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July 24, 2019

“Mending a Broken Heart: Faith to Guide Me through Pregnancy after Miscarriage” by Sophie Anderson

Getting pregnant again after going through a miscarriage should be a joyful experience. It should be the promise of new life with a beautiful baby arriving.

It should be an end to the pain that you have gone through when you lost your last pregnancy.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go quite like that; at least it didn’t for me.
My pregnancy started very soon after we experienced a late miscarriage. Instead of being happy I found myself plagued with anxiety throughout the first few months of pregnancy.
Every plan I made for the arrival of my new baby, a little voice would say: ‘Well, let’s wait and see if it goes badly again.’
When I was suffering from terrible morning sickness I would think: ‘What if this is all for nothing. What if I lose this one too?’
I thought that these worries would subside as my pregnancy went on, but instead, they got worse.

When panic strikes

In the run up to our first big ultrasound scan, I started to unravel completely. In my last pregnancy, it was at this 12 week scan that things started to go downhill.
Doctors spotted a complication that ended up taking our baby’s life 6 weeks later. The fear of something similar happening again was too much to fathom.
The night before my appointment, I remember getting ready for bed in our bedroom. I was alone and I began to think again about all the thousands of things that could go wrong in this scan.
Thoughts of all the possible defects or complications that the doctors might see flooded my mind.
Suddenly I found myself struggling to breathe. I couldn’t think straight, the room faded away and all I remember was breathing quickly and that all-encompassing fear.
The fear of losing another pregnancy and not having the strength to go through it again was overwhelming. To have to grow another beautiful baby only to see it lost.
As I knelt down to pray, a thought cut through the noise of all my worries. It came loud and clear and it said: ‘Everything will be fine, and you will have a baby boy’.
The clarity of that one statement made me stop. I instantly felt a bit calmer, a little more positive. Maybe there was a higher power telling me that things would go well? Telling me not to worry?
Those reading this that may be less religious might understandably put this thought down to my subconscious helping me at a time of crisis. And I get that; it is one way to look at it.
However I do believe in God, and I believe there is a plan for us all, so I chose to believe (and still do) that this one clear thought was, in fact, a message, sent to reassure me.
And as my pregnancy progressed, that one message gave me so much strength.

Surviving the ultrasound scans

Our scans didn’t go perfectly. As many expecting mothers will know all too well, today doctors can see the smallest details of our babies in the ultrasound scans.
This makes it more likely that they pick up on an ‘anomaly’ or a risk with baby or with your pregnancy. Some babies have a ‘brain tumor’; others have concerns over their size. Mine had a small issue with his heart valves that weren’t closing properly. Then he had fluid around his internal organs that couldn’t be explained.
‘It will probably be fine,’ is what they say when they find these things.
And while that might be true, it’s the word ‘probably’ that makes it so difficult for expectant mothers.
We are forced to sit and wait for our baby to hopefully ‘grow out of it,’ knowing that if they don’t they might be facing a serious health issue.
But throughout these problems, I tried to stay strong and to remember the thought that I had had.
 ‘Everything will be fine,’ I kept telling myself.
I believed it and that belief gave me the strength to be positive. Luckily the ‘anomalies’ did resolve themselves we made it to the end of our pregnancy.
Image by Stephanie Pratt from Pixabay
A day to remember
The day of our baby’s birth came. They had to deliver by C-Section and everything went fine. It turned out that it was, in fact, a boy, which after having a daughter was a surprise for us. They signed him off as being in perfect health and handed him to me.
Fast forward 6 hours though and it was a very different story.
Our baby had been rushed to the neonatal intensive care ward with low oxygen levels which continued to plummet. As he was struggling to maintain safe oxygen levels they had to put him to sleep with morphine while they put tubes down his throat.
When I was allowed to see him he was breathing on a machine, tubes coming out of his tiny body every which way.
 ‘What’s happened? I don’t understand, what’s wrong with him?’ we would ask in complete shock, but nobody knew yet.
 ‘We have to run more tests. It could be a bad case of underdeveloped lungs which is quite common or it could be something more serious like a heart defect.’
I don’t remember much from this time except feeling numb. Looking back I think I was in a complete state of shock.
To have gone through the pain of losing our last pregnancy only to have our baby boy in intensive care and not know if he was going to be OK was too much for me to process.
In the midst of it all, I remember my mother shrieking with worry while I sat in my hospital bed silent and numb. My father turned to her and said quite calmly ‘Have faith, he will be fine.’
And I remembered again the thought I had had all those months ago.
 ‘Everything will be fine, and you will have a baby boy.’
I had believed in this throughout the pregnancy. And a part of it had come true. I did have a baby boy. I had to believe that he would also be fine.
That belief gave me the hope and strength to carry on. To do my best with my baby in whatever way I could.
Numerous blood tests, two X-rays and three doctors later, they said they could only diagnose him with a bad case of underdeveloped lungs and they gave him medication to see if he improved.
Thankfully he did, and after a few days they slowly began to take him off the machines. I was able to hold him. I remember I would sit for an hour at a time with him just sleeping on my belly. I felt a wave of complete joy that I was able to spend time with him, that I was able to touch him.
As I had gone home by this point, they eventually they let me move into a hospital room near the intensive care ward, and after a few more days I was allowed to take him home.

A blessing

 Today I’m still nervous with my son. Emotionally there was a fear of losing him that lasted for a long time after his birth.
But he has grown into a kind, caring, and sensitive little boy who touches the heart of everyone close to him.
Out of the blue I’ll hear, ‘I love you mummy’ or ‘you’re my best friend’ and feel little arms around my neck and a tiny kiss on my cheek and I feel that wave of complete joy again.
I feel truly blessed to be his mom. And I thank the Lord that he was fine and that we have this chance to raise this amazing little boy.

Looking back

Despite the struggles we went through with our pregnancy, I’m grateful for that message, for that thought. Everything was fine, and we did have a baby boy.
Without it, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the trials that we had laid out in front of us. It gave me a hope, a belief and a calm that got me through.
So, to all the expecting moms who are pregnant after having suffered a miscarriage, I see your worries, I understand them.
But I also know that, in my experience at least, they don’t help. They can’t take back what you’ve gone through.
If I could give one piece of advice it would be to find your own way to have faith.
Every now and then take slow, deep breaths and remember that whatever your worries, there is life inside of you and that should always be celebrated.
This piece was written by Sophie Anderson from Mas & Pas (link to www.masandpas.com) a modern parenting website and community offering advice and support from our community of mothers and fathers, along with crafts and recipes.
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Sophie Anderson writes for Mas & Pas a modern parenting website and community offering advice and support from our community of mothers and fathers, along with crafts and recipes.

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