Pregnancy after child loss – into the third trimester

I can’t quite believe that I’m now firmly into the third trimester of this pregnancy. Physically, the second trimester was a fairly easy one. Emotionally it has been the hardest time of my life. I remember being on holiday when I was around 22 weeks pregnant; sitting on the sofa with Jessica lying with her head on my bump and telling me that Peanut was kicking her head. I was looking forward to hitting the 24 week milestone – “viability”. By the time I hit 24 weeks, I no longer cared about that milestone because Jessica was gone.

 

Me showing off my bump - "Pregnancy after child loss - into the third trimester"

 

How I’m feeling – emotionally

Losing my much-loved first child while pregnant with a much-wanted third has been a huge emotional rollercoaster. I have gone from being excited about this baby to feeling a whole mixture of emotions about it. One of the things that influenced our decision to have a third baby is that we never wanted Sophie to be on her own should anything happen to Jessica. It is utterly heartbreaking to already be in the position where that has become our reality.

 

There are moments when I am glad that we are already expecting another sibling for Sophie. I cannot imagine even considering trying for a baby if I wasn’t already pregnant. There are moments when I wish I wasn’t pregnant, especially now I am starting to become a little more uncomfortable. And to be completely honest, there are moments when I wish I could wave a magic wand and have Jessica back in return for no longer being pregnant. It’s not that I don’t want Peanut because I do want him or her. It’s just that I want my little girl that I knew and loved dearly more than this unknown baby that I have yet to really bond with.

 

I know that probably sounds wicked and awful and I don’t mean it to be. I don’t want anything to happen to Peanut. Sometimes I have moments of being scared about any potential bad outcomes with this pregnancy. There is no guarantee that all will be well. Having experienced tragedy and loss does not make us immune to more. I am also scared that I will find it hard to bond with Peanut as I did with Sophie.

 

 

How I’m feeling – physically

I was fairly comfortable throughout the second trimester – to the point that I could almost forget I was pregnant at times. I definitely can’t forget it now! Peanut seems to use my bladder as a football at times and I’m starting to get some Braxton Hicks which can be a little uncomfortable at times.

 

I’ve started getting restless legs in the evening and occasional cramps when I wake up. My lower back and hips can be achy at times, although I have a wonderful chiropractor who works magic with this. I suffered from SPD with my previous pregnancies, particularly first time around, and she helped a lot with easing this. So far, I’ve not had too much pelvic pain this time around thankfully. I have started to have symptoms of carpel tunnel again though which I had with Sophie. I’m not yet at the point where I feel the need to dig out the wrist splints, but I know I have them if needed.

 

 

Bump

My bump has certainly popped out a lot more in the last few weeks. I still feel like size-wise it is all quite similar to my pregnancy with Jessica. Looking at the comparison photo though, I seem to be between Jessica and Sophie size-wise.

 

A comparison photo of my bump at 27 weeks with Jessica, Sophie and Peanut

 

Scans and appointments

I had a growth scan at 28 weeks and Peanut seems to be a nice average size at the moment. The sonographer was lovely at the scan appointment. Hubby explained about us recently losing Jessica and she took the time to really listen. She also handed this information over to antenatal clinic so that we wouldn’t have to wait in clinic for too long.

 

Unfortunately the consultant was not so good. She opened the conversation with “I understand you’re in a bad mood today” which is an awful way to start a conversation whatever the situation. She showed very little compassion or empathy and it is clear from the notes that she didn’t really listen either. I’ve written a letter of complaint which the hospital are dealing with at present. They have confirmed that I will not be seeing that consultant again.

 

Thankfully, I’ve since had a booking appointment with my friend and former colleague who is going to be my independent midwife again. Having someone who knows me well; who is empathetic and caring and who understands my wishes for pregnancy and birth makes a huge difference. I’ll continue with the growth scans at the hospital for now as having low PAPP-A means there is a higher risk of preterm labour and low birth weight. All being well though, I’m hoping to have a home birth again.

 

 

Movements

Peanut has been lovely and active. Those movements are now big enough that I can see my bump moving at times. We get lots of kicks and wriggles, and times when Peanut has hiccups. Whenever Peanut has hiccups though, I can’t help but remember when Jessica had in-utero surgery at 28 weeks. The first sign of her waking from the anaesthetic was her having hiccups and it was the most beautiful feeling in the world.

 

 

Overall, things seem to be progressing well and hopefully will continue to do so. I’m trying to enjoy my pregnancy as much as I can. I loved being pregnant with Jessica and Sophie and it feels strange to be so emotionally detached with this pregnancy even though I know that it is understandable.

 

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information or support out there for pregnant women who have lost an older child. Everything I have come across so far is very much aimed at women who have experienced stillbirth or neonatal death. It is great that there is so much support for those bereaved mothers but I wish there was more out there for mums like me.

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4 Comments

  1. June 6, 2018 / 7:55 am

    What an emotional rollercoaster for you, although I’m glad to hear that things seem to be going well. I can’t believe that the consultant was so awful to you. I hope the hospital takes your complaint seriously. There really should be information and support out there for women in your position. Obviously your situation is unusual, but I know other women on social media who have had babies after the loss of an older child.
    Fingers crossed for a smooth last few weeks for you. X

  2. Keira
    June 6, 2018 / 8:14 am

    Pregnancy is such a rollercoaster anyway even without grieving for Jessica. Have you ever read Heather Spohr’s blog? She went on to have 2 more children after the death of her daughter and I think struggled with some of the same feelings, you have to dig back in her archives though. You’re doing the best you can and that’s more than enough for Sophie and Peanut xxx

  3. June 6, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    I’m so sorry to read that there isn’t anything out there in terms of support for you. I suppose it is quite a unique situation, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult for you. It’s lovely that Jessica felt peanut kicking and they managed to bond. I totally understand why you feel detached from pregnancy and worry about bonding with little one. I had the same concern with my youngest and we didn’t have the added pressure of the grief you are coping with. Actually though, it was my bond with Libby that suffered a little when Lia came along. I think that as mums we put too much pressure on ourselves to get it all right, and we need to remember that we are enough. I hope your third trimester progresses well.
    Nat.x

  4. Caroline
    June 14, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Ah louise I can’t imagine what you are going through but one thing I know is that you are certainly not wicked or wrong for wishing you had Jessica back. Sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience with that consultant and well done for being brave enough to complain as that was not acceptable. Much love to you all xxx

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