The journey to motherhood, and the looming worries
With the anticipation of waiting for that pregnancy test to turn positive, I was under the impression that getting pregnant was a one time easy go-at-it. However, what I realised, is that many women aren’t that lucky. Between ovulation sticks, charting your temperature, period calendars and other not so public tactics to catch ovulation, the effort that is put forth to get pregnant, becomes a science. You start to lose track of the fact that sex with your better half should be fun and exciting. Then, when you least expect it, you’re pregnant.
The excitement controls your every thought as you frantically decide how and when you’re going to tell your partner. You can’t believe this is happening. Your first impulse may be to stock up on everything baby related. However, when you show up to the counter and the cashier asks, “Is this all for you?” You remember what your superstitious Nonna said about not telling anyone until you are at least three months along. So the response may be simply, “It is for a friend.” As you wait in anticipation for your partner to come home you realize there is no better way to tell your husband, other than blurting it out and showing him the urine filled pregnancy test. And so the journey to motherhood begins.
As amazing and exciting as this news is, reality kicks in, and in the back of your mind floats the difficult “what if?” questions. What if my last night out of drinking altered the baby somehow? What if that skydiving trip caused some sort of complication? What if I miscarry? All of these questions and more start flooding your mind with doubt and fear. As you start to rationalize with yourself, and figure out what to do, there is always friends and family telling you it is going to be alright. Giving you hope when you feel something just might not be right. Your loved ones mean well, but the truth is, you are the only one who can decipher what is happening to your body.
So as time goes on and you start to feel the never ending symptoms of the first trimester, the excitement of that 12-week ultrasound gets closer and closer. You will finally get the chance to see what is happening inside of you.
Now here is where it fell apart, at least for me.
When the doctor brought me into the ultrasound room, I had a feeling something just wasn’t right. Rather than listening to my instincts, I listened to everyone else. I pushed my worries and concerns back, as I had been doing for the last few months. As the technician began the ultrasound, clicking through a few images, her tone changed. I knew at that point, my instincts were correct. My husband was supposed to be asked in, to see the baby on the screen, but instead she excused me back to the doctor’s office. As soon as I sat down, I turned to my husband and said, “Something’s wrong”. When the doctor came in with the nurse, we were given the dreaded news, that there was no heartbeat and that the baby had stopped growing at 6-7 weeks. In utter shock, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “How soon can we start trying again?” Trying desperately not to cry, I started asking the questions that I felt I should have asked a while ago.
Going home that day, we did nothing but cry. I was lucky to be put on a list to have surgery the next day, but was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster that I was about to go through. Along with the pain of having to tell everyone we had lost the baby, came the fear of embarrassment and judgement.
I felt like I needed answers. I needed to know why this happened. Countless search results provided no answers. I obsessed over the details of what I could have done differently. The only information I found, that truly resonated with me, was the statistics around miscarriages. The stat was; that 3 women a day, are told that they had miscarried. I thought, why don’t people talk about this? Why is this not well known?
As the weeks went by, I realized how incredibly difficult this loss can weigh on a woman’s whole being. The physical complications that came with my miscarriage lasted for 2-3 months. My body was still holding onto the idea of being pregnant, which made my recovery long and strenuous. Not just physically, but mentally. It felt like I was never going to be normal.
This experience had altered my mind forever. I developed panic attacks, and my already existing anxiety, became worse. I realized that there were more underlying issues that I needed to deal with. My husband and I decided the best thing to do was to go and see a couple’s therapist. The sessions helped us realize that there is more to getting pregnant than biological science. The mind set must be there to help overcome and deal with all obstacles that are present with any pregnancy.
This experience will forever hold heavy in our hearts. However, we have not lost hope. In fact we are now 8 months pregnant with our little boy. We will always remember the soul we lost, as a part of our family forever. To all of the women who have gone through this and are going through this, you are not alone, and I promise it will get easier.