As I’ve mentioned before, I found one of the difficulties with pregnancy after loss was dealing with the heightened state of anxiety that it brings. After two miscarriages, I found it very hard to imagine a positive outcome for my third pregnancy. It was almost as if thinking that things were OK would mean that they definitely wouldn’t be. It meant worry all through the first trimester, although I calmed down a bit during the second trimester, and then a spike again during the third trimester when I fretted about all the things that could go wrong with the birth.
I also didn’t want to plan anything or buy things too soon as I couldn’t bear the thought of having to give it away or paint over a nursery if we didn’t end up with a baby at the end of it all.
I did try to listen to pregnancy relaxation exercises and although I stopped any exercise during the first trimester, I picked up the Pilates I had been doing before I was pregnant during the second trimester, and this helped me keep as balanced and calm as I could be.
The whole process wasn’t helped by the fact that my midwife was quite ill having a gall bladder out during most of my first trimester (how bloody inconvenient of her). Obviously that couldn’t be helped at all but services were so stretched that there was no proper cover in place. I think I saw five different midwives during my pregnancy and when my original midwife did have to have an operation, there was no communication about the fact that she was now absent and I was still blindly leaving messages on her mobile not knowing that she was off sick. It meant it took six weeks to get an answer to the questions a) whether I could start Pilates in my second trimester and b) if I could dye my hair. I’d already asked another health professional by the time she got back to me, who said ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. Interestingly, my midwife said ‘yes’ and ‘no’ but by that point I had already dyed my hair and was too fucked off to freak out.
I am sure that the lack of support pregnant women receive, whether they have suffered pregnancy loss or not, can affect positive birth outcomes and certainly doesn’t make for a particularly stress-free time.
When I became pregnant for the fourth time, I was a little more positive as we had by that point been lucky enough to have a successful pregnancy and as I was on progesterone again, I was naive enough to think that there shouldn’t be any problems. Obviously fate had lulled me into a false sense of security because I got past about 7 weeks and thought it would be useful to sort through our toddler’s old baby clothes in preparation. A few days later, I started bleeding and eventually lost the pregnancy so it was almost as if my anxiety had been vindicated – ‘I told you the danger of thinking things would be alright’ I heard it say. But by that point, with it being our third loss, I had built up a strange kind of acceptance about it in the knowledge that unfortunately miscarriage is part and parcel of the process of trying to create children for many people.
By that fourth pregnancy, the maternity services had been dessimated so much that my surgery didn’t even have a midwife based there. Whereas before, I could simply book in to see the midwife at the GP’s reception desk, now the GP had to send off paperwork to the maternity department who would then get in touch with you. Way to go in creating added bureaucracy and a barrier to contacting actual human beings. Now you don’t even get a booking in appointment until just before your first scan on some occasions – well why take the risk on women who may miscarry anyway – I mean, it’s not as if they might need the support as well, regardless of the outcome.
Image from Pixabay