I’m currently writing this just shy of six weeks pregnant with our sixth pregnancy. Writing that this is our sixth pregnancy just caused me to pause and make sure that’s correct. I’ve been pregnant six times now, and I have to babies playing in the next room, three in heaven, and one whose fate is to be determined. I don’t write that to sound morbid, in fact I’m actually, in this current moment, really hopeful for this pregnancy but not without a hefty dose of caution and fear. It’s something I’ve been working on, the fear piece. But while the thoughts and emotions are fresh – in the waiting and wondering and praying that comes with the first trimester for anyone, but especially us mommas who know loss intimately – I wanted to write what it’s like to be a miscarriage momma pregnant (again), hoping (again), praying (again and again) and pleading with God that I don’t have to lose another baby.
For us mommas who know loss, a positive pregnancy test is met with some degree of excitement but a lot of caution. It means that instead of surprising your husband with a fun announcement or telling him in a creative way, you text him in the middle of the day with a matter of fact, “We’re pregnant again.” Or, you pee on a stick and come out of the bathroom saying something like, “I guess we’re pregnant or something.” Shrugging off the temptation to get hopeful because you know what it feels like to experience loss.
Sure, us miscarriage mommas think a bit about what a baby in August would look like, what it would be like to be majorly pregnant in the summer, jot down mental notes on baby names, toss a few names back and forth with their husbands now and again in that first trimester, but it’s all with the disclaimer of “if we have a baby in August” rather than “when we have a baby in August.” It kills me, because I want to be hopeful. I want to be excited. I want to savor ever single minute of what could very well be my last pregnancy if things work out the way we hope they do. But I’m also so weary from hurting and experiencing loss that my heart is wrapped in concrete where pregnancy is concerned.
I’m willing to guess that a fair share of moms in this camp also own a home doppler, like I do, and are probably more skilled than their doctor at locating a heartbeat. I can’t tell you how many appointments I went to where I would watch my doctor try to find a heartbeat, holding back the urge to just offer to find it myself because, well, I knew exactly where baby was hiding. My fellow miscarriage mommas probably also subconsciously check the toilet paper for signs of blood or spotting every time they go to the bathroom. Who, as time progresses, fall into a minor panic every time it’s been a while since they last felt baby move. Mommas who pray for morning sickness and symptoms to ease their mind and get them to their next appointment. Who test progesterone levels every two weeks and take countless shots and drink herbal supplements that taste like a barnyard smells because maybe, just maybe, all of those things together will tip the scales in our favor this time around. Who go into ultrasound rooms expecting the worst while hoping for the best. Who remind themselves that if they get bad news, they will be OK because, you know, they’ve done this before.
If my thoughts and words seem a bit of a jumbled mess, it’s probably a good indication of where my heart is at in this current season. Sitting (rather impatiently) in the in-between time, a time of what-ifs, hope, fear. All jumbled together. It’s hard to sort out those feelings and thoughts, difficult to form concise words with a clear direction. So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I’ll wait, and pray, and count down the next 72 hours until I walk into that ultrasound room. And even then? Even if we heart a heartbeat? I wish I could tell my fellow miscarriage mommas that it would get easier after that, but the truth is that it won’t. It will continue to be scary and hard, but that’s the cross you bear when you’ve lost a baby at any stage in the game.
The other day my doctor told me that this could, if I allowed it to be, a time of refinement and an opportunity to deepen my faith. My husband has echoed those same sentiments during times when I’ve been particularly worried. I can’t say I think either my doctor or husband quite understand what it’s like to be on my side of this experience, but I have to say that I agree God can work in big ways during times when we feel so incredibly week and prone to big fears. Lord, may you be glorified in my worry. May your power be made complete in my complete weakness. May you protect this baby. And even if you don’t, may your will be done.