August 17, 2011

Things I Wish I'd Known

Several of these things are specific to being pregnant after a loss, but not all of them. These cover things through about Week 20 or so of the pregnancy. Maybe I'll do another one of these after delivery...

1) Getting pregnant after a loss is scary.

When I was TTC after my loss I had it in my head that getting pregnant again would magically make everything OK. It doesn't. Its scary to be pregnant again with a little one that you want so badly when you know so much about what can go wrong.

2) Spotting doesn't always mean miscarriage.

It can, in fact it did for me the first time around. This time though I spotted a lot (see chart) and he's still very much still around. I guess I'm pretty much a great example of the 50% chance they give you of a miscarriage when you're spotting. Spotting is terrifying though, especially when you've been down the road of it meaning the beginning of the end before.

3) Symptoms can come and go.

For a lot of ladies, the bulk of 1st Tri symptoms don't really start to kick in until around 6-7 weeks. For me, weeks 7-9 were the most worst. Its totally normal to feel nauseous or tired as anything one day and fine the next. The same has held true for my 2nd and 3rd Tri symptoms so far. Movement has come and gone. Swelling has come and gone.

4) Its common for 1st Tri symptoms to drop off around 10ish weeks.

My symptoms completely tanked around 9 weeks and were all but gone by 10 weeks. Turns out a ton of the ladies on Pregnant After A Loss (a board on The Bump) were experiencing the same thing. Pretty sure around that point is when the placenta takes over, making those annoying 1st Tri symptoms fade.

5) Not everyone gets morning sickness (or other 1st Tri symptoms) really bad and every pregnancy really is different.

I'd heard all these horror stories about morning sickness. None of them were true for me. To this day I've not puked when pregnant. I had nausea, sure, but only a handful of times was it to the point where I thought I might puke...and it was never in the morning. I was an evening nausea girl. I never had Super Smell with this pregnancy (did a little with the first one), just a sensitivity to a few odors. With my first pregnancy I was exhausted, this one just a few days here and there.

6) Make Mr. Metamucil your BFF.

Taking Metamucil (I'd recommend the clear and free kind that dissolves in just about anything) can really help you if you get backed up...something that is common in early pregnancy but that people don't often talk about. Other things like colace, fruit, drinking tons of water, etc can also help.

7) The days before ultrasounds are nervewrecking.

Having had my miscarriage confirmed via seeing my empty uterus on the big screen, I was terrified going in for ultrasounds early on. The worst, by far, was the one where I knew there should be a heartbeat but I had no tangible proof that the heart was in fact beating. I was scared beyond words walking into that appointment. Seeing that beautiful flicker was absolutely amazing, there just are no words. I've gotten better about ultrasounds now that I can feel him and he's passed his anatomy scan, but I still worry a little.

8) When you get news that your child might have something that will make his/her life more challenging...nothing else matters.

OK, I kind of knew that in theory going into pregnancy, but processing the news that our little one had a 1:10 chance for Down Syndrome (courtesy of the Quad Screening) was hands down the hardest moment thus far for this pregnancy. I just wanted our child to have the best chance at the best life possible...and hearing s/he might face extra challenges was hard. It did put things into perspective though and helped me realize that as disconnected as I'd felt from this pregnancy (emotionally protecting myself from another loss, I think) that I really did love the baby already.

9) The amnio wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It was scary seeing the needle in the amniotic sac on the ultrasound screen, but the procedure itself didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. The worst part of the whole experience, by far, was waiting for the results. Given that I'll be of advanced maternal age for future pregnancies, thus increasing my risks for several things the amnio can check for, I'll likely get an amnio instead of the Quad Screening in future pregnancies. So many of the other tests they can do just give you odds of a problem or can't rule things out completely. With amnio they are checking the DNA and you get a definitive answer. Sometimes just knowing one way or the other what is going on is least it was for me.

10) The first movements don't always feel like flutters.

For me it felt like a bug was crawling inside of me. Why everyone else gets butterflies and I got a giant beetle...I have no idea. I've heard other ladies describe the feeling they had as it being like a vibrating cell phone.

11) Its totally normal to only feel movement intermittently before the start of 3rd Tri.

Even if your little one has been predictable as anything with their movements, when they are still relatively tiny, sometimes they can get themselves into a position where you can't feel them. Sometimes their sleep/awake patterns can change as well. If you have any concerns, absolutely call your doctor or go into Labor & Delivery (I did)...just go in knowing that in most cases the baby is fine.

12) Registries: Baby Bargains, Lucie's List and a game plan

Walking into a Big Box baby store as a first time parent is overwhelming. I found doing some research beforehand really helped me calm down. I highly recommend the book Baby Bargains (2011), available on Amazon for about $11 (image credit: They literally go through and rate every product by pretty much every manufacturer and outline things like features, recalls, etc. The book will more than pay for itself. Seriously. Another thing I found helpful was This website outlines the bare minimum of what you really need for baby. I don't agree with all the recommendations for big ticket items (a personal preference thing), but the listings of how many of this, that and the other thing you really need was helpful.

When it comes time to actually register, do what you can online. When you go to the store (there will likely be things you'll want to see in person), keep in mind that you don't have to do it all in one day. We did strollers and car seats one week, cribs and pack n'plays the get the idea. You can always tweak it online at home. Oh and another important tip-If you get tired, that's a GREAT time to try out the gliders. Just sayin'.



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