Pregnancy After Loss

Day 2: Six Things I’ve Learned During Pregnancy After Loss

{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, join us with the #thismotherhoodstory as we journal our way through topics surrounding grief and life after loss.}

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 – Journal Prompt:
How has your loss changed the way you view or experience subsequent pregnancies? What do you wish people knew about pregnancy after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss?

My husband and I had been married for a little over half-a-year when we discovered that I was pregnant with identical twin boys. I loved being pregnant: I floated through those first few months on a carefree cloud of pregnant woman glow. I watched my belly grow larger and rounder; stretched by little elbows and knees that wriggled and squirmed just out of sight. It was miraculous and beautiful and most of all, worry-free.

Because I was carrying multiples, the hospital slapped a “high risk” label on my medical chart and treated us to extra ultrasounds and doctors appointments, but this all seemed a mere formality. Never once, did I worry about losing my babies. As far as I knew, words like “stillbirth” or “miscarriage” belonged in history books or museums — I didn’t know that they were still a very real part of 21st century life.

Fast forward a few months, and I was being rushed in for an emergency c-section: one twin born still, the other literally described as “limp and floppy” and fighting for his life. Our firstborn, Landon, was buried in a tiny plot of damp, green earth, and our survivor, Alistair, came home from the hospital seven weeks later. My life had changed irrevocably and I was embarking on the long and painful journey of life after loss.

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Each Week With You

**I started writing this while pregnant with our little Avonlea. It is nothing more than the scribblings of a newly-expectant mother, the beat of my heart written out upon a page. My womb emptied before I had the chance to finish putting words to the experience; and so, this post remains short and sweet and complete all on its own – much like our daughter’s life. I share it with you today, in memory of each of our babes gone too soon.**

Each week with you is a miracle.

A small poppy seed lies in my belly, growing and blossoming with each day; a peppercorn, a blueberry, who knows how big you’ll become. No one sees you yet, this tiny knot of cells that have buried their way into my womb and clear through to my heart, but you’re there.

I don’t know how long we have together. I don’t know whether you’re the one whose forehead I will kiss as I rock to sleep, or whose toes I will tickle just to hear the sound of your laugh. I don’t know if we will name you in the first trimester as we say good-bye, or if we will proudly announce your height and weight on birth announcements for the world to see. I don’t know if a lifetime of memories with you means weeks, or months, or decades. All I know is right now.

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In the Wait

One year ago today, I got a positive pregnancy test.

After months of mourning and healing, my husband and I were finally ready to set aside our fears and “what ifs.” Love had begun to overflow the shaky walls that we’d built, and new hopes and dreams were blossoming in place of pain. Our grief had not been forgotten but our hearts felt called to stretch once more.

It was a quiet Monday morning when those two, pink lines first appeared in my hands. This family was growing again, and I felt nothing but pure joy.

After a quick trip to the store, the toddler and I spent the rest of the day decorating a Popcorn Cake and munching on marshmallows. I knew exactly how we were going to surprise my husband with the baby news. I topped the gooey dessert with a mini-bunting that announced, “Mama’s Going to Pop!” and my son and I sucked on Smarties while the cake chilled. The kitchen counter was dusted with cinnamon and fluffy, white marshmallows: the scent of hope and anticipation, the flavour of possibility.

A year later, I can still see the love and excitement that was poured into that cake; the look of shock and amazement that crossed my husbands face at the sight of it. I never dreamed that we’d be here, a year later, still waiting on a baby.

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Trying Again After Loss

It feels like it’s taken me a long time to get here. To arrive at this in-between place where I’m finally ready to entertain the idea of ‘trying again.’

Another pregnancy. Another baby.

The thought volleys around in my head. Back and forth I debate whether I’m ready to get pregnant again – whether I even want to. Maybe we have already reached our family’s final number; maybe we will find new ways to grow, just the three of us.

But I know in my heart that I’m not satisfied with this ending.

Not that this wouldn’t be enough. Not that I wouldn’t be perfectly happy leaving things the way they are. But there’s more to this story – it’s not finished yet.

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