On my birthday this year, my period came back, and I was ecstatic for this gift my body gave to me. Weird, I know. But this meant we could start trying to get pregnant again after our third and most never ending miscarriage. A few weeks passed, and I followed my OB’s directions like clockwork. I took a pregnancy test as soon as I could according to the directions and at the faintest sight of two lines, I began taking progesterone. We found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks and 4 days. I hadn’t even missed my next period yet. I had four days of pure bliss and excitement until I scheduled my ultrasounds. Then panic set in and reigned for four weeks.
I can’t explain the worry, fear, and dreaded anticipation I had of losing this new baby. We were already in a difficult month of 2 due dates that passed with no babies and then my Mamaw passed away. Honestly, the way I told my parents that I’m pregnant was, “No I can’t be a pallbearer at Mamaw’s funeral because I’m already pregnant again.” What a sad, lame pregnancy announcement. I had also learned in previous bloodwork that I have the MTHFR mutation and need a different kind of prenatal vitamin that has metabolized folate. The process of understanding that and researching what I should be taking was a big stressor.
After having three meltdowns at work one Friday afternoon, I decided to call my OB to ask what my options were for mental health. I had already been seeing my therapist weekly or biweekly, so the next step they suggested was to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
The meeting with the psychiatrist provided lots of options to help me feel better. She shared that I was in a long period of adjustment with severe anxiety, mild depression, and PTSD from the other losses. We discussed frequency of continued therapy, returning to EMDR therapy for my PTSD, and medicine. I was really struggling to decide which direction would be best for my mental health and protect this new little life inside of me.
I wasn’t convinced that I would feel better without medicine. I woke up each morning and could feel the unhappiness in my bones. I really wanted to get back into EMDR, but I was at a pause until I made a decision about medicine. Since both alter your brain chemicals, it’s not best practice to begin meds and EMDR at the same time.
Finally, I just decided to wait on everything. Adjustment disorders are temporary, and we had a couple more weeks until the ultrasound, so I decided to invest in a natural calming supplement, L-Theanine, and hold off on everything else until we had some answers about our new little babe.
After what felt like an eternity, it was finally the morning of our 7 week ultrasound. With our history of loss, they would let us come in as early as 6 weeks, but there’s a good chance the baby wouldn’t be seen yet, so no need for potential unnecessary stress.
As I watched the nurse do a pregnancy test on my urine, my mind transported me back to my second loss where my body was no longer pregnant by the time I got to the doctor’s office only hours after I started bleeding. I made her look at pictures of my positive test to prove I wasn’t crazy.
As we sat in the ultrasound waiting room, my mind went to our first pregnancy where we were so blissfully ignorant of the possibility of loss. We didn’t even understand that we were looking at an empty gestational sac on the screen until they verbally told us there was no baby.
Then my mind jumped to last November when again, there was no baby and then 2 days later the baby appeared, and then a week later, the baby had never developed a heartbeat.
I’m pretty sure I don’t breath while we wait. There have been so many awful memories in that waiting room and they all come rushing back to me each time we’re there. We’ve seen nearly all of the ultrasound technicians. By the time we’re in the room ready for the nurse to return, I’m in almost full blown panic attack with my arms over my head so I can breath and not throw up.
But this time, with no warning at all, she told us we’re having twins! Seth and I just looked at each other in shock and disbelief, and I asked her if she was kidding. Then I scream-sobbed, as I usually do, but this time in joy and thankfulness. I was so loud, I’m pretty sure the whole waiting room heard me. I’m not sure how long I cried, but by the time I looked up, I realized I hadn’t looked at the babies at all and told her she would have to show them to me again.
For the most part, I’ve been able to ride out my blissful shock. However days after our ultrasound, I started bleeding and cramping… a lot. I was convinced we’d lost both of them. I was home by myself and called the doctor in a panic. They called me in for an emergency ultrasound and Mom drove me down while Seth left work to meet me there. I cried while waiting for mom but then became a robot because I knew what was coming. In my mind, I was already trying to plan out when we would have a D&C and how much work I would miss for physical and emotional recovery. Seth wept quietly in the waiting room.
Thankfully, the babies were great. We saw their heartbeats and they looked perfect. In the ultrasound we saw that I have a 3 centimeter long sub chorionic hemorrhage, which isn’t too abnormal in many pregnancies. There’s not much to do except my body passes it or absorbs it.
I thought I knew what was coming that day, but I was wrong. It is so easy to panic after loss. And now, there’s two precious little lives to worry about. My therapist encouraged me to hold on to the truth that I know until we learn more at next appointments. Our truth is that at our last ultrasound, everyone was alive and healthy. So I’m clinging to that for now.
One thought on “Pregnancy after loss”
Ashley and Seth, I am almost 69
years old and have seen so so many of my family and friends expecting and yes even having babies all this time, but I have never honestly wanted anyone to have one (or two in your case) than you. I have already been praying for full term and healthy babies to fill your hearts and lives with so much joy and love. May you be blessed with these two babies and know your family is complete. God bless both of you and these precious babies who are rapidly growing inside you 🙏❤️