Pregnancy after Loss
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Truly, I thought this post would be published prior to my babies being 6 months old. They turn 6 months / 26 weeks in less than 3 weeks! My previous loss affected me so much during pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to get it off my chest; however, between the business of life and not feeling like writing, it was postponed. Needless to say, I’ve felt very behind with it. In actuality, it was right on time, as March is Pregnancy after Loss Awareness Month.
I didn’t know I would bring the twins into the world the very next day! You can read my birth story here.
Before I begin, I wanted to mention that this post is an extension of my miscarriage post. I didn’t really talk about dealing with this anxiety during pregnancy, because I wanted my twins to have their own healthy, happy pregnancy and not be weighed down by my own baggage. Don’t worry. I wasn’t neglecting my mental health! I more-so mean that I dealt with this throughout all 38 weeks of carrying the twins. Needless to say, I had a very anxious pregnancy, but chose to talk about and focus on my current babies versus always bringing up my miscarriage. Miscarrying again was regularly top of mind, but I really tried not to dwell on it. I would often tell Nick about my feelings to get them off my chest, then try to move on from there.
The trouble with miscarriage other than the obvious is that society views it as taboo and is therefore not discussed a lot. Though 1 in 4 women will experience it, because people don’t talk about it, it can be very isolating. Add in the pandemic (when I had mine) and that makes it extremely isolating. Between having scoliosis and ulcerative colitis, I was already used to invisible illnesses. Miscarriage however was the hardest for me out of those, likely because of the mental aspect. It was a physical failure, likely a chromosomal abnormality; but, it was easier to understand that it wasn’t actually my body’s fault physically… mentally understanding that is another story and something I wasn’t very good at. I know the internet gets a bad rap, but in regard to the topic of miscarriage, it was truly helpful in regard to my healing. I was able to join a society of women in the club we never wanted to join and find some healing in their words and stories. One of my favorite accounts that I still follow to this day is called Pregnancy After Loss Support. Definitely check them out if you have experienced pregnancy after loss, even if you don’t seem to be struggling at the moment.
My final non-stress test (NST) when they decided to keep me to bring the twins earth-side due to low platelets.
Speaking of struggling, I struggle with quite a few things that aren’t traditionally discussed (like losing adult friendships) and thinking that I’m the only one it happens to, which just isn’t the case. I thought I was alone in my feelings regarding anxieties around having a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage. I beat myself up about the thoughts, thinking how could anyone feel that way… to have a healthy baby (babies!) growing inside of me and be worried about miscarrying seemed to be ungrateful for the gift right in front of me, literally protruding from my belly. One day I was scrolling instagram and found a post that said something along the lines of “I wonder at what stage in this pregnancy when I will stop checking for blood every time I go to the bathroom.” That post stopped me in my tracks. I did that. I literally braced myself every time I went to the restroom, expecting to see an unwelcome hello of red waving back at me. Note that as a pregnant woman, you go to the bathroom a lot. Think about how many times you go to the bathroom a day and add in a couple extra trips. That’s how many times I was worried in a day alone, if not more. You see, the anxieties didn’t stay in the bathroom, but went with me into my bedroom and my doctors’ offices.
In our postpartum room, after the twins were born.
In a lot of ways, I felt robbed of my pregnancy experience with the twins. For some reason people LOVE to ask if its your first. I know there isn’t any mal intent with that question, but for me it caused a pang of guilt and sadness. Because no, it wasn’t my first pregnancy. If it was the right situation and I had time to explain, I would answer truthfully, not to make them sad, but to just be honest. I could handle the question, but I know a lot of people who would have broken down at the ask. Perhaps they could learn with me that it wasn’t a great question to bring up. Why does it matter if it is your first one anyway?
A gift from some of our closest friends, after our miscarriage.
Despite the fact that I was sick for most of my pregnancy and never really got a second trimester “burst of energy” because of a multiples pregnancy, nausea and tiredness weren’t my worst feelings. My worst feeling was jealousy. I was very jealous of those walking along side me pregnant who had a carefree pregnancy. Those who happily announced at 12 weeks, too naive to know to even be worried… Those who never knew to get nervous before an ultrasound, not having to wonder if they would actually hear a heartbeat.
On the flipside, like most things in life, my (troublesome) experiences have led me to be more compassionate and caring with others. Because of my miscarriage, I was able to empathize with women who went through the same thing. Because I made my miscarriage public, I’m able to speak with and empathize with women all over the world who have walked a similar path. While I wouldn’t wish my circumstance on anyone, I am thankful for it, as it has helped shape me as a person. Isn’t that a crazy place to get to mentally?
Flowers from the funeral of our firstborn.
Maybe it was the hormones, lack of sleep, or both; however, one of the weirdest times for me and Nick was after Cyprus and Olive were born and we were in the postpartum unit. We were looking out over the beautiful sunset in Santa Monica, holding our sweet babies, and all we could think about was our first. You see, the room we were in was perfectly situated over the emergency room… the very emergency room where I laid alone when they extracted our baby from my womb. It was a beautifully sad, full-circle moment. Never would I have imagined so much joy and grief filling one room.
This is the view from our room that I mentioned above… the very same view where we experienced the miscarriage of our first born.
One of the main lessons I learned throughout all of this is that grief and joy walk hand in hand. That there’s life in the grey area. I can be thankful for my twins and also miss my first baby. I can be present with the babies I can actually hold in my arms and so very thankful for them, yet still ache to hold my firstborn.
It’s not my unfulfilled hopes and dreams that have kept me up at night; it’s the “I’ll never knows” that haunt me. I wonder what they would have looked like and if they would have favored Cyprus and Olive. Would they have blue eyes like their brother and sister? Would they have had Nick’s dark, curly hair? What would their laugh have sounded like? What would they have grown up to be? On this side of heaven, I’ll never know.
Even though I have mentally processed most of the experience, I still get choked up when I am around other kids who would have been the same age as them. It’s there that I often head deep into a rabbit hole of what ifs and I wonders.
When we left the hospital with our twins in tow!
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. Please don’t feel sorry for me! I wrote mainly for those also struggling so they would know they aren’t the only one. I also wrote it to be informational, so you can be more sensitive to others who have experienced this. I tried to explain it in a way that you might be more sympathetic, if not feel more empathy. We are all just humans trying to get by, who need love. If this post didn’t make you feel known and loved, at the very least I hope it made you feel like you’re not alone. XOXO
P.S. I’v learned that the worrying never truly stops. Sure they made it earth-side, but now there are so many more worries and fears. I think that’s part of being a parent… our hearts are forever beating outside of chests.
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