Hey, and welcome to the Smooth Stones podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m Amy Watson, and I have something really exciting coming up that I got to tell you about. My podcast is turning four years old and I specifically started it on pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. Uh, 2019. I can’t believe it’s been that long.
Thank you to everyone who’s been here from day one. Or if you’ve listened back through and binged, we’re so glad you’re here. . But I love to celebrate this time of year and the podcast. And I wanted to do something that combined both of these things. I want you to be able to submit your baby’s story, not the story of how they died, but.
Parts of their life and the lessons that they taught you and this is something I ask people whenever I have a guest I always ask them to share about their baby’s life because we just don’t get to do that So I have created a really simple form if you go in the show notes, you’ll be able to find it The other place to find it is at amy.
smoothstonescoaching on Instagram if you look in my link in my bio or if you’re on my email list and You would have already got this because everyone who’s on my email list, they get the info first. They get first dibs and we’ve already got submissions coming in. But I want you to just answer a couple really quick questions about your baby, their name, and a lesson they’ve taught you.
And… Everyone who enters, if they would like to, I am going to be giving away prizes. They’re not really prizes. It’s not a contest. I just love giving away gifts and I thought this would be a great way to do it is to have people submit their babies and then I get to give back. To all of you who are listening, it’s such a beautiful thing.
I love it so much. So I have some of my card decks that I made that are called cards for joy, and they have great thoughts and intentions for each day to help you in your life. After loss, I’ve got some. Books from authors that I’ve had on the podcast. I just might pull some surprises out of my sleeve. I never know what I’m going to do.
I always plan this on the fly, but as I’m sending this out, we are at the end of September. You have a couple of weeks to get your submission in. So if you’re listening, do it now, just pause, go send it in. It’ll take like just a couple of minutes. Just scroll down into the show notes, click the link, do it.
And then. I’m going to read all of those and you’ll be entered if you want to be, you have a choice. You don’t have to be, but who doesn’t want something cool in the mail? I know I love it and it’s so rare anymore. Go submit your baby. All right. Today we are talking about high risk pregnancy. Now, a pregnancy after loss is a whole thing.
And I know that there are some of you listening who maybe aren’t going to be pregnant after loss, or you’re, you’re complete with your family, or you can’t have any more babies for whatever reason. Some of you are in that zone of trying again, being pregnant again, um, and some of you are just still thinking about what you should do.
If you’re in that thinking about what you should do, I have an ebook for that. Uh, go to my website. But. Um, this episode really is for everyone. We want to understand high risk pregnancy. I’m going to share my experience and what that was like,
we’re going to talk about what to do if you’re in the high risk category or how, how do you even know? Like, should I be high risk? Should I be getting? More care than what my doctor is thinking and kind of how do we navigate this because I think that every pregnancy after loss really is something that needs special care and sometimes like our medical professionals might not agree and then there’s other times where you might not want that you might not want to be pregnant.
Poked and brought it and tested, uh, more than your share. So let’s just dive in and talk all about it. I think I’m going to start out with my story. So I mostly had uneventful pregnancies, my first four pregnancies. Although I did have one Really significant bleeding episode with my fourth daughter and ended up being kind of on technically modified bedrest and kind of really watching this blood clot that had broken off.
And so that was my first time, but I still, I was like, Young and just not I don’t know I was worried, but I wasn’t worried once we knew she was okay, and things were healing up We just kind of kept an eye on things, but after my stillbirth My doctor really kind of recommended that we might not want to get pregnant again But there wasn’t I don’t know I Honestly, we just knew that we wanted another child and, um, we did everything we could to be safe and smart and informed and get the care we needed.
But my first pregnancy after loss, , I , was probably in the high risk category because of my previous loss. And because of what we’d gone through, so we just were keeping a real close eye on everything. That baby was born alive, although we did induce a little bit early because I had had a full term stillbirth that was kind of unexplained.
So that was for my mental health and just to ensure the safety of the baby to wait as long as we could. So his lungs as we’re ready, um, and then just get them out of there and that was a good plan. We felt really good about when I was pregnant with River. We kind of didn’t get very far, but in my first appointment with my doctor, I remember sitting down.
We had just moved. So it was a new doctor. And I remember just. I’m just diving into my history and saying, like, we need to be really careful. We need to make sure everything’s okay and we need lots of good care. And so we had already. formulated a plan. Uh, when I was about 11 weeks, we had really talked through what we’re going to do once I got to the second trimester and what kind of scans I would need and ultrasounds and different appointments I would need with specialists.
And then that baby didn’t have a heartbeat at 14 weeks. And so all of that planning, all of that, of course, just went out the window. We didn’t need it anymore. But I remember just being Really frustrated that we had a plan like we had all these things in place. We were doing everything, right? We’re doing everything we could to keep this baby safe and still just to have the baby pass For an unknown reason we never did really get answers on that baby That was really tough, but being high risk was part of my care, even from the get go because of what I’d already been through.
And I was able to advocate for myself and everything, and then it just kind of ended, which was really difficult. For my very last pregnancy, I knew going into it, again, with all my knowledge, with my extensive experience in the lost community and with medical professionals in all kinds of capacities, I knew going into it that I would be high risk.
I was, I think, 37, 36. Yeah, I was 36 when I got pregnant. I had him when I was 37. So they call that a geriatric pregnancy. So old. But I knew I was going to be high risk. I knew I wanted the best care. I knew that I was going to advocate the heck out of this whole situation and I was determined to not repeat.
Anything that we were going to prevent everything we could and we were going to get the best care we could and I was really, you know, I was nervous, but I was also positive. I felt really prepared, really healthy, all of the things, and then I’m not sure the exact dates, but I think around 32 ish weeks.
Maybe 30, 31. They started noticing protein in my urine. I was already going for extra non stress tests, which is where they hook you up to the monitors and let you sit there for a half an hour and see what baby does. I was getting like everything tested pretty often and They found protein in my urine, which is an indicator of preeclampsia.
I did not have any other symptoms. So please go to all your appointments. Pee in the cup. Do whatever you need to do. Because I had no symptoms except for that. And… Then yes, my blood pressure started creeping higher and higher. I ended up with having to get steroid shots, having, um, being in the hospital on bed rest for like a week and a half, two weeks overall, and then ending up giving birth to my son at 35 weeks.
And I was on magnesium for that delivery and then continued to need medication. And. A whole bunch of care to get my blood pressure down to where it needed to be and that took a lot, like the baby, he was so tiny, but healthy and strong. I was not healthy and strong. I, even though I had, you know, quote unquote, done everything right.
I still ended up with a really, a struggle and so I’ve been through a lot and I know that each one of us has a story and that is just my experience. That’s where I’m coming from as I talk about this. And I just want to share so that you know that it is possible to go through all of these things and it is possible to make really good informed decisions.
It is possible to advocate for yourself. It’s possible to Take care of yourself and your family and do this if it’s something you really want and It’s also okay to say I don’t want to do this I’m not open to all the variables and all the things and what it’s gonna do to my body What’s gonna do my mental health what it’s gonna do to my family to my relationships to my wallet Right to my bank account if you’re in the States Because I can tell you staying in the hospital for that long was very expensive and I was so grateful we had incredible Insurance that covered everything maternity, but we got the bill and it was insane So it’s okay to also say I’m not willing to do this And that is where I was after my last baby He like as soon as I found out I was pregnant.
I was like, this is it whether he lives or doesn’t I’m not doing high risk pregnancy again. So it’s a very personal decision. It’s something you might want to for sure talk to doctors, talk to your family, like get input, pray about it. Um, do what you need to do to make a really informed decision. And I know that can be incredibly difficult because you cannot determine the outcome beforehand.
And that’s really hard. It’s hard. Having the unknown, so I just want to jump into really quickly. What is a high risk pregnancy? You can Google this like just as well as I can. Um, if you have a problem with Googling things, just keep yourself off of it, but I’m just going to run down a really quick list that I found and we’ll dive into it.
Okay. So it’s a high risk pregnancy is a pregnancy. This is from the Cleveland clinic, um, that carries increased health risks for the pregnant person, fetus, or both. People with high risk pregnancies may need extra care before, during, and after they give birth to reduce the possibility of complications.
And that’s kind of the goal, right? We have all this increased monitoring and things to hopefully minimize the risk. This says about 50, 000 people in the U. S. experience severe pregnancy complications each year. And it is more likely that black people will die from this, um, because of systemic issues.
issue. So if you are a person of color, really even extra more important to advocate for yourself. Some of the factors are pre existing health conditions, pregnancy related conditions, lifestyle factors, like if you’re smoking, using drugs, alcohol, and then your age. So being over 35, they kind of automatically put you in.
High risk or under 17 and I know there are lost moms out there who are very young when they give birth Which is just like doubly so hard All right, so there are just there’s like a whole list of things I’m not gonna go through but you know diabetes fibroids high blood pressure HIV kidney diseases low weight high weight mental health disorders And I love that they add that, right?
Like, if you have depression and then you’re pregnant, that can really exacerbate it. Um, PCOS, thyroids, blood clotting disorders. And then for the baby, there can be birth defects or genetic conditions. Um, the baby isn’t growing right, gestational diabetes, having multiples.
And of course, like I said, preeclampsia or eclampsia, help syndrome, all of those kind of blood pressure related things. And then previous preterm birth, previous complications, previous losses, all of that. And really, this is important because we want to know where we stand. And sometimes we really need to advocate for ourselves.
If we want extra care during our pregnancy, so that is kind of a list and You can talk to your health care provider and see where you land if you are planning a pregnancy or if you’re looking back at a pregnancy, um, really kind of figuring out in your head, like, where was I and what kind of care did I get now, if you are going to be high risk, that can be something in your brain that is It’s really, really difficult.
So we want to look at how you’re thinking about it and how you’re feeling about it. When you think about going into another pregnancy, possibly being high risk or for sure being high risk like I was, what ways are you looking at it? What ways are you thinking about it? Remember our thoughts create our feelings and also our nervous system creates some, Activation in our body, when we think about being pregnant again, when we think about walking into the doctor, we’re going to have some reactions, but when we’re thinking about being high risk.
Do you feel anxiety? What are you thinking that creates anxiety? What are your thoughts on interventions? Some people are like, yeah, bring it on. I want all of it. And other people are like, I don’t want anything. And I, maybe you want a home birth. And if you’re high risk, you know that that’s in jeopardy.
Well, that can bring anxiety, just looking forward and thinking, I’m not going to get The experience that I want because I’m high risk, like I’m going to have to give birth in the hospital. I’m going to have to be on monitors. I don’t want to do any of that. So you really need to look at what you’re thinking and the feelings it’s creating because really this is your experience.
Now we can look in the future and have lots of fears. I see this a lot with my clients is like they just get pregnant and they’re already worried about birth. They’re already worried about, you know, how it’s going to go. And it’s okay and normal to be thinking ahead, but is it taking away from your experience now?
We want to control, but we can’t control. And learning to let go of some of that control is really going to help you. And staying present is really going to help you. So notice what you’re thinking that’s creating a lot of anxiety for you. I would recommend you write it all down. Just write it down. And then the flip side is what, how is it bringing you comfort to know that you’re high risk?
Some people, like I said, really do want all the things that they can have. They don’t want to be dismissed and pushed aside and just told, like, have one ultrasound at 20 weeks and you’re fine. They want more. This can be really comforting and that’s how I felt. I felt like if I’m having twice weekly non stress tests I’m having like I’m getting checked all the time.
I’m getting extra ultrasounds. I get to see my baby. I get lots of pictures This is a good thing. I have like a really great doctor. I Purposely chose like I actually called maternal fetal medicine at the hospital and I said who is great with high risk pregnancies and They told me, and I don’t know if they’re supposed to do that because, you know, but they said, Hey, we see these doctors a lot when we have high risk patients.
And so that’s who I went to. And so those thoughts really helped comfort me because my overarching thought was I’m doing everything I can to take care of this baby. And we’re going to keep an eye on it from day one and make sure that as much as we can. We’re going to watch for variables. Now, given that I had a really calm, good, confident experience like my first seven plus months, and I never would have seen preeclampsia coming out of nowhere.
I have never had preeclampsia before. It’s something that’s more common on first babies, not like eighth babies, but But when it did come, we were ready. We had a team in place. We had everything going. So I didn’t need to worry about preeclampsia. Sometimes we think we need to worry because worry is useful and it’s going to protect us.
If I was worried about preeclampsia all the time, it only would have taken away from my experience of that pregnancy, but I wasn’t worried about preeclampsia. I just. Dealt with it when I was faced with it and we made decisions from there And that’s something I would really tell you if you are in this category if you think you’re gonna be in this category Trust yourself that you are going to deal with whatever comes when it comes and not Before because worrying about it before doesn’t do anything but make you miserable.
It truly is not Useful. Stop telling yourself that it’s useful or it’s protective. It’s not. It’s only causing pain now. What I like to call High risk pregnancy, which I think is just like a terrible name. There’s so many medical terms around pregnancy that are just so bad. High risk pregnancy is like an anxiety inducing title.
Anybody is going to say like tighten up and be like, Oh, that sounds scary. I like to call it extra care pregnancy. And I love how even that thing I read from Cleveland clinic, um. Said that too. It’s like you just need extra care. You need to be watched over You need like more tests and things to make sure everybody’s okay So if you’re going into this or if you’re in it now, why not call it extra care?
We just need extra care. You need extra care medically. Yes, but how about emotionally? Are you getting extra care emotionally? Are you? Are you really getting extra care physically, are you getting extra care spiritually or energetically? Like it can be really depleting to have these big question marks.
Are you taking care of your energy? Are you getting tons of help? If there’s ever a time, this is it. This is what I love to help my clients with, is getting through pregnancy after loss, especially a high risk where there’s a lot of anxiety and a lot going on. You need emotional support. I would love to be that for you.
I want to talk to the people who maybe have already been through pregnancy and have some regrets or you feel stuck or you’re frustrated, angry at the care that you got. So sometimes you might be looking backwards and hindsight is 20, 20, right? We can see all the things and say, why didn’t they care more?
Why didn’t they do more checks? Why didn’t they do an ultrasound? Why, why, why? If we would have done all these things, then my baby wouldn’t have died. Or, you might be looking back and saying, I did get amazing care, and my baby still died. There can be traumatic experiences with like medical pregnancy, all of it, you can just have a lot of anxiety.
And so if you’re in that spot where you’re feeling really stuck in the past, right? Instead of worrying about the future, you’re, you’re stuck in the past and you’re feeling like you’re just all over the place and weighed down and there’s this wall. I really want to encourage you. To take care of yourself, to take the time to pause, stop, and do something about how you’re feeling.
You deserve to feel better. You deserve to have peace around your pregnancy experience, around your care, around all of it. If something happened where there was negligence, like you deserve to be able to At the very least, write a letter and let them know what happened and how it affected you. This is so important, and this is how we create better outcomes for other people and ourselves in the future.
If we don’t say anything, things don’t change, and I know it takes a lot of energy to do that, but if it’s sitting in you and you’re using that energy to just eat yourself up inside, let it out. We as lost parents can have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the way we were treated, the way our pregnancy was treated, how we were listened to, all of these things.
You can find peace around that. You can learn to tell your story in a way that blesses your life instead of causes you eternal pain. Everything happens for us. Not to us and I know that it feels like it happened to you That you feel like this sense of a loss of control and if you’re going into a high risk pregnancy you feel a lot a lot like it’s out of your control or that you’re Grasping for all these things all these checkups all these things to just save your baby to make everything go well But you know that it can’t always do that.
So what we need to do is really look at how we’re thinking, how we’re taking care of our nervous system, and what is going on with us. Because when you can allow for life to unfold as it’s supposed to, and truly believe this is happening for me, not to me, you’re going to stop feeling picked on. You’re going to stop feeling like that.
I don’t know that like, you’re the only one that bad things happen to and that everything is bad. I wouldn’t have chosen to have two babies die in the way that they did, but they did. And the more I fight it, the more pain I have, the more I lean into it and allow what happened to be my reality. The more I can grow, the more peace I have.
And I just take everything I learned from them and I use it. And if I hadn’t had the confidence that had come from going through all those pregnancies, I don’t know that I would have been able to advocate for myself the way I did with my last pregnancy. I don’t know if our outcome would have been different, but I’m proud of me for what I did.
And that’s what I want for you. I want you to be proud of yourself that you believe that you did the absolute best you could for your child, that you will do the absolute best you can for your child, and that you will allow for the things you can control, which is yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your nervous system, your physical and mental health, and the rest of it, you’re gonna let it B.
You don’t have to control everything in a high risk pregnancy. You don’t have to be afraid of going into a high risk pregnancy, and you don’t have to go into a high risk pregnancy if you don’t want to. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to build the team you want. It’s okay to get emotional support in place.
All of this is so important. I touch a lot on this part in my ebook. Should I have another baby after loss? It’s only 9. You can buy it on my website, smoothstonescoaching. com. But I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank you for listening and letting me share my story of high risk pregnancy and hopefully some really good nuggets that are going to help you in your next pregnancy or looking back at previous pregnancies.
It’s so, so important to get these things straightened out in your mind and in your heart so that you can really create the life you want for yourself. I know you can do it. I believe in you. I love you. I’ll see you next time.