When it comes to ways to tracking your pregnancy milestones, you have a million options … from comparing your baby to pieces of fruit to posting a weekly bump on your social media. But when you’re pregnant after loss, there are meaningful milestones that are unique to you and unique to this pregnancy. You might experience the following in a different order that’s listed – but however you reach them, it is significant. And we are cheering you on through them all.
The day you decide it’s time to start trying.
Deciding it’s time to try again is a courageous move. You are no longer naïve, you know all that is at stake – and yet, you’re willing to go through a potential loss for the chance of having a very loved baby in your arms. This is no small step. Congrats for getting to this point.
Start of infertility treatment, if needed.
If only pregnancy were as simple for everyone as getting in the mood and going at it. Maybe for you, you need some additional help. From temp tracking and taking supplements to injecting hormones and preparing for IVF, you are doing whatever you can to bring home a baby. You got this.
Positive pregnancy test.
Your baby has just announced his or her little presence. You might feel overjoyed, overwhelmed, numb or anxious – but this moment is sure to be one you’ll always remember.
Telling your partner.
(After, of course, you’ve posted pictures of your positive test in your online support group to verify that it is in fact positive. And then taking and posting a few more just in case.) And THEN you tell your partner. You might experience similar emotions at this new pregnancy — or feel the polar opposite — but however you feel, you’re in this together.
If you need hCG quant tests, nothing is as nerve-wracking as waiting for your test results. You want so badly for this baby to stick – and for now, they are. Your numbers are continuing to double, and things are looking on track.
The onset of pregnancy symptoms.
It’s one thing to know you’re pregnant. It’s a whole other thing to feel pregnant. You feel bloated, your boobs ache, you’re exhausted and nothing (or everything!) sounds good to eat. It sounds miserable, and of course, it can be. But every symptom also offers a bit of hope that this baby might be here to stay.
The start of every new week.
Just like all pregnant moms, you are probably counting the days and weeks. But each week takes on new significance. Perhaps the weeks feel scary, because the farther along you are, the more invested you feel. Perhaps you feel excited because you fought so hard to be here. However it plays out, each week brings you that much closer to meeting your little one.
First doctor’s appointment.
Having your pregnancy confirmed and creating a medical game plan for this pregnancy can really solidify that this is happening and things are moving forward. It may have been very hard emotionally. However you feel, you sat in that waiting room, you talked to your doctor, and you did what was best for you and baby. Way to go.
It’s terrifying to have that ultrasound knowing you might get bad news. But getting through it and see the beginnings of your precious baby is a massive milestone.
Graduating from seeing your reproductive endocrinologist.
You’ve gotten past the point where your fertility specialist needs to monitor you, and know you’re on to just OB or midwife appointments. It’s starting to feel like your trying to conceive days are over, at least for now.
You’ve long since given up that any stage in pregnancy is “safe” – however, statistically you have passed the most likely time of loss. Maybe it feels too soon to celebrate. Or maybe you’re ready to pop out some bubby! (Bubbly sparkling cider, that is.)
The day you started having hope for a good outcome.
This day could come when you got your positive pregnancy test or it might not happen until after your baby is safe in your arms. Whenever this day hits, hope both ignites and alleviates fear. There’s nothing quite so paradoxical as pregnancy after loss.
Passing chromosomal testing.
If you’ve chosen to get prenatal testing done, waiting for results can be an emotional roller coaster. But now that they’re here, you have a better idea of your baby’s potential health. And if needed, you can start making a game plan so you can best prepare for their needs.
First baby flutters.
Is there anything in the world better than feeling your baby for the first time? OK, probably holding your baby for the first time beats the flutters. But, for sure, this is a solid second.
Announcing your pregnancy.
There is no right time in your pregnancy to announce and no right way to do it. But however you choose, your news is out and your loved ones are ready to celebrate with you. (And you can celebrate not having to hide that beautiful bump or make excuses for your symptoms anymore. Woot woot!)
Baby bump is out!
Speaking of baby bumps, your baby is making their little presence known to the outside world. It’s a beautiful bump, mama. We hope it brings you some joy to see. (Don’t forget to take those photos!)
Chances are high that you basically just held your breath for a solid hour as the ultrasound tech looked over every part of your baby. It could be extra emotional as this might be the very time you previously got bad news. Try as hard as you can to relish seeing your baby. And go over any concerns you have with your doctor. Getting through this critical appointment is a big step. We are hoping with you that it brings you some relief.
As long as you’re not Team Green, you should know your baby’s biological gender now. If you feel up to it, a fun gender reveal can help you cling to the joy that this pregnancy brings. Whether you invite friends and family or keep it private between you and your partner, take whatever chance you have to celebrate how far you’ve come.
Buying your first baby item, hoping your baby will be able to use it.
If you’re afraid of buying something for your baby, chances are you’re worried you might not be able to use it. Those fears are completely legit. But – buy something anyway. Even if it’s small. Let it serve as a tangible reminder of the hope you are clinging to that this baby will get to stay.
First specialist appointment, if needed.
If you or baby have additional medical needs, you’re probably seeing your specialist about this time. It might feel disappointing to need extra care. But this means people who are very knowledgeable are taking very good care of you and baby. Remember that you can have a high-risk pregnancy that still turns out healthy in the end.
20 weeks – halfway through!
Time to pop out that sparkling cider again!
Pretty much every doctor’s visit where something could have gone wrong, but it doesn’t.
No doctor’s visit will likely feel safe. You might be waiting for the other shoe to drop every time you walk into the exam room. But – you two have made it this far. And much to your relief, you and baby are still going strong.
Graduating from ER visits to L&D visits when you have concerns.
Let’s be real – no one wants to go to either the ER or L&D at this stage in pregnancy. However, in the event that something is concerning, being able to be seen by labor and delivery is so much better than the emergency room. It might seem strange to some, but getting better care for pregnancy after loss moms is absolutely something we are ready to celebrate.
24 weeks or viability.
(Otherwise known as the date of assurance that doctors will make any attempt possible to save your baby if something goes wrong). We know that reaching 24 weeks does not guarantee any baby’s life. However, it’s comforting to know that should anything happen at this point, your medical team will do all they can for you and baby.
Passing the point of bad news.
At some point in your previous pregnancy, you likely heard bad news. It may have been the same day as your loss, or it may have been weeks or months before. Whenever it happened, making it past that point in this pregnancy is a big milestone.
Getting further along than you did before.
You probably are keenly aware of when you start approaching how old your other baby was when they passed. Big emotions might begin ramping up. Hold on tight, mama. You can get through this day, just as you have all the days before and since.
The end of this marathon is in sight. You got this, you got this, you got this.
Baby shower, if you have one.
If you decide a shower is right for you, celebrating this new little life with family and friends can be as memorable as it is joyful. No matter how your pregnancy ends, you and your baby deserve the celebration.
Setting up the nursery.
Maybe you want to keep the nursery you set up for your previous baby. Maybe you want a fresh slate, and you’re starting from scratch. Whichever you choose, you are preparing with love the very place you hope to nurture your child. Your baby now has a space in your home just as they already have in your heart.
Being further along than you’ve ever gone before.
You’ve hit the point in your pregnancy that is further along than you were with your loss or losses. Suddenly, this is new territory and you have no other benchmark to compare it to. Remind yourself this is a different pregnancy with a different outcome.
Packing hospital bags.
Packing cute little onesies, hats and swaddling blankets may feel almost too good to be true. Is it even possible your baby could be wearing these things soon? Is it too much to hope that the perfect go-home outfit you planned will actually be worn? It’s hard to remember, especially when you’ve fallen on the wrong side of statistics, but the odds are in your favor. Pack those bags, and allow yourself to dream what it could be like to bring this baby home.
It might feel like it took forever to get here, but you are so close to holding your baby in your arms. You’ve reached 38 weeks, and now baby can come any time (or whenever your doctor decides is the right time to induce). You are in the homestretch. Every day may feel like a million years right now – but you are oh-so-close.
Every. Single. Day. You get to keep this baby.
You didn’t think you’d make it this far. But you have, and your baby has. You fought for this every single day of the last nine months. You know how proud of you we are, don’t you?
Your body has been gearing up and getting ready, and it is time. You do you right now. Need everyone in the room with you? Done. Need absolutely no one but your medical team and partner? Done. All the pain meds? Given. Love and encouragement only? Given. You do what you need, how you need, when you need, as you labor to bring your precious baby into your arms.
Your baby is crowning. The pain feels overwhelming. The fear, palpable. Your determination, unmatched. The moment you have been waiting for — fighting for — is here. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. It’s time to give birth and meet your precious baby.
Getting to hold your precious baby.
Oh, the shock of sweet joy that envelopes you when your baby is placed on your chest. Skin to skin. Heartbeat to heartbeat. Yes, this is real. He is here. She is here. You have done this, mama. The joy is also a little bittersweet. How you love holding your baby. How you wish you could have kept them both. Tears fall. Is it love? Is it grief? Perhaps both. You’ve opened your heart wide, and there is room enough for all your children.
Getting to take baby home.
It’s been hours, days or weeks. But you both are healthy enough now to say good-bye to the hospital and hello to going home. This might come with a lot of mixed emotions, from excitement to fear. You are leaving the hospital with a living baby in your arms. Is there any sweeter reward?
Every day, every first, every breath after that.
You are now a parenting-after-loss mom. Yes, you’ll have struggles. No, this will not be easy. But then again, pregnancy wasn’t either and here you both are. Every day, every first, and every breath with your baby is a gift. And a milestone worth celebrating.