Pregnancy After Loss

June 14, 2020

I never expected to experience a pregnancy loss, let alone two. My first pregnancy with Jackson was almost 100% worry free. Of course the worry of the possibility of having a miscarriage crossed my mind a time or two, but that was different than actually having and feeling the emotional and physical pain that comes with loss. Because of that ease with my first pregnancy, an almost sort of naivety of bliss, our first miscarriage hit hard (which you can read about here).

After I got out of the Air Force our "plan" was to have 3-4 kids close in age, but of course that did not go to plan. After having Jax we tried for about 3/4 of a year (which is not very long for some people) when we finally got the second positive test. That pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. After that came a period of grief, yet a period of still trying to get pregnant, because we so badly wanted more children. It took over a year after the first miscarriage to get pregnant again. Between that time the doctor told me that I could be experiencing secondary infertility, and they would start running the usual infertility testing. We started some of the tests and I naturally got a second positive pregnancy test. We unfortunately lost that pregnancy as well last Memorial Day Weekend. You can read about our second loss here.

With more infertility tests run, more ultrasounds, a billion blood draws and a lot of appointments later came another positive pregnancy test about 7 months after our second loss. The doctor put me on Progesterone and two other medications in order to help maintain my pregnancy. Now, 23 weeks later, I am here to tell you about what pregnancy after loss may be like for you.

1. Give your heart room to grieve

Whether or not you think you have "fully" grieved your loss, more grief may come. Grieving is a journey and experiencing a loss is a journey. It is raw and unfiltered and sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Do not judge yourself for having unexpected emotions that reoccur from your pregnancy loss or new emotions that come with your current pregnancy.

I like to compare my grief to sitting on a surfboard in the ocean. Sometimes it will flow right under me, barely a ripple beneath the board. Sometimes it will come in like a big wave and you either ride it in or you fall of the board. And sometimes it can pull you back out to deeper waters like a riptide and you may need some extra help to get back out of the deep water. Accept how the grief feels and swim through the waves of emotions without judging your own pain.

2. Expect to worry

I am not going to lie---nothing about pregnancy after loss is carefree.

In the back of your brain you may be thinking about the "what-ifs" and the negative side of things that you have already experienced. You have seen how hard it can be and it is tough to come back from that. I can honestly say that there are not many moments when I have not worried. Which is truly tough, because i oftentimes wish I could go back to the almost naive feelings I had during my first pregnancy.

Your current pregnancy will most likely be tainted with fear and negative emotions, when in reality it should be such a joyous time for you and your partner. Every twinge of pain, every cramp, every underwear check will be filled with the fear of miscarriage.

2. Everything will feel heightened

Like I said above, you are going to analyze EVERY SINGLE THING about this pregnancy. You are going to be hyper-aware of every feeling in your body. Every symptom may bring on a fear that you are miscarrying. You may compare your symptoms to pregnancy/ies you have had in the past and it is hard to not let your mind slide to negative feelings. Try not to overanalyze---but trust me, I know that is way easier said than done.

3. Passing milestones and appointments

This has been a very tough one for me personally. Driving to each appointment has brought on a stint of nervousness and fear that I will hear the same thing horrible news coming from the doctor again. Every ultrasound has been tainted with fear of a lack of yolk sack, to a loss of movement, to a loss of a heartbeat. To say I sweat through my clothes at every ultrasound appointment is an understatement.  Every Doctor's visit has reminded me of the losses I have had and the fear that came with it, instead of pure joy. Even after I saw the baby move and was told "there's the heartbeat", I have still tended to be nervous, or airing on the side of caution with my emotions.

4. Feeling overly connected or not as connected

Speaking of airing on the side of caution with my emotions...

What I mean is that I have tried to keep my emotions in check since our first pregnancy loss. I used to be SOO excited for every appointment during my pregnancy with Jax. Now it is a little bit of a different story.

Now I find myself filling out the same forms for pregnancy that I filled out with my two last pregnancies and how they ended too soon. When they draw my blood for the current pregnancy I find my mind wandering to all of the HCG blood draws I had to go through to make sure it went down to zero after my two previous losses. I find myself not wanting to take as many belly pictures because I don't want to lose this baby and then be reminded of it as I scroll through old pictures.

I try not to be too negative or too excited, in case the pregnancy were to end in a loss again. I have found myself guarding my emotions in the matter of "connecting" to the pregnancy. I caught myself saying "if this pregnancy is successful" a lot of the time instead of "when we have this baby". My confidence in my own body to produce a successful pregnancy has gone down. You may always have that unexplainable guilt so it may be hard to connect to your new pregnancy right off the bat.

5. Guilt

GUILT. There will be a lot of guilt. I never knew guilt could come in so many forms.

Guilt for feeling the least bit excited for the new pregnancy, not wanting it to overshadow your previous pregnancies/losses.

Guilt in your own body for losing your previous baby. And now guilt towards expecting your body to lose this battle again.

Guilt in not yet being able to provide a sibling for your previous child.

Guilt for when to tell family and friends, for you don't want to put them through any type of loss again.

Guilt for when to announce. We waited until WEEK 20 to announce our current pregnancy. That is a long time to have that fear in announcing your journey to the world. Make sure your feel comfortable at when you tell people or post on social media. Some want to announce the pregnancy right away as a result of being overjoyed that they were able to conceive again, and some are overly cautious and wanting to wait to make sure the pregnancy is viable and healthy. It is up to you, this is your journey.

6. Insensitive Comments

Be prepared for well intentioned, yet sometimes insensitive comments. A lot of the times people will think they are saying something helpful or positive, when in reality only you feel the slight sting of their words. Death makes people uncomfortable. Miscarriage, infertility and loss makes people even more uncomfortable. It is hard to truly know what anyone is going through in these type of situations unless you have experienced them yourself.

Know that every statement made is made from a place of love or a place of trying to understand what you have gone through.

7. You never quite feel "out of the woods"

No matter which pregnancy milestone you pass, or how far along you are, you may always feel like you are not out of the woods.

This is why we personally waited until we found out the gender to announce that we were even pregnant. I still worry every moment that I don't feel movement, but it is out of my hands. This pregnancy has seemingly gone very slow due to all of this added fear of the unknown, but we are now at week 23. With each passing day we grow closer and closer to a new baby boy joining our family. I know that I won't feel fully out of the woods until I am holding my crying baby boy in my arms, but I now have hope that we will get there. Surround yourself with loved ones who care and support you. These are the people that will help you get through it all.


With all of this in mind, I know that this journey is not an easy one. You are going to feel so many different unexplainable emotions. There will be happy times and sad times. There will be tough reminders of your loss but also new joy in what's to come. Get any and all the support you need in this journey, because 40 weeks can either go by extremely slow, or extremely fast. I wish you all the luck and joy with this new pregnancy, and send you all the love and comfort for your previous loss/es. I hope that you and your partner are able to experience the joy of a "rainbow baby" after the storm that you have weathered.

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