The two lines on the home pregnancy test are only small, but they are enough to induce the strangest fixture of fear and excitement you have ever experienced. Will this be the baby you get to bring home? Please God, let this be the one you can bring home.
You feel like going out in public is going out in a minefield. Will you see someone who doesn't know this is a subsequent pregnancy? Someone who tells you "not to worry, it won't happen again"? Or maybe, just maybe, you'll bump into someone who gives you a hug and acknowledges it's both a wonderful and scary time. You don't know what to expect, and the unknown is hard.
You get excited about wearing maternity clothes again. But when the time comes, you can't bring yourself to wear the same ones as last time; the memories are too strong. It feels ridiculous to go buy new ones, after all, the old ones were only worn for a few months. But the need to have different ones cannot be ignored. It doesn't make sense, but then again, nothing on this journey does.
Ultrasounds are nerve-wracking. It's not enough to feel the baby kick during the scan, you need to see the heartbeat before your own pounding heartbeat will settle down. Instead of simply enjoying seeing your little baby on the screen, you spend most of the time hoping and praying that each measurement is what it should be and that every aspect of your little miracle is what it should be.
Seeing another pregnant woman is also on the list of things that are hard. They all look so carefree. Do they know how lucky they are? What a truly amazing thing it is to have a living baby, whether born or unborn? You feel jealous of their joyful naivety, but at the same time cannot help but wonder if they too are the 1 in 4 whose innocence about pregnancy has been harshly ripped away.
Feeling your baby kick and move around brings a sense of peace. But some days they move so much that it's slightly annoying, painful even. But you dare not admit that to anyone, because you know how blessed you are to even be feeling those movements in the first place. The same is true for general pregnancy aches and pains. The pain that you feel as your muscles and ligaments stretch is legitimate and yet, you know you should be grateful for that pain. It means you have gotten further in your pregnancy than many women ever do. The bigger the baby, the more chance they have of surviving...right?
The knowledge that this pregnancy is a gift, a wonderful miracle, is always with you. But at the same time, you're tired of being pregnant. It takes most people nine months of pregnancy to bring home a baby. You'll be doing eighteen months, if indeed you get to bring this baby home. Pregnancy isn't a walk in the park, it's tough on your body and you don't have the baby to show for last time's effort and strain. Your body is weary, but the simple act of acknowledging that brings waves of guilt. Don't you know how lucky you are? How many women would give anything to be in the position you're in?
You don't quite know what to do with the whole "nesting" instinct. After all, the baby clothes are still freshly washed from last time, the cot is still set up, the nursery is already ready. It feels silly to buy new things, it's not like the items you have now got any use. How do you balance wise spending with the need to have things different from last time? It's just one more question on the list of unanswerable questions.
Speaking of unanswerable questions:
How can you tell me everything will be alright? You don't know that.
Why did this happen to me? Why am I the one facing this paradox?
Will I ever be comfortable again - comfortable meeting new people, comfortable around little Ariella-aged girls, comfortable during a subsequent pregnancy?
Why do people expect this pregnancy and this baby to fix me? Don't they realise I don't need to be fixed, I need to be allowed to grieve?
And finally, why is it so hard to admit all of this? Why does it feel like admitting all of this somehow means I am not trusting God? That I'm not grateful for this little baby? Because I do trust Him. I am grateful for this little baby. But pregnancy after loss is one of the greatest paradoxes in life.
|To read all the posts in this series, click here.|
If you have been pregnant after a loss, did you find it to be a great paradox? If you are yet to conceive your rainbow, do you already feel this way?