Today I am 38 weeks pregnant. It still feels pretty surreal and definitely doesn’t seem real that any day now I could go into labor and we will be welcoming this little boy into our arms!
Each pregnancy after each previous loss has gotten progressively harder. How do you balance grief and joy? How do you hold fear and hope together?
Especially the first 6 months or so of pregnancy, it was really hard to make small talk about our pregnancy. People would come up enthusing about the baby and I would just smile and try to engage in the small talk. We were excited. So excited. But as my husband said several times…we were cautiously optimistic. As excited and hopeful as we were, we also were acutely aware of the fact that at any moment something could go wrong.
Pregnancy after loss looks different for different people. Here are a few ways it has affected us….
-PAL is hearing your 4 year old say many times throughout the pregnancy, “I hope this baby doesn’t die.”
-PAL is calculating your due date and having mixed feelings of pain and joy as you realize this baby has the same due date as your second baby would have.
-PAL is smiling politely when you hear for the umpteenth time that your bad morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy…when you know that has no bearing on the health of your child as morning sickness accompanied your last two pregnancies as well.
-It is knowing that while most people say you are out of the danger zone at 12 weeks, there really isn’t any safe zone. Loss can happen at any time.
-It is being afraid that your body’s health issues will once again fight against the precious child inside you.
-It is Googling baby’s weekly development, praying for his body’s development, and also Googling the percentage of babies that survive birth at your week of gestation as well as the risks associated with birth that early.
-It is having the most vivid flashbacks of death, labor, and birth, that will cause panic attacks.
-It’s being 7 months pregnant before you realize, “This might actually be happening! We might just be bringing a live baby home…and soon!”
-It is those moments when your husband, son, and yourself, all accidentally call your baby by your last baby’s name and then that moment where you just look at each other and remember that that baby is gone. This is a new baby.
-It is knowing that this baby can never replace the other individual lives lost.
-It is feeling nervous and brave and emotions you can’t even define when you pull out your oldest’s baby clothes to wash and put in the nursery.
-It is choosing to act in hope when your emotions try to pull you down.
-It is moving forward in faith to plan a nursery, to plan a baby shower.
-It is cherishing each day more, loving your children harder, knowing that there is never a guarantee of tomorrow.
-It is looking forward with such incredible joy to the moment that we finally get to hold this little one in our arms, alive and healthy.
-It is knowing that this sweet boy, and all our children, are loved by the Lord so much more than I could ever possibly love them.
Being pregnant again after repeat losses has affected all three of us. The grief, joy, and trust that we have helped each other through has grown us as a family.
It has been heart breaking to see the Wingman continue to process the loss of his other brother and siblings. He bonded right away with the Aviator and really had a hard time when he died. It took him a much longer time to bond with this baby, but it has been the sweetest thing in the world to see him in the past few months as he is getting so excited to meet him! (Almost every time I have a check-up, his whole face lights up and he says, “Is today the day he’s going to be born??”)
And while the Pilot and I process and deal with things so very differently, it has also been heart breaking and amazing to see him during this pregnancy. The fear and difference in pregnancy after loss does not just affect the Mom. It has affected our whole family.
I am beyond thankful for the people who have been praying for us and for the precious boy growing inside me.
I feel strongly in raising awareness for miscarriage and pregnancy after loss. It is hard to be vulnerable, but the amount of women I have met in person and online who feel as if they have to suffer alone makes it worth it to share. And I am pretty sure I will never tire of talking about all five of our children. They are all so incredibly loved and I am so proud of each of them.