This post has been a long time coming.
Part of me wanted to start blogging about this pregnancy from the first day I peed on a stick, about two months ago. It was such an anxious time, so raw and personal – especially after a loss – and also so lonely. I told some family and friends pretty early on but no one seemed to get it. The ambiguity, the fear.
I turned to the net for reassurance, and while there are voices out there – anonymous, neurotic women on chat rooms, for example – there are so few developed thoughts. So few full, first-hand accounts of those first, nervous weeks.
I started writing right away; I wanted to help fill that gap, to reach out to women going through similar experiences. But it was a bit too much for me to publish. I wasn’t ready for it to be public knowledge. So instead I saved my notes as I went, diary style, in the hope that I’d be able to publish it now – miscarriage-free, and after the first scan that could rule out the recurrence of anancephaly, the neural tube defect from my previous pregnancy. The fact that you’re reading now this is a big thumbs up on both counts.
Usually when I blog I have some sense of who I’m writing to, but this time I’m not so sure. Maybe women in similar situations? I’m not sure – it might just be therapeutic for me. And it seems important to put out there. Either way, here it is: a week-by-week of the first trimester.
Excited to start trying to get pregnant again. Appreciating that I’m feeling good in my body for a brief moment – it’s been a rough few months.
Convinced already that I’m pregnant – I guess I really am an eternal optimist. Definitely felt little twingy uterine cramps a few days after I ovulated which I’m convinced were implantation pains. Counting the days (hours, minutes…) until I can pee on a stick. Googling pregnancy-related subjects an embarrassing amount – I think the most horrifying thing that could happen to me right now would be Google publishing my search history.
Confession: I actually googled “Am I Pregnant?” today. What the hell. If it’s not the pregnancy hormones driving me nuts then there must be seriously something wrong with me. I used to be an intelligent woman.
Well, I was right. Managed to wait until the day my period was due to test, and it turned positive right away! Husband was super excited; I’m still cautious. Told a few friends because I’m the type of person that needs to talk in order to process – but I feel weird about anyone saying “congratulations.” Feels like I’m going to be holding my breath for the next couple of months.
On the plus side, I’m relieved not to feel guilty anymore for wearing maternity clothes most of the time. Damn these stretchy bands are comfy!
Starting to feel some symptoms on and off – exhausted by 7pm every night, reflux during the days and some light waves of nausea. Most of the time I feel fine though, which is of course the most terrifying thing as I’m on-and-off convinced that I’ve miscarried multiple times a day. Next week I’ll see my doctor for a dating scan and hopefully calm down after we see a heartbeat.
Every time I go to the bathroom it’s like I have the Jaws theme music in my head… Will this be it? Will there be blood? I’m struck again by the absurdity of this whole process – just a month ago I was so excited to see blood. Now it’s the nightmare scenario.
As well as miscarriage, I’m keenly aware that this is the week for the neural tube to do its thing. So I’m kind of double freaking out, in the back of my mind. I know there’s nothing I can do – apart from taking half my weight in folic acid daily, which I’ve been doing since the termination back in December. So I’m hoping for the best, and pausing every now and then to send good vibes to the little cells hopefully multiplying away in my uterus.
I keep worrying that I’m not feeling over-emotional enough – an early sign in each of my previous pregnancies, which saw me bursting into tears at things like a mean teller at the bank or sad news on the radio. There’d been nothing like that this pregnancy until this weekend, when we took GG to watch people running in the marathon. One look at those crowds running their last kilometer and I was bawling – literally sobbing with tears rolling down my face. It makes no sense, I know – what a relief!
Another relief is that I’m starting to feel properly nauseated at least a few times a day. So in my better moments I’m pretty confident that everything is okay.
Still counting the days till the scan – this anxiety isn’t getting any better. I worry about every little thing and then feel stupid and neurotic, but my therapist says it’s to be expected so I’m trying not to beat myself up about it. Rather than buying into the anxiety I’m doing what I can to just accept it – this is a hard time. Nothing more, nothing less. I let the nervous thoughts do their thing and try not to buy into them too much.
The morning of the scan my stomach is a mess. I guess it’s a combination of morning sickness and nerves. Well, I hope it’s morning sickness. I’m playing scenarios over and over in my head, trying to convince myself that even if we don’t get a good result I’ll still be okay. That I can deal with this, too.
But I so hope I don’t have to.
The scan turns out to be kind of a disappointment. Not bad news but not yet good news either. Everything looks as it should for just before 6 weeks, but no heartbeat yet. Gotta wait another week and see.
So the anxiety continues.
A week later and I’m filled with jitters before the scan, yet again. But I’ve been feeling so rotten for the past week that I’m pretty confident everything will be ok. And it turns out I’m right – we get a clear picture of the little heartbeat and the fetus has quadrupled in a week. Good stuff.
Next up: flying to Australia for my sister’s wedding. Time to see how morning sickness and turbulence mix, followed by first trimester exhaustion and jetlag. And did I mention morning sickness?
Flying wasn’t as bad as I expected – I just rested as much as I could while my champion of a husband spent hours running around the plane with GG. Jetlag though, that was a bitch.
Great to be around family and off work while I’m feeling so bad, though I did get asked if I’m pregnant twice in the past few days. Once by a great-aunt who apparently hadn’t been updated about my previous pregnancy, and another time by an aunt who said she could just see it. Considering the fact that I’m carrying a fetus the size of a kidney bean, I guess she was just calling me fat. Oh well. The truth is I don’t really care who knows. All I care about is that this pregnancy goes smoothly.
I’ve got a scan scheduled for the week after we get back home. That’s in 4 weeks. We should be able to rule of the neural tube defect of the previous pregnancy… And then exhale completely and start getting excited.
All I need to do is keep myself distracted until then.
Pregnancy announcements have lost all of their fun for me. I’m surrounded by family and old friends and I want to share, yet every time I tell someone I’m pregnant I feel uneasy. I can’t accept the congratulations, and I then get worried that I seem weird for not being appropriately excited.
Just a few more weeks to go. Hopefully it’ll be easier after I know that anancephaly hasn’t recurred.
More of the same this week. Lots of nausea to keep me confident that I’m still pregnant but then I keep thinking… I felt like shit all through the last pregnancy and fat lot of good that did. Nothing to do but wait, and try to stay positive. The truth is that the optimistic thoughts do outweigh the pessimistic ones – it’s just that this fear hits me deep.
Flew back home this week and again – the flights were surprisingly bearable. One week until the nuchal translucency test now and I feel like time has almost ground to a halt. I just need the next week to be over. This wait is near driving me mental.
I’m so nervous the morning of the scan I want to cry, vomit and run to the bathroom all at the same time. I keep trying to reassure myself with the probability that everything is ok – it’s like 98%, those are damn good odds. It works sometimes but over and over again I’m struck with the thought, “fuck, I’m going to have to terminate another pregnancy.” And even then the reassuring voice comes back in, telling me that I can get through that if I need to, that I’ve done it once and I can do it again.
But of course, I don’t want to. I can’t stop thinking about how unfair that would be. But fairness has nothing to do with this shit.
Bottom line: it’s no fun in my head today.
The scan itself is incredibly quick. I’d been imagining that I’d need to close my eyes as the doctor checked the brain but he had a visual of the whole fetus in a matter of seconds and reassured us right away that everything looked fine. Cliched as it sounds, the heartbeat on the sonogram was music to my ears. I look over at my husband and grin, and a few minutes later we’re outside hugging in the hallway.
And now it feels like a weight has been lifted, like we might actually be having a baby! I feel the fear disolving and my optimistic attitude seems to be taking its old place back on center stage. I’m finally starting to get excited.