The decision to have a baby is rarely an easy one to make. For those who have experienced a pregnancy loss this decision can be compounded with even more emotions and medical details than normal.
When to Try Again
Some families choose to turn around and try again immediately while others are left wondering if they ever want to try again. Others will choose this option because of concerns due to fertility problems or the age of the parents. Reasons to delay conception may include:
- Surgery in conjunction with your loss (dilatation and curettage (D & C), cesarean section, laparotomy)
- Delay in return to menstrual cycles
- Genetic testing, waiting for autopsy reports
- Emotional issues
"I just felt if I could get pregnant and be pregnant when our original due date came around I would be okay," says Amanda who lost her son at 22 weeks.
Discussing the when with your practitioner and with members of your support system can be very beneficial. A subsequent pregnancy will be fraught with its own dilemmas.
Trying to Become Pregnant
If your fertility has returned from your loss and you did not experience infertility delays with a prior conception, you may not be as concerned about when you will get pregnant as other families who have experienced infertility treatments. Either way the roller coaster of emotion and hormones is a very real thing. Finding support from your family, friends, professional support groups and your doctor or midwife is very important to your emotional well-being.
By taking more control over your fertility and doing what you can to ensure a healthy body to accept a pregnancy, some women feel better about their situation. Some choose to take an opposite path of their original pregnancy, using medications to help them conceive or maintain a pregnancy when they didn't in prior pregnancies or giving up medicinal help when they used it before.
Being healthy and realistic are the only goals you really need to have for this stage. Using the support, taking good care of your body and mind will go a long way to sustaining you in these trying times. You must remember that in addition to attempting to get pregnant you are still grieving the loss of your baby.
You've gone and done it now! You're pregnant.
While some women will breathe a sigh of relief and think that the hard part is over, many others will find that the innocence of the joys of pregnancy have been replaced by the fears of losing yet another baby.
Seeking care early in your pregnancy is good for medical and emotional reasons. There may be certain steps that you and your practitioner have decided to use during this pregnancy to try and help prevent another loss. It may be a situation where you simply need the extra reassurance that your pregnancy is going normally.
Decisions about genetic testing can be harder with subsequent pregnancies. Even if your loss was not due to a genetic problem, many mothers find themselves worried about genetic problems and turn to genetics testing and ultrasound for further reassurance. Many claim that the use of ultrasound helps them with bonding, while others state that ultrasounds scare them.
"When we saw the heart beat flickering the first visit, it was amazing! I was never prepared for that dark, still spot on the screen at my routine visit," Liza remembers. "I just thought I'd walk out like everyone else, knowing if my baby was a boy or a girl. This time I can't bear the thought of going in that room again."
Some will change practitioners or plans for where they will have the baby. Keeping in mind that every pregnancy is different is important and for some the need to make it extremely so is important.
The bottom line is that a subsequent pregnancy will not be easy. It will be emotionally, physically and mentally difficult. Your days will vary from rational to irrational thought. It is important that you have a support system who knows you and what is going on and that you feel in control of the medical aspects of your pregnancy when possible. Getting past the point of your first loss if it was during pregnancy can be relieving. Some women spend their days counting down to viability of the new baby, others simply put themselves in ignore mode until the last possible moment. There is not one right way to deal with the subsequent pregnancy.