I’m sitting here writing this with my rainbow baby laying on my chest. To those of you currently pregnant after one or more losses, I bow down to you. It’s far from an easy path you’re embarking on. It’s a complete and utter emotional roller coaster.
Those first blue lines on a pregnancy test don’t offer the anywhere near the same level of excitement as they may have once done. Whilst you are truly grateful to be pregnant again, the overwhelming feeling is fear.
Everyone offers you their two pennies worth. ‘Don’t drink coffee’, ‘Don’t lift anything heavy’, ‘Don’t wear high heels’ (yes, that was one of my faves! I mean really!!) But low and behold, I didn’t wear high heels in those first terrifying twelve weeks.
You’ll probably begin to set mini milestones to pass. For me it was 6 week scan – heartbeat, tick. 8 week scan – heartbeat, tick. 10 week NIPT – all clear, tick. 12 week scan – all normal, tick. Again, where a scan may once have been cause for excitement, now they are an overwhelming, nerve wracking experience, fraught with the fear of hearing those awful words again. I couldn’t look at the screen, tears were rolling down my cheeks, as I clutched (strangled) my husband’s hand, looking at the ceiling until I heard that beautiful heartbeat.
However it actually didn’t end after the 12 week scan as I had anticipated. My fear remained, ever so slightly below the surface, ready to bubble and send me into a whirl of panic at any off feeling or strange sensation. Trips to the toilet were still an ordeal, as I tentatively checked the paper for blood each time.
We definitely didn’t connect with this baby in the same way as we had our daughter. There was no finding out the gender, no discussing names, no buying baby things before 24 weeks, no talking to my growing tummy. There was no way I was tempting fate by believing…
At our 19 week scan the worst happened – an anomaly was found. Our baby’s Nuchal measurement was too thick and we were told I needed an amniocentesis. I was devastated and completely petrified. I knew the associated risk with an amnio was miscarriage. I spent 2 days in bed not moving a muscle praying not to lose this baby, again crippled by fear.
I honestly feel like I didn’t breathe out this whole pregnancy. The tension in my neck and shoulders was awful. It felt like everyone around me was more excited about my precious baby’s arrival than I was. I found myself having to fake enthusiasm and excitement.
The birth of my baby didn’t offer initial relief. It took me a day or two to actually believe he was here. I remember the night, it was just the two of us and I looked at him, smelled him, cuddled him, felt the weight of him in my arms, his warmth on my skin and finally, the relief swelled in my chest. He’s here, he’s my beautiful baby boy and I couldn’t be more proud of facing my fear of loss and birthing him.
Hold on, keep yourself busy, lean on your friends, especially those that have walked the same path as you. If 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage chances are you’ll know someone who has and who can support you.
Through Pink Elephants if I can create a safe place for women who walk the same path to support and nurture each other as we navigate this minefield together, then I’ll be forever proud. This year we’ll be launching support forums via our website which will be a place for you to share and support each other, no matter what stage of the journey you are at.
ps…it’s now been two weeks since J’s birth and I’m so in love with him. I can’t say that his arrival has taken away the pain of my previous losses, but he has definitely helped to heal some of the cracks in my heart. xo