What do you do when you get pregnant after a miscarriage? Well, if you’re anything like I am, you freak out and worry about it. A lot. I got pregnant just two months after my miscarriage and I feel like I’m constantly worrying about ensuing health scares now. I didn’t have this constant fear with my first pregnancy and it’s sort of sucking the fun right out of the experience. I was so thrilled and jubilant the first time around but now I'm too scared to feel the same excitement.
I miscarried in February of this year when my husband and I decided to take a relaxing trip to Jamaica with our two-year-old daughter. Yes, I was eleven weeks pregnant and no, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those wonderfully sugary slushy drinks but I am nothing if not a trooper. Besides, I was confident that the pretty blue water and delicious warm sand would ease my suffering. Turns out I was right and I definitely enjoyed lounging on the beach while my daughter played in the pool with her dad. Until the fateful last day of our vacation. Ugh, don’t you just hate when that happens.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is the part where it gets gory and grossly detailed so skip down if it’s a little TMI for your liking. I woke up on the last day literally hemorrhaging and blood was gushing out by the bucketful. It’s like your period on steroids and it’s not pretty. I’d never had a miscarriage before so I didn’t realize that it could get so ugly. I knew what was happening but figured the bleeding would eventually stop so I basically sat on the toilet for three straight hours. I warned you that it wasn’t pretty. Needless to say, the bleeding never let up and I was getting quite lightheaded when I finally allowed my husband to call the resort doctor. At this point, my body was going into shock and the ambulance was called to transport me to the nearest hospital.
Ah, the hospital. I love Jamaica but do I ever hate their healthcare. I was left alone to continue bleeding for an additional eight hours, after which they performed a routine D & C without once checking my hemoglobin levels. I was then told that it was safe to travel back home to Ontario the next day. My husband took me back to the hotel with yellow pupils and blue lips. I was having a very hard time breathing and didn’t have any strength to walk but I told myself it was nothing serious. I think women have a tendency to do that even when we probably shouldn’t.
The next day I boarded a plane home, thinking that I’d be fine. I wasn’t. I couldn’t breathe about 30 minutes into the flight and had to lie down with an oxygen mask on while a nurse checked my vitals every 10 minutes. I refused to let on just how difficult it was because I couldn’t bear the embarrassment of diverting the plane or scaring my daughter but my vitals were easily giving me away. Damn those vitals. Emergency personnel met us at the gate but I adamantly refused to go to the hospital because I was convinced I just needed to get home where everything would get better. Guess what? I was wrong again. Shocking since it happens so rarely.
Anyways, to make a long story short, I ended up in the hospital where I needed blood transfusions and multiple tests including a CT Scan to rule out pulmonary embolism among other things. When I was admitted to the hospital, I had less than a third of the blood left in my body. The doctors repeatedly told me they were astonished that I had survived the surgery in Jamaica, let alone the flight home. They were shocked that I was even functioning at all. Apparently I should have experienced major organ failure and/or a heart attack—if not during the surgery, then definitely up in the air. You know, just your everyday worries.
My reluctance to admit anything was wrong and stubborn misguided view that I couldn’t get seriously ill almost cost me my life. If I had waited just a few more hours at home instead of going to the hospital, I might not have made it. In the end, I spent the next two months recovering which meant endless specialist visits and countless hospital trips. Somewhere during that time period, my husband obviously gave me some wine one night and knocked me up. Trust me, it wouldn’t have happened without the wine.
Which brings me to my current predicament. I’m scared that something like this will happen again. I’m scared of miscarrying and losing another unborn child. Not only am I scared, I feel like I’m permanently scarred as well. It is physically and emotionally draining. I can’t help but think that I would have been going into labour any day now if I hadn’t miscarried. I also can’t help thinking that somehow it’s my fault. If only I hadn’t gone to Jamaica maybe everything would have been okay. If only I had stopped sleeping on my stomach. If only I had been more careful.
It’s consuming my thoughts and I’m really starting to resent it. This time I’m really trying to be more careful. Intellectually I know that I didn’t cause my miscarriage but emotionally, I can’t let go of the guilt. And did I already mention that I can’t stop worrying about it? Did I also mention that it’s really annoying? But all the worrying in the world can’t change what will or will not happen. Deep down inside somewhere, I suppose I know that. I also know that making light of a serious situation won’t make it any easier but it’s the only way I know how to cope. So what do you do when you get pregnant after a miscarriage? I guess you try to let go of the worry and trust that everything will be okay. Or maybe just fake it until it becomes easier.
I’m so sleep deprived today that I’m in an extra special mood, even for someone pregnant. The kind that makes me want to kick at the curb and take part in my own tantrum meltdown. Obviously I can do no such thing as I am an adult and a mother and we handle our bad moods differently. We take to our blogs, Twitter, or Facebook to lament about how incompetent the rest of the world is and how everything bad is the fault of the simple minded folk we must associate with. So that’s just what I’m going to do.
As a pregnant woman, I get a lot of unsolicited advice. This isn’t my first time at the rodeo but that doesn’t stop others from sharing their gems of advice. Since I have to endure listening to this stuff and sharing is caring, I think it’s only right that I recap some of it:
Drink lots of milk so your baby comes out white. I’ve never heard such poignant wisdom before but there’s one small concern I have. I’m brown and my husband is brown—if my baby comes out white, I’m going to have a bigger problem on my hands than I even care to think about.
Don’t pick up your toddler, you’ll hurt the fetus. This is never prefaced by an offer to hold my daughter to perhaps give me a bit of a break. It’s like they (they as in the ‘unnamed enemy’) think she’s a bag of groceries that I can just set down on the counter. FYI, I tried and it doesn’t work—she moves and wails.
Eat sweets, your baby will be born sweet natured. I’m down with this one. Bring on the cookies. And maybe some chocolate cake (If my husband is reading this, I’m only kidding of course).
Don’t walk so fast, you will hurt the fetus. I am a slow walker by nature so it’s not like I’ve all of a sudden gotten supersonic speed. I haven’t. I think it’s just something else to correct me about, whether true or not.
Don’t be so lazy, your baby will be a sloth when it’s born. This one gets me particularly riled up. I’m a pregnant and hormonal lady right now so do you really want to get on my bad side?
Don’t yell so much, your baby will be born afraid of everything. Okay, this one sort of makes some sense to me. I hardly want my unborn child to be afraid that his/her mother is a raving lunatic because of all my yelling. I’d much rather he/she be born before realizing that one.
Those are just some of the comments I have to suffer on a regular basis. I’m not even half way there and it’s driving me crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has to hear such rubbish so come on and share. Hearing other people’s pregnancy woes (better you than me!) might just be enough to put a smile on this tired mummy’s face.
Only a handful of people know that I’m pregnant. My husband knows, of course. My mother, sister, two best friends, the in-laws and that’s it. I’m kind of dying to let other people know. Yes, because I’m excited and bursting with joy but there’s another reason, too. A dreadfully shameful reason that I’m loathe to admit out loud. But here goes nothing—I absolutely cannot wait for the pregnancy perks to kick in. There, I’ve said it and now you know.
So far, I’ve only been able to harangue my husband alone about how miserable I feel and God, I’d sure love a back rub. In the throes of morning sickness and a constant feeling of blah, this has been the saving grace. It’s not often that I get my husband to do things just for me. Granted, he’s good about his share of the housework and childcare but it’s rare that he’ll cater to my frivolous whims. You know, the kind that consist of wanting someone to bring me the laptop from upstairs because I’m downstairs and I just don’t want to get up. Really, how often does that happen for a mom?! Ummm, like never. We’re constantly getting things for our children, our spouses, and even our pets but very seldom get pampered in such a way. Well, it’s mommy’s turn now.
I undeniably without a doubt cannot wait till my big belly presents itself to the world and announces, ‘Guess what, suckers?! I’m with the pregnant lady here and you’re just going to have to be nice to her or else you’re going to look really very bad. Ha!’ It's like I’m about to get payback for all the crappy ways I’ve been feeling for the last three months. ‘See that spot for expectant mothers that’s sitting empty in this absurdly full parking lot? Yep, I think I’ll just go on over there to park nice and close. Careful now, you don’t want to be caught giving me a dirty look – after all, what would everyone think?’ I can’t lie to you—that’s exactly how it plays out in my head. Dreadful, I know, but utterly satisfying at the same time.
Another great bonus is it’s the only time you can gain weight without being judged. Go ahead and eat that doughnut while gently rubbing your glorious bump. Trust me, no one’s going to say a thing. After all, you’re eating for two now and you wouldn’t want to deprive a baby in the womb. How selfish would that be? And so what if you’re sporting more grays than a gloomy day. Everyone knows that pregnant women need to be careful about how often they dye their hair. It’s only logical that you’re being cautious. Running a few minutes late to meet up with friends? Oh, you just never mind that—how good of you to even go in your condition. Do I need to continue or are you seeing the trend here? I’m telling you, it’s only fair after what we’ve suffered in the first trimester. It's like having karma on speed dial.
It only lasts nine months or so—I say use that pregnancy card whenever and as often as you can. Trust me, you’ll be back to being an indentured servant soon enough. One day, you’ll wake up and that bump you're so used to will be gone. In its place will be a beautiful newborn baby, just smiling up at you and knowing deep in its heart that he or she has found the perfect whipping boy for life. Ahhhh, the joys of motherhood await but for now, rock that pregnancy.