military healthcare

Pregnancy After Loss

I owe you all easily a dozen or so posts. Sorry. I’ll catch up at some point. I just haven’t felt much like sitting in front of my computer lately. Probably because my office is a terrible mess and being in here makes me feel guilty. But I digress. I wanted to talk a bit about my experience with being pregnant after a loss and the seriously amazeballs midwife I saw today. This is going to be a pregnancy-heavy post so skip it if you need.

For some people, namely my husband and my mother-in-law, it has seemed like ever since we were confident that this pregnancy was in the uterus and especially since we saw a heartbeat that they are absolutely certain that this is a pregnancy that will end in a take home baby. I’m not that certain. I have hope. I have a lot of hope and it increases every day. But I’m still scared. Even though I’ve only had the one loss and we are like ten steps further than we ever got with that pregnancy, I’m still scared. Leading up to my appointment today it had been three weeks since I last had an ultrasound and I was scared of a missed miscarriage. I had no logical reason for that fear. I still have all the symptoms (they come and go but some are here daily). The statistics at this point are in my favor. But I’ve known too many people who have lived in those tiny, scary statistics to count on something like that.

So I’ve been anxious, worried, stressed. My husband doesn’t get it. He’s so sure everything is okay this time. And it has been. But my fears are there.

Today I had my first regular OB appointment. The orientation a couple weeks ago was mostly paperwork and and overview of the process. I met with one of the midwives and she was fucking fantastic. I can’t even explain to you how great she was. She totally understood that I was scared without me even having to say anything. Well, I did fill out a form that mentioned that I’d had a lot of anxiety lately. She had clearly reviewed my chart and knew all about the ectopic. She was so comforting with everything she said. She not only acknowledged that I had the fear, but that having it was normal and okay.

I wasn’t due for a formal ultrasound today but one of the first things she said was that I wasn’t leaving without first seeing the baby and/or hearing the heartbeat. So I had my first external ultrasound. Blobby was moving all over the place, which was so amazing to see. The movement meant it took a bit for her to finally get the heartbeat but I eventually got to see and hear it. She didn’t do any measurements but just seeing Blobby moving like that made everything okay. When she was having trouble getting the heartbeat she kept telling me that the baby wouldn’t be moving like that without a heartbeat. Just so comforting.

Other things that were amazing: There are apparently social workers at the hospital who only see pregnant women. She put in a referral for me to see one of them, so now I have a chance to talk to a professional about this all and process all the fears with him/her. I’ll call tomorrow and set up my first appointment. The midwife also said told me not to be a hero, if the depression gets really bad that it’s safe to go back on Zoloft. I feel okay right now but we’ll see what happens when my husband goes back to work and I’m still routine-less. Then she set up the referral for my anatomy scan to be with the Maternal Fetal Medicine (high risk) clinic instead of radiology. She didn’t say why but I’m pretty sure it’s because they have more experience dealing with extremely anxious pregnant woman during those scans. She asked about past physical or sexual abuse and when I briefly told her about my ex she told me not to minimize it, that it was abuse. That was important to hear. I also had to have a pap smear today and she kept reminding me that a little spotting after would be totally normal and okay, but luckily I didn’t even have any spotting. We talked about genetic testing and she told me I won’t hear anything until the second set of blood work is taken and not to focus on and stress about it in the meantime, which I would so do. Just a little nudge that there’s nothing I can do and it’s okay to let it go during that time.

Finally, they have this thing called “Centering” where you meet up for your appointments with a group of women all due during the same month. So you have some private time but it’s also a group conversation and classes about pregnancy and birth and stuff. And they just started having a group meet at the military base that’s closest to my house rather than this main hospital. I’d still be giving birth at the main hospital, but all these appointments (except the anatomy scan) are much closer to my house. I think it will be good for me to have other pregnant women to bond with, even if I’m a bit scared that they will all be young and fertile. And the midwife got me into a slot in the group by my house, so yay. That starts in like 3 weeks.

I can’t explain in words how validating it was to have someone just get how scared I am, without me even really saying so. I never thought that someone outside of the RE’s office would understand like that. She was a little miracle. It’s too bad I can’t request specific people when I go into labor and they are cutting the hours of the midwives in L&D. But that’s okay, just having her today was enough to make a huge difference. I am eternally grateful to the Universe not only for this pregnancy (oh so very grateful for that) but for the little things like this appointment. I feel so incredibly lucky, more than I could ever say.

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