It was a peaceful Sunday morning and the first day I could take a pregnancy test. My husband and I had been trying to conceive again for the last five months after our miscarriage at five weeks with no success. We had made the decision a few weeks ago to use ovulation tests this cycle to better time my fertile days. I took the test and returned back to bed. With a deep breath, I checked the results. It was a shadow. An optical illusion. The opposite of the first positive pregnancy test I ever had. I sighed with disappointment and curled up for a few more moments of relaxation.
When I finally showed my husband the test, the optical illusion was gone, and in its place was a thin blue line. Could it be? Were we starting the pregnancy journey again? A mixture of emotions washed over me – shock, disbelief, relief, fear, and hope. I was only 4 weeks along at the time and was already feeling the weight of the next 36 weeks. After all, I had been there before just last year.
After losing our son Austin last April at 39 weeks 4 days, I know that there will never be any point during this pregnancy that I feel 100% safe.
There will be no magical milestone that I pass that will guarantee a live birth. To this day, the cause of Austin’s death still isn’t clear – the only lead we have is a fetal-maternal hemorrhage, but we don’t know why it happened. Not knowing what caused his demise consumed me for weeks after we lost him and continues to taunt me periodically.
I have come to terms with the fact that I may never know what caused Austin’s death, a fact that I despise with a burning passion. It means that I don’t know what went wrong or what to do differently to prevent history from repeating itself. The Serenity Prayer is one of the only things that has brought me comfort while processing these aspects of losing Austin.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
There are an infinite number of things in this pregnancy that I can’t control: the DNA replication and division of every cell in their tiny body, the development of each organ and limb, the placement of the placenta and its function, the hormones my body produces, and the shifting of my organs and bones. All of these crucial things, if done incorrectly, could result in another loss. A very scary fact which hasn’t overwhelmed me yet, but I know that day will come at some point.
For now, I am choosing to pause, breathe deeply, and believe that my body is doing everything that it can to grow a healthy baby.
I am choosing to focus on the things that I can control: make healthy choices for food and exercise, manage my stress level, sleep as best as I’m able on my left side, avoid chemicals and risky activities, and engage with my provider to track the baby’s progress and health.
I am choosing serenity and courage.