Story of #miscourage by Hollie Nicholson,
I wish I could say these past 12 weeks have been some of the hardest of my life but given my previous loss, that would just not be true. Falling pregnant again so quickly after losing my third child has been a difficult pill to swallow. The major mix of emotions is pretty overwhelming, even to this day. From feeling like I'm suffocating because I've not had enough time to grieve, to desperately wanting to buy that really cute outfit I pass in the supermarket.
The beginnings of this pregnancy were debilitating for me in a few ways. Extreme sickness and nausea lasting from morning tonight makes it almost impossible to do anything. Apart from that, we had no way of confirming if I were actually pregnant or not. It had been a fair amount of weeks since the miscarriage but many women can still have pregnancy hormones in their urine for a long time after loss. I started to convince myself that my body was playing a cruel trick on me. What if I was going insane and just convincing myself I had those symptoms when in reality I didn't at all? My GP was unhelpful & didn't think it seemed to matter if I were pregnant or not unless I was considering termination. Given that I had just lost a child, it was pretty important to me to know if another one was on the way or not. My family were pushing me to reach out to midwives and other health professionals but by this point I was spent. I didn't have the energy to hit another brick wall. It was 2 weeks before we finally had a scan (and only because I had started to bleed) that revealed a 7 week old foetus with a beautiful heartbeat so visibly clear. My husbands heart was heavy as he realised that this fourth child, had already outlived our third.
Being pregnant again after losing a baby has been excruciating. When you've been through the physical effects of a miscarriage, the blood and the pain, your worst nightmare in a subsequent pregnancy is to look down in that toilet and see the blood again. Thankfully we have been really blessed with good midwives and doctors (after switching hospitals) who have looked after us and given us the reassurance we need.
With scan after scan we have been left relieved and happy to see our beautiful baby another week bigger. But I've hated going to every single one of those. I'm someone that has never experienced or understood anxiety. Someone close to me once spoke of wanting to throw herself from a moving car because of those feelings and I have definitely felt like doing that whilst driving to our ultrasound appointments.
Having experienced a missed miscarriage (where there were no signs we had lost our baby until we had our 12 week scan and there was no heartbeat) I know now that it doesn't matter how nauseas or bloated I feel. It doesn't matter if my boobs feel bigger or I really want cucumber and ice cream. My baby could be dead, and I'd have absolutely no idea. Living with that each day is both painful and exhausting. I cannot wait until I finally feel those beautiful baby kicks moving inside of me. Until then, I'll continue to put off going to pee as soon as I feel that urge. And I'll sit on the toilet for as long as it takes before feeling brave enough to look down.
I'm not sure if those around me who have rejoiced in our news have assumed that we are suddenly healed and happy again now that we are expecting another child. It simply does not work that way though I wish it did. I feel so blessed to be pregnant again and so quickly. Many women don't get that chance. But being pregnant again doesn't make me feel any better about the fact that I lost my third baby and for no good reason.
I don't know why the things that have happened to us in these past few months have happened. I don't believe that it was part of some plan, that my baby died because it was part of a bigger picture or she was too precious for earth. I don't believe that there's some lesson to be learnt and that it was just not mean to be. It was cruel and unfair. I'm not okay with what happened to me. And I'll never be. In the words of a favourite song "No science or religion will make this whole."
But what I do know is that my heart is still beating. I'm still alive; I survived. I have my family and I have another member joining it in January. Do I wonder if we'll actually get to hold that baby? Yes. I think about that every single day. I think about the nursery furniture we just bought and the baby clothes that just arrived in the post. What's the point in buying it? Why set myself up for disappointment? Even naming this piece of writing 'the rainbow pregnancy' is scary because what if this doesn't work out and this isn't our rainbow? But a loss isn't a loss unless you're attached - you can't experience loss without having cared for or loved that someone. Life has to be lived and enjoyed despite the tough things we go through. My biggest regret from my pregnancy with Dahlia is keeping it a secret for so long. I wish that child could have been celebrated like she was supposed to have been. And I won't let that happen to our fourth child.
Although this post is about sharing the tragic and unspoken truths of pregnancy after loss, it hasn't been all bad. We had our 12 week scan recently and like the other scans I was filled with dread and worry beforehand. But I came away from that scan both happy and excited. We were able to see a fully formed baby wriggling and moving around like crazy! The scanner couldn't even get the measurements at first because our little baby was so active. It filled me with true joy watching that beautiful child plus our overall hospital experience was so positive. I'm actually looking forward to January with excitement.
I'm certainly not fearless. The fear is there and it's fierce. They call it a rainbow pregnancy or rainbow baby because it's the miracle after the storm. Rainbows are a symbol of hope and I guess that's the only thing we're clinging to.
Hope for healing and hope for the future, with another beautiful child that we'll hopefully hold in our arms at the end of all this.
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