Following on from yesterdays post where I talked about the miscarriage of my first child I want to talk about what was for me the second part of the miscarriage-when I fell pregnant again, with my son.
After loosing a baby many people become determined to try again as soon as it is safe to do so. Because I was so young I took that yearning to replace what I had lost and turned it in to some sort of motivation to work hard and make something of myself. In return I promised myself that when I was ready, when the time was right I would be that mother I so desperately wanted to be. I spent the next six years working my way up through the media ranks to Account Manager. By the time I was 20 I was driving a brand new company car, company laptop, i-pad, phone, expenses account-the works and I owned a house and most importantly was financially stable. I was and am proud of my career (pre Joshua). So when I fell pregnant I knew the time was right for me to be a mummy.
However from very early on the excitement wasn't the prodominant emotion in my pregnancy. It wasn't an easy time for several reasons, one of them being the fear that gripped me from the beginning. Loosing a baby means you are terrified of it happening again. You know worrying about it is probably one of the most unhealthy things you can do, but you can't help it. Every little thing is anylised on a newly formed threat scale-would it POTENTIALLY cause harm to the baby and POTENTIALLY cause another miscarriage? If the answer even remotely flicked towards yes or even maybe, it didn't happen and everything became over thought and stressful. I am very organised but like the occassional bout of spontinaity and my early pregnancy caused this part of my personality to cower and hide.
Early pregnancy doesn't give you any natural reassurances either. I felt horribly sick for the first three and a half months of my pregnancy but I read that you wouldn't neccessarily loose the morning sickness side of things even if you miscarried so even that wouldn't alert me to something being wrong. I was such a nervous wreck I paid £100 for a private scan at 8 weeks to make sure my baby was safe, seeing his little heart beating on the screen was overwhelming. It gave me reassurance for about two days before I reverted back to worrying again. I tried not to read things that would make this worse but I couldn't help it. I was under 30 years old so I apparantly had a 10% chance of miscarriage then I read that because my last pregnancy was a miscarriage hat meant my odds were 19% of a miscarriage..I stopped reading statistics after that, it only made things worse.
As my pregnancy progressed I rented a fetal heart monitor so I could listen to my babies heart beat once a day (any more isn't regarded as safe) so when I was at the high's of daily anxiety I would lay down and find his little beating heart and relief would flood over me...only to return hours later. It was a stressful cycle.
When Josh began to move I felt elated and I think that is when I relaxed a teeny bit. He moved quite a lot so every day I would feel him and used the heart monitor less. I did have days when I barely felt him and would call my midwife for reassurance-she was great and very understanding. Generally when you feel that life you created moving you feel more aware of their prescence and therefore you don't allow your brain to play such alarming tricks on you. Not as often anyway.
By the time I reached my last 6 weeks I was teetering on pre-eclampsya and every other day I would have to go to hospital to be monitored for anything from ten minutes to two hours. This increased to almost daily towards the end but I actually found it reassuring to hear and see my babies heart beat so frequently. I also had a growth scan at 35 weeks because I was measuring so small so again another reassurance was seeing my baby boy, fully formed, rolling around. As I told the sonographer he hadn't moved much that day, baby gave the biggest kick and I think I looked as if I lied! He was deffinately a footballer like his daddy, we agreed!
When Josh finally arrived after a horrific 33 hour labour ending in surgery I was so relieved. Relief Relief Relief. He was here. It had all been worth it. Looking back now from that second I laid to rest my first baby. I let go of that last little piece of grieving and I didn't even know it. It was the final part of moving on for me.
Don't get me wrong I lok at Josh now and sometimes think about the things I missed out on with baby number one. I always felt he was a boy and to me I would have called him Ben (which is why when Ben was suggested to me by my partner for Joshua's name, it was out of the question) and he holds a very special place in my heart. Everyone thinks about their miscarriage differently. Do I think Josh has a 'brother', will I tell him so? No, I don't fell that. I do feel that my baby boy is in heaven waiting for me but that's as far as it goes in that sense. He was my first baby and that is somehing no-one or nothing can take away but it doesn't hold the same sadness it once did.
Having Josh reconfirmed something I had grown to know about my first pregnancy. I wasn't ready for motherhood then and I am now. I can accept now that loosing my baby was meant to be. It was the most painful, low point but it was natures way of correcting something. That may sound awful to you but I know I take every possible chance to be the best mum I can be, to provide the very best for my son. He deserves that and I know if I had my first son I would have been in constant pain for not being able to provide what he deserved. I couldn't have given him all the wonderful things he deserved. That doesn't mean I don't love that baby, but it wasn't meant to be and I would have been in far more pain because I couldn't give him these things. More pain than loosing him.
Miscarriage is one of those things. Horrific. Intense. Sad. But in my opinion babies that are miscarried are not meant for this world, they are meant for the next. They hold special places in millions of hearts and leave imprints as deep as if they lived and walked with us. I hope that every woman who's suffered a miscarriage can find their own sense of peace like I have. I believe you can take something so awful, something that can push you to the brink of breaking and take it as something to steer your maternal instincts in the best possible direction.
I have. I did it for my first son.