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Things that go bump in the night {Pregnancy After Loss}

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posted: 11/14/13

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This is a post that I’ve been writing in my head for like the last month, and just haven’t felt sure about actually putting “pen to paper” and clicking publish. But I’ve had readers, readers who have also lost children, contact me and thank me for being so candid about this journey of grief. So if I can talk about it, I figure that I should. There might be one person out there who reads this and feels a little less alone on their own journey.

(If you are a new reader to Wine & Glue and you want to read more about my son, Elliot, please click here.)

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The first time I held Elliot when he was just a little less than 24 hours old.

Do you remember when I wrote about being pregnant and how even though it is difficult to carry a child after you have lost one, it is easier the second time you do it?

I was totally wrong.

It took me until I was almost 12 weeks pregnant (I’m just about 16 weeks) to realize that me waking up in the middle of the night and having crazy insomnia, not being able to fall back asleep for hours, had very little to do with blogging stress.

It feels ridiculous to write those words, but given that when I woke up all I could think about was the deadlines I had coming up, the posts that I needed to write, and whether I needed to reshoot that one recipe . . . I really thought it was just blogging stress.

I don’t really know what changed for me, but I woke up one day after an absolutely horrible night’s sleep, one in which I’m pretty sure I had a full on panic attack (something I’d never experienced before) that I realized that this, the insomnia, never had happened to me before I got pregnant, and just before I was pregnant was an even busier time for me blogging wise.

I can’t say for sure why this pregnancy feels so different for me than my pregnancy with Quinn. Maybe because my pregnancy with Quinn came on the heels of losing Elliot (I found out I was pregnant with her just 11 short weeks after Elliot died), it felt like a life line or a sign of hope in such a dark dark time in my life.

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26 weeks pregnant with Quinny

I don’t know.

This time it feels like there is so much to lose.

We are back on our feet. We haven’t recovered from losing Elliot. I doubt we ever will. But the pain isn’t as sharp. I think about Elliot every single day and almost always without melting down and crying. Things feel more stable. So a loss now . . . if we were to learn that something were wrong now . . . I just can’t imagine how we would survive.

I told someone recently that pregnancy after you have lost your newborn is like being a crime victim, visiting the scene of the crime, and having to live there for 40 weeks.

What is maybe almost as difficult as the anxiety about the pregnancy and the baby is how much it took me by surprise. I was completely unprepared for how difficult this would feel. So I suppose that when those in my life look at me with shock that I feel so stressed I should totally understand. I mean if I didn’t anticipate this, why would anyone else?

So . . . on the off chance that you too are going through something like this (whether you are reading this 10 minutes after I hit publish or three years from now), I should tell you how I’m surviving. And I very much feel like it is day to day survival right now.

Ultrasounds and hearing the baby’s heartbeat make me feel better . . . for like a half hour. (Please remember that up until Elliot was 36 weeks and about four days, the time when some babies are born perfectly healthy and go home, we thought all was well. He had a name, he had a nursery, and he had a place in our life.)  My dear sweet loving brother told me a few weeks ago, in an effort to reassure me, that since I was just about done with the first trimester I was almost to the “safe zone.” I reminded him in the kindest way I could that the safe zone for me is holding my newborn. So I’ve really needed to find some other things that will sustain me over the course of these long 40 weeks.

One thing really makes me feel better is just acknowledging the anxiety. Acknowledging how in love I am already with this baby. Acknowledging that even if the worst were to come true, letting myself completely and fully love this baby right now isn’t going to make it hurt any more than it would.

I also have a great therapist who I don’t go to a lot, but she is there at the ready and she knows my whole story, going way back to losing my mom.

I’m not willing to go on any medication right now (a choice for me, but in general I think that medication is a great option for so many people, and a choice that I will keep open should I need it).

Exercise. I try to start each day (at the ball busting time of 5:15 am) with a work out. It really changes my entire mood for the whole day. I’m actually shocked at the difference this morning routine has made for me in the last few weeks. Without fail I feel 100% happier if I work out first thing.

My husband. Nathan is just about the most amazing partner I could have asked for. And do not get me wrong. We have had our moments, and by our moments, I mean that the stats about marriages in which there is a child loss are no joke. But those moments have ultimately made us stronger. He is my rock. He knows all the gory details of my feelings. He doesn’t judge. And he is willing to just stand and be witness to how I feel.

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My awesome husband and I this summer on a rare kid free outing.

And finally, faith. I don’t know that I’ve ever really talked about my faith life on the blog. It’s something that is intensely private for me. I’m not Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or really anything that you can put a label on. But I have a deep faith in God. I know that God is there in the beginning and that God will be there in the end. And that faith in the constant presence of God in my life has gotten me through the some ugly ugly times.

And so I’m going to end this incredibly long and rambly post with the reading I did at Elliot’s funeral. It still hangs in our room, mounted over a picture of our hands on my belly, little Elliot inside, long before we knew what would come. I had been looking for something secular, but the moment I read this, I burst into tears and felt like it so distinctly captured where I was at in my grief. And as I continue with this grief, it holds true for me. It brings me peace.

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. girlfromwva says

    WOW…thanks for sharing. I think it will help many that you have shared and are sharing your personal experience…bless you & your family…

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much. These aren’t easy posts to write, so I just need to believe that some day it will help someone in some way. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • girlfromwva says

        I can only imagine how hard it all has been on each of you…and I am positive it will help someone <3

  2. Nancy [email protected] says

    You have me in tears every time I read one of your stories when you talk about your loss and grief. You must be an extremely strong woman Lisa to be able to go through something like this and seem to be able to keep moving forward. You have my complete admiration.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Oh, thank you so much Nancy. I feel sorry for the tears, but grateful that you read it. :)

  3. Sandra Kohlmann says

    You are an amazing woman. That’s all.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much Sandra. That means a great deal coming from you.

  4. Kelly Skubal Robinson says

    Hi Lisa – I followed a link to this blog post from Facebook, seeing that you were a fellow MG alum(I think I’m a year older than you). I haven’t been to your site before. Your and Elliot’s story was definitely a hard one to read and I’m so sorry for your loss. I haven’t lost a child, but came close to it in my oldest being born with a pretty severe congenital heart defect. Even though she survived, I also had pretty significant anxiety during the following two pregnancies. It’s hard enough to get through an emotionally traumatic event one time, but it’s amazing how overwhelming the fear of having to do it again can be. What you’re going through makes perfect sense and you are coping in such a positive way. You sound like you’re an amazing Mamma and I wish you all the best for the rest of this pregnancy and beyond. One of my favorite sayings is “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much Kelly, both for your sweet words, and for understanding. “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it,” might become my new mantra :)

  5. Carrie @ Frugal Foodie Mama says

    Wow… your post brought back so many old feelings for me… of when I was pregnant with my baby girl.
    There is no emotional/mental “safe zone” really until you are holding that healthy little baby in your arms- I can attest to that. Even though both my losses were in the first trimester, I didn’t feel “safe” at any point in my pregnancy. And if I did, it was short lived.
    The worry & stress & anxiety didn’t go away at the 13 week mark- I knew too many women at the point in my journey who had had later losses.
    I knew I wasn’t immune- no one is really…

    I am praying for a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful, healthy baby in your arms at the end of this pregnancy. <3

    • Lisa Longley says

      You are absolutely right, no one is immune. I think of that so often when people look at me and tell me that nothing bad is going to happen. Just because it sounds impossible that I would be struck by lightning twice, doesn’t mean it is. Such a balance between keeping a positive attitude and being honest about how you are feeling and what the real possibilities are. Thank you for understanding :)

  6. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork says

    Sending you hugs!! I know I haven’t lost a child but I’ve had enough loss in my life that sometimes I get anxiety and don’t want anyone to leave the house in fear that something bad might happen. :/ I know it’s all in my head but the thought of not having control over things that happen is scary to me. But considering I’ve been teasing you consistently about drinking mimosas and the possibility of twins, in my head, this new Longley might be my new favorite. I love the ones I tease the most. :)

  7. Heather @ French Press says

    Lisa I cannot even imagine how hard this is for you , but I know thatby you sharing your story, you are helping others. that psalm is so unbelievably beautiful

  8. Tonia says

    Lisa, I had no idea! Even though it is years later, I want to say I am so very sorry for your loss! Although I cannot speak to the pain you and your family feel, I want to share that I have experienced different kinds of pregnancy issues and loss. I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum with all of my pregnancies. After the births of our 3 children, I had 4 miscarriages in a row, all in the second trimester. We also leaned on our faith, family and friends to get through it. You are so courageous and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as your pregnancy continues.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Oh, Tonia! I wish I could give you a huge hug! That sounds unimaginable. It’s amazing the things that you think you wouldn’t be able to survive that you are actually able to get through. Thank you so much for your sweet words.

Trackbacks

  1. […] then Piper’s pregnancy just . . . happened.  We were so worried about having another child, and it was like God just took the decision out of our hands.  So the meaning, “God has […]

  2. […] really mention him in blog posts too often, especially when I’m talking sprinkles and not pregnancy insomnia.  But we are quickly approaching what would have been his fourth birthday, and it is hitting me […]

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