Today, marks us being 10 weeks pregnant. A milestone I didn’t really place much weight on until we got here. It hadn’t been one of our mini-goals, or even crossed my mind leading up to it. Yet now, at 10 weeks – double figures – it seems somewhat poignant, significant. The power of another digit in pregnancy after loss, when nothing is a given.
Since we started trickling out the news that we were pregnant, again, and then since my last blog post went live, we’ve had to adjust to learning how to manage other peoples responses.
I anticipated finding the congratulations hard to swallow – I’ve read them from others going through pregnancy after loss. We’ve experienced a range of magnitudes of congratulations, and to be honest, I’m not sure I can swallow any of them easily. My monosyllabic responses, and joyless tone are probably the give aways. I’m not too sure what people are congratulating? The pregnancy, or the naive thought that they think this means we will have a baby, breathing, at the end of it? They’ve ranged from a subtle squeeze on the shoulder (tolerable) to the excited faces surrounded by virtual banners and pom-poms (less tolerable).
We can far more easily accept the congratulations from those that we trust fully understand (as much as you can understand another person) what this means for us, anxieties, grief, shit and all. That compared to those who had rarely engaged with it all, or have barely asked us how we are throughout the year… well, those congratulations are far harder to accept.
The similarity in most people though, regardless of their levels of involvement in this year, is this comment:
“But, they are going to look after you better this time, aren’t they?”
I suppose the simple answer to this question is yes, yes they are. And we are grateful for the beefed up care package that we will get during this pregnancy, as long as its lasts. Our fertility clinic have been amazing, as always, and we’ve already had two scans, and will have another one before Christmas. From after 12 weeks, we will be able to sit down with our consultant and know more about our package of care, but it will mostly feature fortnightly scans from 20 weeks. As advised, I’m already taking aspirin. My midwife is happy to see me whenever we need, even if its just for a chat. And at 17 weeks, we will be able to visit Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic for more in-depth placenta scans, and I have no doubt that their involvement will be able to continue as and when we require, depending on this pregnancy’s progress.
But, I really need people to understand that this is not necessarily a cure. We are grateful, and somewhat reassured but it does not make me 100% certain that this baby will breathe and come home. Nothing will do that.
I do feel that people ask the question to settle their own anxieties, and they allow a few extra scans that we will have to do just that. Whilst I hate to burst anyones bubble, it just really doesn’t work like that.
With Leo we had high risk care. We had three additional growth scans. Again, we are grateful and fortunate to have had these. However, his last scan was 2 days before he died. There was no indication that he was about to die. Nothing made them jump up and down and act then and there. We went home. He died. No matter how many scans Leo could have had, he still would have died at 37+1 – full term – and no-one predicted that outcome.
We have had our eyes opened to the fragility of life. Leo isn’t the only stillborn baby that we know. We know babies who died preterm, at term, over term, during labour, after labour. There is no magical cure in my care package that can provide anyone any certainty that this baby will always be safe.
Obviously, we hope to be proved wrong, to be able to write in the future that this extra care was worthwhile and saved our baby. Often, this extra care is prescribed for our purposes mainly – to relieve our anxieties and concerns at the time. That said, a scan reassures us that in the moment of the scan, the baby is alive. In that moment only.
This isn’t a normal pregnancy. We will try and tap into the normal aspects as much as possible, but there is a limit, and for people to support us in this pregnancy, they need to understand that our thoughts about the future come with caveats, ifs and buts. I can’t guarantee how long this pregnancy will last. I want to be able to relax into and believe that all will be fine, but this is my third pregnancy in the space of a year. I don’t know any other outcome.