Being pregnant after having a miscarriage was one of the most beautiful and scariest experiences of my life. I felt waves of concern daily, often hourly, and did my best to manage my internal state. At times, I was successful and at other times, fear won. I was forced to sit with uncomfortable emotions and figure out a way to thrive.
I found out about the miscarriage during our second doctor’s visit when I was about 9 weeks along. I felt fabulous and was buzzing with excitement over seeing our baby for the first time. The initial appointment had gone well but the second appointment rocked us to the core. The kind ultrasound technician began by merrily making conversation and then after a while, she fell silent. Eventually, she told us that there was no heartbeat. In hearing this, I froze. It took a moment to process but once the realization occurred, my world started spinning. First, I felt intense disbelief. Not me, I am super healthy. I teach yoga. I’m young. These things don’t happen to people like me. Then, grief. The type of grief that rolls in like a dense fog and lingers. It was all I could think about. Why did this happen? Why me? How do I prevent it from happening again?
I knew that I needed to be in a solid place emotionally before venturing down the pregnancy road again. I decided to take time to clear my mind and allow my body to heal. I focused on feeling good. I ran a lot and found relief in pounding out the emotional pain. I did yoga but often felt a serious disconnect with my body. I meditated a lot. I found great comfort in silence and journaled daily. I got acupuncture and worked with the doctor to nurture my state through certain foods and lifestyle choices. I sat with disbelief and made friends with grief. Then, once I felt like it was time, I began clearing stagnant emotions. Meditation allowed me to sweep out stale thoughts and feelings.
Months later I felt ready to start trying to get pregnant again after my miscarriage. I used a charting app and figured it would take a few months to get pregnant. We received a positive pregnancy test four months later.
We waited until I was well into the second trimester to share our news. I was a full 15 weeks pregnant before most people knew. Part of me desperately wanted to protect the pregnancy by keeping it under wraps, like a perfect gift, and yet another part was so eager to share our joy.
The second trimester was full of anticipation, joy and a decent amount of anxiety. With every single midwife visit, my blood pressure would spike, sometimes to an alarming level. I feared that I would, once again, be given the news of a miscarriage. I worked to stay calm but truthfully, my heart would race just walking through the office threshold. This physical response would send my mind spiraling and I would frequently step into the restroom to ground myself before the appointment. I took full, deep breaths and worked to exhale my old friend, doubt. I had an amazing midwife who encouraged me to take blood pressure readings randomly outside of the office and to keep a record of those numbers. This record clearly showed that the spike was directly related to anxiety induced from office visits. I couldn’t stop the physical reaction but I managed as best I could.
In the third trimester and the delivery drew nearer, I used my words as a balm for my tender heart. I would say, “I love you, my healthy baby” and I must have said this 100 times a day. Every time I would feel my baby move or not feel her move or just simply needed to hear it, I would repeat those words.
In labor, I felt strong. I felt connected to women all over the world bringing children into the world. I felt powerful. I had flashes of anxiety when I feared the worst but knowing that we were in excellent medical hands gave me strength.
Looking back now, I notice that there are very few pictures of me pregnant. My husband and I even travelled to our beloved beach town in Mexico and yet there are no pictures. I don’t have many glowing pregnant images or any monthly bump updates. While this was not intentional, I think that is because the tiny voice in my head would whisper but what if…and suppose that I didn’t want visual reminders if something were to go wrong. It’s funny because despite the anxiety, it was also a time of great joy. I was so proud to be carrying our baby and truly enjoyed being pregnant. Watching my body change was incredible and feeling our baby move always resulted in an immediate smile.
The entire miscarriage and pregnancy experience made me more mindful and appreciative of the gift of life. I am certainly more empathetic to other’s pregnancy struggles and unique experiences. In some ways, my journey through pregnancy after miscarriage prepared for me for the highs and lows of parenting and for that, I am grateful. It’s true that I had a miscarriage but I also had a healthy second pregnancy and now have a vibrant baby girl.