It’s only 12 weeks/3 months but the first trimester of a pregnancy after loss is exhausting and here is why mine was:
The first week or so is spent with you daring to believe the pregnancy test result, or in our case ‘tests’. You carry on daily life a bit numb and then you’ll be sat at your desk at work and WHAM a wave of reality hits you. You might be pregnant again! You go through all the emotions from shock, disbelief, nerves and terror to over the moon. Hopes and fears all mixed in to one. Hopes that the baby is healthy, I have a healthy pregnancy, we are looked after properly, the baby is born crying and we get to keep this one. Fears that my second baby will die like my first, that I will miss any important signs, that family will overwhelm us, that work will stress me out, that we can’t enjoy this pregnancy and that I won’t have a natural unmedicated birth like I really want.
Having been pregnant before I knew that the first thing I had to do was arrange an appointment with my doctor and a blood test. I went to my appointment and it was such a relief to tell someone, well anyone our news. Saying it out loud to someone in a healthcare profession made it feel more real. It didn’t take long for me to break down into tears on my doctor though. Not surprising really seeming everything that was going around my head. I couldn’t help but think that I’d done this before and it didn’t end well and what would make this pregnancy any different. One of the first things I noticed was how much extra attention, care and support we were already being given.
Next was to pay a visit to my gynaecologist. I had a meeting set up already because it would have been eights months after trying for a baby at this point and we were due to discuss the next steps. When we told our gynaecologist that we thought we were pregnant, it was so lovely to see his surprise. He couldn’t call our pregnancy viable at this stage as a heartbeat hadn’t been seen as it was only 5/6 weeks gestation but seeing what we could on the screen was amazing. We couldn’t help but feel blessed.
Our gynaecologist commented how his job can be very hard sometimes but finding out our news had made his week which was lovely to hear. However I came away not satisfied and thinking what we had found out at the appointment wasn’t enough for me. I needed to have firm confirmation that our baby was alive. Despite not having another scan for a further two weeks we had decided to share our news with close family so they could understand what we were going through. My sister and I had a joint birthday celebration with family coming up and my husband and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share the news.
The two week wait between the scan and birthday celebration was so difficult. I had this big secret and was trying to cope with all the emotions it was bringing. I managed to lose half a stone in weight in those two weeks which I put down to the stress and worry plus starting to feel a little nauseous. I was very nervous the day of the family gathering but it felt more real than when I was building up the courage to tell them with our last pregnancy.
I decided to reveal the news to my sister first in a birthday card from her nephew angel Freddie. It said he thanked her for being a great auntie to him but now it was time for her to be auntie to his little sister or brother too. She read the card and I can’t repeat the words she said but she was in shock and unbelievably excited. My mother and step father were close by and couldn’t understand what was going on. My sister handed my mother the card to read and they gave each other a massive hug. We were delighted to see their excitement and didn’t want to put a damper on things but we were also trying to be realistic and kept saying it was early days and we were waiting to see the heartbeat. I then texted, Skyped, phoned and told other family members and work colleagues. It was such a relief and felt more real as we shared the news with other people.
At my next scan we got the news we had been waiting for and saw a strong heartbeat. It was reassuring to finally know that there was a baby growing inside of me, albeit a very small one that doesn’t resemble anything like a baby at this stage, but it was ALIVE! We were still a bit in shock I think but believe it or not I still wasn’t 100% satisfied though and couldn’t work out exactly why I wasn’t bouncing off the walls with excitement. I talked about it with my husband Rik and we came to the conclusion that it still felt unreal to me and that I was waiting for the bad news. It’s so hard once you’ve been ‘the one’, to think that this time everything might work out okay.
We were just starting to believe it all and beginning to enjoy it when at 10 weeks I had a bleed at work. I had not really bled that much during my last pregnancy so immediately thought something must be wrong and that I was losing the baby. I phoned my husband and told him to meet me at A&E and somehow managed to drive myself to the hospital whilst repeatedly telling my baby to stay with us. We had an hour’s wait in A&E to be seen which was so hard.
Whilst sat in reception I kept popping to the toilet to see if I had bled anymore. I hadn’t so this gave me the tiniest bit of hope. However, my brain had already started processing the fact that this wasn’t going to be good news and thoughts of how to tell my family we had lost the baby and having to start trying again went through my head.
My husband and I had mentally prepared ourselves for the worst during that wait. I was seen by a doctor who said my stomach felt normal and that we would have to wait a further half an hour to be seen by a gynaecologist. I lay there on that bed and just tried to relax but it was so hard. They eventually scanned me and for a minute or so I couldn’t see our baby move and even said out loud “There’s nothing there” but we were reassured with a visible heartbeat. They put it down to just one of those pregnancy bleeds possibly caused by a burst blood vessel.
We went home that day mentally exhausted and trying to take it all in that our baby was still alive and okay. This really made us take things a bit slower and appreciate our baby still being with us. We had moments where we were scared to plan but then determined to keep going as before.
The next week my mind was fortunately pre-occupied as Guernsey Sands (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death), the charity I am a committee member for, were to donate a cuddle cot to the hospital. I knew it was going to be a hard week visiting the ward but it didn’t even cross my mind that the press call might take place in the very delivery room I birthed Freddie in. It was the first time I had set foot in that room since being wheeled out that night having given Freddie my first and last kiss. Ideally I would have wanted to be with my husband the first time I revisited the room but the other committee members were there with me.
The room had been redecorated and the layout changed and it was a nice bright day compared to the dark night when I’d been in the room last. I coped though and had the courage to get through that day, partly due to knowing I was carrying Freddie’s sibling. I went home that night and told my husband how I was worried that the new vision I had of the room would somehow wipe the memory of the special day we met our son. I managed to reassure myself that my brain would be able to separate the two.
The next week was well and truly needed as we had our 12 week scan at what we thought was 11 weeks and 4 days gestation. We were so scared but also looking forward to it and hoping that it would give us some much needed reassurance. The two days before the scan I had to take off work. I was just not feeling right. Emotional, tired, weepy and fuzzy headed. We had a lovely sonographer who really took his time and understood our concerns and worry. At the scan we got the reassurance we needed. A moving baby with everything looking as normal as possible. It was amazing to see our beautiful baby with its cute nose, just like Freddie’s. It even had its thumb in its mouth which was adorable and we joked was just like me. The baby looked softer than Freddie and both Rik and I thought it was a girl. We were also informed that the pregnancy was further along and our baby was measuring 12 weeks and 4 days gestation instead!
We were so proud to finally share our exciting and scary news with everyone. We decided to announce our pregnancy in a video which respected and included Freddie but was all about his little brother or sister. We wanted to show how we were just as excited about this pregnancy as with Freddie’s. We then posted some scan pictures to show how beautiful our baby was, how proud we were and how already loved our second baby was.