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The complexities of announcing a pregnancy after loss

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After losing Orla, there was initially an overwhelming innate need to be pregnant again, to grow a baby that we would bring home and pour our overflowing love into.  However, it also felt terrifying – the thought of starting again, knowing what we know now.  That not all babies make it.  Then came the fear that stopped us from actually trying as well as the shock and numbness that meant that days and weeks passed without us really understanding how.  As medically advised, we duly waited a few months and I did what I could to get myself physically and mentally ready.  Whatever that actually means, since I think that no one can ever by fully prepared for pregnancy after loss.
 
When the positive test was actually in front of us, I think we were in complete shock and disbelief.  I didn’t anticipate how many confusing and conflicting emotions would come with pregnancy after loss: the renewed waves of grief, the guilt, the isolation, the extreme anxiety.  The sudden reality that another baby was beginning its own journey in the place that Orla had grown only months before bought both comfort and sadness.  I wondered if this was more significant when you lose your first child – this sense of a sacred space that has only been known by you and your firstborn.  I felt an increased sense of guilt that I hadn’t been able to keep Orla alive and that I was now hoping that I would be able to do so with her younger sibling.  And then an overwhelming fear that my body would fail and we would lose yet another baby. Continue Reading

Uncategorised

I didn’t know that I was allowed to feel sad

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I am aware that I haven’t ever written about my first loss, yet I have found my mind contemplating this a lot over the last few weeks.  Long days of driving alone have allowed my mind to meander through a number of events and as it is Baby Loss Awareness Week, it felt right to write something now.  I’m also aware that I haven’t read many accounts of ectopic pregnancies before, which is interesting seeing as this is the outcome for 1/100 pregnancies.  Not all end in the way that mind did, as some are caught earlier and can be managed less invasively.  But for me, I was suddenly made aware of the many dangers, some life threatening, that women can face on their journey to motherhood.
 
It was a Monday morning when I started bleeding.  We had been trying for a baby for four months and I had just finished my period the week before; no baby this month.  I called the GP in a bit of a panic as I was feeling unwell and shocked by the heavy unexpected flow.  She was blunt and to the point – ‘the last time someone described these symptoms to me, they were pregnant’.  I responded by asking if this meant that I would be miscarrying and she curtly replied that this was ‘a possible theory’ and that I should come in and see her that evening. Continue Reading

Loss, Mental health and wellbeing

Can I trust you?

Today I had my 6-week postnatal check up. This understandably brought up a lot of emotions, not helped by the inevitable waiting room full of babies and new parents. I had considered avoiding it altogether; in the aftermath of losing Orla and giving birth, my own physical health and wellbeing felt insignificant. Eating and drinking was a challenge at worst, a routine at best. I tried to walk the same distances that I had been just days before, heavily pregnant, but ended up leaning over walls and railings trying to gather the strength to manage the walk back home. I felt that I was not deserving of physical rest and recuperation, as if I should be punished for what had happened. At other times, I felt so detached from my own body that I may have been experiencing pain, but my mind wasn’t allowing it to register. I decided that I needed to give up sugar and caffeine and was almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight within two weeks. By this point I felt awful; my body ached, I had horrendous night sweats and just walking around the house left me exhausted. I’m sure that I had entered some kind of state of physical shock.
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