I can’t even describe it, pregnancy after loss. Some days I don’t even know how to live it. One day everything is great, feeling good and excited like everything will be fine. Only to have this wave of guilt wash through me telling me I should be worried, something could be wrong and I’m not doing anything about it.
High Risk Pregnancy
I have an incompetent cervix (IC). You can read about my first pregnancy HERE and my pregnancy loss HERE. It affects about 1 in 100 women. It is responsible for about 25% of second trimester miscarriages and it’s nearly impossible to catch before a miscarriage. You can take precautions the second time around, they can do a surgery called a cerclage, but that first time isn’t usually caught until you lose a baby. And I also read recently that it is more common in people of color. My mom had it, and now I have it. My aunt and cousin both had something similar - led to preterm labor and very premature babies.
So what does that all mean for me. Miscarriage can happen again. High risk IC pregnancy can mean preterm labor, second trimester miscarriage and another loss. It means lots of ultrasounds, each one scary - you never know what they will say. Check ups a lot, but never close enough together because you’re constantly worried before the doctor reassures you, again. It means a lot of ER visits. It means being too scared to leave your bed in case your cerclage stitches tears. Or too scared to use the bathroom. Some days it just means it's hard to breathe.
I had this idea that after the stitch was in everything would be fine. I would be able to breathe again. Nope. You bleed after obviously, it’s surgery. But how do you know what is normal and what isn’t? Cramping - normal after surgery, but again how much? I thought it’d be easier. It’s not. Pregnancy after loss doesn't get easier. High risk pregnancies don’t get easier. You spend your time counting down the days until you are holding that happy, healthy breathing baby in your arms. And of course as mothers even then that’s not easy!
It's hard. Pregnancy Loss.
It’s hard to describe pregnancy loss, until you have lived it. Pregnancy after loss, is the same. And I pray you never have to know it.
For me though, it’s the fact that I had no idea what to expect. I’m the kind of person who likes to know what I’m in for. In detail. When we lost Ezra - there was this unwritten list of steps you had to go through. Basically, grieve, and move on. Get pregnant again. As if that would erase what happened. As if Ezra isn’t a part of our family.
When someone asks if this is our second baby, I hesitate and don’t know whether to say yes or no. I struggle with guilt at the thought of not sharing Ezra’s story. To claim him as part of our family. So I share. I buy Christmas family ornaments that have an angel in them now. I always say baby #3 or this is our 3rd child. Because he is part of our family, of our story and his story I want to be something for someone else who is struggling in that same spot.
If you’ve lost a babe and you don’t like to tell people, or whatever it is you decided, that is fine. You worked through and are working through it your own way. And that’s great. For me, my way is to share. To say his name. To share about pregnancy loss and pregnancy after loss so that someone can use what I have learned and experience to know what to expect, and for it to help them through it, if only a little. It’s not as easy as getting pregnant, having a rainbow baby being happy and moving on. Not for me, and I am sure not for a lot of mom’s out there.
Not even mentioning that thought that creeps into your mind. Had your angel lived, you wouldn’t be pregnant now with this little rainbow. And all the emotions around that what if. At least for me.
It's A Lot.
It’s a lot. Everything. The emotions. The what ifs. I see you mama, I’m with you. You are not alone, never. It’s the best club that you never want to be a part of, this pregnancy loss community. And it helps, never being alone. Having others that understand you, what you feel and don't expect anything from you. That gives you the space to heal and to be there when you need help. I’m here for you mama if you're reading this and you are there in this journey.