As I sit here just seven weeks away from giving birth to our second son, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that I’ve been pregnant for over a year. Your eyes do not deceive you, I said I’ve been pregnant for over a year. I know it seems unthinkable, but it’s true. Let me explain…
It had been a month since we celebrated Cannon’s (our first born) first birthday when I found out I was pregnant again. While we were excited, we were also shocked because it had been six years between our first [ectopic] pregnancy and Cannon. We had been preparing to start trying again once Cannon turned 18mos old. Well needless to say, God had other plans for our family. He obviously wanted to let us know that there was no need to worry ourselves over needing anything except his Grace and Mercy to get pregnant again.
I’ll admit, I was petrified to have two kids under the age of two! This baby was due less than a month before Cannon’s second birthday. The thought of it gave me such anxiety that I was losing sleep at night! While overwhelming, the thought of being a badass tandem-nursing Mama did excite me. I worried so much about being prepared for another baby; about Cannon being ready to be a sibling. I don’t think I’d ever been so confused with my emotions. I wanted and prayed for this baby, but I was SO afraid of everything that came along with being a Mom of two under two. Nonetheless, we pressed forward and set an appointment with our midwives to confirm the pregnancy.
At about 6wks we went in to have an ultrasound to be sure that this embryo had implanted properly. At that ultrasound, there was evidence of a fetal pole, but no heartbeat yet. We were advised that it may be too early for a heartbeat or we may be dealing with a blighted ovum and asked to return in two weeks. We proceeded with our lives as if we were having another baby in a few months (read: we still had no wine in the house), but were emotionally preparing ourselves for the possibility that this pregnancy would not yield a baby.
During that two-week wait, we lived our lives in prayer. We prayed that we were able to accept God’s decision for our family and that we allowed Him to use us as He saw fit. We’d told our families and close friends that we were pregnant and what was happening with us. They offered their prayers and we accepted. I read countless stories of this happening to women and they go back at 8wks for another ultrasound and there was a healthy embryo with a beating heart. We were optimistic.
A day or so before our second ultrasound, I spoke with my dad. I explained to him how I was feeling and how optimistic I was because I trust God. His words to me were the most empowering I’d heard in this trying time. He said “Well Babygirl, God can and will turn anything around.” That let me know that as unemotional as my dad is, the last thing he wants for his girls (I have three sisters) is to hurt. I keep those words close to me as we approached our second appointment.
At the appointment, we saw more of a developed embryo, but still no heart beat. We were crushed, but knew that God had a plan for us. Once we were done with the ultrasound, the doctor spoke with us and told us that there was no cardiac activity and that more than likely this pregnancy would end shortly. He gave us the option to spontaneously abort (wait it out to miscarry), have a D&C, or to take a prescription drug that would encourage a miscarriage in a few days. We told him we wanted some time to think it over, so he led us into the lobby while he wrote the prescription in the event we wanted to “get it over with.”
While we waited, I turned to Keenan and said to him with tear filled eyes, “I want to birth my baby no matter what. This is our baby and I want to give him or her a birth. Who are we to make this decision for our baby when God has a plan for us and them.” He accepted my words and my choice and we left the office with the prescription in hand (just in case we changed our minds).
A month or so later, Keenan had a work trip planned in Las Vegas, so I took that as an opportunity to get away and relax for a few days (this was my first time leaving Cannon overnight). I drank a little wine at that point because I knew that this pregnancy was no longer progressing (although my uterus was still growing) and I needed to really relax. I had been bleeding off and on for over a month and was exhausted. Still, I wanted to give my body a chance to do what it was designed to do.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years had come and gone and I started thinking that I was crazy for waiting out this miscarriage for so long (at this point, I would have been in my second trimester). I was tired of wondering when my body would expel the pregnancy, so I decided I would make one last appointment with my doctor to discuss my options again. I called on a Monday and they had an opening for me Wednesday of that same week.
That Tuesday, my mom and I were out shopping and I started cramping like crazy. I was passing blood clots every time I used the bathroom. I was pretty sure this was it. This was the birth of my baby. We decided to go home, so I could lie down and relax some. The entire ride home was gruesome. I used the Hypnobabies techniques to get through the pain as much as possible, but I couldn’t wait to get home, so I could stretch out and do what my body was telling me to do. (I texted Keenan to let him know what was going on, but told him I thought I was ok and to stay at work. He left about 2hrs early anyway.)
Once we made it back to my house, I ate something and took some Advil to help with the pain. I was in a daze. I was happy to be alone (my mom was tending to Cannon). I was happy to be birthing our baby. I was in agony (nothing like giving birth to Cannon), but I was elated at the same time. As with birthing Cannon, movement was the best thing I could do for myself. I swayed and squatted for an hour or so and spent most of the time in the bathroom. Once my body gave me the go ahead, I was able to lie down and rest with very little cramping and slept for a while.
By the time Keenan was home, I was still sore, but I felt a sense of invigoration that I made it through. I was able to take it easy and rest up for our appointment the next day.
At our appointment, we decided to go ahead and schedule a D&C to be sure everything had been eliminated. We were on schedule for the procedure a few days later and I can honestly say that I was ready. I had given myself the time I needed to accept and grieve. I gave my body a chance to work based on Gods design. I had given myself the freedom to follow my heart. With that, I didn’t even think of the D&C as anything more than an outpatient procedure as opposed to the first time we lost a baby in the hospital. The first time I felt robbed. Robbed of my choices. Robbed of my rights. Robbed of my time.
Needless to say, I had one menstrual cycle before we were pregnant again. Ironically, Cannon was about 19mos old when we found out this pregnancy. I felt ready this time. Ready to have two children (still scared as hell even now, but ready). Ready for what God has asked me to do. Ready to celebrate all of our children. I am ready.
So that is how I’ve been pregnant for over a year.