Pregnancy after a loss

I’m afraid to schedule this post.  I’ll update it if I miscarry before Tuesday… it won’t have to be changed much.

As of now I am in the very early stages of a pregnancy.

The first time I got pregnant it was after more than a year and a half of fertility treatment.  I had a monitored clomid cycle (my eggs popped out later than normal) and an IUI.  I got a negative 14 days after ovulation, but a positive a bit after that.  Rising betas, and suddenly I miscarried at 7 weeks.  I’d eaten white bread at a conference the night before.  My reproductive endocrinologist (RE) only believed in Metformin at 500ml, even though the literature has found 1500ml to be effective in getting the early miscarriage rate of women with PCOS to match that of normal women.  Maybe it was just a chromosome abnormality.  I take comfort in the fact that I will never know, but only because I have proof now that I can bring a baby to term; at the time I did not.

Miscarriage is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.  Loss of a wanted pregnancy is a horrible wrenching pain.  I lost a child.

I bled and stopped, I bled again and stopped again.  My betas went down like they were supposed to.  I upped my metformin to 1500 just in case, behind the doctor’s back.  I had a horrific time on a trip when I needed my last beta checked out of town… I had a breakdown because even though we’d set everything up in advance, and were supposed to get the ok with everything someone messed up somewhere and we spent 20 or 30 min trying to deal with the insurance lady when finally we realized if we just gave them $80 in cash they would stop asking me questions.  So we did.  I almost divorced my perfect husband that day.

The RE office wanted us to take a month off from trying (use protection!), then a provera challenge, and then another clomid cycle.  We weren’t sure if we wanted to keep trying.  But since I didn’t cycle by myself I figured I might as well start the provera challenge and then decide given some time.  So I took one of my remaining 40-odd mail order pregnancy tests because you’re supposed to check just in case before taking provera.  There may have been an evaporation line but it was hard to tell so I delayed provera… I wasn’t in a hurry to make the decision so any excuse to delay was fine with me.  The next day it looked less like an evaporation line and more like a faint line.  By that Monday the line was a real line and I called the RE office.  Despite having told us not to try, our tech was excited for me.

I wasn’t ready.  I was in shock.  I didn’t believe it.  I had just bought $600 of professional work clothing literally two days before.  I still hadn’t gone through the stages of grief with my first baby.  I had anger, guilt, and most of all, fear.  I did not want to lose this one.

I took pregnancy test (HPT) after pregnancy test until they drove me crazy with their increases and decreases in darkness.  Turns out my second morning urine is actually the best… has something to do with acidity in some women’s urine.  The ovulation prediction kits (OPK) were much more comforting since they only got darker.  Eventually DH suggested I get rid of the lot so I would stop freaking out so much and I sent them to a friend who was also trying to conceive (along with DH’s leftover Fertility Blend for Men).

I went in and got the blood tests… at 7 weeks I saw the heartbeat… and our child was eventually born.  It was a few months after ze was born before I believed ze wouldn’t just suddenly die.

There was a weird sort of cognitive dissonance for me.  Initially, I was so very afraid of loss, I was afraid to bond with the baby.  But the winning emotion was the thought that each week was another week longer that I got to spend with my precious baby.

Pregnancy after a loss can be frightening.  I didn’t buy any baby items until two and a half weeks before my due date, and even then sent out my mom and husband with a credit card.  We never did get around to buying a crib– we got a pack in play and were going to get a crib when ze hit 3 months but ended up cosleeping instead.

It’s hard to enjoy pregnancy when you think it might be taken from you.  Terrible side effects are a huge comfort because they indicate that the baby is probably still there.  Whenever ze would get still in the calmer second trimester, I would have to drink some orange juice just to make sure ze will still alive and could kick.

I’m worried now.  I’ll be less worried when I see a heartbeat (or maybe just hear it… I’m not sure how the u/s technology is in our small town), and less worried when the baby is born, and probably less worried still when ze is mobile.  And in kindergarten.  And I’m scared… not of the life changes or the increased expenses or time for our oldest… those worries are too far down the line to even dream of.  Almost every moment of the day is spent wondering and wishing and hoping and praying.  I’m afraid to plan too much ahead, afraid to complain, afraid to take anything for granted.  This time around I don’t have a box of OPK or HPT… just the occasional overpriced plastic thing from the drugstore.  (Hint:  ept sucks, go with first response instead.  Pink dye is easier to read than blue.)  Will I have another baby?  I still don’t know.  I hope so.

Here is a list of things not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage.  #2 *always* said the right thing.

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41 Responses to “Pregnancy after a loss”

  1. feMOMhist Says:

    congratulations, I am so hoping things go well. From my own anecdotal experience I can say that sadly there is a persistent shadow that hangs over the subsequent pg even after a “successful”(albeit complicated) pregnancy. I vacillated between being mad about that ( since “things” continued to happen throughout my pregnancy), like couldn’t I just have one pg that was all hearts and flowers, and being grateful that someone “like” me, with my own odd reproductive issues, was able to have even one child let alone two. It got a little better once I got past 24 weeks, my own “spot.” I was able to go buy somethings, although no crib (MIL insisted and bought one when she came after fMhgirl was born). Hopefully there will be some “spot” like that for you, where the fear eases up some. I do know that having one child already simply left less time to be afraid, which did seem to pervade my every waking moment during that child’s pregnancy. Virtual sticky vibes coming through the computer to you.

  2. Dana Says:

    Congratulations! I wondered when a weekend link about early pregnancy stomach issues was posted recently but didn’t want to ask. I too am pregnant after PCOS/metformin and am plenty nervous without the negative prior experience, something about professors being over-thinkers may be involved at least for me. Do the best you can mentally and hopefully all will go well!!!

  3. First gen american Says:

    Wow what an incredibly honest post. Most people wouldn’t admit being afraid to bond with their child. I am wishing you a very uneventful pregnancy and birth. Happy holidays.

  4. Perpetua Says:

    My first pregnancy ended in a loss as well. I think it changes the way one approaches pregnancy, or feels about it. I see women who tell everybody the second the line appears, who assume that everything will be fantastic and there will be no problems. Probably some of it is my personality anyway, but I (though happy while pregnant and generally blissful about the experience of pregnancy) didn’t really relax until the baby was born. It was such a *relief*. Both times, especially in the first trimester, I didn’t want to tell anyone and when I did, I didn’t want anyone to say “congratulations” because I couldn’t fake an excitement that I didn’t feel. Mostly, I was waiting, and the second time (third pregnancy) was even more anxiety-provoking because I had a moderately severe case of hg, and I knew women with hg have a 2-3x higher likelihood of second trimester miscarriage, and I kept losing weight and ending up at the er. It wasn’t until I pushed up past my pre-pregnancy weight (which happened right around the 23 week ultrasound) that I relaxed into it. For me, feeling the baby move helps, too.

    @feMOMhist: I know what you mean about the hearts and flowers! I will never, no matter how many pregnancies I have, have one that is hearts and flowers. Mine will always be full of medicine and IVs and “discomfort receptacles” and misery and fear.

    I hate digital pg tests, I just wanted to add. The old school kind are better, because you get a response faster. I always laugh at TV and movies because they ALWAYS show a couple sitting around waiting for the full two minutes or whatever, when I know that the color changes pretty much in the first 30 seconds.

  5. Cloud Says:

    Congratulations! I’m so sorry for your earlier loss, and for the way it is shadowing you now. But best wishes for this pregnancy.

  6. becca Says:

    Thank you for this post. It helps me understand a little better (one of my dearest friends had a miscarriage and I’ve always struggled somewhat with what to say).
    I’m hoping everything goes well this time (this is one of those situations I wished I was a praying person- hoping just doesn’t seem strong enough).

    P.S.- I think the hearts + flowers pregnancies are a pernicious, pernicious myth (I suppose they exist, but they are unusual). Even having

  7. Troy Says:

    I’m sorry. For anyone reading who’s been anywhere near your shoes, thanks for posting this and being so open.

    Since you’re discussing it frankly, could you share how (or whether) you weighed fertilization treatments against adoption? I have zero experience here, so the extent of my knowledge is that what you described sounds horrible :-(

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Adoption has a lot of the same problems with loss and uncertainty that infertility treatment has. You think a baby or child is yours, and then suddenly, it’s not. After dealing with infertility we were wanting to just stop trying and regroup rather than go for a different source of stress. Not to say we wouldn’t have considered adoption at some point in the future, but we were still young and not ready.

  8. Dr. O Says:

    Congratulations! I felt a huge loss of innocence after going through our first pregnancy loss, but every little milestone when pregnant with Monkey lessened our fear, even if by very small increments. I truly wish and pray for the best for you and DH.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Definitely a loss of innocence. I’m looking forward to those milestones.. like you said, each one is a little less fear.

      Thank you for your wishes and prayers, and I’m sorry about your loss as well. It’s a cruddy club to belong to.

  9. Alyssa Says:

    Congratulations!

    I also suffered a miscarriage when I was about 8.5 weeks along. It was devastating. Like you, it was the hardest thing I had ever gone though. I then got pregnant three months later. I found out only 9 days after I ovulated, so the first trimester was VERY long and VERY scary.

    Hang in there, think good things, and I am sending lots of sticky vibes to you.

  10. chacha1 Says:

    more sticky vibes.

    I’ve never wanted to be pregnant myself, but I really feel for those of you who want it so badly and have trouble with it. Mother Nature can be a real bitch sometimes. Sorry for your loss and best hopes that all goes well with the current tadpole!

  11. lifeisfullofsunnydays Says:

    Congratulations. I wish you an uneventful pregnancy. I am a praying girl, so I will keep you in my prayers.
    Like becca, I too had a close friend miscarry. I cried buckets of tears like it was my own child lost. I can not imagine the pain and fear that one goes through.
    In the meantime as hard as it is to do, take it easy, breathe and relax.

  12. Leigh Says:

    Best wishes and good luck. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

    Thank you for your honest post.

  13. Fie Upon This Quiet Life Says:

    I see such raw honesty, pain, and nonetheless, hope here. Your anxiety is understandable; your pain – real. I hope in your real life that you have a good support system that will continue to life you up and help you find strength. All your readers are holding out their hands to you in blessing and comfort. May tranquility and peace of mind surround you as your child wends its way into your heart and your life. Congratulations!

  14. Leah Says:

    Sending good thoughts your way :-) Definitely keep us updated!

  15. Undine Says:

    Congratulations and best wishes to you!

  16. ABDMama Says:

    Congratulations! I am also praying for you to have an uneventful pregnancy and birth.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your first child. I’ve never miscarried, but I was terrified of getting too attached when I was pregnant with mijo. We didn’t find out the sex or decide on names and I didn’t get things ready before he was born. I just felt like there were too many possibilities and I waited until he was in my arms to really celebrate having a child.

    Sending you much love and virtual support!

  17. Jacq Says:

    This is just wonderful ! I’m so so happy for you guys.

  18. profgrrrrl Says:

    Congratulations. May you have a pleasant and uneventful pregnancy, and a joyous birth. :)

  19. Lindy Says:

    Congratulations, and thank you for your honesty.
    I echo the best wishes for a safe, uneventful (and maybe some flowers) pregnancy.

  20. Dr. Sneetch Says:

    Great news. Congratulations. And thanks for such an honest post.

  21. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I cannot freaking believe I missed this. Congratulations! I like happy news.

  22. GMP Says:

    I’m very late, but better late than never — congratulations on your pregnancy!!!
    I had a miscarriage before my last baby, I know how devastating it feels… Best wishes!


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