I’m not proud of it, but while my 4.5-months-pregnant belly was still covered in gel as the doctor was doing the ultrasound to confirm that our daughter had died, the words left my mouth: “When can we try again?”
I wanted nothing more in the world than to be pregnant again. Well, that’s not precisely true: I wanted nothing more in the world than to hold a living, breathing child in my arms. It’s still what I want more than anything. But it’s the one thing I can’t have right now.
The doctor’s answer at the time was 2-3 months. I have since asked this question to various medical professionals (the midwife, the perinatologist, the reproductive endocrinologist, the new OBGYN I switched to after I was unhappy with my care during our loss), and I have gotten every answer from “3-6 months” to “go for it!”. It’s a bit complicated — there’s a pretty solid-looking study that says there’s no reason to wait after a first-trimester miscarriage (and in fact that women who get pregnant in the first six months after the miscarriage have higher live birth rates than women who wait longer), and there’s evidence that you actually should wait 6-12 months after a full-term stillbirth, but our loss was in the hazy middle, the second trimester, where the statistics are particularly sparse. We’re neither here nor there.
So… I waited for my period to come, so I’d be able to date a pregnancy if it happened. Then we gave it a try for a month (no luck). Then came the consult with the perinatologist, who told us that it would be a good idea to have a sonohysterogram at 3 months post-D&C to make sure everything had healed properly, so we stopped trying for the next month. Then the sonohysterogram was abnormal, and the OBGYN told us it would be a bad idea to try again before the problem was corrected. They wanted to schedule the surgery for the following month, so that it would be between days 5-12 of my cycle. So I’m waiting for surgery, a week and a half from now, 4.5 months after our loss (in fact, it’ll be about a week before my original due date), and the wait is driving me absolutely bonkers.
I look back with a sort of wistfulness on those first few months of trying, before my cycles went crazy, where time ticked by in weeks, with predictable highs and lows as we tried… and then I got my period… and then we tried… and then I got my period. Since our loss, time creeps by in months. The days feel longer. I watch women who were pregnant at the same time as me become moms. I watch our friends’ kids grow, start a new school year, move up to the toddler room, gain new skills, get older every day… and we’re right where we started. In a way we’re parents, but nobody else recognizes that, and we’ve been robbed of the experience of watching our daughter grow. Instead, we’re waiting.
Depending on what they find in the hysteroscopy, they may or may not be able to correct it at my appointment a week and a half from now. If I need another surgery, it might take time to get on the schedule. Then, depending on what this abnormality is and how hard it is to correct, I’ll need to wait (perhaps months) to heal. Then we can start trying (which wasn’t easy for us the first time). And THEN, assuming we can get pregnant, I have to go through pregnancy again. I already did 4.5 months of that — the first trimester was hard, and was LONG. And as my husband bemusedly pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago, even though our September loss feels like a long time ago now, I’d probably still be pregnant if our baby had survived. Pregnancy is LONG. So, it sounds like we’re looking at a minimum of a year until we get to hold our living baby, and likely substantially more than that. And we started trying a year and a half ago. This waiting and waiting and waiting to start the next chapter of our lives is maddening. Truly maddening. (I’m working on getting help for that… but that’s a subject for another post.)
So that’s where we are right now. I know some women feel like they need to wait after a miscarriage or stillbirth, to give themselves a chance to heal emotionally and physically. I wish that were me. I’m trying to distract myself; the semester has started again at my university, which means I’m a lot busier now than I was over the holidays, and that helps some. I’ve made a resolution to do one fun thing per weekend with my husband this semester, since it feels like so much we do these days is so emotionally heavyweight — hopefully that will help. Has anyone else out there been forced to wait after a miscarriage? How did you handle your impatience, your despair, and the restless energy you wanted so desperately to put toward being a mom?