As I mentioned last week, I’m pregnant (now 29 weeks)! We’re very happy about this baby, and we’re hoping everything goes well. Today, I’d like to talk about what it’s been like trying to conceive after a loss.
We have a three-year-old son, and when we decided to start trying for another baby, we experienced two losses: one at 21 weeks in December 2021, and one at 7 weeks in June 2022. The first loss was devastating. The second one happened early in the pregnancy, so it’s very common (unlike the first one), but it was still sad. And since it came after the first loss, it was extra heavy.
After the first loss, everyone said, “Next time will be fine. You’ll see.” And I hoped that would be true, but it wasn’t, and that made things even more scary next time around.
We consulted several gynecologists, and they all said there was nothing “wrong with us,” there was no problem to be resolved. Both pregnancy losses were purely due to chance. “You’re completely healthy, this can happen to anyone. Building a baby is a really complicated job, and sometimes things go wrong. Nature will get it right.”
This was reassuring. Creating and growing a baby is a really complicated business; so many steps need to happen in order, and it’s no surprise that things can go wrong sometimes. Just keep trying.
But how can you be sure nature will get it right eventually? Why had we had two losses one after the other, even if they were so different and perhaps unrelated? “Purely statistics, purely chance,” was the only answer we got. I hoped it was true, but I wasn’t convinced.
The most convincing argument I’ve heard is, “Remember, you already have one healthy child. You and your husband are capable of having a healthy child, so chances are it will happen again.” This actually helped a bit. There are many families who don’t have a child already and go through multiple losses before they have their rainbow baby. My heart goes out to these families.
Trying to conceive
After our first loss, the gynecologists recommended we wait for 3-4 months for full recovery (since I had been pregnant for 21 weeks), so we did that. After the second loss, they said we could try again right away, but we didn’t feel ready. Also, my husband’s father had passed away in May 2022, and it was a tough time for everyone in the family. We decided to take a couple of months off just to relax and enjoy a summer free of pregnancy tests and worries and simply to be together.
Then, at one point, we felt ready to start again. Not 100% “Yes, let’s go for it, I’m so excited!” type of readiness. It was more like, “We’re as ready as we’re ever going to be.” We knew we wanted another baby, and we had fears about what a new pregnancy could bring, but we also didn’t want to wait any longer before beginning. We felt we wouldn’t get any more ready by just waiting.
I had my PhD defense on October 17, 2022. It was a big day, very exciting, and with lots of preparations. I took a pregnancy test the day before, on October 16, and it was positive! Oh, the massive amount of emotions!
From then on, I found myself thinking in milestones. 8 weeks was the first milestone I had in mind since we had lost our previous pregnancy at 7 weeks. That came around quite quickly, and around 10 weeks I found myself relaxing a little.
But the next big milestone, of course, was 22 weeks, since we’d lost our baby before that at 21 weeks. That was a complicated mix of emotions.
In 2021, with our first loss, we’d had our 20-week scan at 19.5 weeks, and everything had appeared fine. We’d found out we were having a healthy baby boy. I’d been having mild unpleasant symptoms on and off throughout the pregnancy, but they could have been normal. And then at 20 weeks precisely all hell broke loose. Things continued deteriorating until we lost our baby at 21 weeks 2 days.
This time around, that whole period from 19 to 22 weeks was rather scary. The good news was that I wasn’t experiencing any of those mild unpleasant symptoms, so I already had hope that this pregnancy would be different. We had our 20-week scan at exactly 20 weeks, and we found out we were having a healthy baby girl. We were overjoyed! I kept on waiting for the next two weeks, but week 22 passed by without any issues. I took a deep breath.
And at the same time, we now know much more about the risks associated with pregnancy, so our feeling of certainty that everything will be fine is gone. Therefore, I can’t say that from 22 weeks on, it’s been blissful happiness and no worries whatsoever. I don’t think this will ever be possible. But I am very, very glad that this important milestone has now passed.
To be honest, I continue thinking in milestones. 27 weeks (entering the third trimester) as well as 28 weeks (good survival chances for the baby) were very important milestones for me. The next ones I’m looking forward to are 32 and 36 weeks (even better chances). It’s not very logical to think in milestones since the progress, or growth of the baby, is continuous and linear (and not a step function of discrete milestones), but for some reason my mind likes milestones. Oh well.
Remain fulfilled in other ways
What helped me the most during this time? Was it therapy or meditation perhaps? While I’ve been doing both and they have helped, I still believe the most useful thing for me was to keep doing things that make me feel fulfilled.
I have greatly enjoyed growing my business and working with clients. During those days of doubt and fear, as well as nausea and fatigue in the beginning, I found it gave me energy to do work that fulfilled me. For me that meant creating content and helping clients.
I also enjoyed spending time with my son and my husband. I felt so acutely grateful for them! I also felt very grateful for this baby in my belly, and I focused on that gratitude for this baby right now, regardless of what happened next.
Spending time with friends and family also felt wonderful. They supported me through my nauseous times by going out to dinner and eating whatever food I felt like (how sweet my friends are!) and asking me how I was feeling. It felt so good to be supported and cared for by my closest people.
In a nutshell
Basically, trying to conceive after loss is hard (surprise, surprise). Naturally, there’s a great deal of doubt and fear, but there’s also hope and gratitude. And I found it helpful to let myself be supported by the people who care about me and to appreciate them; and I also enjoyed feeling fulfilled by work and any activity that gave me a feeling of purpose.
2 thoughts on “Trying to conceive again after loss”
May God bless you with a healthy baby
Thank you very much!