Cautious Joy: My Journey Through Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Julie Bitely

| 4 min read

With my first baby, everything about pregnancy felt easy.
My husband and I decided we wanted to start a family and just like that, we were looking at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. I was sick exactly one time and up until the bulging, uncomfortable, can’t-take-my-own-boots off end of the third trimester, I felt amazing.
I worried a lot about how healthy the baby was and about how the actual birth would go, but I never remember consciously thinking that there wouldn’t be a baby at the end of it all. I started planning a nursery right away and bought an obnoxiously big stuffed monkey before we’d ever even glimpsed one ultrasound image. Thankfully, we took home our healthy daughter in March 2013 and she’s been (mostly) a joy ever since.
When we decided to add a brother or sister, I was expecting the same easy journey to parenthood, except this time I would know more and have an easier go of it. Ridiculous, right?
It didn’t take long to see a second pink line again and we gleefully told both sets of grandparents that number two was on the way. However, about a week after the family announcements had been made, I felt cramping and started spotting. Another pregnancy test confirmed what I already knew – our wished- and hoped-for second baby was gone, as quickly as he or she had entered our dreams. My husband wasn’t home at the time and I’ll never forget my toddler’s tear-streaked, anguished face confused about why mommy was crying.
After we took time to grieve and heal, we tried again, and that’s really where this story begins. Getting pregnant took forever, or at least it felt that way. Still, sure enough, those familiar lines showed up for us once more. Instead of being overjoyed, I was terrified.
There were no happy announcements and every normal twinge and pain sent me into a downward spiral of worry. I wasn’t the happy, light, mom-to-be I’d been the first time. I was waiting for the worst.
Every doctor’s appointment sparked anxiety. Hearing the heartbeat and seeing our little shapeless blob on an ultrasound screen helped, but it was only so long before my mind would start racing with what-ifs and anxiety. I wasn’t thinking about the baby’s nursery or buying any cute mementos. I was just trying to get through.
Fast forward a bit and as I write this, I’m 22 weeks and two days along. I still worry, but making it through the first trimester helped, as did learning we’ll be having another girl at our 20-week ultrasound. Feeling her little kicks makes me smile every time and I really think she and my husband will bond over soccer. She feels strong and mighty.
I don’t have any big advice for fellow pregnant ladies experiencing anxiety after a previous miscarriage. The only thing that’s really changed for me is the realization that if the worst happens, it won’t be due to a lack of love or desire. As much as I want to see her sweet face in person, that is simply out of my hands for the most part, as much as my Type-A personality would prefer otherwise.
For now, I’m counting kicks. I’m marking pages in a book of names. I’m relishing my expanding waistline and enjoying sweet kisses to my belly from my almost three-year-old, who is very excited to meet her little sister. I hope I look back and realize that this too, was part of the sweet joy and uncertainty that comes with parenthood.
Author’s Note: I wanted to write this as a way to process my feelings about this pregnancy and to hopefully help someone else who might be going through a similar situation. I know it helped me immensely to read about other women’s experiences with miscarriage. However, I’d be remiss to not mention that while this pregnancy hasn’t been the easiest, I am pregnant and I am a mother. For that, I’m extremely grateful.
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Photo credit: Tracey Leigh

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