Courageous mama, Elissa, shares the stages she went through when her life’s checklist was interrupted with loss during her pregnancy with her second child.
You grow up, get married, and begin to grow your family. After a few curve balls during the pregnancy, you have a beautiful baby. You say, “That wasn’t so bad, let’s have another.” Before you know it you’re pregnant again, feeling all the same happiness and excitement you did the first time around. You’ve got this, you’ve done it before, and this will be a piece of cake. Family and friends share in the joy of welcoming a new baby into the mix. Will you have a boy or a girl? You wonder who the new baby will resemble and think about a new nursery theme and names.
It decides to change things up without even asking you. In a matter of two minutes and one image on a small screen, it all changes. The heartbeat you saw days prior was no longer there. The baby you had prayed and planned for was gone.
You sit there in the dark room, with the screens being the only light visible. You make the first phone call to say it out loud, to acknowledge that this “normal, routine “ appointment didn’t go as planned. The pain you hear on the other end of the phone is just as bad as the pain you’re enduring. You travel home, looking at your husband, praying to hear him say this was a bad dream.
No dream, it’s reality. You lost your baby. The following day you’ll go back to the hospital and do what needs to be done. You’ll walk in hoping the doctors were all wrong yesterday. Miracles do happen. This just wasn’t the case this time. You’ll be going home empty and heartbroken
When you have a baby at home who needs you, everything else is put on pause. You can deal with losing a baby later. Chicken nuggets and spinach littles need to be made. Friends and family do everything in their power to bring you any sort of comfort. It’s an awkward, uncomfortable conversation no one wants to be a part of. Your husband also lost his baby and sadly he is forced to deal with his pain quietly. Your heartbreak is what he is handling first.
You’ve mastered how to put someone at ease after they’ve asked you how your pregnancy is going. As a whole family, you lost a baby, but you dealt with it. As a mom, you lost a piece of yourself. You go along about your daily life raising a happy healthy toddler and you’re thankful for that little human. At night when the house is dark and quiet is when your thoughts decide to talk. I lost a baby but, I’m dealing with it.
The time has come. After the weekly blood tests and doctors’ visits, you get the green light to try again. You can get pregnant again. No matter how many doctors tell you it’s going to be ok or the numerous people who tell you of their own personal stories of loss that ended in the births of healthy babies, it’s still scary. You want another baby for so many reasons. Some reasons are more selfish than others. On one hand, you want to grow your family, give your toddler a best friend, and on the other, you want something back you felt was stolen from you. Pregnancy is scary for any woman going through it. The uncertainty and risks keep mothers awake at night. For a mother who has been through loss, those same fears are magnified by the reality that it can happen again. The number of days, weeks, or months since you lost your baby does not lessen the weight on your chest.
The moment you learn you’re pregnant again is filled with excitement and fear, maybe a little more fear. You had these preconceived ideas in your head about how the last time would go, and well, that didn’t go as planned. The anxiety tries to grab the air right out from your chest. You tell yourself everything will work out the way it’s intended to, now just to start believing it.
Do you tell people or keep this baby a secret? Part of you wants to keep a secret, as if you’re protecting this baby from anything bad. The other part, the total opposite. You want to tell the people you love because they felt the loss then and deserve to feel the happiness now. People say to keep quiet for 12 weeks, but there is no timeline, no safe zone. So what, you wait the standard 12 weeks and you get to suffer silently if something happens? It wasn’t on social media, so I guess it didn’t really happen. At the end of the day you pray this baby will be healthy and nothing will go array. Whether you decide to tell the world or keep something so sacred a secret, it’s allowed. This new baby will not replace the one you lost.