There are few things in life that are as exciting, yet equally terrifying as the moments leading up to your very first OB appointment for a new pregnancy following a loss. After miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death – your mind naturally gravitates toward all the negative outcomes that can potentially play out in the next nine months and you fully recognize that there is no point throughout a pregnancy where you truly pass a safe point.
I texted my husband as I was walking through the revolving front doors of the hospital telling him how excited yet nervous I was for my appointment. My body was tense and my mind was all over the place. There are only two ways this appointment is going to go: I’m either going to get great reassuring news or I’m going to leave the hospital in tears with a piece of my heart shattered. That first OB visit is always overwhelming for me. I always question whether I’m actually pregnant or not. Yes, a positive pregnancy test told me I am pregnant, but what if it was a false positive (is that even a thing?) What if on the ultrasound they find an empty gestational sac or they fair warn me of an impending miscarriage? Or maybe something just looks off and they can tell the baby isn’t growing properly. I’ve never been a low-key person who just goes with the flow and only worries when life gives you reasons to worry. I’ve always been proactive in all aspects of life and I honestly began to worry about this pregnancy the moment it sunk in that we were pregnant and going to be parents again.
As I sat in the waiting room, waiting my turn and again in the exam room to be seen by the Dr, I kept silently saying the same affirmation over and over… “Everything’s going to be okay, you’ve got this… Everything’s going to be okay, you’ve got this”. I think the truth is I’ve never really had “this” and I never really will, but I’m going to have to fake my mind and soul into thinking I’ve got this if I’m going to emotionally survive the next seven months. I think in tough times when you have little courage and faith, we have to hold on tight to affirmations like these to help ease the anxiousness our body and soul are experiencing. If repeating an inspirational mantra allows some small peace in worrisome times, then find one that provides the most encouragement and run with it. I recently saw a bracelet online that could be customized with different mantras and encouraging words. I’m thinking this bracelet or something similar is exactly what I need to gain self-encouragement and support. I have to be honest with myself right at the beginning of this pregnancy… This first appointment was nerve-wracking, but do I really believe the other appointments are going to be any easier? There will always be something I fixate and worry over. If I can take my mantra and turn it into something tangible enough to hold (like a bracelet or a soothing stone) maybe I’d feel less anxious while waiting for life to unfold.
I have learned with my prior two losses to never talk in absolutes. In the middle of the appointment, my Doctor stopped to remind me that this birth would be my fourth csection and was questioning as to whether my husband and I intended for this baby to be our last. I could tell he was trying to gently convey to me that my uterus has been through a lot and that another full-term pregnancy could be dangerous for me and any future babies. All I could tell him at that moment was “Well, yes… I mean assuming we have a baby, and I’m hopeful that it will be this baby, we would like to intend on this being our last pregnancy.” I’ve learned that I cannot talk about life so firmly or make concrete decisions when what happens in our world is largely out of our control. I thought our previous pregnancy would be our last child, but life didn’t work out quite as we expected. I don’t want to jinx myself and say one thing and find out the opposite is actually my reality. I suppose this is just one example of me guarding my heart. I know my body is preparing for a baby, but I am already mentally preparing myself for heartbreak if life pivots and goes a different direction than planned. While incredibly excited and also hopeful, I haven’t fully come to accept in my heart that in 6-7 months I will have a healthy baby boy or baby girl in my arms and I probably won’t until that day comes.