Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Overcoming Hesitation

Today I am honoured to share my friend Brittany's story with you. Her son Samuel was stillborn just eight days before Ariella died. While I wish that both of us still had our babies in our arms, I have been so grateful to have Brittany to journey with this year. This is her story of the obstacles she has overcome when thinking about a rainbow baby.

For me walking the path of grief has led to many different feelings regarding another baby and pregnancy. At first, after my son was stillborn at 33 weeks, I was so overwhelmed by losing him the thought of another baby felt light-years away. I would think about having another baby as if it was a dream, or something for way in the future. I was very content with my three children and not sure that I even ever wanted another baby (although I figured that would change as time went on).

As time went on I became more and more adamant in my own mind that I did not want to get pregnant. I was scared by the idea that perhaps another baby would take Samuel's place in my heart and I might "forget" him (I knew that was far from true, but I couldn't even handle the idea of it). The thought of giving birth and holding another baby right after terrified me. Unbeknownst to me this whole time (or most of it) that I was so sure I didn't want to be pregnant I actually was. The day before the 3 month anniversary of my son's birthday I took a pregnancy test and found I was expecting. I was consumed with fear, a tiny bit of excitement (that the fear promptly squashed), frustration and a lot of uncertainty. I knew from the moment I saw those two lines that something was not right and this baby wasn't going to make it either.

The next day, as I wrestled with what-ifs I started cramping and bleeding. As the day went on it intensified to sharp pains and I was barely able to walk or stand. We went into the emergency room (of the same hospital where my son had been born 3 months before, to the day) and the doctor told me I had suffered a miscarriage and that I needed to have surgery to remove a cyst on my ovary. Surgery was scheduled for 5 days later and when I woke up afterwards I was I informed that I had actually had an ectopic pregnancy that burst. Honestly, I was so relieved. So much so that I felt guilty for not mourning losing another baby. I knew I wasn't ready to handle the emotional roller coaster of a pregnancy after loss and losing "Baby #4" (we have not named him/her yet, though we plan to) was so unexpected.

A little over a month later I found out that I have an autoimmune blood clotting disorder called, 'Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome.' It is this disorder that caused the placental abruption I had with Samuel. This brought on so many, many new emotions I've struggled with and it caused me to feel even more adamantly that I did not want to have another baby anytime soon. I felt as if it was my fault that Samuel died, and finding out that if I went through another pregnancy it would mean daily shots, extensive monitoring after 32 weeks, and probably an induction overwhelmed me. I am the kind of person that likes to know all my options, research each one, and find the route I am most comfortable with. My first two children were born at home, the second was a waterbirth and I had loved the comfort and relaxation of having my babies at home and had hoped I could still do that in the future. Knowing now that I can't and there are so many decisions to make and things to research made me sure I didn't want another baby.

I struggled with these feelings for a few months until God (and Larissa! :)) helped me to realize that my obsessing over when to get pregnant and wanting to have every little detail worked out was, in reality, not letting Him have control. As time has gone on I have become more excited at the thought of another pregnancy. We have not been blessed with a rainbow baby yet, but I know that regardless of the future God will bring me through it, just as He has with Samuel and Baby #4.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

Thank you Brittany for being willing to share your story with us. Has any one else faced medical issues that impact on your feelings regarding a rainbow pregnancy?


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