Monday, February 17, 2014

Lessons Learned through Pregnancy Loss

I was getting to a place where I could start to see some blessings from my miscarriage in October.  Not that a miscarriage in itself is a blessing, but even the most painful life events can bear fruit.  But with another loss so closely on its heels, I'm having a hard time seeing those blessings again.  For those of you who are suffering from loss, I hope that this guest post by Cat is as much a beacon of hope to you as it is to me.  I hope I'll one day be able to look back on our losses with the same optimism as she.

It has been 3 years since my miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy. The short story is that I found out at my first ultrasound that the baby (or "fetal pole" as the technical term was) had passed a few weeks earlier. A week later, I miscarried naturally, both in a bathroom at a drugstore and at home. Three days later, I went on a previously-scheduled road trip to New Orleans. You can read the story on my blog, written way back in February of 2011. 

I went on to have a normal pregnancy a few months later, and the result of that is our beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Cora. Over these past few years, I realize I learned a few things from my miscarriage. Most of them are good.  

1. That I Actually Am Fertile For most women that that struggle with infertility, getting the positive test is most of the battle. We had been charting for a year (but not for ttc purposes), but a pretty cycle doesn't always equal fertility.  I actually had no reservations that it would be our only positive test.  

2. What Pregnancy Feels Like . . . and Doesn't With my first pregnancy, I stopped having symptoms after a few short weeks. In retrospect, I realize it was probably around the time the baby passed.  Even though I only got a little taste of how my body feels when pregnant, I did feel it. In my second pregnancy, I was happy that the exhaustion and nausea remained through the whole first trimester, even though it wasn't very fun. This also helped me recently when I had a chemical pregnancy (very early miscarriage) with absolutely zero symptoms. I knew something was off and was much more mentally prepared for what did occur. I know pregnancy can look and feel different each time, but my own experience gave me the 'gut feelings' (good or bad) that has helped me later.  

3. What Labor Feels Like Since my miscarriage was my first pregnancy, that actually means it was also my first time in labor. It sucked. And I learned I should never be behind the wheel of a car stuck at every red light in town while it is happening. When I went into labor at 2 days past my due date with Cora, I knew exactly what was happening. I also knew not to rush around or even wake my husband for a while.  
4. That I Should Find a New Doctor Obviously this was a personal revelation, but I had never really wanted to be seen by the doctor that handled my miscarriage to begin with (it was a military hospital, which just operates differently). It then turned out that I loathed his 'bedside manner,' and I didn't feel like he respected certain religious beliefs of mine. I'm actually really glad I did not end up delivering a baby with him as my doctor. As soon as I got my subsequent positive test, I found a new doc. She was wonderful!  

5. To Be Cautious A Bit but To Be Thankful A Lot The truth any family who has suffered a miscarriage will tell you is that any subsequent pregnancies will be treated with anxious anticipation. I felt like I was holding my breath my entire first trimester with Cora. I never publicly announced either pregnancy super-early, but I did find the second time around that I confided my news to a few good friends and asked for prayers instead of just keeping the whole thing a secret. I also find now that when someone informs me of their own pregnancy, I say a prayer immediately. One thing I have been told to remember in regards to pregnancy is to cherish it and love it for every single moment, no matter how long or short that time may be. It is difficult to let go of that anxiety, especially when my very first go out of the gate was ill-fated, but I need to let hope triumph over fear. Even once children are born on Earth, there's no guarantee to how long we may have them with us. But I wouldn't guard my heart and not love them as much because I feared something might go wrong. That is my goal on how I will approach a new life within me as well. God is the ultimate creator, and He has given my husband and me a wonderful gift. I need to be thankful and praise Him, just as I do with all the other blessings in my life. 

Cat is a displaced Southern gal, currently making her first house a home in Indiana. She's a Catholic wife and momma, and she loves running when it's warm out, Zumba when it's not, and singing and baking during any type of weather. She somehow has a knack for winning giveaways, but never for cloth diapers. She blogs at Cartwheels & Windmills.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting that I would say I learned a lot of the same lessons with my miscarriage (my only pregnancy so far). Mine was a bit more eventful, I ended up in the ER a month after, hemorraging due to weird circumstances but I'd say I learned all the same lessons, except labor. I was only eleven weeks and physically, I had no pain during any of it.

    However, I told my close friends and family immediately and I woild do it again, even in light of having to tell them I miscarried. I felt so much support from everyone and it helped me know I wasn't dealing alone because everyone was praying for us. I also felt so much more comfortable around people who knew I had miscarried than those who did not. It's a personal preference, but I definitely think having that support helped me. :)


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