My first pregnancy, I never considered the first trimester as anything fragile or worrisome. I didn’t realize that 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I breezed through those weeks. I didn’t hold my breath during the heartbeat checks. I didn’t notice every twinge or cramp.
My second pregnancy, again, the idea of loss never crossed my mind. At 15 weeks, I thought I felt movement. And at 15 weeks, the heartbeat was not found. I felt so tricked by my body. Betrayed. I had no warning. No signs. The shock was devastating.
So, here I am, experiencing my third pregnancy. I’ve spent the last months in a tentative dance–“embrace this life” cheek to cheek with “refuse to engage.” I started out saying, “I’m going to take it day by day. God will bring beauty regardless of the outcome.” Then a week later, I found myself taking my temperature every morning, wondering about progesterone cream, and starting chasteberry supplements. Then one morning, my temp dropped below my coverline. I picked up the phone to call my acupuncturist at least 7 times but never followed through. It is hard to explain but I felt if I tried to do something to prevent loss, the grief would be worse than if I approached it stoically.
And the anxiety of noticing every single twinge or cramp was consuming. I think I was terrible to be around. Calling a friend with questions like “What are the chances of a hydatidiform mole?” “When would I know I had an ectopic pregnancy?” Googling searches like “statistics for secondary infertility” and “chances of repeat miscarriage.” I came close to buying a doppler. Scott remained a rock of positive words and peace.
For Christmas, we wanted to surprise our parents with the news. Even as my parents opened their gift–a tiny baby hat I had knitted–I wondered if this baby would ever wear it.
Finally, I stopped all the striving. I stopped taking my temperature. I stopped taking herbs. I tentatively made a prenatal appointment on the 1st day of my 12th week. We estimate that Leaf stopped growing no later than 12 weeks so this was my milestone. Knowing it can sometimes take a while to find a heartbeat this early, I braced myself for the wait. But the heartbeat sounded loud and clear almost right away. And my anxiety melted.
I mourn the weeks I didn’t connect with this baby. Still, I think the remainder of the pregnancy will be all the more precious for it.
So, here we go! It is dangerous when a doula is planning her (likely last) birth. Oh the choices! Oh the possibilities! Stay tuned these remaining months…