I’m well into my third trimester now. It’s crazy how the time has flown and yet how slowly the time seems to be going by. I truly cannot wait to meet this little one, to count their fingers and toes, to memorize all their tiny features. We have so much to do still to be “ready” and yet I don’t think I’d complain one bit if baby came a little before we were ready.
Pregnancy has been an amazing journey for me. I hope this is just the first of many positive pregnancy experiences for us. I was thinking this week about how “pregnancy after loss” has changed my perspective of a lot of things. So here is a little back story on Baby Joy and what pregnancy after loss has been like.
I may not have “given up” trying to get pregnant and definitely still had a small stockpile of pregnancy tests, but I definitely wasn’t as excited about it anymore. I don’t know how to explain it really. Previously, I waited each month anxiously and excited to take a pregnancy test just in case “this was the month”. After two years of seeing “Not Pregnant” pop up every time I took a test, and the few times I did get a “Pregnant” reading to be discouraged and heartbroken only a few weeks later, I had really just come to peace with not being pregnant. I think part of me was a little afraid that I’d never see that “Pregnant” test again as it was almost a year exactly between our last miscarriage and our current pregnancy. Honestly, seeing other people excited about pregnancy burned a little bit…like getting salt in a cut. I couldn’t help but be happy for those around me but at the same time, I couldn’t help but remember when I was pregnant and how old our babies would have been, and wonder about what could have been.
The month we did get pregnant, I refused to take a pregnancy test. I didn’t need a pregnancy test to tell me what I knew every month. Of course I wasn’t pregnant. When my period was a week late, I shrugged it off and really didn’t think anything of it. Irregular periods have always been a part of my life and I was also pretty busy traveling that month so I just packed extra “necessities” and called it good. It wasn’t until we got home from traveling that I finally decided to take a test just to confirm what I already knew. I actually didn’t read the test. I didn’t want to. Getting that “Not Pregnant” reading always made me feel a little bit like a failure. So instead, I sent Zech to the bathroom to read the test for me while I hid under a blanket on the couch (as if that was really supposed to help).
Just writing all of this out brings back so many memories…and makes pregnancy seem so unreal….like it’s almost a dream. Yet I have a rather huge abdomen and *someone* is rather rolly this morning so I cannot deny the inevitable truth.
I remember the sound of his footsteps, I remember feeling him sitting down next to me on the couch (I was still hiding under the blanket by the way), and I remember him slowly pulling the blanket off of my face. One look at him and I knew that everything was about to change. One look at the pregnancy test for myself and I knew we wouldn’t be keeping our pregnancy a secret. I think we might have managed to wait a full hour actually. 😉
So what felt different about pregnancy after loss?
Morning sickness was a blessing really. It made me feel safe for some reason. Like as long as I had morning sickness at least I knew I was normal. Did I “enjoy” it? no. Who enjoys 24/7 nausea anyways? Not me. I hate throwing up with a passion.
Baby moving has been everything I always dreamed of feeling. Although I will add, I have a deformed ribcage (no, seriously…one side is slightly caved in and the other side has broken cartilage). It is also “extra long” according to the one doctor I visited a couple years ago. These two things combined have made it a little uncomfortable at times. Luckily, I am carrying low. I can’t imagine carrying any higher. 😉 I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t like feeling a baby move. It really is one of my favorite things even at 3am. Baby Joy loves to kick Zech out of bed. Literally. As soon as the alarm clock goes off, Baby Joy starts kicking Zech’s back.
Weight gain was even encouraging to me. I have never gained weight easily. It might seem like a blessing but it’s really not. It’s a little depressing when nothing fits because you’re “too thin” and people make the same jokes about skinny people as they do about obese people. Gaining weight felt like a huge accomplishment. Now I’m hopeful that I can lose at least some of the 30+ pounds that I’ve packed on. My midwife says she has never seen a more ideal weight gain chart so I feel pretty proud. 😉 Between you and me though, I don’t think I would have gained a pound had it not been for Zech. He would get me whatever food I was hungry for or try to find something similar to what I was hungry for. During the first trimester, this mostly just consisted of watermelon. Lots and lots of watermelon. Now, he makes sure I don’t get too unbalanced with our meals. If it were left to me, I’d probably just eat a block of cheese and and apple most of the time. He makes sure I take my vitamins as well which is awesome because I am a little forgetful.
Blood draws were extremely comforting to me as well. That sounds weird and 99% of people probably think that sounds creepy too but I don’t know what else to say. 😉 I loved being able to see on a chart exactly what my body was doing, exactly what my baby needed me to do, and see that my baby was indeed happy and safe. I felt like my body was so unsafe for babies after losing 3…I needed reminders that baby’s really are born safe and sound.
The last thing that pregnancy after loss has done to me is this. I was overwhelmed by the community of women who have lost babies. Most of them, you’d never know had lost a child. It’s not something people talk about and they shouldn’t have to. I grew to have friendships with these women though and I love each of them dearly. When I hear about someone else that is going through the loss of a child or simply waiting to get pregnant, part of me aches for them. It’s the part of me I never would have known existed had I not had the experiences I have. I can’t tell you how much I wish that each of these women would receive the miracle they are hoping for. My heart remains hopeful for them mostly because of how God has brought us a baby and I can’t deny that miracles really do happen.
Overall, this pregnancy has been amazing. God has used it to bring healing to places I didn’t know I needed it. I feel more confident in my body than I did last year.
This was a long, rambling post, but if you made it this far reading, thanks and I hope you enjoyed it.