After a year of struggling to get pregnant, complicated by infrequent periods due to PCOS, my husband and I were beyond ecstatic to learn that we were expecting our first child. We got pregnant in September of 2014. I was exhausted and felt nauseous like clockwork at 2 p.m. every single day. I was constantly snacking, and I was starting to look ever so slightly bloated.
When I got the positive pregnancy test, I immediately called my OBGYN. My first appointment was scheduled for when the baby was 10 weeks on November 10, 2014. We had a family wedding the weekend before the doctor's appointment, and we enjoyed the opportunity to share the news about our growing family.
My husband and I went to the 10-week appointment together. At this point, we learned through an ultrasound that the baby had stopped growing at 5 1/2 weeks gestation, but my body did not realize that. Blood work showed that my HCG was falling, but my progesterone was still climbing. My body was still building a house for the baby.We scheduled a D&C. It was 8 days before the procedure took place the following Tuesday because we had to wait for the confirmation bloodwork to confirm the loss of the baby. I still felt pregnant that entire time complete with first-trimester exhaustion and nausea. Leading up to and following the procedure, I cried nonstop for days even weeks. I told my husband I had no idea when I would be ready to consider trying to get pregnant again.
I tried to creep back into my normal life. I returned to work immediately. I ate my feelings. I had unbearable migraines from the immediate loss of hormones from the miscarriage. I had bled following the D&C, but when I didn’t cycle again on time in 28 days, I didn’t assume anything was amiss. My cycles are always problematically long due to my PCOS which was part of what made it so difficult to get pregnant in the first place.
I realized I was pregnant again on Christmas day. I immediately called my OBGYN. I felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed to tell the physician's assistant that I suspected I was pregnant. We had been directed to prevent pregnancy, and yet here I was pregnant. I was terrified about the risk I was about to take with my body personally, and I was even more scared and concerned that I was now more likely to lose this baby also. I felt a level of guilt about the risk that this baby would not survive due to being conceived so early following the D&C. I completed a set of 48-hour blood work to confirm that my hormones were showing baby growth which they were. I had apparently conceived two weeks after my D&C procedure which is kind of a no-no and made my pregnancy slightly high risk which earned my extra ultrasounds throughout the first trimester of my second pregnancy.
Instead of the super fun pregnancy announcement for my mom like with the first pregnancy, I called hysterically crying in fear. I was scared the baby would die again. I was scared my migraine treatment may have caused the baby harm. I was scared I had not fully healed from the previous pregnancy enough to safely carry a child. I was scared that I was not emotionally ready to be pregnant again. I was still crying over the loss of the first pregnancy, and now, my emotions and flip-flopped.
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I didn't know what to feel. I know that I was still knee-deep in the grieving process. I was worried about how people would judge me when they learned we were expecting again as my miscarriage had been pretty publicly shared. I was ashamed that I had not taken more precautions to prevent this pregnancy, not because we did not want this baby, but because I was afraid that I had destined this baby for the same fate as the sweet child we had already lost.
This pregnancy made me feel irresponsible. I was worried that my body was not recovered enough, or for long enough, to create a safe environment for the baby to grow. In a way, I felt like a widow who remarried too quickly; knowing that people could not truly understand the grief that comes with a miscarriage, I was afraid that people would assume that this new baby meant that I had just “moved on” from our loss.
I had not moved on from our loss. In fact, I would say that becoming pregnant a second time, and so quickly after the D&C, had made getting over the miscarriage even more difficult. I was so quickly reminded of all of these different situations, experiences, and feelings that I had experienced with our first pregnancy. Not a single day of my second pregnancy passed where I didn’t think of the first pregnancy and our loss.
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While throughout my pregnancy I was terrified of having another miscarriage, my daughter was born perfectly healthy. I cried often during my pregnancy. I was still mourning the loss of my first pregnancy. I had so many emotions that I was experiencing simultaneously regarding my first two pregnancies that bled completely into one another in part because I was pregnant for a full calendar year except for the two weeks between the procedure and the 2nd pregnancy.
Honestly, I even cried about the miscarriage while rocking my newborn to sleep in the middle of the night on multiple occasions. These two children could not exist at the same time. To have the baby from the first pregnancy would mean that I would not have my daughter. I would not trade my daughter for anything in the entire world, yet I deeply and wholly still long for the child that we lost.
If I had not had my miscarriage, I would not have my kids. In so many ways, both of my children are my rainbows because, without my loss, the story of our family would have been so different. I still struggle to understand why our first pregnancy ended the way that it did, but I am so immensely grateful for my two beautiful and healthy children. If I sing “You Are My Sunshine” to my daughter, she corrects me and tells me that she is my “rainbow.”