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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 > How long to wait?

Hi all, I need help. My husband and I delivered my stillborn son at 34 weeks, 2 months ago. This was our first child and we were so ready to become parents. Our home was ready but most of all our hearts were ready. And although our hearts are now broken we are so eager to have another chance at becoming parents. My heart is missing a piece and I know that a new pregnancy will not replace my son, but it will bring me some happiness again. I delivered through a csection and I have been told that we need to wait anywhere between 3 months to 9 months to conceive. My doctor first said 3 months and then changed to 6 months at my 6 week appointment. I understand he wants me to be emotionally healed, but I don’t think I will ever be healed that way completely. Have any of you experienced this situation, how long did you wait or how long were you told to wait?
August 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterB
Oh B, I'm sorry about your beautiful little son. After the death of our first-born daughter, we were told to wait anywhere from 6-18 months (from different OBs). We waited 8 months, which was the right decision for us. The right time for you will be specific to you and your husband, but these were the things that factored into my experience:

I wanted to be within doctors' recommendations of how to give my next baby the best chance of physical health, not just for her, but also for myself so that if something went wrong again I at least knew that I had given this baby the best chance I could (yes, this is how I think about pregnancies now ...). Similarly, I wanted to have a little more emotional space so that I could try to love and grieve for each baby in their own right. In the end, I realized that I would always be grieving for my first baby and so would have to work out how to grieve at the same time as be pregnant, but the bit of extra time helped me to be able to do that. I also needed to be able to walk into an OB's office full of pregnant women, and a sonographer, and a hospital, etc., etc. (which I couldn't do for quite a while). One other thing to bear in mind is the impact of having another baby around the same month that your son was born. For me, I like that my first daughter's birth and death days are in a different season from my second daughter's. The first birthday and anniversary were really rough times for me, and I was grateful that I was pregnant again, but that I wasn't actually trying to prepare for birth yet. It would have been too much all at once for me.

Good luck with your decision-making and know that no one else can understand what is right for you and your husband. My love to all three of you.
August 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterK West
B - I'm so sorry about the loss of your son.

I delivered my stillborn son vaginally, and my OB advised me to wait at least 6 months to try again for the best chance of success in a future pregnancy. It was important to me to feel like I was fully physically recovered from the pregnancy/birth, and that I was as emotionally prepared as I could be for a new pregnancy. For me and my husband, that meant feeling prepared for any outcome and feeling like we know that we can have a fulfilled and happy life whether a new pregnancy is successful or not. I think an early miscarriage too soon afterwards would have devastated me.
What that means for you might vary. For us, that timing worked out at around 9 months later. Like K West, I was glad to be pregnant at all the first year milestones but not to be actually preparing for birth at those times - I think that might have been too much. I think too much earlier and I also would have had trouble walking into OBs offices and seeing all the pregnant women.

But - every person is different and you know yourself best. We tried to figure out first what we needed to make a decision, then checked in with each other to see where we were on trying again, and tried to give ourselves time and space to heal and decide.
August 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSR
I delivered vaginally too but I had a c section with my rainbow. Since vbacs are often out of the question after a loss (too risky), I think OBs like for there to be at least 12 months between csections...I think I would call and ask what the current best practice is. And yes, your body being ready and your heart/feelings/brain being ready are two completely different things.
August 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Thank you all. I have heard different answers from different physicians. I've mostly heard that I need to wait at least 12 months between deliveries and I've also already made the decision to have a repeat c-section. Thank you again.
August 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterB