Sunday, January 29, 2012

First pregnancy after a stillbirth, Part 1

In regards to the title, I am dying to write out my feelings on being pregnant for the first time after having a stillborn child, but my feelings are black and white-- black represents the first 10 weeks, white represents the remaining 30, thus the need for two posts :)

Feeling Black: Weeks 4-10

When Ben and I were in the delivery wing of the hospital that terrible/ wonderful weekend in September, one of the first things we said to one another was that we both wanted to continue on our road to Earthly parenthood.  We were quickly given a cursory warning that we'd need to wait three months after our experience to "try again", and I, numbly, nodded my head- agreeing in complete shock with whatever someone with a name tag advised me to do.

When the spiritual high wore off a couple weeks later, all I could think about was having another child.  We have known many people who have had trouble getting pregnant, and I was convinced I'd be one of them. I was so afraid that Eleanor was my one "shot" at having biological children that I wanted to start tying asap to maximize the minuscule odds I felt I had of getting pregnant again.

5 weeks later, I was pregnant (by LMP calculations.) I remember clearly that I felt pregnant in the days leading up to taking a OTC test, and already feeling ambivalent about the possible results.  See, at that time we were still waiting for Eleanor's grave marker to be put in place (remember that ordeal?), and I felt so guilty for thinking of another child before my first's grave was settled! I purposefully waited, knowing I was pregnant, to take the test so I could plead ignorance- saying I didn't "officially" know I was expecting #2 until Eleanor had been taken care of.

Waiting for Eleanor's grave marker was the first emotional hurdle I had to cross; many more came soon after. In the weeks that followed Eleanor's due date came, my sister's triplets were blessed in a weekend-long celebration in Columbia, and Christmas approached (the holiday we had most been looking forward to spending with our new "present").  I was not emotionally ready to love another child until I had celebrated these important milestones of my first child's.  I felt like a terrible mother for "putting El aside" in order to get pregnant again before her grave marker had arrived, her due date came, or the triplet's had been blessed (I knew I would be a not-so-hot mess that day- it reminded me so strongly that my child was supposed to be born two weeks later, but that we wouldn't be blessing her at all.) 

I know Eleanor didn't (probably) think of me as a bad mother, but I needed to work through those dates with her before I could focus on the child growing inside me. I guess a part of me was afraid that another stillbirth, or an earlier miscarriage, was always possible, so I shouldn't get attached too early, either. I've heard many mothers say that they fear they don't have enough love for another child after their first, and that's how I felt-- even though my first wasn't here with us. But already being pregnant is not the time to consider how you feel about more children-- they are already here! So I felt really torn between the guilt of not giving Eleanor enough time, and the guilt of not loving the new pregnancy immediately.  So I chose Eleanor, knowing I have the rest of my Earthly life to focus on this child.

Someone I love very, very much expressed their sadness that I waited as long as I did to announce my pregnancy-- she was an important rock to me when we lost El, and I'm sure she expected to be part of whatever my process was in the future.  I know she would have been (and is, now) an incredible vehicle of support and love, but I tried to explain that I just wasn't ready.  I used the old breakup cliche "It's not you, it's me." as that seemed the most appropriate: It had absolutely nothing to do with our relationship or the love and support I know she's capable of, I just simply couldn't broach the topic of baby 2 until I had given all I could to baby 1- including my thoughts, words, and actions. I had to do that for my child and myself.  Ben and I didn't even talk about the pregnancy much those first few weeks... Which really shocked me, considering how strongly I'd felt about having Earthly children as soon as possible.

It's incredible what the mind and body are capable of.  I was on such a spiritual high after delivering an angel worthy of heaven immediately that I planned another pregnancy with no consideration of the feelings of guilt, fear, and ambivalence that would follow.  Yet, knowing that I may not be as emotionally prepared as I thought, Heavenly Father still found this to be the right time to send another of His children into our arms.  I have come to trust (please, God... no more lessons) that Heavenly Father knows best, and there is a plan involving us and our children that we are slowly taking part in.

At this point I am over-the-moon ecstatic about this pregnancy, more so than I was being pregnant with El, in fact, and I am so so so glad that I was pregnant as early as I was and that we don't have to wait those additional weeks or months to have our next child with us. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for always knowing what is best for us, and, though those were some of the hardest months of my life, teaching me what true happiness can be!

2 Nephi 2: 22-25:

"22: And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 
23: And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. 
24: But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 
25: Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy."


  1. I am so so so excited for you!! I know you are more than ready for this!

  2. I'm so thoroughly impressed by you. You are grand.


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