1. You NEED a home fetal doppler
There is no if, and's or buts. If you are a PAL, you will not get through this pregnancy sane without one. Let me tell you something, you will think you will be strong and that you won't give into the crazy. Then, after the 1st trimester you will cave. Save yourself the anxiety and just GET ONE. I know I tried to resist for a few weeks in the beginning of my pregnancy, but there ain't no shame in this PAL game. Although you will find yourself lubing up and excessively searching for babies heart beat at least three to five times a day (or more during milestone weeks), this little gadget has magical powers. It will give you assurance for a few hours and through the night. I use the Sonoline B doppler. It's small enough to put in your purse, and the volume goes way loud so you can hear you baby nice and strong. No $40 investment has ever had a better return value, Peace of mind.
P.s. You should never fully rely on your doppler on the safety of your baby. If something seems remotely off, call your doctor or go to the ER!
2. A great Medical Team
This goes without saying. But this time around, things are going to be just a wee bit different. You are going to be more stressed and more anxious than you ever expected. You will find yourself questioning every twinge. You absolutely HAVE to make sure your medical team is on board with the Crazy that is about to hit them. Ask your doctor(s) if they have experience with mothers whom have had a loss and ask them how will you be treated differently. Identify what you want and communicate. Would you like more appointments, more screenings, more ultrasounds? Tell them. Be open from the beginning so that everyone is on the same page and you feel 100% comfortable being YOURSELF without having to worry about being looked down on. I cannot tell you how many times I have "dropped by" the office to address a concern or worry (Thank God my OB is 7 minutes from home). My doctor and his staff have been completely supportive and understanding. He allows me to come in whenever I need. The nurses have been nothing but lovely, patient and kind towards me and my very special pregnancy. Don't settle. Find yourself the best and most supportive team in town because this pregnancy is going to be a long ride.
Pro tip: Always be super nice to every single person you come into contact with at the Ob's office. Trust me, kindness has power and everyone will be more likely to go above and beyond for you. Being kind at the office has worked in my favor several times, including the doctor pulling a major string for me at the hospital.
3. Get Yo'self a RACHEL
Let me tell you a lil' summin' about Rachel. Rachel has been nothing short of a god damn rock for me during this pregnancy and I serisouly don't know what I would do without her. She is a fellow loss mommy I met at a local support group for parents whom have experienced pregnancy loss. We exchanged numbers when we met and her friendship has been a life line. Throughout this PAL, I have texted Rachel on a whim about 56,00 during my many Pal induced anxiety attacks without ever thinking twice about being judged (see below pics for examples lol). She has the BEST advice and always knows exactly what to say to talk me down. How do I get myself a Rachel, you ask? Read #5.
Boy oh Boy, have I learned a lot since loosing my sweet Solomon. I never knew how many things could actually go wrong in a pregnancy! I don't meant the obvious things like Gestational Diabetes, or High blood pressure. I mean the freak accident things that happen to like less that 1% like ICP/ Cholestasis or cord accidents. I guarantee you, by the end of your Pregnancy after loss, you will have a P.H.D in Psychology and Obstetrician medical practices (Awarded by the esteemed university of Google). Most of the time, the overload of extensive (and sometimes inaccurate) information on the web will boggle your brain. However, knowing what can and could go wrong may allow you to pick up on something before it gets serious. Education is why I became worried about my "Braxton Hicks". A few hours later I was admitted over night for Pre-term labor at 25 weeks. I keep an eye on my blood pressure with an at home BP monitor ($90 at Walgreens), heart rate (Fitbit), and weight (Scale in the bathroom). If absolutely anything seems off, I will seek help. Learning from my own loss and other loss mommies' experiences have helped as well.
Pro tip: Sign up for all the apps and newsletters and actually read the articles. I have "What to expect", "The Bump" and "Pregnancy+" on my phone. Excessive? NEVER.
When you get pregnant, you join this awesome community of new mommies on the same exciting journey. You learn about new baby products, breast feeding and spend hours commenting on baby forums. But when you loose a baby, you will find yourself a part of this unexpectudly awesome underground community of incredibly strong, beautiful and resilient women. You never wanted to be a part of this group, but these women will be a tremendous part of your healing. We are always there to encourage, support, and remember each others angels. Join local and online support groups. Search Instagram hashtags such as #Pregnancyafterloss and simply connect and reach out when you need a little love and support or if you just want to share pictures of your beautiful angel. These women are ready to hear your story, share theirs, and answer any questions you may have about TTC or PAL. We know first hand what you are going through and will always like, comment, message and call your angel by name.
6. Count the Kicks App
Learning to count the kicks can be very confusing at first. But the Count The Kicks website and App can be very helpful. The most important thing is that you start picking up on your babies sleep patterns. This has been a little difficult for me because of my Anterior Placenta (When Placenta lays behind your belly button and blocks babies kicks). In addition to placental bad luck (I just made that a thing), my last ultrasound showed Violet was head down and facing my spine making it nearly impossible to feel her little kicks throughout the day. Anyway, no matter how your placenta or baby is positioned, you must keep an eye on the kicks. Download the app and stay aware of babies movements.
Pro tip: I love the pregnancy+ app, they have a great count the Kicks feature also.