We spent the Christmas holiday with our family in a little cabin in the Pocono Mountains. It was a cozy, intimate, and rejuvenating stay to say the least. We feasted on a beautiful brunch put together by my mom, along with a spread of cookies, chocolates, and pies.
We played board games and did a virtual sip and paint, sipping hot chocolate and eggnog of course, (although I would have preferred coquito.) We laughed and joked about one another’s artistry or the lack thereof while trying to paint a portrait of Rudolph. We sang Christmas carols, watched Christmas movies, and overall, embraced the gift of love and family.
Did anxiety try to creep in? Of course, it did.
Even in the midst of being surrounded by loved ones and celebrating the glory of the holiday season, anxiety will always try its luck. That’s the story of being pregnant after loss. It’s reassurance after reassurance. It’s faith after faith after faith. It’s prayer and positive affirmations until the moment you’re holding your baby in your arms.
The tension began when I noticed while at the cabin that Brielle had not been moving as frequently as she normally would. I got used to feeling her kicking, shoving and squirming around every day, all day. Our second day at the cabin, the entire day it seemed like she would not move for anything. I tried eating sweets and moving her around with my hands but nothing worked. Thankfully, I’ve grown well equipped to handle triggers and refuse the welcome of any anxiety concerning Brielle’s health. I’ve learned to first calm myself and get the education that I need to understand what may be taking place and why before jumping to any negative conclusions.
So, I decided to do some research as well as reach out to my midwife with my concern. In doing so, I learned that movement patterns are subject to change within the third trimester as Brielle begins to form a sleeping pattern of her own. That fact had been proven because that night after she hadn’t moved all day, when I went to lay down she began to move intensely, making her presence known. Maybe we have a night owl on our hands. Since then, she has been consistent with very little movement during the day and ballet performances at night.
Being pregnant after loss will turn you into somewhat of a pregnancy expert because in order to remain at peace, you question every single little thing until you get the answer and education to reassure you that all is well.
The things that I question and research on the daily are things that most pregnant women who have never experienced loss would most likely overlook. And that’s okay. There is no shame in asking questions. There’s no shame in contacting your doctor or midwife outside of your regular visits. It’s best to contact them rather than make assumptions of your own. It’s okay if you need to schedule an extra ultrasound or purchase a fetal doppler if a week or two in between your appointments are too long to wait to hear your baby’s heartbeat again. Do whatever you need to do for your reassurance and for your peace.
Editor’s note: It’s important to know your baby’s movement patterns. If your baby’s movement changes, reach out to your provider. Learn more about fetal movement and learn the truths to the myths that exist about fetal movement (for example, babies’ movements don’t decrease as you get closer to birth!) by reading our article, Let’s Talk Fetal Movement.