When fear rules your pregnancy after loss and love wins anyway
An open letter to my rainbow baby
My dearest rainbow baby, on the eve of your sixth birthday, I can’t help but reminisce how quickly time has flown.
It seemed only yesterday that you were born – after a pregnancy filled with fear and void of joy.
Pregnancy after loss is hard. It’s so very hard.
I lost my very first pregnancy before you. I don’t know the innocent bliss of pregnancy. I wish I did though. It’s exhausting to always worry but I can’t help it.
Even now, after eight years, pregnancy announcements of those close to us make me anxious. I am excited for them, I truly am. But the fear that something will go wrong is ever present. I hold my breath the entire time. I am getting instantly scared when a promised text or email hasn’t come after a check up because I fear the expectant parents heard the worst news there is.
The guilt of always worrying
As I look back on your pregnancy, my precious child, I am filled with guilt and regret.
I wonder if my worries and stress had an impact on you. There is all this research that proves how the mental state of mum during pregnancys has an impact on the unborn baby.
But I was worried and stressed for the best reasons – I wanted you to be safe. I wanted you to be healthy. I just had so little control over it. It drove me crazy because I struggled to trust and have faith that this time around, things would be ok.
The first sight of you
I remember that we delayed the first ultrasound to see you. I was so terrified that something was wrong and I lacked the courage to go to the appointment. At the same time, I longed to see you and know how you were going.
When we finally made the appointment for the ultrasound, I almost ran out of the office. The technician was running late and I took that as a sign that there can’t be good news for us.
Yet, somehow, I managed and we got to see you – finally.
You were perfect.
You were bouncing around and doing somersaults. It looked like you just realised you could those so you had to do them over and over again. It was amazing. You brought tears to our eyes. We were so grateful and in complete awe of you.
The next hurdle at 24 weeks
The joy was shortlived though. Now that we knew that you were definitely in there, bouncing around, the fear returned tenfold.
What if something went wrong now? We knew you more intimately now and we wanted you to be safe so very badly.
At week 24, I still couldn’t feel you move. I was told that by now, I should have felt you move. But I hadn’t.
First, I tried to ignore it. I kept telling myself that everything was fine. Of course, I didn’t want to go and see my OB. I couldn’t bare bad news. I just couldn’t.
But as week 26 approached and I still wasn’t sure if I felt you move and kick, a trip to the OB became unavoidable. I needed to know what was going on.
The appointment went well. My OB found your heartbeat easily and it was strong.
He explained to me that you were still living in a huge pool of water and that not every baby felt like kicking all day long. You were just a quiet baby, that was all.
I felt relieved. So very relieved.
I think we all were relieved, included the very young medical student who was with my OB for a work placement. Poor young man. When I told him that I was almost 26 weeks along and couldn’t feel my baby move, his face was drained of all colour. I think he was grateful that our very experienced OB did the examination. It was certainly a very stressful day and one you are probably unaware of so far.
Love has won this round
After that, we made it to the end of the pregnancy without any hiccups like that. The fear remained. I am annoyed it is still with me. I honestly wish it was different. I wish I could just enjoy pregnancies – those of others and my own.
But as I look at you now, growing strong and beautiful, I know that love has won this battle with fear.
I can’t describe how that makes me feel.
It is a miracle and one I am so very grateful to call my own.
I promise I will work on my fear. It won’t stay in your way. You are my pot of gold at the end of my precious rainbow.
Get your copy of my book ‘How to survive a miscarriage – a guide for women, their partners, friends and families’ here.