I’ve discovered that pregnancy after miscarriage is riddled with uncertainty.
To a certain extent, I’m sure the majority of expecting women who have experienced a pregnancy loss – whether it’s a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage or a still birth – also experience some sense of anxiety during subsequent pregnancies.
I still feel sick; I must still be pregnant, I reassure myself each day.
I hold my breath each time I go to the bathroom, willing there to be no red streaks on the toilet paper.
I’ve heard a heartbeat on three separate occasions, and yet I can’t seem to convince myself that everything will be OK because I’ve painfully learned there are no guarantees in life.
Even though I’m “safely” into the second trimester now, I’m very aware that miscarriage can happen at any point during pregnancy. Something can go wrong in an instant. Even after nine months of normalcy, a still birth could tragically happen.
I wasn’t so paranoid during my first pregnancy with my son. In fact, I was blissfully naive about the prevalence of miscarriage, assuming that it would never happen to me. I didn’t realize that as many as 1 in 5 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
I’m pretty healthy. I eat the right things. I don’t smoke or drink. I’m young and invincible.
And then it did happen to me.
I found out I was pregnant this year in January, only to start bleeding in early February. The on-call OB/GYN tried to offer hope by pointing out that some women bleed like they’re having a regular period while pregnant, and they end up having perfectly healthy babies.
But I knew something wasn’t right. A trip to the ER for an ultrasound and blood testing confirmed the loss.
To get back to my original point –- miscarriage has happened to me. And it could happen again.
Because of this lingering thought in the back of my mind, I’m having trouble getting excited at all about this pregnancy. I haven’t allowed myself to get too attached at this point because it could all be ripped away without warning.
I keep hoping that I might finally relax a little when I’m able to feel the baby’s movements. These simple kicks serving as a regular reminder that everything is still OK might help to put my mind at ease. Then again, maybe they won’t.
I know I’m not the only person to ever feel this way after a pregnancy loss, and I’m sure it’s only more difficult after multiple losses.
BabyCenter offers advice to women in my shoes, but I would still appreciate your input: How did you cope with anxiety after having a miscarriage/chemical pregnancy/still birth?
This post originally appeared on the BabyCenter Blog in July, 2013.
(However it’s still relevant now, as I’m pregnant with my fourth child.)