Three pregnancy losses does something to your psyche that may not reveal itself until a seemingly successful pregnancy occurs after. After the implantation of our little one in March, I was convinced I would feel confident once we heard the heartbeat. The heartbeat was this monumental point in pregnancy we never experienced with our prior losses, so getting to this point for this pregnancy was everything. What I didn’t expect was that the anxiety wasn’t going anywhere and pregnancy after loss is really hard. Fortunately, I have found some tips to manage the anxiety and calm these frantic nerves.
Give Up Control
Googling articles on miscarriage and prevention became a common pastime for me in the first trimester. I could have told you the statistics, each week, on the chances of pregnancy loss. What I discovered was that there was literally nothing I could do, and reading articles wasn’t helping my anxiety. I wanted to control my chances, but that isn’t how it works. What I could do was give it to a higher power. This can be God or any other spiritual realm. If religion and spirits aren’t your thing, even just taking deep breaths and focusing on positive thinking. Telling yourself, “This baby is thriving and doing well,” can serve the same purpose. Dealing with pregnancy after loss all comes down to taking the control from yourself and releasing it. You will be amazed how freeing that can be.
What has really helped me has been setting different milestones. After the six-week appointment, where we heard his perfect heartbeat, I needed another milestone to look forward to. For me, that was passing the 12-week mark. From there it was each ultrasound. It may differ for you, but breaking pregnancy down into increments can help you focus your attention on now versus getting through 40 weeks. Pregnancy after loss is daunting in itself and thinking about carrying this miracle for almost 10 months can be intimidating. Take one appointment at a time and celebrate those moments.
At our 16-week appointment, I was told everything looked fantastic but there was just one minor thing they saw. They indicated I have Circumvallate Placenta. This basically means my placenta curves in at the edges where it attaches to my uterus. It is very rare and they said I might just need one extra appointment to monitor the baby’s growth. I am not kidding when I tell you that I almost passed out. I started seeing the spots, and the room was off. That poor doctor felt awful as they gave me water and calmed me down.
Of course, the minute I got home I started Googling. Dr. Google had me convinced I was going to go into preterm labor or the baby wouldn’t make it. I finally called my actual doctor who reassured me she has seen this many times and nothing happened. She said she wasn’t worried and it is a normal variant. I then told her about my fears and anxiety with being pregnant after loss and she totally got it. She offered me what Google couldn’t and that was reassurance that you can have random oddities in your pregnancy and still be just fine.
Talk or Write it Out
I am going to say it: our minds are our worst enemies. When thoughts are held hostage in there, it only induces more fear. It wasn’t until I started talking about my fears to those close to me that I realized I was worried about things that hadn’t happened and very well likely will not happen. More rational thoughts started occurring just from talking with someone else. I realized how smooth this pregnancy had been, how far along I was, and how I had no signs of the impending doom I was convincing myself would occur. Does pregnancy come with risks? Of course it does, but pregnancy after loss doesn’t mean that what happened before will happen again.
Take Care of Yourself
Self care is critical for those of us in the pregnancy after loss club. A calm and sound mama can only do well for a little peanut growing inside her. I started doing yoga the minute I found out we were pregnant and haven’t stopped. It starts my day on this positive, calm note. Taking walks to get fresh air have also been a daily occurrence. I walk one mile in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both times I listen to my tunes and zone out. This time is for me and it is benefiting us both. I also recommend getting some pampering done. I got a relaxation treatment at Douglas J in East Lansing and felt like a new person after. This baby deserves a calm environment and I deserve a calm pregnancy.
Being a person who never experienced anxiety before, this has been a valuable lesson for me. I now understand how debilitating it can be, how the triggers can come out of nowhere, and how convincing the thoughts are. I also learned that there are things you can do to help yourself during those times. The biggest defense is to not allow it to consume you. Instead, spend your energy on loving that baby and this pregnancy so hard, there isn’t room for anything else.