Pregnancy after miscarriage: How long to wait?

Photo by Brooke Groelle / Brown Eyed Girl Photography, www.begphotography.com
 
 

By Melissa Haak

Peanut Butter in my Hair

Can I ask you your opinion on something? She asks with a cautious tone to her voice. How long did you wait before deciding to try again? What did your doctor recommend?

She asks because we're friends and because I've been in a similar place, having had multiple miscarriages. She asks because it's one of those things that you can only go over in your head on your own so many times before feeling crazy. Yet it's not something you can ask just anyone or post as a Facebook status and see what people think. No it's one of those things you keep close to you, unless of course you have a sister in heartache.

I look at her with understanding eyes and ask her: Do you want to know what I did or what the doctor recommended? Both, she answers.

I exhale a deep kind of sad sigh. You have to understand that I am bull-headed and stubborn, and 10 years older than you, I remind her. I was pregnant within 12 weeks of both my miscarriages, BUT I don't know if I recommend that and my OB does not agree with it at all. In fact, my doctor wanted me to wait six months, which is what WHO recommends, ACOG wants you to wait until a normal cycle after a miscarriage (and at least 18 months between live births) to give your body time to heal and rebalance itself.

12 weeks? Really? She's kind of staring at me in disbelief.

Yep, I was pregnant within three months of both my miscarriages. I don't really recommend it. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding since August 2009. It's really hard on a body, especially an aging body. But pregnancy after loss isn't just about your body and what it can or can't do. It's a mental game, a sometimes sick and twisted mental game. Nothing I had ever been through before had made me doubt myself, my body, more than losing a baby, especially one in the second trimester. I felt like a failure of a mother, of a women. Convinced that I had somehow failed to protect the child I was blessed with.

I also have a scientist mind though, spending years in the healthcare field before becoming a mom. I couldn't turn off the analytical side that told me it was mathematical. A bad combination of genes, a faulty line of DNA, nothing I could have prevented or changed, nothing that waiting would prevent or change.

I needed to heal my heart more than prove anything to my mind and body. I saw myself babying my youngest as I longed, ached to hold my lost baby in my arms. I knew in my heart that the only way I was going to be able to start to heal and to move on was to try again. The second time it happened I was more shell-shocked. I was pretty sure I had figured out the why of my first miscarriage and was blissfully moving on to complete our family. When I lost that second baby I was stunned and numb to my core. I was pretty sure I was done, I could not possibly do this one more time.

I did, and I am glad I did. I cannot imagine our family without these two rainbow babies in it. They bring us joy and healing every day with their smiles and giggles, with chubby armed hugs and sloppy opened mouth kisses. However, I tell my friend, it's a very personal decision. It was hard. Hard on my mind, hard on my body. I am still recovering from it. However I could not have ended my reproductive life on a loss, and I am not getting younger. I am grateful I had the opportunity to end on a happy note and will do everything responsible to make sure we don't end up pregnant, testing fate, again.

I see. She says looking at me but not really at me, lost in the cloud of thoughts that I know so well. The one where you search for someone, anyone to just tell you what to do because it would be so much easier. There's nothing easy about moving on from a loss. You just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward until one day you realize you've done it, you put that foot forward without thinking about it and that's when you start to heal.

 
 
 





 
 
 
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