It took some time after our miscarriage to conceive. Each month I saw that negative pregnancy test my heart sank a little more. The sadness would seep in. It would sit. It would stir. And it would settle. Sometimes that sadness changed to resentment and frustration. Frustration for wanting control. Wanting to control my body. Wanting to control how things turned out. Wanting to control what I simply couldn’t.
And one day there appeared that line of hope. The line I had come to hate. The line was faint. I glared at it from different angles, held it up to the light shining through my bathroom window to make sure my eyes weren’t tricking me, wishing it there. But it was there. And I cried standing over that toilet. I felt relieved. I felt whole. And just like that, life seemed to be back on track.
I went to bed that night not feeling empty or sad. I went to bed not feeling resentful for how things had turned out. I felt content, but I also couldn’t feel the excitement I had felt before my loss. I was happy, but I was careful. I felt protective of my emotions. I knew how quickly things could fall apart. Things were different now. I was different.
As the first ultrasound appointment drew nearer, I could feel the anxiety build. I’d stare at that date in my planner just wanting it to come and go. All I needed was confirmation that things were okay. I clung to the hope that this pregnancy was going to be okay. Nausea had never felt so good. And yet, still lingering in the back of my mind were the doubts. My guards were up. They were fiercely protecting my wounded heart.
The day finally came. And there I was lying on that same reclined chair I had been told devastating news. I lay back on that familiar chair feeling completely vulnerable. The technician picked up the ultrasound probe, the magical instrument which would determine my baby’s fate. Would there be a baby? Would I see a heartbeat? Please God, let there be a growing baby! I held my breath as I turned my head awkwardly toward the black and white screen. And there before my eyes was my little gummy bear wiggling about. My baby. My beautiful, baby. I cried tears of relief.
Much of the anxiety faded after that appointment. I was pregnant. I was nauseous. There was a heartbeat. I had gotten further than I had with my last pregnancy. By 10 weeks we decided to tell close family members. They hugged and congratulated us. I would smile and say, “Thank you.” But I could feel the numbness. It was hard to feel more. Excitement was risky.
I focused my energy on things that needed to be done in the day to day. I didn’t dwell over weeks and the calendar. Perhaps I was avoiding it. And I tried to not let the negative thoughts take over, but every now and then the “what ifs” would creep in. How could I handle another disappointment?
After the first trimester screening it slowly became easier to envision life with a new baby added to our family. Seeing the baby on the screen was reassuring when there wasn’t much else to go off of except my pregnancy symptoms. By 20 weeks the constant kicks and moves made me feel more connected to the baby.
As each week passes it gets a little easier. The walls are slowly coming down. I know the walls are there for a reason. Anxiety has been part of this journey and it serves a purpose. I honor that.