Pregnancy after loss is a field I am constantly trying to navigate. Although I suspected a lot of the emotions to arise, they have still taken me by surprise as well as been difficult to muddle through.
When we found out I was pregnant this time, I was, of course, happy. Getting pregnant was what I wanted, after all. The happiness, however, did not include excitement. Most of what I felt initially (and long after, if I'm being honest) was simply the terror at the idea something could go wrong. I never actually thought this baby would have Triploidy like Calvin, but I still spend countless hours afraid that this baby will have something else wrong with it, or something else will cause it to die.
Unlike with previous pregnancies I felt no anticipation to share the news. In fact, I didn't want to tell even our close families. And it's not that I was afraid of what anyone would say. I knew that people would be happy for us. But when my own excitement was lacking, it was very difficult to smile and fake excitement for the benefit of those around us. Of course because the possibility of avoiding all human contact until bringing the baby home from the hospital was impossible, we (obviously) ended up sharing the news. But hesitantly. Always hesitantly.
That first trimester I found myself afraid to feel a connection to the baby growing inside me. My mentality (unintentionally) was thinking of this whole thing as "just a pregnancy" instead of "a baby". And even though I know I would have been devastated had we lost the baby those first few months, I rationalized that I was just trying to protect myself from becoming too attached. Luckily, as the weeks go by, and especially after telling the girls about the baby, it is less of an internal battle to think in terms of "baby" instead of "pregnancy."
In the beginning, I also found myself thinking and talking in "ifs" not "whens". If this baby comes instead of When this baby comes. Or, When I'm not pregnant anymore instead of When the baby is here. Everything feels unknown and up-in-the-air. It is still very difficult for me to talk definitively about the baby being here, although I do it more now simply because I don't want to upset or confuse the girls. They already know that some babies live and some babies die, and while this baby is currently healthy we just don't know what will happen, so I don't want all the "ifs" to constantly remind them that we could lose this baby too.
I imagine that there will be a sigh of relief once we have the twenty-week anatomy scan with a positive result (that being the moment during the last pregnancy that we found out something was wrong). But I know that any relief for me will be short-lived. After experiencing a pregnancy like that with Calvin, nothing feels safe. No test results feel good enough.
Everything seems different in this pregnancy after loss. Highs are not so high and there is such fear of the lows. And the mix of emotions is exhausting. Joy and Terror. Happiness and Guilt. Fear and Fear. The fear is always there.
But I am doing my best. Doing my best to be excited. Doing my best to make a connection to my expanding belly. Doing my best to dream of a future with this baby in our arms.