5 weeks+1 day pregnant
I always thought that when I was pregnant again I would want to keep it very low key. I even fooled myself into thinking that I could try not get attached to another baby in the naive hope of protecting myself during another pregnancy. The thing is, as soon as I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, everything changed. Hope blossomed.
Although Medical professionals may tell me that right now it’s ‘just a collection of cells’ and later a ‘fetus’, if I do go on to miscarry, I will not reason it out that I’ve ‘just lost some cells’ or ‘just lost the fetus’. I will have lost my baby.
When I envisaged the ‘subsequent pregnancy’, I imagined a very somber affair. No announcements, no celebrations, no shopping for baby items, no baby shower. It’s only been a week but I am already warming up to the idea of celebrating pregnancy again. Today I am pregnant. I want to cherish this pregnancy for every moment I’m blessed with it.
I decided that I wanted to normalise at least some of this pregnancy and so I joined a pregnancy forum in order to connect with ‘normal’ pregnant women. But I’m finding It a very surreal place to be. I feel like part of a jigsaw that just doesn’t quite fit. When the first-time-mums ask questions about pregnancy, I find myself wondering if my experiences are valid since my own baby didn’t survive. And will my presence serve as a scary reminder of how pregnancy can go so tragically wrong?
I’m also finding it hard to relate to these other women, whose lives have not necessarily been scarred by loss. Most of them have a blissful self assurance that I don’t have the luxury of any more. Their excitement is beautiful, but dare I share it? I feel envious of their undoubting faith that they will bring their baby’s home.
I used these same forums just a year ago in my pregnancy with Nieve, yet the posts feel irrelevant and insignificant to me now… a woman complaining of losing her ‘pregnancy glow’ at 30 weeks… a lady feeling bored about being stuck at home before the birth of her child… a three page discussion about whether you should wax or shave your bikini line before birth…
I created a new Facebook account recently so that I could connect with baby loss organizations but also with pregnancy groups. My newsfeed is a bizarre mix of light and shade. happiness and sadness. Life and death. Hope discernible and hope diminished. Most significantly though, it is filled with love- love for babies who never were and love for babies who are yet to be. One is tragic, one is joyful, both are sacred.
Once I pass twelve weeks in this pregnancy, I’m supposed to breathe a sign of relief, confident in the knowledge that my baby will make it home. But having lost Nieve at 31 weeks, I feel like the goalposts have moved, only they’ve moved right up to the finish line. I have no real concept of a ‘safe zone’ anymore and statistics do little to ease my nerves. 1 in every 200 babies are stillborn in the UK. Nieve was that one in 200. Medical professionals have said “There’s very little chance of it happening again” but it can happen, It did happen, and there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again.
This pregnancy is my mountain and the only way forward is to climb- one step at a time. When you look up at a mountain, it can look incredibly steep and reaching the summit can seem impossible. Nine months of impossible. But if you focus only on the effort it takes to make each small step then it feels much more achievable. And when the going gets tough, when I’m tired and feeling like I can’t carry on, I’ll try to remember that the view from the top could be amazing…