Today I did a thing I had been dreading doing for a little while. I threw away the Pregnancy Journal that I had bought, intending to keep track of the milestones in this most recently lost pregnancy. I waited to buy it until after my 6-week appointment, when I was told that everything looked great. There was a beautiful embryo, a lovely little heartbeat, and the Doctor told me he didn’t need to see me again for 4 weeks. Encouraged by that news, I went out and bought a Pregnancy Journal to keep. I loved keeping a pregnancy journal when I was pregnant with Julia and I wanted to give this pregnancy the same attention to detail and the same love that I gave Julia because I know that Julia loves to ask questions about when she was in my belly, and some day it will be so nice to share my journal with her.
As I threw away the pregnancy journal (which is now sitting in our trashcan with wilted flowers, some scrambled eggs that Julia didn’t eat this morning, and the peel of a clementine), I thought about how I might do things differently if and when I get pregnant again, and how I might think differently.
When I first got pregnant with Julia, I was all smiles. I was excited, hopeful, optimistic and overjoyed to be pregnant, and after only one month of trying! Sure, there was a part of me that worried about what could happen since we knew about my unicornuate uterus and the risks that brought to a pregnancy, but because it was my first time getting pregnant, I was mostly just excited to know that everything seemed to be in working order. I immediately went out and bought a pregnancy journal… we told all our closest family and friends right away, and luckily everything went well. We never had to un-tell anyone, we didn’t have any complications and at the end of 37 weeks and 6 days, a beautiful and healthy baby girl was born.
The second time I got pregnant, I had that same joy and excitement. We were in Las Vegas when we found out, and we told the friends we were with. We also called our parents to let them know the exciting news. I didn’t buy a pregnancy journal until we got home to Baltimore, but then just a few weeks later we were given the awful news that we had just an empty gestational sac and that it was a partial molar pregnancy. We had to un-tell our friends and family, we had to throw away the journal, and we had to sit with the disappointment and heartbreak for months as I went in week after week for blood tests and 2 D&Cs.
After one loss, getting pregnant again this most recent time we were both hesitant to get too excited. We told fewer people this time than we had last time (though I am still of the opinion that I would rather people know so we can be surrounded by love if anything goes wrong than keep it to ourselves and have to suffer in silence). Ken was better at keeping his excitement in check… he said that he was “cautiously optimistic” and “nervously excited,” but I immediately started making plans in my head… I’d be almost 20 weeks at Blair’s wedding and I’d be showing by then and would need a maternity dress. I’d be over 30 weeks at Adam and Jenn’s wedding and would surely need a fancy maternity dress for that occasion. I’d be due in the middle of the summer, but luckily Julia would be in summer camp then, and she’d have a 1-month old baby sibling by the time school would be starting. We all know what happened this time…
So there sits my pregnancy journal in the trash can.
Next time, how will we feel? How will we act? Will we do anything differently? Will we tell fewer people? Will we be less excited? Less hopeful? When will we feel ready to tell people, ready to buy a journal? Ready to post about it on Facebook? Will I feel comfortable telling people I’m pregnant before it’s been confirmed on ultrasound? Before we get past the first trimester? Before I’m showing? Who knows… it’s hard to say. But I do know that having 2 pregnancy losses definitely will affect our feelings the next time. I don’t know how, and I’m not prepared to make any grand plans about how we’ll do things differently because I know myself, and I know that I like to share exciting news, I like to be surrounded by supportive friends through happy and sad events. But I don’t think I’ll be overjoyed like I was the first two times I got pregnant. I don’t think I’ll count weeks on the calendar to figure out how far along I’ll be for various upcoming events. I think when I see “pregnant” pop up next time, I’ll feel scared, terrified, nervous, and a little bit hopeful. Will I feel comfortable telling my parents again, and risking breaking their hearts? Will we want to tell Ken’s brothers and risk having to get those well-meaning but terrible to hear phone calls from family telling us how sorry they are to hear our bad news? I don’t know. Only time will tell.