Things I am doing differently in my Pregnancy after Loss

Just this morning I said to Mr Smith; “I can pin point the moment when life felt so good and incredibly happy, it was the morning of our 20 week scan with Poppy, how good did life feel then? but since then its just never felt the same – kind of empty and a struggle, kind of gone down hill and never reached the summit again”! To which he agreed!
We have happy  and joyful moments, but it has never been the same as it was back then, never that feeling of life is mint and we are living the dream…
FullSizeRenderI am at that point again now, almost 20 weeks pregnant. That’s the half way point and a point for many that is super exciting (hello pink or blue, hello seeing baby again), but it has become a point for me that is filled with so much anxiety. It is seen now as another 1st to pass through as the last was filled with so many revelations and it scares me as it unfortunately has become a point where so much can be revealed as wrong.  I let myself be excited about knowing what we might have, after all I so desperately just want to feel normal again and enjoy carrying new life, but then just as quickly as that feeling comes, so does the reality of the hundreds of problems that are found every day with babies. Its a miracle so many healthy babies are born and carried to term.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to have another baby since suffering the pain of loosing Poppy at term. Not just blessed to be able to get pregnant again, but that I am on the whole emotionally stable enough to deal with and look forward to it (at least for now). And whilst I carry many worries and fears of various things, on the whole over the last few weeks I have been letting myself enjoy being pregnant, feeling more movements and enjoy looking at baby stuff and planning for the future with a newborn, but this last week or so, the all too familiar worry of “What if’s” have returned to occupy my mind and I can’t help wondering if these wriggles and kicks will be taken as quickly as they were given.

It has been hard to relax most of the time, and let myself make the most of this, because I know of all the things that can go wrong. I know too many people that were caught off guard and never had the privileged of bringing their baby home. I think because I have been on the other side now (the infant loss side), I have more awareness and fears of pregnancy than I have ever had before.  Whilst I do have moments of joy, excitement and planning sessions for baby, I have also noticed recently that I have developed a few weird behaviours in this pregnancy that previously I have not done or even thought about, and I know that is an indication of my grief and the reality of these fears, and the 1st pregnancy after loss.

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Resting lots to prevent loss – I feel a little lazy in this pregnancy. I am no where near as active as I would normally be and the slightest pain or twinge once ignored as “Normal” now sends me to bed for a rest. There is really nothing worse than giving birth to a baby that has passed already, and the thought of that at any stage is terrifying to me.

I know my risks are minimal; I am healthy, I am fit, my obs are always spot on at appointments, and they keep telling me that there are no reasons for anything to go wrong this time, but then again Edwards was so rare wasn’t it and that hit us… I can’t help but be overly cautious, I do not trust stats when I have been one 3 times (Heart disease, Edwards, Still Birth). And so I rest A LOT more than I naturally would in pregnancy. I barely lift things I once would have and I do not participate in sports or activities I used to with an attitude of “ahh it’ll be fine”, because sometimes it isn’t fine, and I still wonder if doing the food shop that Saturday afternoon and carrying it to that car killed my unborn baby?!

Getting rid of the Maternity wear I saved because it holds too many reminders – Its normal for me, miss frugal, to keep and reuse things like maternity wear, but not this time. There wasn’t really many of these items left anyway as I had cleared a lot of it out a couple of weeks after her passing. I just desperately at that time wanted to wear normal clothes, I wanted no indication to the outside world that I had been pregnant, and so off it went and a few ‘nice bits’ were sent down into the cellar ‘just in case’.

That box resurfaced a few weeks ago and other than 2 pairs of jeans (desperardo) and an ASOS dress I love, the rest was gone too. I just can’t wear the same top I wore when it was the day we had the Amnio, or the one that I wore when I was actively power walking round the lake trying to go into labour and it never happened…I look at them all and they remind me of a pregnancy filled with hope to no avail and a pregnancy of continued heartache and loss.

I am fortunate that one of my friends has passed some tops and dresses on, I have found a few things on sale/ in charity shops and have received some via the blog. I’m kinda sorted and don’t feel drab or like I don’t have enough, I am just pleased to be wearing minimal things that hold painful memories and have new, fresh things for this pregnancy.

Going into baby shops excited to only feel anxiety and emotional later – I missed all of this with poppy and its painful to remember that. When you are carrying a baby destined to not survive, what’s the point in torturing yourself with things you want, or would have? or making purchases only to be returned? So to protect myself I gave things away around 25 weeks that I had saved from Megs and avoided baby shops, baby stalls at car boots and baby sections in shops for the rest of the pregnancy. It was awful and felt unatural to not be planning for a new baby, to not be picking out cot bedding or travel systems, but instead talking about funerals and hospices.

This time, I want to do those things, I try to get excited and sometimes I genuinely am. I think again a lot is just to feel normal and try to enjoy it so I will occasionally pop into Mama’s and Papa’s or Mothercare, baby gap or just the baby aisle in the supermarket to admire all of the gorgeous merchandise. I get giddy and imagine a beautiful new baby wearing it, I dream and I feel like how I used to as an expectant mother. I pin tonnes of outfits, crib ideas and pushchairs and it feels good.

But then, then I go home and I remember its something else I missed, and it becomes painful that I couldn’t do that for Poppy. That I missed all of this and I often forget that. It becomes another source of worry that “What if this isn’t going to be our reality again” and I feel the all too familiar emotion of grief.

I feel pain.

I feel emotional.

So much was missed, so much potentially to be missed again.

Why can’t it be more fulfilling and exciting? Why can’t it be more naturally enjoyed like it once was? Why do these normal expectant motherly adventures later bring so much heartache? I wish it was different, I wish it wasn’t so hard to choose some fabric for a blanket and dream of a ruddy pram!

Picturing clothes to buy at a later date – There was a time I would be buying stuff I loved before I even knew what I was having. Buying tiny clothes is such an exciting thing to do, but not now, I am not sure if even after next week and if we are told all is well, that i’ll be able to for a while. Instead I exercise hope buy taking pics when I see something lovely so I can hopefully get it later down the road.
baby stuffThe Rainbow suit was a complete one off on Christmas eve, because since then, whilst I have seen so many lovely things I would love (mostly neutral too), I just cannot bring myself to buy them, because who knows if i’ll need to return them?

I’ll never forget when I bought Poppy a lovely white dress from H&M, it was for her to be blessed in and it was so lovely with matching knickers under. But then we were told in the 3rd trimester she had a life limiting illness…she wasn’t going to live longer than a few hours or days, and I had to accept it and take it back. I walked up to that cashier with so much pain and pretended it had been given as gift but the wrong size… it was hard, really hard, and I’d hate to have to do that on a larger scale because I bought loads in advance!

Not asking people to “Guess the Gender” – We have a tradition in our family where everyone places their bets a week or so leading up to the scan, and those with correct guesses are lucky enough to win a cheeky chocolate bar from the expecting couple. Its a fun little thing we have always done, but not this time.

Last time it was hard to get our heads and hearts around being told that our baby was very sick. It kind of overshadowed the gender to a point of “Why can’t we just have a healthy baby?”. And this is our focus… Personally I’d love a boy, its easier in mind to be expecting a boy than reliving a new baby girl and having reminders of all I missed with my other daughter, but more dominating than that feeling is I just want a healthy baby. I want a baby that is born screaming, breathing and pooping!

Therefore until I know that fact, I do not feel comfortable focusing on boy or girl and overshadowing our scan with that wish. It seems such a small aspect.
Of course I look forward to knowing, it’d be weird not to, but I do not want to enter that room again with expectations and possibilities only to have them slashed and overshadowed by life threatening illness.

Texting my midwife fried on a regular basis – Picking up on illness, problems, lack of movements etc are not my forte in pregnancy. I never know or rather never want to be a burden and I am generally rubbish…it took me almost a day to realise Poppy wasn’t moving and that makes me feel guilty.

This time I am the other way, the smallest thing has me freaking out, and so instead of leaving it or googling to be filled with more worry, I text my midwife friend with a breakdown of the sitch followed with “is that normal?” (Which it usually is). Its usually cause to remind me this is my FOURTH pregnancy and things won’t feel so easy physically as they did 6 years ago, and I always appreciate her patience with me. But the worry of things going wrong and the need to be assured is always there. Something I have never felt in pregnancy before.

Taking more bump pics – Pictures from Poppies pregnancy are all I really have from her life, and maybe some of it is the fact I am a blogger now too, but I want to have reminders this baby was here too. I want pictures to show our journey, I want to have things to look at.

It probably will be okay like we keep being told, in which case this kid will have way more pics “in mummy’s tummy” than the others did. But if by some chance it doesn’t I have pictures of them to hold and remember.
pregnantOur experience with Poppy was told to us to be a rare one. Every turn we were informed that it wasn’t common and we were just an unlucky statistic. It felt far from just being “unlucky” I can assure you, and I know it’s unlikely to happen again when I have already carried and birthed 2 other healthy kids, but I can’t take my chances just yet. I wish it was different, an experience to enjoy again, but right now its not that …the fears, worries and experiences I have had dominate this pregnancy and whilst I feel blessed and happy to have another chance and look forward to being a new mother again, I can’t be how I once was in pregnancy,  I can’t take it for granted and fully relax just yet. This whole pregnancy is a 1st and holds so many 1st’s.. its an emotional minefield I am making my way through, sometimes to no avail and at other times with great progress!

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6 Comments

  1. March 9, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    Oh hun, big hugs!! Never feel guilty for feeling ‘lazy’ – you rest up! Lots and lots of luck for a happy healthy pregnancy! #bestandworst

  2. March 9, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    I think all your feelings and actions are justified! You want a healthy, happy baby and had such a cruel experience before. just take relief in everything is going well, Poppy has such a rare condition and you are looking after yourself. Wishing you so much luck for the 20 week scan. I’m sure all will be fine and you can buy a few sneaky bits. Keep us posted and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

  3. March 13, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, and taking that beautiful dress back must have been heart breaking. I really hope this pregnancy continues long and healthy for you x #bestandworst

  4. March 14, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    Oh Mary, I am always blown away by how amazing you are after everything you have been through. To suffer what you have is heart breaking and yet you have so much positivity and sound like you have such a good family and support to keep you going. I’m sure this will continue to be a healthy pregnancy for you but I’ll be thinking of you at that scan, I hope it all goes well xxx

  5. Amy Ellis
    April 1, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    Dear Mary, I have stumbled across your blog and found it very real and comforting. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I would like to Congratulate you on your pregnancy but also offer my deepest sympathy for the cutting loss of your daughter Poppy. Our third child also died, I was 40 Weeks pregnant and his birth was very quick and we didn’t know we had lost him until he was here, by then it was too late he could not be resuscitated. My grief over Abels death is unbearable at times. He was born in March 2014.
    Since then I have given birth to a beautiful daughter who is now 11 months old, so i understand all those feelings of anxiety and pain related to your pregnancy even though you are filled with hope and joy too. Unless you have lived and survived it no-one can ever truly understand. The sadness never goes away but our daughter Betsy has helped me greatly through the darkest of days and I pray for the safe arrival of your fourth child and that they will bring the same peace to you. I know the weeks seem so much longer after loss and the joy is completely crushed with fear but please know you are not alone. Prayers and kindness to you, Amy Ellis

    • April 3, 2016 / 10:26 am

      Hi Amy I am sorry to hear of your story. It always breaks my heart to hear of others that have passed through the debilitating grief of baby loss. Especially when all was well and there is wonder of why… Its so incredibly sad, so I am truly sorry that you never got to bring Abel home.
      Your story also gives me hope. I know you understand even the smallest worries, but it must feel so wonderful to have life in your arms again. I look forward to more peace and happier days when this baby is hopefully safely here x

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