A few weeks back we shared the heartbreaking story of Elle from Feathering The Empty Nest and she was overwhelmed by your support and messages. Today she is sharing the next part of her story and the decision of when to start trying to conceive after loss.
Sometimes I feel as though I might have made a rod for my own back writing about my experience of losing Teddy. Everyone knowing my inner most thoughts and feelings; and sometimes I feel as though they are watching, waiting for a happy ending to come to fruition. I guess when your baby dies you feel as though you need to do something positive to try and turn a tragedy into something we can learn from? I was so comforted in my early days of loss by reading stories of others who had lost, and survived. I felt that by writing then perhaps I might help someone too; perhaps I might reach out to that one lady who’s baby had just died and was desperately scouring the internet for a place that made her see she wasn’t alone. After all, I was her once.
When you lose a baby the mix of emotions that rush through you are intense. Shock, grief, love, anger, shame; you name it, I probably felt it in those early weeks. The disbelief that what has happened is even real; then eventually your subconscious catches up. For me as that mist cleared there was another emotion that took over, although I wouldn’t liken it to any “emotion” I had ever felt before. It was an overwhelming feeling, an instinct, that I needed to be pregnant again. My body knew that I wasn’t holding a baby in my arms; the hormones raging around inside me were telling my brain that something had gone horribly wrong and that I needed to do something about it. It wasn’t a conscious decision, a discussion of “We need to try again.”; it was every inch of my being yearning for a baby to hold. Not to replace Teddy, not ever, but perhaps to help my broken heart and empty arms.
At moments, I felt callous; why was I even considering having another baby? We hadn’t even had our son’s funeral yet, and this thought, this instinct kept shoving it’s way to the forefront of my mind. I couldn’t quash it, it burned into me; every single moment. I spoke to my husband and explained what I was thinking, how it was making me feel, how I needed to be a mother; not just to Teddy, but to another baby. He agreed that he thought we should think about trying again; and so, our journey of trying to conceive after loss began.
It’s a difficult thing to do when you feel as though the world is watching you. Our family, friends; and now the people who have invested emotionally in our story since discovering my blog. I don’t feel pressured, but I do feel that I owe the world some happy news (or rather it owes me some happy news!). I recently shared on my blog that I did in fact fall pregnant again, four and half months after Teddy was born, on 29th October we discovered we were expecting our very own rainbow. The emotions poured in again; disbelief, excitement, fear. We still hadn’t completed our genetic screening to find out what had caused Teddy’s illness; was I mad to be even trying for another baby, let alone be pregnant already?
After two early scans that reassured us and a phone call from the geneticist that confirmed Teddy’s condition wasn’t inherited and that neither of us carried anything that could be passed to a baby, we were feeling confident. Our bubble was well and truly burst at our twelve week scan just before Christmas when we discovered that this baby too had medical complications. Entirely unrelated to Teddys, but again something that meant he (yes, he) was not “life compatible”. We went on to lose the baby at 14 weeks pregnant. The time when I should have been starting to tell friends and family that our story was getting better, that there was light appearing at the end of our tunnel; I had to tell them the exact opposite. I know that to most people, a loss at 14 weeks would be earth shatteringly bad, something that would upset you beyond belief. It did, momentarily it really did; I felt like I was being picked on by the universe, like I should be racing out of the door and screaming up at the sky “Why me? Pick on someone else!”. Then a week or so passed, and all I could do was compare that loss to my only bar of comparison; losing Teddy. Suddenly what had just happened seemed less severe, by that I mean that I knew I could survive it. If I was still here, still standing, still at times laughing, after my son had died; then I knew I could (and would) survive this loss too.
Another couple of weeks passed; and there it was again, my old friend “the instinct”. Telling me, pleading with me to give it another try; to fill my arms with a living, breathing baby that we could take home and love. So now, we find ourselves with three months having past. My body recovering from two pregnancies only four months apart; my hormones finally starting to settled and the dust from the emotional storm begin to settle also. We start again; the world watching on. I’ve learned that I can’t simply “wish” for a baby, I am not one of those fortunate people who falls pregnant easily (although I also realise how incredibly fortunate I am for being able to fall pregnant naturally at all). For me it requires me taking great care of myself; and (of course) lots of the obvious! I have found I need to practice yoga more often to take care of my body, cut out caffeine, drink next to no alcohol (when I used to be the worst kind of all week drinker!). I have to make sure that I eat the right foods, take my vitamins, get enough (good) sleep, do things that relax me and take time to exercise. Sounds like hard work doesn’t it? Well it is sometimes and it takes everything I have to stay focused; but we want this so badly; everything inside me is telling me that this story will have a happy ending. So for now, I’ll just keep on chasing that rainbow……