10 weeks pregnant
*I’m sharing this post which was written in the past, because while I wasn’t ready to be open about my pregnancy at the time that I wrote it, I think it’s important to acknowledge the very real and challenging emotions that come with pregnancy after loss.
This morning I feel paralyzed. There is a lot of work to do around the house before I leave, but I just can’t seem to drag myself off of the couch. I can’t tear my mind away from the angst I’ve been feeling, all day, every day. Today, when the doctor probes my belly with a fetal doppler, will he find a heartbeat? How long will I wait there on that table, holding my breath, praying relentlessly, before I have an answer? I’m terrified.
I’m terrified because I want a sibling for my boy so badly. I’m terrified because I’ve been here before. More than a handful of times. I’m terrified because I don’t think I can do this again. I know I can survive another miscarriage, if it happens. I know it will be awful, but I know that I will survive, because I’ve survived over and over again. But I don’t know if I can do THIS again. Try again. Live through another pregnancy filled with fear.
From the moment I find out I am pregnant, I am poked and prodded. Blood draws every two days for the first month or so leave me bruised and emotionally broken, always waiting for answers. Answers that are not definitive or reassuring. Constantly waiting for a phone call telling me whether each test was normal, knowing that with pregnancy, especially mine, they almost never are.
From the moment I find out I am pregnant, I dread going to the bathroom. Every time I wipe, I hold my breath, close my eyes, and then look. Clinging to the hope that I won’t see blood. I did this for nine months with Lincoln. Always afraid. This awful ritual has been a part of my daily life for two years of the four years that I’ve been married, because that’s how much time I’ve spent pregnant.
With every pregnancy, I have been extremely ill for at least the first trimester. While some women experience occasional nausea and vomiting, I am sick from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I fall asleep, and sometimes throughout the night. It’s rehabilitating most days, and while every moment of being sick is beyond worth it, it makes life extremely challenging. It’s almost comical, at this point, though. Because if I start to feel better, my heart sinks. At least when I’m this sick, I know my body is still doing something to maintain the pregnancy. When I start to feel better, the fear multiplies and I wonder… is it over? And all I want is to be sick again. The cycle of emotions feels like torture sometimes.
In some ways, this pregnancy has felt different from the start. I haven’t needed any sort of hormonal supplements to help maintain the pregnancy; my body is compensating exactly as it should. And yet, I am terrified. I’ve gotten my hopes up many times in the past. Let my guard down. Allowed myself to believe I was “in the clear.” I wasn’t.
What I am beginning to understand and accept is that for me, there will never be a fearless pregnancy. That is just my reality, and striving for something different (or pretending I’m not afraid) only adds more pressure. It’s okay to be afraid. What I really want is to be more HOPEFUL than I am afraid. To TRUST more than I doubt. To LOVE the moments as they exist, rather than wondering how long they’ll last. So… here’s to that.
It’s time to get off the couch.