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Pregnancy Loss PTSD

Oct03

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Hi Amy,

I’m not really sure what I’m expecting from this – I’ve never been very good at reaching out to people, and I honestly don’t know what I expect. You’re a very busy woman and I don’t expect this is interesting enough or special enough to warrant anything.

The general gist is this. Last year my boyfriend and I lost 3 babies. With the first one, we found out at our 12 week scan that baby had stopped growing at about 7 weeks. I had a D&C the next day, 2 weeks off work then back to teaching. Then, 2 months later we had another very early loss, but that was natural loss. Doctor told us to take a break and that was the plan, until we fell pregnant accidentally a couple of months later. Had a scan at 6 weeks and saw a heartbeat, then a ‘reassurance’ scan at 9 weeks showed baby had made it to 7 weeks again then stopped growing. Tried medical management this time which failed so had to return to surgery, I then contracted an infection. Basically last year was really really difficult. We had all the genetic tests/blood tests etc etc and came back with nothing – we’d just been very unlucky.

Fast forward a little bit to April this year and I fell pregnant again. We had bleeds at 4.5 weeks, 6weeks, 10weeks and 12weeks and scans to check them. And they terrified me – I’d been a nervous wreck for each one. We had a sexing scan at 17weeks – I was terrified, same with my 20week scan. But my midwife appointments where we listened to the heartbeat were never a problem – possibly because I didn’t associate them with such heartbreak.

Except for my 28week check last week. Midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat, and even got to the point where she double checked I’d actually felt him moving today. I just fell apart, in fact just thinking about it now is making me cry. Until he kicked her. And she found it.

I was terrified, and I was back there – being on that sonographers table and being told our babies had died. It took me hours to calm down – I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. The midwife and my boyfriend were amazing, but I just couldn’t stop.

I thought I’d managed to put last years losses behind me by now. I was terrified in the early stages, every last twinge and with the bleeds, I was convinced we’d lost him so many times. But I was no longer classed as high risk after the 20week scan showed no problems, he is growing perfectly, I have no issues with my blood pressure etc, the pregnancy is technically going brilliantly. I’m just terrified. I honestly don’t believe we’re going to get to bring home our son, and I love him so much already. I just don’t know how to shake this fear, I have no reason to believe there’ll be a problem, there has been no sign there’s a problem from anywhere. I just can’t shake this and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to relax and believe that everything will be ok. Thing is, I’m not on my own, I have an amazing boyfriend who puts up with me and I couldn’t ask for more. An amazing support network of friends who listen if I need to chat and families who know about our losses (well, the two that required surgery).

I just feel like I should be past this. I’m 29 weeks pregnant, with a little boy who is very active, squirms and wriggles with the nest of them and uses my bladder as a punching bag. I should be over the moon. And I am. I’m just so so so scared too, and it’s the scared I can’t shake.

Just taking the time to read this is amazing, so thank you. I sat here crying typing this. I’m scared.

I’m sorry for babbling at you for so long. Your boys are beautiful.

C

It’s not often that an Advice Smackdown question makes me cry. In fact, I’m not entirely sure it’s ever happened before. This may be a first.

I just — and oh, I realize how trite this sounds — so very much wish I could reach through the computer screen and give you the Biggest Hug Ever. A nice hard one, the kind where after awhile you’d be like, “I’m okay, I’m okay” and I still wouldn’t let go because I just felt like you still needed more hugging.

You have PTSD from your losses. Because losses are traumatic and devastating and stressful. Even if you’re “just” unlucky or dealing with a known genetic problem. Even if you “just” had one early loss or a series of repeated losses — it is perfectly understandable for you to feel what you are feeling. It is not something you “should” be past feeling because you “should” be over the moon about your current, much-loved-and-cherished pregnancy. In fact, there are no “shoulds” or “supposed tos” in the land of pregnancy losses and grief. You feel how you feel. Whenever you feel it. And getting past your experiences is not a linear journey, where every day is better than the last until ta-daaaa! You’re Officially Past Everything Bad That Ever Happened, here’s your grief diploma, a gold star and a healthy full-term infant.

I was in a car accident when I was 18. A very, very bad one. And yet I was very, very lucky because I was fine. Banged up and bruised and needed some stitches, but basically: I was fine. Except for the raging case of PTSD I developed. I freaked out every time I heard a car slamming on its brakes. I was terrified to drive. I had a full-on panic attack in a movie theater during an extended car chase scene and had to leave, sobbing and gasping and shaking. And it was hard to explain to people why I couldn’t shake the gnawing sense of dread I was carrying around all the time because I WAS FINE, RIGHT?

That sounds awfully similar to what happened to you on the sonogram table — the very scene of some of the very worst days of your life. I think it’s incredibly understandable that you would have a visceral, panicked reaction there and flashbacks. And goodness, I’ve never experienced any pregnancy loss ever and I STILL spent decent portions of my pregnancies irrationally worried that something was going to go wrong at any moment and I would not get a real live baby out of the process. So it’s also incredibly understandable that you would have that same feeling, only amped up to 11.

I don’t know how to help you get “over” your fear — everybody heals from PTSD in their own way, in their own time. Some seek counseling, some take anti-anxiety meds, some turn to the Internet to blog about their feelings or connect with other women who are pregnant after multiple losses. I do hope it helps to hear that you are not alone or freakish or wrong to feel this way — the combination of terror and anger that you’re unable to “enjoy” your pregnancy because you’re consumed with waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In the meantime, while you decide what level of emotional help you need — a counselor, a journal, a long talk with a doctor/midwife, etc. — here’s an acronym to repeat whenever you feel waves of fear, panic, whatever: NBHHY. Coined by the original superstar of the infertility/loss blogging community getupgrrl, it stands for Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet. It always helped me whenever I felt overwhelmed by everything that could hypothetically go wrong before viability and/or full term, since it was a nice, quiet blend of cautious optimism. It’s neither doom-and-gloom nor YAY TWO LINES ON A PEE STICK LET’S BUY ALL THE BABY THINGS. It speaks to your experiences and acknowledges that yes, sometimes bad things do happen. But this time, today, right now, this minute: NBHHY. Deep breath in, and out.

I’m so sorry for your lost babies. I’m so sorry I can’t make the pain magically go away for you or offer you a money-back guarantee on a magic protective spell for your little boy. I hope, though, that in some small way this post and the comments will bring you some measure of peace to know that you are not alone in these feelings and that there are many, many strangers on the Internet rooting for you and your pregnancy now.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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31 Responses to “Pregnancy Loss PTSD”

  1. Amy Oct 03 at 11:40 am Reply Reply

    I have no advice to offer but would simply like to second Amy’s comment that there are many strangers rooting for you and your pregnancy. C, if I could give you a hug right now, I would. Sending good thoughts to you and that squirmy little boy.

  2. Sara Oct 03 at 12:28 pm Reply Reply

    i’ve been there. i had a miscarriage 2 years ago at 12 weeks resulting in 3 months of complications. when i got pregnant with my now 4 month old baby girl, i panicked. i did not ever want to go through that again and i was sure i was going to have to. i thought after making it to the magic 12 week mark, i would improve, but nope. i refused to buy anything for the baby and wouldn’t do anything to the nursery because i didn’t want to jinx anything.
    i started seeing a counselor who helped me tremendously. it did not make my fears dissapear and i knew i would never feel ok until i got to take my baby home, but it helped me get through the days.
    i hope you find someone to talk to and i wish you the best of luck!

  3. Stephanie Oct 03 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    This post made me cry too. I ditto everything Amy said, but stress that maybe talking to a counselor, particularly one who knows something about pregnancy loss or loss in general, might be the way to go. I’ve had PTSD for other things – mostly job-related. I had a horrible boss, and even when I finally got out of the job, I still had nightmares. When I ran into a former colleague on the street, and he barely acknowledged my presence, I just started sobbing. All those thoughts of inadequacy came flooding back. I know it’s not the same as this, not even close, but it helped to have someone to talk to. Someone neutral who could just listen. Hugs and good luck!

  4. Susannah Oct 03 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry. I’ve been there too and there nothing that anyone can say or do to really, truly make you feel better. The fear doesn’t go away, I wish I could tell you it does but it’s always there in the back of your mind. I tried the counseling route but I ended up with the worst therapist EVER who basically told me to just get over it. NOT helpful. Writing about it helps more than anything but like I said, it’s always there. I hope with all my heart that when you are able to take your son home, you will be able to begin to heal. Until that day though, just be tender with yourself and know that this is going to be an emotional pregnancy. To expect otherwise would be unrealistic. The things we go through shape us and contribute to what we make of every day and every experience. You can’t realistically expect yourself to handle this pregnancy the way someone who hadn’t had the loss you have would. Honor your feelings and be gentle with your expectations of yourself. Sending you lots of love and good thoughts.

  5. Steph Oct 03 at 1:20 pm Reply Reply

    I had to write in on this one because well.. I went through something similar and I just wanted to say there are SO MANY OF US out there that are experiencing this.. alone. I had two miscarriages – same thing – stopped growing somewhere between the 5-7 week mark.. the sonograms were a horrible experience. I worked through the whole thing thinking that if I just kept working the pain would go away. I ended up being rushed to the hospital the second time because of blood loss. And still I kept working. I had two healthy children between the miscarriages and although they were totally healthy, for me the whole experience was beyond frightening and I was a mess (not only being freaked out, but beating myself for being freaked out and possibly having an effect on the baby.. arg!) There was always this cloud – I didn’t buy anything for the babies until the very end.
    But it never occurred to me to get help… to talk to someone. Folks feel “you should just get over it” … but you can’t.. the images and the feelings are just burnt into your memory. Of course, finally having a healthy baby in my arms helped but I still get flashbacks of walking out of the dr’s office .. beyond heartbroken.
    I have found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to help considerably – practitioners use it for PTSD victims – it’s a meridian tapping technique http://www.eftuniverse.com/). and please know that you are not alone. even with a busy schedule please make time for yourself and talk to someone.

  6. andrea Oct 03 at 1:24 pm Reply Reply

    Our pastor speaks very candidly about the succession of miscarriages he and his wife endured.  He’s a grandfather now and has 4 children, yet he still speaks of that period in their lives with so much emotion.  Its completely normal to feel as you do.

  7. Stephanie Oct 03 at 1:55 pm Reply Reply

    3 miscarriages and a broken marriage with a nasty, ugly divorce from the stress of it here. It’ll seem like a broken record, but counseling. Friends are great to talk and vent to, but a counselor can help you learn grieving techniques and ways to face the losses head-on while dealing with the fear and anxiety. After I got remarried, we fell pregnant by accident and honestly it was the worst nine months of my life. I was terrified, always on the verge of physical illness from the stress and impending heartache, and didn’t sleep an entire single night for fear I’d wake up and he’d be dead in my womb. But you know what? We made it through, and now I have not one but two beautiful, healthy boys from two sucessful (albeit back to back) pregnancies. Breathe deep, check with your insurance, and make the call to find a counselor. Not tomorrow, today. You may need counseling after the baby’s born too. My PPD was RAGING HORRIBLE after the first birth and the fear of him dying didn’t stop with birth. Just a heads up. Sorry this was so long, but it’s so important for you to get some good help and get it now.

  8. bethany actually Oct 03 at 2:10 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, my dear. I’m with Amy in wanting to reach through the computer and give you an inappropriately-long hug. Of course you are going to recover from your losses in your own time, and of course it’s perfectly understandable that you are still struggling, especially when you have a scare with the nurse not being able to find a heartbeat at first.

    I hope and pray that the rest of your pregnancy goes completely smoothly and is scare-free, and that you are able to find your own way to deal with the PTSD so you don’t have to live in terror of the next bad thing happening to your baby.

    Also, FWIW, I think I had my own minor case of PTSD from one of my best friends’ marriage falling apart due to fidelity. I realize how weird that sounds, but similar to what Amy mentioned about panicking in a movie theater during a car chase scene after her car accident, I had to walk out of several movies that I’d wanted to see because of storylines involving infidelity. I had been looking forward to reading a friend’s romance novel, but wasn’t able to get past the first 20 pages because infidelity was a major part of the storyline. It seems stupid when I write it out, because it wasn’t even MY marriage that had the problems, but that’s how it was for me.

  9. Megan Oct 03 at 2:29 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t normally respond to these, but I miscarried earlier this year and since then I have spoken with a lot of women on a super-supportive forum, and the reactions you describe are completely normal.  Three miscarriages in a year is a lot to deal with.  Many of the women I have spoken with say that their loss will always be with them, all their lives, but our society expects women to move past this grief as soon as we get pregnant again.  That often just isn’t the case.

    I am pregnant again, and I just haven’t been able to bond with this baby yet, because I can’t let myself.  I am taking this pregnancy one day at a time, trying to enjoy what I can, but not forcing myself to be happy if I don’t feel like it.  And yes, I panic every time I have an ultrasound, because last time that was how I discovered my baby had been gone for weeks.  I look at the screen anticipating the worst.  I look at ultrasound photos and I just feel . . . not much.  

    Hugs to you.  What you’ve been through, it’s not easy.  It sucks.  I agree that therapy could be a good option.  Primarily, please remember that the grief from miscarriages is very real, and for many women it takes just as long to deal with as the death of a close family member.  There is no time-table for dealing with it.  

  10. Amy Oct 03 at 2:31 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, C…I am so sorry for everything you’ve been through – losing a pregnancy is awful, horrific, and definitely traumatic.  Losing more than one is all that multiplied not just by however many times it happens, but exponentially so, or worse.  You are SO not alone, though I do know that it feels that way.  I’ve had three very early losses where I knew I was pregnant (at least technically), and a fourth that I realized after the fact, hey, that was at least a week longer than my period ever lasts…it sucks.  It’s not something I expect to ever “get over.”  It’s taken me almost a year since the last one (November – saw the heartbeat, albeit a slow one, the day before Thanksgiving but was bleeding by the time we got home from the appointment…ended up with a D&C Dec. 10th) to put the pieces of my heart back together loosely enough to even think about trying again (wasn’t ever actually trying – first three were not trying/not preventing, last I was on the pill, for crying out loud….which I’ve done LOTS of).  

    And I’m already (still?) scared and know I’ll feel the same way you do once I do get pregnant again (trying to be positive that I will….clomid is scary!).  I did find a counselor who specializes in grief and fertility issues – I think it helps to have an impartial person reaffirm that there is absolutely nothing wrong with how you feel.  As mine says, it would be a lot stranger if you didn’t have these feelings after all you’ve been through.  

    Another thing she’s said to me that I think has helped is this – try to give yourself credit for how brave you are – you’re doing everything you can, and that’s all you can do.  Being brave isn’t about not being scared, or having no fear, it’s about acting and doing what you’re doing even though you’re scared.  You’re doing it!  And yes, NBHHY.  Please update Amy/us when your little one arrives – we will be thinking of you and rooting for you both – you can do it….you ARE doing it.  And you’re NOT doing it wrong – I agree that it’s ridiculously unfair that we don’t get to have those moments of unbridled joy and excitement that women who haven’t gone through loss are so lucky to enjoy.  It is unfair to expect yourself to be fearless and anxiety-free – but counseling could help you get some release (saying all your fears out loud, whether they’re rational or not) and cope as well as you can.  Hugs – you’re an example of hope for me!

  11. JB Oct 03 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    I think Amy said it best, and unfortunately I don’t have anything or any advice to add, but I’m also going to give you an inappropriately-long hug.
    *HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUG*

  12. Jeannie Oct 03 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    I didn’t go through the losses the OP had, but I had some anxiety during pregnancy and the thing that helped me was the statistic I found (sorry, I can’t find where now — it was 6 years ago!) that once you hit 20 weeks, your chances of going home with a healthy, full term infant are around 98%. The losses are real, but the odds in favour of success are HUGE. 

    And also I second everyone else — this is NORMAL, there is help if you need it, and you WILL get through it. Good luck!

  13. leanne Oct 03 at 3:05 pm Reply Reply

    My oldest baby was born at 28 weeks and I suffered from PTSD after that, in which I would see an ambulance while driving and start weeping.  Or get a whiff of antiseptic soap and have trouble breathing.  He’s a healthy 5 year old now, and everything is a lot better, but it’s something that still stays with me.  It’s important to develop healthy coping skills over time, but it’s a lot of work, patience and experience.  Sometimes I still have to talk myself into leaving him at his Kindergarten classroom, telling myself, “He’s still breathing.  He’s eating.  He’s smiling.”  I don’t think anyone can ever be the same after suffering through pregnancy trauma.  It’s something that sinks into the very core and changes you forever.  

    I just experienced a late term miscarriage and am walking this grief journey again.  It wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be on the sonogram table getting some of the most horrific news of my life.  But so sad.  Just so desperately sad.  

    I’m sorry.  Always sorry when I hear of others that have to walk this path.  I think it makes us able to feel more deeply, love more deeply, hurt more deeply.  And in that, I think our life experience is… well… MORE.  Somehow, that’s a small comfort to me.

    Many hugs to you.

  14. HereWeGoAJen Oct 03 at 5:03 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve had two losses, one at 9 weeks and a more recent one at 17 weeks. And it really sucks. I no longer let them take my blood pressure at any doctor’s appointment until after I’ve had the scan. I’ve had to lie down on the table and breathe myself back into myself.

    Here’s what has helped me in the past. (I’m not pregnant now.) I have my own doppler, so I’ve been able to check the heartbeat myself every night. When I was pregnant with my daughter who did make it (this was after only my first loss, but I was still terrified the whole time), I checked for her heartbeat even when she was actively trying to kick the probe off my stomach. I’d also suggest that you start doing kick counts (you can google how to do them or ask your doctor) because that can be a really nice way to reassure yourself that everything is okay right now. Kick counts can be an early warning sign that something is wrong and for me, it is an active way to feel like I am doing something.

    And I totally understand all your feelings. I always say “if” instead of “when”. Much love to you.

  15. christine Oct 03 at 5:58 pm Reply Reply

    I had an miscarriage at around 7 weeks last year.  When they looked for a hearbeat on the ultrasound and couldn’t find one, the silence in the room was incredible.  

    A few months later, I was pregnant again.  I currently have a healthy 10 week old baby girl.  But the day or two before every single doctor’s visit I was terrified.  I couldn’t sleep, I would snap at my husband, and I would cry.  Especially in the days before I felt her kick.  It was complete terror like I had never felt before.  I don’t think it went away until she was born. 

    I’m so sorry for your losses. 

  16. Lawren Oct 03 at 8:37 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry for your losses. You aren’t alone and your feelings are completely normal. I myself had two losses and now have 18 month old twins – and was scared every minute of my pregnancy, waiting for something bad to happen. But, that time, it didn’t. And that’s how I got through it; telling myself ‘I am pregnant with two healthy babies RIGHT NOW. I cannot control what happens, but RIGHT NOW I’m pregnant and choose (more like, will try to be) to be happy.’ I t might sound trite, but it gave me peace of mind. Good luck and I hope you have a healthy rest of your pregnancy and birth. 

  17. Amy Oct 03 at 9:54 pm Reply Reply

    My sister had a miscarriage in January, and found out that she was pregnant again on the date that she would have been due.  I know she’s told me that she feels like she’s holding her breath.  She can’t “just relax and enjoy” everything, because of what she has been through.  I agree with Amy – there are no “shoulds” here.  To hell with “shoulds.”  Don’t add to your stress by feeling like your feelings are wrong.  

    I know I felt great relief during my own pregnancies after hearing a heartbeat, then again after 12 weeks, and again when we got to the point where the “your pregnancy week by week” guides said “most babies born now will survive, with NICU stays,” and again at “most babies born now will be just fine.”  There are varying degrees of holding your breath, I guess.  

    And then they start crawling, then walking, then running into the street, then going to school on a big scary bus, then dating, then driving, then having babies of their own!  Ugh.  Maybe we’ll be able to breathe when they’re 50?  Or maybe we just get used to it.  I wish for you many happy years of holding your breath as your baby grows and flourishes.

  18. MR Oct 03 at 11:36 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, C, I am so sorry for your losses! I had a friend who miscarried around 12 weeks who told me that it gets better, but you never really get over it. That helped me when I miscarried my first at 11.5 weeks. We had seen the heartbeat at 7 weeks, but i started spotting at 11.5 weeks, turned out baby had stopped growing at 8, and ended up with a D&C. I can’t even really tell you what all happened that week, or even the exact day, because I have kind of blocked it all out. I don’t remember much about the week after the D&C, I just remember lying on the couch staring blankly at the TV while I cried. Our second pregnancy resulted in a happy, healthy baby,  but I mentally held my breath the whole time. And she had a nasty habit of moving like crazy for 6 days, then sleeping for 2. Freaked me out, EVERY time. Then, I got pregnant with my second. I even remember telling my mom that this one was so less stressful, since I knew it would be ok. And then, at 9 weeks I was having some weird cramping, and convinced myself I was losing the baby. Turned out to be a bad UTI. Then, at exactly 11.5 weeks, I started spotting. I fell apart. I remember blubbering to the ER dr and ultrasound tech about how it was exactly the same time. It turned out to be a low lying placenta, and baby was fine. It has been 5 years since our miscarriage, and I still think about that baby and grieve for him. Yeah, I decided it was a boy and named him. It was how I dealt with it. But, my point is: it gets easier, but you never forget. I am so sorry for you losses. But, don’t think there is any “should” about how you are feeling. You should feel however you do, and there is nothing wrong with that. Hugs.

  19. June Oct 04 at 8:51 am Reply Reply

    I had a very early loss with my first pregnancy and subsequently had two very easy pregnancies resulting in my boys.  But to show just how this can stick with you,  just reading the title of this post made my chest clench up a bit as if I was bracing myself for another loss.  Um, my baby is 2 months old so I am not even pregnant.  
    Those two pregnancies were easy in the physical sense but I definitely held my breath through both of them.
    One of the hardest things for me is to hear other people announce pregnancies before the end of the first trimester.  Every time I just think to myself “dont’ you know you could lose it?”  It’s awful, and I would never say it to anyone, but that’s all I can think at the beginning.
    Hugs to you, I hope the rest of your pregnancy is uneventful and you get to meet your little one in a few months!

  20. Leah Oct 04 at 9:52 am Reply Reply

    I had 5 miscarriages before we finally figured out what the problem was, and let me tell you, I was a wreck all through pregnancy 6. My miscarriages all happened at week 9, so I just assumed I’d be fine once I got past that, but nope. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks before I was due that I finally thought, “Maybe this will work out.” I had monthly ultrasounds the entire pregnancy and I still panicked every time, sure that something was wrong. I don’t think all of the fear and anxiety fully leaves until the baby is born and you see that he’s healthy.

    I did daily kick counts, starting at 28 weeks, to help keep track of things, and it made me feel like I was actually “doing” something. I also had a doppler and if the baby’d been quiet that day, I’d listen to his heartbeat, just to make sure things were ok. It was a way to feel somewhat in control of a completely out of my control situation, but it made me feel somewhat better.

    I’m so very sorry for everything you’re going through, it really and truly sucks.

  21. kim Oct 04 at 11:34 am Reply Reply

    I got pregnant by just barely trying with my first, who stopped growing at around 6 weeks (and I still harbor ill feelings towards my OB at the time for the way she handled it.) I needed ART to get pregnant the second time, and I had a vanishing twin with that one. That was weird – a 10w ultrasound showwed two heartbeats, but one was much slower and the fetus much smaller than the other. The RE gave me a song and dance about sometimes the little ones catch up later on, and I spent an odd week wondering if I was going to have one healthy twin and one not-healthy one, or whether the little twin would make it at all, until I talked to my OB who told me straight up that, no, that baby wouldn’t make it, but my other one would be fine. (She is.) (and I wouldn’t have gone back to that RE, either.)So when I spontaneously got pregnant three years later, I didn’t let myself believe it either, despite all the nausea and other symptoms. It wasn’t until I got the amnio results back, well after she started moving, that I truly started to relax into the pregnancy.

    With both pregnancies, all test results, etc., were channeled through my husband, just in case.

    You are not alone. Your feelings are totally understandable, but they are interfering with your life, so I think counseling would hei in order. ( and now I need to take my own advice, because I’ve been resisting counseling for unrelated issues.) Good luck, abd big hugs.

  22. Kate Oct 04 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

    I am not a doctor, or any kind of authority whatsoever. I’m a psych major and a person who struggles with depression and a person whose suffered child loss and just…whatever. I am. Take it with a grain a salt –

    If the asker was one of my friends, I would really, really encourage her to seek counseling. I agree that there’s some PTSD going on here, and I think it’s heavily laden with some grade A clinical depression. There’s some hints in the language – that her story wasn’t special or interesting…it’s very disheartening and sad, and it reminds me of the defeatist, sense of worthlessness that so often comes with depression.

  23. mara Oct 04 at 2:16 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, C. I am so sorry about your losses. I wish I could give you a hug, too. I have had almost the exact same experience as you. Three losses (the middle a chemical), followed by an infection and then a successful pregancy. My son was born in February, and I TOTALLY had PTSD. (I didn’t realize it until reading this, but yeah. PTSD.) I wouldn’t go shopping for the baby, like, at all. I had to send my husband out to buy diapers after he was born (full-term). I was terrified something would go wrong. I even had the same can’t-find-the-heartbeat experience, but mine was during labor. I totally lost my shit. I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone, at all. Soon it will all be over!!!! (I’m so much happier now that I can SEE that he’s alive!)

  24. Emma Oct 04 at 2:36 pm Reply Reply

    I never reply to these either, but I just really wanted to reach out and say I am so sorry for your losses. That is so much to take, especially one after the other and then to become pregnant again. Pregnancy is scary, it’s unknown and hard not to worry that something will go wrong. I’ve had 3 pregnancies, of which 2 ended with a healthy baby and one that I knew was going to be a miscarriage almost from the start. I was only 6-7 weeks when it happened, but it still hurt like nothing else. This was between my two babies and during the last pregnancy (my son) I was terrified the whole time, wake up at night afraid and all of that. You are not alone and it’s not wrong to feel that way after all you have gone through. I do hope that you are able to get some help with what you are feeling because suffering alone is unfair to you.

  25. Jenn Bo Oct 04 at 10:41 pm Reply Reply

    Dear C – I am so sorry to hear about your struggles to carry a baby to term. I also think it is wonderful you are currently pregnant and everything is coming along so well. Before becoming a mom to my daughter (4 monhs old now), I had many miscarriages – it takes two hands to count them. (I was also diagnosed with “unexplained pregnancy loss). Some of the language used by doctors can be upsetting as they can be so clinical. My successful pregnancy was tough, too. Like I didn’t feel the realness of what was happening. Like not reading and preparing for the new baby who would be arriving because I was so cautious about getting my hopes up. Like crying each time I talked to the baby in utero – I wanted to communicate how excited I was to be her mother, but so hesitant to embrace the joy coming to my life. Like feeling like I was “faking it” when telling others I was just fine and excited about the baby. I think what you are experiencing is sucky. Maybe it helps to know someone else had a similar experience? My heart goes out to you and I am sending thoughts of comfort to you. You are SO CLOSE to completing your pregnancy and I wish you the best with your son.

  26. C Oct 05 at 6:21 am Reply Reply

    Hi to everyone who has commented and shared some heartbreaking stories too. I never expected Amy would reply to my question, or that the response from total strangers would be so overwhelming.
    I do the kick counts – about the only thing that keeps me sane, those he has a delightful habit of giving me ten movements fairly slowly then going nuts when I’ve hit ten. I think though that talking to someone might be the best way forward. I hadn’t really considered it, and until last week I really did think I was getting past this. Although I had admitted to a couple of people I couldn’t believe I’d get to bring him home.
    I just wanted to say thank you again – to Amy, and all of you. This happens to so many people and it isn’t discussed often enough. I feel embarrased getting upset over our losses still – though no-one has ever made me feel that way. It’s people like you – who are willing to talk about this who make all the difference to people like me. And to the people in the future who will come across this in the future. Thank you all.

  27. Amy Oct 05 at 12:07 pm Reply Reply

    Hi, C – so glad you got your question posted.  I hope the replies are helpful.  One other thing that may or may not help – October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  There may be a Walk to Heal near you or a balloon release, where you know you’d be surrounded by other people that understand.  There’s also a Wave of Light that evening at 7 pm – light a candle and let it burn for at least an hour – the idea being that if it’s done around the world at 7 pm in all time zones, it’s a continuous wave of light.  I will be doing that though I don’t think I can participate in the public events.  My losses were early enough that I didn’t have names or anything….  Best of luck to you in finding a good counselor – if anyone makes you feel like they’re telling you to “get over it,” find another one!  There are good ones out there, and I hope it will help!

  28. Judy Oct 06 at 6:22 pm Reply Reply

    C, I can tell you that you never totally get over it, because I just read your post and I was back there 40+ years ago when it happened to me.  Two healthy baby girls 18 months apart, and then in the next six and a half years, I had four miscarriages.  All early, all natural, but still…and then the girls went off to school and I was pregnant again.  I waited for the miscarriage.  When it didn’t happen, I got the idea in my head that the baby was deformed.  I did not want to give birth.  We had two perfect daughters, my marriage was showing signs of shakiness (a nice way of saying he couldn’t stay out of bars or other women’s pants) and I just did not want to have this deformed baby and change our lives so much.

    So…six hours of labor with the first.  Four with the second.  Twenty-five with the third, and I nearly died.  My doctor told my husband “I had no idea she was so scared, she fought labor all the way”.  And the pediatrician told me “I’ve looked, and I can’t find a thing wrong with that boy.”  I’d never heard sweeter words.

    Talk to people about your fears.  Don’t hold it in like I did.  Your mind can do some frightening things.  And judging from the large number of “been there” comments, it needs talking about.

  29. meagan Oct 08 at 8:07 pm Reply Reply

    {{HUGS}} You just need to hang in there one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. I am sure you are doing all you can do, now you have to wait and just have faith that it will all be okay. My daughter (baby #2) was stillborn at 39 weeks…..exactly 1 week before her due date. When I got pregnant with baby #3 a year later, I think I held my breath the entire time. I wished on every star and every penny I threw in a fountain and I was blessed with my little boy who was healthy and happy. I think when I found out my due date was my baby girl’s angel day….I knew everything would be just fine. And now, 5 years later I still get that feeling when I find a penny, see a Christmas dress, look at a little girl who looks like she could be mine ….I could go on. Just hold on, have faith and take it one day at a time. :)

  30. Sarah Oct 10 at 8:20 pm Reply Reply

    I have had three miscarriages and three healthy kids, too, and even though I really want a big family, four or five kids, I am so relieved to be coming off a healthy birth and so nervous to try again and risk losing another pregnancy. It took me a long, long time to feel normal and like myself again, after the second miscarriage, especially (which ironically was the one pregnancy out of our six that hadn’t quite been planned and about which I felt ambiguous.) But hearing from SO many other women/couples who had gone through stuff like this helped a lot. It is so much more common than I used to think to lose pregnancies.
    At this point I tell people who are beginning to plan a family to EXPECT to lose at least one along the way. That sounds fatalistic and mean, maybe, but I wish someone had told me that, so I wouldn’t have felt so alone and like such a broken, abnormal woman when in fact the unusual ones are the women who have three or four kids WITHOUT ever losing one early on.
    Anyways, huge hugs, and just another person who wanted to tell you I’ve been there, you’re normal, and yes, just talk talk talk to whoever you feel most comfortable. Don’t bottle those feelings up. Accept them, deal with them, and don’t compound them by feeling guilty about them! As another commenter said, it would be strange if you DIDN’T feel nervous and jittery.

  31. Lovely Oct 30 at 9:35 pm Reply Reply

    C/Amy… I’m there now.  I’m living this fear every day, for the last 18 weeks.  I am on my third pregnancy after 7 years of trying.  After 4 years of trying, surprise we finally got pregnant.  However 8 weeks into the pregnancy, baby had stopped growing. So we had to have a D&C.  And then to our surprise we got pregnant again a few short weeks after the procedure.  I knew this was it, I was going to have a baby.  Everything was going great and then my 20 week U/S came around.  I was actually 22 weeks at the time.  It was a great U/S and found out we were having a boy.  Went home that day and 14 hours later I was at the hospital with an abruption.  I gave birth to a boy 18 hours after the abruption.  No doctor or radiologist could explain why I had a perfect U/S and then abrupted shortly after.  I had no other explainable reason for one either.  If I had been 2 weeks further along they would have saved the baby.  So for the first time in my life I did something no parent wants or wishes, I buried my baby.  I thought there were days I was separating, truly seperating.  I would make my husband hold me to keep me together.  I secretly hoped to get pregnant again even after my insides had been brutally ripped apart, but it didn’t happen…until 3 years later, July of this year.  I was training for my first 5k.  I was horrified and excited and sad and scared, so scared.  This has been so rough, not just because of my pregnancy history but because I have had extreme cramping and spotting from the beginning however he’s moving and has a great heartbeat.  The million of U/S I’ve had have been really great, but the doctor told me he can make no promises.  Some days I wish someone would.  I am fast approaching 22 weeks with my 20 week U/S in two weeks.  There is no advice that I can give C that I shouldn’t be telling myself.  I pray harder then I have in my life because I feel so helpless and I have to have something to go on.  Some thread of hope.  I do some of the things Amy suggested and try to find other mothers who have experienced the same thing which helps but I can’t help being scared.  I wish C the very best and hope and pray she gets her heart desires.  Hope, it’s my life raft and although it’s been a bumpy ride it’s still floating.

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