Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss

Getting pregnant again after a loss, or even a preemie, can be a very difficult and highly personal decision. We have been through almost an entire pregnancy now with our rainbow baby. These are the things that I personally have found helpful in pregnancy after loss.

1. Find a doctor who supports you and will respect your experiences. This is probably the most important thing. If you liked and felt supported by the doctor you had with your loss, it's nice to be able to see them for additional pregnancies because they know what you've been through already.

I mentioned here on the blog the time I went to a new doctor at the same practice I had with the boys. The doctor and I totally didn't connect, I felt judged and unsupported, and I haven't seen this doctor since and I don't feel bad about it. If you have experienced a traumatic pregnancy or birth, whether you lost a baby or had a preemie, there are enough other worries and fears and you need to feel like you have the support of the ones taking care of you and baby.

Your doctor should respect that what you've been through is incredibly difficult and not something that just goes away overnight. There are so many triggers of emotions and memories involved even with going to the same doctor's office. While they should also encourage you and help you see the positive, they should also acknowledge that you will have worries and that you will experience things differently than a "normal" pregnant person.

2. Do what will help you feel the most comfortable and have the least regrets. I have called my doctor's office multiple times over things that I figured were "nothing" but I needed to hear it out loud for the reassurance. If something feels off or you just plain need to know that baby is okay, then do what you need to do.

I was given a doppler by a fellow loss mom and it was a huge help. There are people that don't want to have one in case they aren't able to find the baby's heartbeat or it causes more stress, which is totally understandable. For me, it was the reassurance I needed until I could feel the baby moving.

3. Ask for support. Find a close family member, spouse, or friend that you can go to with your hopes and your fears. Someone that can help you keep perspective but that you can also voice your worries (and your dreams!) to. And do voice them! Anyone who knows what you have been through will understand, to some degree, that this will be a hard, stressful time for you and hopefully support you in that.

4. Take it one day at a time. It's understandably easy to look at the whole pregnancy and to think about what could go wrong and panic. Trust me, I've been there. This quote is one that I repeat to myself often "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of it's troubles, it empties today of it's strength". It's impossible to not ever worry, it's just in our human nature. Go there, voice your worries or write them down, and then focus on the present and getting through that moment.

5. Take things people say with a grain of salt and some forgiveness. Just like when you lost your baby, people will still say silly things that will make you mad, especially in your hormonal state. Don't worry, it won't happen again. Everything is going to be fine, you'll see. These are a few of my least favorites. Our rational brains and some statistics could probably confirm that yes, it is unlikely that it will happen again, but the trauma is there. And really, we don't know that it won't happen again. Our feelings and emotions are forever changed because we've been there and we know what it feels like to love and lose and it is certainly one of my greatest fears that it could happen again.

6. Do your best to connect with baby, even though it's hard. There were many times where I felt like maybe if I just didn't get too attached to the baby that it would be easier if the baby passed away. A friend reminded me to enjoy every day that I was given with the baby, whether it was 2 months or a lifetime.

Pregnancy after a loss is going to be hard no matter what. We bear the scars of something that no one ever imagines going through. We live every day without our children and we know what it feels like and of course we fear that it could happen again. The feelings are very valid and you will experience them. Find people who can support you and help you through. And hopefully, you will get the boring (and exciting in good ways) pregnancy you have always dreamed of!

Anything else you fellow baby loss or preemie parents would add?

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