Category Archives: Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy After Loss – Getting Past the Milestones

I will never have a pregnancy last as long as Hannah’s.  I carried her for 41 weeks, and I know I won’t be carrying Noah – or any other baby – that far.  So, unlike moms who have lost a baby earlier in their pregnancy, I don’t have a ‘week milestone’ to get past.  But since I’m pregnant and due at the same time of year as I was with Hannah, I still feel like I have an important milestone to reach.

I found out that Hannah died on March 16th, her birthday is on March 17th, and her funeral was on March 21st.  I feel like these are three big dates on the calendar that I have to get past in this pregnancy.  Another important date is the day before my scheduled c-section.  I have this fear of being just hours away from holding him and something happening.

The closer I get, the more anxious I feel.  I think the stress of being pregnant with Noah and actively grieving Hannah at the same time is starting to get to me.  Even though I feel like it will be some sort of victory to get past these dates and still be pregnant with a baby who is alive, I don’t know if I’ll feel any kind of relief.  At this point, I don’t think I’ll feel that until I’m taking a baby home with me.

I’ve been pregnant for a really long time…and I’m not complaining because I know how much of a blessing it is to just be pregnant.  Since June of 2011, I have been pregnant 19 of those 22 months.  That’s a long time to be pregnant and still not have a baby at home.

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Pregnancy After Loss – Preparing for Another Baby

We are at the point now where it’s time to really start preparing to bring Noah home.  Honestly, it’s harder than I thought it would be.  In general, my feelings are so much more complex since Hannah died, and I usually feel 15 different things at the same time.  This is no different.  I am so excited, but there is a big part of me that doesn’t really believe that I’m actually going to bring him home.  I am having a hard time convincing myself that this time will be different.  So even though I’m excited and feeling those typical nesting urges to get his room finished and have things exactly the way I want them, I have this nagging voice in my head telling me how it will absolutely destroy my heart to have another perfect nursery in my home but no baby to fill it.

This time I also feel myself stressing over every.single.decision.  Should I get the breathing monitor that clips to his diaper to go with the baby monitor I already have that detects movement?  Is the car seat I bought for Hannah and spent hours researching safe enough for Noah?  Should I start cloth diapering right away or wait to heal a bit after my c-section and adjust before starting?  How about only using all organic and natural products with him?  Glass or plastic bottles?  What kind of baby carrier?  I’m being completely honest.  I am absolutely crazy and completely obsessive.  Pray for my husband!

Every decision, big and small, seems like a life or death decision in my head.  I know that there are important decisions we have to make that really will affect his health and well-being, and I’m not talking about those choices.  I’m talking about everything else…all the small decisions.  In the end, it won’t really matter if I use cloth diapers right away or end up hating the baby carrier I bought.  Right now, it just feels like these are the most important decisions I’ll ever make.  Even though it’s impossible, I want everything to be perfect for him.  I don’t want to mess up.

I feel an overwhelming responsibility to keep Noah alive, and I think it’s because I still struggle with a lot of guilt about Hannah’s death.  I know there isn’t anything I could have done, but it’s still there.  I know God is the ultimate authority on life.  I know this.  But that fact isn’t a band-aid that makes this situation all better or any easier.  It’s just something I have to keep praying about and working through.  And some days are better than others.

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Pregnancy After Loss: Meltdown at the Doctor’s Office

It finally happened.  I kind of freaked out at the doctor’s office yesterday.

To be honest, the whole thing caught me off guard.  My group has 3 offices, and I haven’t been back to the one where I had found out THE news….the news that Hannah died.  I purposefully avoid that office even though its 10 minutes from my house.  I drive 20-some minutes in the other direction to go to the other offices.  I just can’t do it.

I have been trying to prepare myself for the fact that at some point it may not be avoidable anymore….there might be an appointment where I have to go to that office.  So far though, I’ve been able to schedule everything at the other 2 offices and just assumed I’d be able to keep it that way.

Before I go any further, I just want to say that I love my doctor’s office.  I had a great experience during my first pregnancy.  They were wonderful and completely full of compassion when Hannah died.  They sent flowers for her funeral, several of the doctors came to her service, they called for weeks afterwards to check on me, the nurses during my postpartum checks took special care to take me back and find a room for me as soon as I got to my appointments so I wouldn’t be stuck in a waiting room full of pregnant women, they held my hand hand gave me hugs during my appointments, they cried with me, rejoiced with me when I found out I was pregnant with Noah, etc.  They are really wonderful, and I never even thought about changing practices for this pregnancy.  That being said, you can still have an experience every once in a while that isn’t completely wonderful.

At the end of my appointment yesterday, the doctor I saw (who is new to the practice and wasn’t there during my pregnancy with Hannah) starting going over all the typical “make sure you call if you notice any of these things” speech.  Each doctor reminds me of this (and I’m sure every other patient they see) every time which doesn’t bother me at all, but the other doctors have always said it a certain way.  Usually it goes something like this…”Make sure you call us or go to the hospital if you notice any bleeding, leaking, decrease in fetal movement, or just feel like something isn’t right.”  However, this doctor said, “And of course, if the baby just stops moving, you need to call us.”  Just like that.  No bedside manner.    I said “ok” but what I really wanted to say was, “Don’t you think I know that?  Don’t you know that’s exactly what happened to me less than a year ago?  Do you really think I wouldn’t call if he just stops moving?  Don’t you know that out of every. other. single. patient you see, this dominates my thoughts more than all your patients combined?  Don’t you know I obsess over his movements?  Does it occur to you that if I haven’t felt him for more than a few minutes (even though I know that babies don’t move every single minute of the day) my heart starts to race and I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack?  So, YES, OF COURSE I’M GOING TO CALL IF I DON’T FEEL HIM MOVE!!!!!”

I don’t expect at. all. to have my hand held through this entire process or for anyone to jump through hoops for me or walk on eggshells around me, but I do expect a certain level of tact out of any health care professional.  So, after that comment and a different conversation I had during that appointment, I was already a little upset when I went to check out.  When I got to the desk, the receptionist asked which location I preferred, and she started looking up appointment times.  Then she said, “I don’t see anything that fits at that office.” and started looking up available times at the other location.

My heart stopped and all I could think was, ‘I’m not ready to go back there yet.  I’m not ready to wait in that same waiting room.  I’m not ready to lay on that same ultrasound table.’  She told me what they had available and pretty much that I could either go there or I’d have to wait 4 weeks to be seen at the office I feel comfortable at.  I froze and started thinking, ‘If I wait 4 weeks and something happens to him, I will never forgive myself.’  I felt like it was either selfishly wait  4 weeks because I can’t handle it and pretty much miss one appointment to check on him or suck it up and do what’s best for my son.

So, the tears started coming and I said, “Ok.  I’ll take the appointment.”  I felt bad because she wasn’t rude about it at all and it wasn’t her fault.  She honestly seemed confused about why I was so upset.  I don’t expect every single person at each of their locations to automatically know what happened and all the details, but it was happening too fast and even though my appointment wasn’t for a couple of weeks, I wasn’t ready to even think about having to go back there.

I went back to the crowded waiting room with tears streaming down my face to wait for them to call me back to do my last blood draw for my glucose test.  Talk about awkward.  How did I get to the point where I’m the crazy pregnant lady crying in the waiting room?  It was the first time I’ve really HATED that I’m not just a normal pregnant person like everyone else.  I HATE that things are so different this time and just having to go to a certain office makes me almost lose it.  I. HATE. it.

I went outside to call Zach so he could calm me down.  I’m sure I scared him to death when I called him crying in a panic.  I don’t know how long I was on the phone with him, but we decided to call back when I got home and hopefully talk to someone else, explain the situation, and see what they could do.  Sometimes it’s hard to think clearly when you’re really upset about something.  I’m so thankful that Zach is always level-headed and knows what to say.  After convincing him that I was ok, I went back to the waiting room.

A few minutes after I sat down, the same receptionist came over and told me she found an opening at the office I wanted even though it was a little earlier than I needed to be seen and asked if I wanted the appointment.  I started crying again and told her thank you.  She said she would put a note in my file about not wanting to go to that other location at all and hopefully it wouldn’t be an issue again.

I don’t know why she found me another appointment, but I can’t remember the last time I felt so relieved.

I don’t have any advice if you’re in the same situation as me – pregnant again after losing a child.  It’s a hard road….and more complicated than I would have thought.  Thinking back, I don’t think I could have done anything differently yesterday.  I wish it wouldn’t have upset me so much, but oh well.  I’m not sorry for it.  There are just certain things I can’t handle, and being less than a year out from losing her, I don’t think not being able to handle going back into the same exact room where I heard THE news is unreasonable.  I wish it wasn’t an issue, but it is.  And, I would have called back to the office when I calmed down and stopped crying  to resolve the situation, but in the moment, I just wanted to escape.

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