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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

ttc | pregnancy | birth after loss > All I can think about...

All I can think about these days in becoming pregnant again. We were so close, nearly 38 weeks and no reason to think things would go wrong or be worried. Now I'm worried about just being able to conceive, let alone carry to term and deliver a living healthy baby. I know that will be a scary day-to-day battle, but even just the first hurdle of conception seems like such a long shot. We should have celebrated 3 months with our Raspberry yesterday, and yet now I find myself wishing each day away, hoping to fast forward to some imaginary time in the future where I'm pregnant or where we have the family we had anticipated and hoped for.

What do you do when your mind starts focusing on those things? How do you convince yourself to take it day by day and appreciate what you have here and now even thought it doesn't look like what you planned for and dreamed about?
March 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
My husband tries to get me to "stay positive", I am not actually negative but it is so terribly hard. Other than staying alive, going to work, eating enough, not drinking too much there is not a lot to focus on at the moment.
My daughter died on the day she was born at 40+2 just over three months ago too.
We had decided to have one last try at IVF and by some miracle it worked - but then disaster.
I had an emergency c section and so have to wait at least 10 months before I try again.
It feels like a life sentence. I so enjoyed being pregnant and the feeling of her growing inside me.
Even if we can try again - I am quite old! - it may not work. It is really difficult to think that may have been as close as we can get.
I hope not and for us all too.
Sorry, that didn't really answer what I do to take things day by day - I don't really think you can - the days just happen by themselves!
Although keeping talking to loved ones and not turning away is a good start.
March 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Hi Steph,

I know exactly how you feel. My husband and I just started TTC again this past February. I also lost my son Riyad at 38 weeks after a very uneventful pregnancy. It would have been 4 months celebrating with Riyad for us on March 4th. I too wish we could just fast forward through all of this crap. My husband doesn't feel the same, and I am trying to adapt his approach....he doesn't want us to lose the days that we have inbetween losing our baby and getting pregnant again. To lose focus on the present, and make life all about getting pregnant again, and looking back a year from now, or two years from now, and realizing that we wasted so much time when we could have enjoyed life and what we currently *have*, and lived it the fullest that we could. He doesn't want any wasted days. So, I am TRYING as hard as I can to stay in the present. I am TRYING to find good in every day. My therapist suggested that I think to myself, "Life is good, BUT my baby died..." To suggest that I can incorporate the grief into my every day life, that sadness and anxiety about another pregnancy can go hand in hand with the fact that the present is good. I try to remind myself of that too. Today, nothing bad has happened to me and my husband. The good days outweigh the bad, really. There was one bad, awful, horrible, horrific day, and that was when our baby died. But today is a good, uneventful day.

I don't know if that helps you...centering yourself on the present. Reminding yourself nothing bad has happened today. Focusing on good things that happened. Today, I helped my husband make breakfast for my in-laws (they are elderly), I got to see them, I went to the cemetery with him, I'm getting alot done at work. Those are good things. Yesterday, I got to relax for a few hours, we made dinner, I watched TV with him. More good things. I was still very sad and depressed earlier yesterday, and I am a little sad right now, but knowing that in this present moment everything is ok, and nothing bad is currently happening, is comforting.

I know that the thought of conceiving stresses me out. It's very exciting but also terrifying. So I know how you feel. I also feel like it's some monumental task, like climbing a mountain. But the facts are: we did conceive before. We conceived and carried beautiful babies to term. So yes, biologically, it IS possible for us. How long it will take, I can't really say. But it's possible, it's happened before, and if there's no medical reason it shouldn't happen again, then it shouldn't. As far as the day-to-day battle after we get pregnant again.....I can't really say much to that, because I will be just as terrified as you. I know I will be demanding things from my doctors left and right, I will be using a doppler like an insane person before my baby reaches viability, and I'll probably live at the L&D ward for any small cramp or twinge, because Riyad's death was a sudden placental abruption with no indication something was wrong--no bleeding, nothing, just a few slight cramps that I thought were contractions.

Wishing you peace...and hopefully you can find something to appreciate about today, no matter how small. Thinking of your Raspberry.
March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Steph,
Those feelings are all too familiar. I am a "doer". I have to be doing different things to feel like I can move on and forward. I felt like I needed tasks and bench marks to get past the slow moving time to when I was medically cleared to TTC, and benchmarks mentally to cope with when/if my husband would be ready too. That part was harder because I didn't honestly know if that day would ever come.

Here are the things I did:
A lot of research and reading odds/risks of reoccurrence specific to my medical issues (some was terrifying and some comforting, but I had to do this for me. I went through the grief process about my odds.
A preconception MFM doctor appointment where I made sure I understood all of my specifics, and we made a future pregnancy plan
Joined a gym- and try to go regularly :-)
Got a new hobby for ME and committed (made me grow)
Planned and went on some vacations that would be impossible during pregnancy or with a baby. This was so great and then sometimes I felt SO guilty. We would be doing something amazing and it would dawn on me that I should be home with a __ month/year old instead. But then I would stop and be thankful for the beauty and rest and opportunity to enjoy that experience. My being sad and staying home wouldn't bring my baby back or bring anyone any level of joy. I had to allow my life to go on (while still fully loving my son).
Prayed a ton- came to a peace that I will be ok with whatever does or does not happen. I can have hopes but have to know my worth and identity are not based on being able to have children. I am me, I want children, but I am much more than a baby lost mom. I am me.
Get better at being thankful for who/what I do have in my life now. And saying it to them!
Growing more intimacy with my husband. Deeper conversations, loving him fully and accepting and supporting his feelings and fears- even when he thought we shouldn't TTC. That was so hard- but I love him more because of it. Doing that strengthened our bond- and gave him the comfort and freedom that eventually led his heart to want to TTC again.
Pouring into good friendships. When you become a baby lost parent you all of a sudden see other baby lost parents and understand them differently. We leaned into those friends and found hope, honesty, support and love. And we leaned into friendships for those around us who wanted to help but didn't know how- and were honest.
A year after our loss, a family we knew went through something similar. We committed to being there for them and have developed true relationships and friendship. We wanted to be the people/act like the people we wanted to have been there for us, for them.

That is how we passed our time. It felt slow going but we are 9 days short of 2 years since our son died. And our lives are much better today then where we were 2 years ago. We will never be the same after loosing a child, but that's not really a bad thing.
March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterApril
Wow April, your post really inspired me. I am going to emulate much of what you did to put yourself at ease. It's comforting to read. Thank you :)
March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
KE, Nada, April, thank you for your thoughts. I get so caught up in my own head that sometimes I really think I'm going off the deep end. So much of what is written about babyloss is about the immediate shock of trauma and then the anxiety of pregnancy after loss but I feel like there is this less frequently discussed period-- call it what you will whether it be waiting, grieving, finding yourself again, growing into this new identity...-- that feels solitary and just slow and hard.

KE-- it is so hard. I am also trying to stay positive and take it day by day but it's so much easier said than done. And I agree that whatever time period is recommended to wait feels too long no matter what, especially w age and fertility factoring in. One day we will look back and realize that the time passed faster than it feels now, in that weird time distortion way. I hope that when the time is right, you will be able to have a healthy pregnancy if that's what you are still longing for, and that the time comes quickly.

Nada-- It helps so much to hear from someone who can relate to this exact time course. I wish I could have the perspective your husband does, because (I feel so guilty about this) when I was pregnant I thought often about all the things I couldn't do when pregnant or would not be able to do with a new baby. And sure, I can do those things now. But I don't want them anymore is the problem! I want my baby and the life we spent 9 months preparing for! I appreciate your therapist's mantra "Life is good, BUT my baby died..." as I do really need to work on trying to focus on all the many things I do have. I am not trying to ignore all the good parts of the day and our lives but the truth is all those things feel trite compared to the gravity of this loss a lot of the time. Over the past week though I've had this brief surge of gratitude even just for the time I got to spend with Raspberry, those 9 months and the joy of my pregnancy, and I think I need to work on being thankful for having had that opportunity and the other precious things I do have like my partnership and my job and home etc. You give a good reminder of how important it is to appreciate the small things, the mundane and normal everyday things. It is only once we don't have them that we usually notice and are thankful and wish we could have enjoyed them more at the time. Thinking about Riyad tonight.

April-- I very much relate to the need to DO something. Maybe that's partly why I feel this need to try to get pregnant again, to have some sort of timeline of how I'm supposed to feel and how long this stage will take to feel like I'm progressing through this grief the same way we could track our babies' growth by vegetables. But there is no vegetable app for the grief (if there was, they'd all be rotten). And hence the lost feeling. My husband has also not felt ready-- interesting how this is common. I am ready to throw myself down the waterfall of pregnancy again in spite of the fear but he is worried if things don't go smoothly again I will break beyond repair. And I am having to learn to be patient and supportive in that as well. I appreciate your list of actions-- so healthy and motivated! This piece that you said is what I MOST need to get to somehow: "came to a peace that I will be ok with whatever does or does not happen. I can have hopes but have to know my worth and identity are not based on being able to have children. I am me, I want children, but I am much more than a baby lost mom. I am me." Maybe when I am 9 days shy of Raspberry's 2nd birthday I will be closer. I am sorry you have been without your son for so long. But thank you for these words and ideas and the solidarity.
March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph