Thursday, December 4, 2014

Getting Pregnant After a Miscarriage

It's crazy how quickly you forget things.  I found this post sitting there untouched since I wrote it right after finding out we were pregnant way back at the beginning of August.  As I read back through the post I was reminded of how emotional I was when we were trying to get pregnant this time.  I had totally forgotten how crazy waiting made me.  The pain of our miscarriage has also waned to the point of a distant memory.  I can see how years down the road it would be hard to remember ever being sad in the first place.  At this point in my life I'm so focused on Carter and being pregnant and the excitement and joy that comes with preparing to welcome a new life, I honestly haven't thought of that day in March when we found out we had lost the baby in months.  It's amazing that at the time it felt like it would hurt forever.  There was a small part of me that constantly felt sad.  Now it's a stretch to even remember the sadness.  I am so thankful for that and the ability for time to help heal wounds.  I know that expecting a new baby has relieved a lot of my sadness because much of it stemmed from a worry that we were done and wouldn't be able to have more children.  I was grieving the loss of the baby, but also the thought that I may never get to experience pregnancy again and I do love being pregnant.  After pondering whether to go ahead and publish this post after so much time and after the sadness has faded, I decided that was the exact reason why I needed to post it.  I need to remember how hard it was not necessarily just for myself, but so I can have empathy for others going through similar situations.  It's nice to let your memory fade and only remember the good, but I think it takes away from your ability to connect with and make others feel better and less alone.  So here are my thoughts on our journey through attempting to conceive after a miscarriage when it was all still so raw and fresh...

Written August 3, 2014

Both with Carter and the baby we lost we got pregnant the first month we started trying.  To say I was spoiled would be an understatement.  I told Ty I felt guilty that I had never been disappointed to get my period.  Then I miscarried and my period grew to have a whole new meaning.  That first month after we miscarried I cried so hard when I got my period.  It wasn't that I was hoping to be pregnant again, we hadn't even tried because I wasn't emotionally ready.  I was so desperate to be pregnant again to fill that emptiness in my heart, but we knew that wasn't the right reason to get pregnant.  Pregnancy should never be to fix something, it should be to bring a baby into the world.  At that point getting pregnant would have been for me, to fix me.  It wouldn't have been for Carter or the baby.  We decided we weren't ready and needed time to heal, so we sat that first month out.  I cried when I got my period because it reminded me of the day I miscarried.  When I wiped and saw blood my heart dropped into my stomach as all the memories flooded back into my head.  Every day of my period was hard as I felt like I was reliving the loss every time I went to the bathroom and I even stopped drinking as much water in an attempt to avoid it.

April came along and I was feeling much better.  It was still very fresh on my mind and very painful, but I was no longer desperate to be pregnant simply to numb the pain.  We started to feel like we were ready to try again.  I wasn't sure if I really was or if I just felt so much stronger than the previous month that I seemed emotionally ready.  Ty and I talked about trying that month, but then Ty found out he had to travel for work and we realized he'd be gone the 2 days before along with the day I would ovulate.  So April was out.  I knew in my head it was for the best, I wasn't emotionally where I should have been.  But it was hard because I hated to in my exact words, "waste any time".  I was afraid it would take a long time for us to get pregnant and I didn't want to lose months we could be trying.  I was disappointed, but I know it was for the best.

In May we ran the Tough Mudder and I was worried about the implications it would have if I were pregnant.  The race fell on what would be the 3rd week of pregnancy if I got pregnant.  That would be too early to take a test to know I shouldn't run the 11 mile obstacle course race, but I didn't want to sit the race out just in case.  Ty and I talked about not trying that month.  We also talked about me not doing the race.  Eventually we decided I would run the race and we would try, but not put too much effort into it.  I just couldn't bear the thought of actively preventing pregnancy anymore.  Although my period still brought back those memories and emotions of our miscarriage, I was actually glad to get my period in May.  It made me feel better.  I knew if I'd gotten pregnant that month I would've worried about possible implications running the Tough Mudder would have on the pregnancy.  I figured it probably wouldn't matter, but I was afraid it could result in another miscarriage and I wasn't sure I was emotionally ready to handle that kind of disappointment and pain again.

The way my cycle works out I ovulate late enough in the month that my period typically starts at the beginning of the next month.  So my June cycle ended at the beginning of July.  That cycle was my crazy cycle.  Each month I did fine until the week my period was supposed to start.  Then I was a mess and couldn't help but obsess over what the month would mean for us.  Would it end in pregnancy or would it end with a period?  I had a couple days during this cycle where I was extremely fatigued and so hungry.  I was so sure I was pregnant I took a test at about day 24 of my cycle.  I knew it was too early to be conclusive, but I couldn't help myself.  It was negative, but I knew I had taken it way too early.  That started a string of pregnancy tests that I wasted.  I waited 3 days and took another test on day 27, knowing hCG levels should double every 3 days.  The test was negative, but I took it in the evening on a whim so I decided to take another one the next morning.  I prefer digital tests because they are more accurate, but Ty had accidentally picked up dye tests.  I took a test the next morning and a faint second line appeared, saying we were pregnant.  Ty and I both got so excited.  I called my best friend, Ang, to tell her because I had to tell someone.  I didn't want to tell our parents yet since it was a dye test and I didn't fully trust it.  I wanted to take a digital test in the morning to know for sure.  Even knowing the test may have been a false positive, I got really excited.  It was all I could think about all day.  I researched how likely a false positive was and looked up pictures of tests with evaporation lines.  I counted out when we would hit major pregnancy milestones.  I was consumed in thoughts of baby and pregnancy, basking in the excitement.  Then the next morning I took a digital test that said I wasn't pregnant.  I didn't quite trust it so I took another digital test the next morning which again said not pregnant.  It turned out my body just hated me and my cycle was 31 days leaving my period 3 days late.  It was horrible timing for my period to be so late after I'd received a false positive test.  At first I thought I may have caught a chemical pregnancy with my positive test since I took it so early and my period was so late.  After thinking about it more I doubt that.  If I had enough hCG to be detected on the dye test, I should have had enough hCG present the next day with a digital test.  I think the test just showed an evaporation line and that disappointment is why I will never use a dye test again.    

When we got pregnant with Carter and with the baby we lost we just stopped preventing pregnancy, became pregnant the first month, and that was that.  There was no charting my cycle or determining when I was most likely to ovulate.  I didn't even pay attention to when my period was supposed to start and only took a pregnancy test because I felt pregnant.  This time around I did my research.  I knew ovulation most likely occurs around day 12-14 of a cycle.  I started checking my cervical mucus in an attempt to get a better idea of which day of my cycle I typically ovulated and I kept track of when my cycle was to end.  It got to the point of me obsessively waiting for my period at the end of my cycle.  I wished I could go back to that carefree, easy way it had been before.  I didn't want to know when I was ovulating.  I didn't want to know when my cycle was supposed to end.  I just wanted to do our thing and hope for the best.  After the disappointment of our false positive in July I decided it was time to stop counting out my cycle and knowing exactly what day my period should come.  I hated that last week of my cycle waiting and hoping.  Knowing I would most likely ovulate while on our trip to Virginia I was able to let go that month and stop worrying and obsessing.  You hear so many people say they got pregnant when they stopped trying.  I feel like that was part of what helped us get pregnant.  I finally stopped stressing and obsessing and became calm.  Then that was when it happened!  I sat blowing out candles on my 28th birthday wishing to become pregnant soon when I actually was already pregnant! 

So to sum it up, getting pregnant after a miscarriage caused me to be a ball of nerves.  I did fine all month until the last 7 days before my period was to arrive.  Then I would be a wreck, constantly thinking about what would happen.  Wishing I could somehow skip forward a few days and magically know what was to come.  It was a rough 5 months with the first 2 months before trying being the hardest.  Once we started trying again I was able to focus on that and it helped me with my sadness over the miscarriage.  It took us 3 months to get pregnant and I'm glad.  I feel like it put me in a better place emotionally than I would have been if we'd gotten pregnant right away. We are so excited and can hardly wait to introduce Carter to his little sibling!
Already practicing to be a big brother!  He loves sleeping with his baby doll.

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