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Why we waited

ultrasound 6w4dswI wrote this post awhile ago but couldn’t seem to find the right time to hit publish. I hope by publishing it now it might help someone else who is struggling after a loss.

The first time we got pregnant we shared with the world right away. The day I peed on a stick we excitedly drove literal hours to be able to tell our family in person and not long after that we started posting about it.

And then we lost the pregnancy.

The support and love I got from everyone in my life, including virtual strangers was overwhelming. I honestly am not sure how I would have gotten through it without the unbelievable outpouring of support. I have absolutely zero regrets about sharing as early as we did because otherwise we would have had to walk through that dark time alone.

I honestly didn’t expect to do anything different this time around.

Then I got that positive test. And instead of joy and excitement I felt complete terror. The only person in the world I told that day was Joel, and since he had left for an out-of-town business trip I told him via text. Over the next few days I told a few members of my immediate family but just over the phone, trying to sound happy but choking back tears the entire time. Their excitement almost startled me.

It was not the happy time I felt like it should have been. Instead I felt depressed and scared. I sobbed into my pillow at night. It was so confusing. There was a tiny part of my that was cautiously hopeful. I wanted to be excited. I just could. not. get there.*

My doctor was so understanding and ordered blood work immediately to check that all my levels were where they were supposed to be. I passed with flying colors. You’d think that would have encouraged me but since I didn’t get blood work done the last time I didn’t know if it was truly a good sign or not. For all I knew my hormones were perfect then too. Or not. Who knows.

Joel seemed less apprehensive than me, but still he always phrased his excitement in mights” and ifs.”

I’m so excited that I might be a dad…

If this baby is born…

I hated those mights and ifs. They stung. I can’t blame him though, I talked the same way.

The three weeks from the positive test to when I could finally get an ultrasound seemed like an eternity. Still, only my very immediate family knew. There was a part of me that wanted to share with others but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The pregnancy did not feel real to me. I could not let myself get attached. I couldn’t let myself feel any real excitement.

That was why I stayed so quiet, why I didn’t share with the world. I could not bear to hear excited congratulations when I couldn’t muster up any excitement myself. I felt enough guilt over not being over the moon about my (potential) future child. I couldn’t imagine faking giddiness for someone else.

I refused to let strangers be more excited about my pregnancy than I was.

That first ultrasound I nearly crawled out of my own skin sitting on that table. When the ultrasound finally began I strained to see anything in that round black blob on the screen. It wasn’t empty. Or at least it didn’t look empty to my inexpert eye. Of course my doctor took what felt like years to say anything and when he did he began with the exact same Well…. in the exact same tone that started the bad news last time. But this time that well ended in “…there’s the heartbeat.

I stared at that tiny, flickering blob through tear filled eyes and finally felt the first surge of attachment. Hope. Excitement even.

It would still take me awhile to feel excited enough to share with my extended family and even longer to share with you wonderful internet people. I’m eternally grateful this pregnancy has turned out to be healthy so far because I definitely would not have wanted to walk through another loss alone. But I needed to always feel that I was the most excited about this pregnancy, no matter how little that was. I couldn’t rush the excitement. I’m glad I didn’t rush it.

Because trust me, now? There is no one more ecstatic and in love with this baby than me. I’m glad that’s the way it always was.

*The post I linked to was something I wrote anonymously on Band Back Together just after I got the positive pregnancy test. It is an incredibly raw look at how I was feeling at the time. I’m so grateful that I had that resource to voice my feelings and receive some support, even though I couldn’t thank those people at the time since I wanted to remain anonymous. It really is an invaluable resource.

19 Responses to “Why we waited”

  1. Congratulations! I remember when I was pregnant with my son (after three years of secondary infertility), that I expected my partner and I to be more excited than we were. But then, after years of dissappointment, none of it felt real. I didn’t feel pregnant ‘enough’, and all that stuff. Life went on, and I was running around settling my daughter into her first year of school, and it was hard at first to get my head around the fact that this pregnancy was real.

    It was also upsetting, because after so much dissappointment, my partner was too scared to buy or have me buy, things to prepare for the baby. It was as though he was worried it wouldn’t really happen either, and of course, being pregnant, I translated that into, ‘wah, he doesn’t care, doesn’t want it, blah, blah’. I always felt he was never excited ‘enough’, but I think we were both just protecting ourselves?

    I ended up having a bit of pre-natal depression, which can be common for those who’ve struggled to conceive or had loss previously. Add to that, at the time my partner was going through a nasty settlement of the house he and his ex wife were selling, it was just a really stressful time.

    So, I was very grateful that my midwife was excellent at screening for pre-natal depression, and referred me to a social worker within the hospital, and she helped me to really enjoy my pregnancy and relax a bit.

    I wish you all the best with this pregnancy

    • abigail says:

      Yeah, I think there’s definitely a lot of self protection that went on. It was so hard to believe it was real and wasn’t going to be ripped away from me again. I’m glad your midwife was able to help you. I had some resources like that available and didn’t take advantage of them. I’m sure if I had things would have been easier or worked themselves out sooner. Probably, who knows.

  2. Melissa Dell says:

    Oh Mama. This could totally have been my post. I went through every single same thing. Except we refused to tell ANYONE until we saw a HB. And then I started bleeding and I remember crying in the hall to my coworker saying”no not again. I can’t do this again”. But it was too early to know anything one way or another and that was an awful strange thing to have to wait on. Two weeks. I think I did 3 or 4 blood draws to check levels. We had to call our immediate fam to tell them cuz we were supposed to leave the next dayto go to costa rica. I felt so awful when telling them cu you would have thought I was just tellin them I bought a new sweater – no excitement. Just matter of fact “hey so I found out I might be pregnant. But I’m not sure. I won’t really know for 2 weeks so please don’t tell anyone.”.

    But I’m gla our stories both also made a turn to having the excitement return. Because the baby is WORTH it. They are WORTH the excitement, the fawning over, the daydreams for the future they’ll have WITH you. <>

    • abigail says:

      Yes, feeling this little guy move around makes me know it’s worth it already. It was such a hard beginning and I struggled with lots of feelings of guilt over not being as excited as I thought I “should” be. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt this way. It’s lifted a lot of what was left of that guilt. Thanks for sharing this with me.

  3. Barbara says:

    This post was so amazing. I am sure that this will help so many that are going through the same thing.

  4. ambercease says:

    This is so beautifully put Abigail… I can’t fully relate as I never lost a pregnancy, but I experienced similar emotions following the birth of our son (who came into this world 2 months too soon). I was excited and overjoyed by this precious little life that we had brought into the world, but at the same time I was scared and filled with fear by the “mights” and “ifs” of his fragile, premature condition. I’m glad that you took the time to sort through your emotions, so you could fully embrace this pregnancy! :) (And I’m glad that I “met” you and found this little space of yours so I could follow along)

  5. Mariah says:

    Although for totally different reasons, it took my husband and I a good while to get really excited about this bambino. People would ask, “Aren’t you just SOOOOOooOOOoOo excited?” but really, we weren’t. We were getting there, but it took a while. And now? SUPER DUPER excited :)

    • abigail says:

      I’ve learned it’s no failure to not feel the exact feelings everyone expects. Everyone is different and reacts in their own way for different reasons and that is healthy and okay. So happy you’ve reached the point of excitement too. It’s fabulous, isn’t it?

  6. Megan says:

    We waited to tell friends and out family too. We were out of the country for a month so our first appointment was around 10 weeks, after we got back. I was super excited but two of my very close friends had just had miscarriages. It had not happened to me but I just kept thinking that it might. If they were going through this, I could too. It wasn’t until we heard the heartbeat that we started to tell people. I’m so glad that you were able to get past that scared stage and embrace your growing little boy. I am very very happy for you!!! Can not wait until you get to meet him.

    • abigail says:

      Thank you for being so happy for us. It’s pretty normal to wait to announce but since I didn’t plan to wait my reaction kind of surprised me. It was definitely a process but I’m glad that I was able to move beyond fear (for the most part) and to being truly excited to meet this little guy.

  7. Katie says:

    We didn’t tell anyone when I got pregnant a second time either. And I was glad we didn’t because I lost that one too. I didn’t want to have to “untell” and I got my wish of not having to. The problem was I never dealt with the loss either…the GOOD thing was that my doc had me tested when I got pregnant with Eddie…and I was tested again with Charlie.

    I’m glad you wrote about it. Really. It’s such a lonely feeling. I didn’t have the internet back then (well, it was there, but I didn’t know about it). Had I googled? I could have found a post like this…and been so glad for it.

    • abigail says:

      I’m so happy to hear you say that. I really hope others going through similar situations might find this and feel less alone. There’s so much guilt that comes with these feelings and it can be isolating. If this post helps even one person feel more normal about their feelings it was worth the emotional roller coaster it took to write it and hit publish.

  8. pepper tan says:

    This post moved me, although I’ve never gone through such a loss. I couldn’t imagine how I’d be able to deal with pain like that. Now you’re in a better place. Things are the way they should be :). Take care.

  9. Kim says:

    Makes a ton of sense. I’m so glad this time worked for you. Although I’ve never been pregnant, I know so many women who have been in similar situations as you so I feel like I’m already at that stage of “might” and “if”… I’m almost just expecting it the first time around.

    • abigail says:

      Getting pregnant I think always comes with uncertainty but try not to let it overwhelm you. Odds really are on your side for having a safe and healthy pregnancy.

  10. meganbestoffates says:

    I’m so glad everything was okay. My mom had multiple miscarriages before she had me and I know when she was actually pregnant with me she told no one that wasn’t nearby – my parents lived in a state away from either side of the family. Her mom came to visit when she was about 7 months and that was the first time she found out!

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