrote this post back in March I intended to write an entire series on my experience with miscarriage, but then, I got pregnant. (Maybe part of it was that I didn’t feel emotionally ready to talk about miscarriage and “out myself” until I was able to start trying again.)

Since I had a history of miscarriage, my midwifery practice let me have an early ultrasound at seven weeks. This is about as early as a heartbeat can be detected. When I was pregnant with Adelaide I didn’t get that reassuring ultrasound until 12 weeks and that’s one of the factors that made my first miscarriage so devastating–I didn’t find out the pregnancy wasn’t viable until 12 weeks into it.

For those of you who haven’t been pregnant before, you’re considered about four weeks pregnant when you miss your period (depending how regular your cycles are) and that’s about the time you can get a positive pregnancy test. Doctors and midwives usually track your pregnancy by the first day of your last period. Most women don’t know the exact date they conceived, but the first day of your last period is a date most women can figure out (especially those actively trying to conceive). So, when you ovulate, you’re already “2 weeks pregnant”–at least for tracking purposes.

Anyway, I say this because between the time of getting that positive pregnancy test and then getting that early seven-week ultrasound, is about three weeks. Three very long, anxiety-ridden weeks. Weeks where you figure out your due date and think about all that would mean, while at the same time trying not to get your hopes up, trying not to think too much about the future, trying to stay “in the moment.”

During those three weeks I thought a lot about mindfulness. Primarily I thought about how little I know about mindfulness and how much I’d like to learn. During those three weeks I told very few people about the positive pregnancy test. Of course, Tim knew. He has been at my side through it all. I even made Tim and Adelaide take photos with the positive pregnancy tests. Adelaide didn’t know what she was holding up for the camera, so no harm done. I also made them do this for the two miscarriage positive pregnancy tests–I’ve kept those images, but they’re hidden on an external hard drive because they just make me sad.

Then, I told my sister (she lives far away but provided moral support over the phone). I also told my friend Brooke. Brooke has been my pregnancy confidant. She is the little sister of my friend Amy who died of cancer a few years ago. Brooke is the same age my sister, and we became friends when Amy got sick and Brooke moved to Philly. Although Brooke doesn’t live here anymore, she has been a great email pen pal. She has been through more than her share of heartbreak and loss (both early and late pregnancy). She was also pregnant this summer and a great voice of positivity–staying positive and thinking about the end result. The mantra: This is the perfect pregnancy. I’m so blessed for my two happy, healthy children.

So, we had that early ultrasound at seven weeks. Unlike my miscarriages, all three components were there. There was 1) a gestational sac 2) something in the gestational sac, and 3) that something had a heartbeat. It was one of the most nerve-wracking days knowing that after the ultrasound we would either be devastated once again or completely ecstatic. The news was good, we were flying high and the next day I had a doctor’s appointment where the midwife said now that a heartbeat had been detected, my chance for miscarriage went from around 25-30% to only 1 or 2%.

Fast forward to now and I’m 26 weeks pregnant. The genetics testing is over, even our 20-week anatomy scan showed “nothing of concern.” Each month at my midwife appointment they check the heartbeat and it has always been great.

Still, I worry. The result of having suffered miscarriage is that I no longer have the naivety of not knowing any better. I know first-hand what loss feels like, and I have witnessed stillbirth once removed as it happened to my dear friend.

A couple of weeks ago, at 24 weeks, I found myself worried to tears over the fact I didn’t feel as if the baby had been moving as much as the several days prior. I know you’re not even technically supposed to be tracking kicks as early as 24 weeks, and I assume that’s because it’s unpredictable. Still, I worried. I worried something was wrong. I worried I would lose her.

 

Now that I’m 39 weeks and anxiously awaiting “the day” at any time, I still worry. I find myself stopping my excitement and holding back on wanting to fill the empty drawers with Adelaide’s hand-me-down newborn clothes. I want to meet this little girl as soon as possible because while pregnant I feel so completely out of control. I want to hold her in my arms and know that she is okay.

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  1. Brooke’s avatar

    You’re almost there Beth! Thanks for sharing. Pregnancy after loss was the most anxious time in my life. You said it exactly right when you described feeling so out of control. Letting go of control for something so important is so difficult, but you made it this far and will have your precious reward soon! It’s so worth it. Can’t wait to meet her!

    Reply

    1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

      Thanks, Brooke. I’m trying really hard to stay in the moment and appreciate this time she has all snuggly in the womb. I don’t intend to have any more children so I want to appreciate the last days of pregnancy (but it’s hard to do when you’re so excited about the next chapter!).

      Reply

    2. Cindy’s avatar

      Beautiful words. You are almost there, mama.

      Reply

    3. Michelle Wolfson’s avatar

      Thank you for sharing all of that! Not much longer now. Good luck to you!

      Reply

    4. Gina B’s avatar

      Miscarriage is common but not talked about much, so I appreciate you sharing. I hope & pray your pregnancy and labor are uneventful, boring even, and very blessed – and am glad you are so far along. My miscarriages bookended my pregnancies. The first one came and went so fast I barely knew I was pregnant (I had a highly irregular cycle at the time.) The next one was much later, and while I would have liked a third child, it was not meant to be so I gave myself time to grieve and moved on as much as I could.

      Reply

      1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

        Gina,
        Yes, I’ve found that the more I talk about it (or write about it) the more I hear from others who have had similar experiences. I’m sorry to hear about your losses. The grief is real, and I appreciate you sharing your story.

        Reply

      2. Jenn’s avatar

        Oh Beth, I’m so sorry to hear that you went through all of that. I can only imagine how you must feel and how nervous you must be. Thankfully I never experiences such a loss, and I cannot imagine if I would be able to get through it. It did take 4 years of fertility treatments to have Abby (PCOS/not ovulating) and I always had this weird feeling that the shoe was going to drop at any time. Even having pre-eclampsia during the end of my pregnancy, I felt fine physically, and just prayed that we’d get through.

        Any day you will meet your little one, and that nagging feeling will hopefully subside into your normal everyday worries as a mom.

        Reply

      3. Tricia the Good Mama’s avatar

        Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing how common miscarriage really is since no one likes to talk about it. I’m sure your post will really hit home to others who need to read it. Good luck & Congratulations! You have not much more to go.

        Reply

      4. Marci’s avatar

        You write so candidly on a subject that is so personal and difficult. I had two miscarriages and it is still, and forever will be, such a sensitive subject for me. Good luck. I look forward to hearing about your new daughter and all the excitement of becoming a mom to two!

        Reply

        1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

          Thanks, Marci. It is of course a difficult subject to write about, but my graduate degree is in creative non-fiction/memoir where I’ve had lots of practice in writing about myself, making myself vulnerable through writing etc… Some might call it oversharing (haha), but when it comes to miscarriage I wish I had known that many of my close friends had experienced it. It’s hard to be supportive (and ask for support) when we live in such secrecy.

          Reply

        2. Life with Kaishon’s avatar

          I am so happy for you! Congratulations!

          Reply

        3. Heather D. (@GirlGoneMom)’s avatar

          I have suffered a few as well. It helps me to talk about it. I am same as you too with the worrying. It’s a side effect for sure.

          Reply

        4. Carrie MkgLemonade’s avatar

          I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve been there, too. Pregnancy after loss is such a mixture of happiness and nerves. Pretty soon you’ll be holding your daughter in your arms, so exciting!

          Reply

        5. April’s avatar

          I’ve been there a few times. I’ve had two great kids since then, but I’ll never forget! Thanks for posting and congrats!!!

          Reply

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