For many, the holidays can be an exciting time of year, with family and friend get togethers, gift exchanges, overwhelming generosity, and the reminder of what really matters in life. But to others, the holidays can be a harsh reminder of grief, those gone too soon, and memories that will never take place. I wrote this post back in 2019, after losing two babies. The holidays were an awful reminder for me of the little family my husband and I were trying to start, but instead we lost too soon. 2019 was overwhelmingly challenging. If you are reading this and you too are just having a year of obstacles that just keep adding up, let me first say I’m so sorry. Secondly, I’m here for you if you need to talk and lastly I hope my story and this post gives you some sort of comfort around this holiday season. ❤️
To be honest, I’m not feeling very festive this Christmas. This past year has been a tidal wave of grief that I didn’t plan for, nor did I appreciate. On top of grief I’ve had other struggles including anxiety, depression, weight gain, self doubt and distress. Some might say this past year has made me stronger, and in many ways I believe that. But in this moment, this past year has only made me hate life.
When you’ve faced trauma, something changes in you. You see things differently, and you know things can get worse because you’ve lived it. When you’ve faced repeated trauma, not only are you traumatized, but also on edge. You’re just waiting for something bad to happen, or something else to go wrong. It’s exhausting, but if you’ve already been blindsided by trauma before, it’s almost an illogical effort to worry and fret for the bad things, in hopes that you will be somewhat prepared if they happen. I have lived this way almost every day this past year, and it’s really not anyway to live.
THIS CHRISTMAS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT.
I have thought about Mackenzie everyday since she’s been gone. Losing her, has changed my life forever. She made me a mom. Even more, she made me an Angel mommy. This year I envisioned caring for an infant at Christmas time. Charles and I would head over to my parents on Christmas morning. She would be spoiled by her Grandma, and cooing at the cats and her Grandpa. She would be wearing the cutest Christmas jammies, and be smiling from ear to ear. Everything was going to be perfect as I celebrated my first Christmas as a mom.
Instead this year, I am celebrating Christmas as an Angel mommy. My baby Mackenzie will not be in her Christmas jammies, and my baby Chase will not be warm in my tummy. Instead I will be here loving and missing my babies, while Mackenzie and Chase will be in Heaven celebrating at Jesus’s grand birthday party. They will be having more fun than I can even fathom. As much as I want them here with me, I know they are safe and happy right where they are.
It won’t be easy… It won’t be easy this Christmas seeing friends and their baby’s first Christmas. But no one said this life will be easy. No one said we are all meant to take the same journey. And no said this world is prefect. So through my tears and heartache, I will get through this Christmas with my family, because my babies deserve to see me have joy my first Christmas as their mom. ❤️
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As many of you know I have experienced two losses and now our Rainbow Baby is on the way. Because of this I would like to share some resources I created at the time I was going through my losses in 2019.
Why is it that when a couple loses a baby, society is more concerned of how the mother is doing more than the father? Why is it our society perceives a mother’s grief to be more substantial than a father’s? Why is it implied that father’s don’t grieve too? I believe it all boils down to stereotypes and the old thinking of men have to be strong and hold in their emotions. While women are delicate and emotional. Well, I have news for you. Sure these stereotypes do have some truth, but it’s not right to assume all men and women fall into these cookie cutter images. The reality is men can be strong but so can women. Women can be emotional and so can men. Women aren’t the only ones who grieve for the loss of a loved one.
MOTHER’S CERTAINLY GRIEVE FOR THEIR BABIES WHO ARE GONE TOO SOON… BUT FATHER’S GRIEVE TOO.
After I experienced my first loss, I didn’t realize how my husband grieves. I didn’t doubt that he too was hurting and grieving over the loss of our baby, but I didn’t understand how he grieved. For the most part, Charles grieved in silence. I liked talking about our baby after both our first and second loss. Charles however, didn’t like to talk about it. Charles was more than willing to listen to my thoughts, but wasn’t too willing to share his own. This often turned into a lot of spats because I didn’t understand his grief and he didn’t understand mine. Eventually, we were able to come to a understanding.
With time, Charles would open up about his grief and sorrow he was feeling. For instance, when we would go to a store and see cute children’s clothing on the racks, he would make comments about how he wishes we could have kids who could wear cute outfits like that. Or when we would see children at a playground or park, he would mention how seeing those kids makes him sad and miss our kids sometimes.
After awhile, I had come to realize why Charles grieves the way he does. Since our losses were so hard on me emotionally and physically, he didn’t feel right falling apart while I was already a mess. He felt he needed to be the strong one, and help me through. Then, once I was feeling more stable, he was more willing to open up about his emotions and grief.
IF YOU TOO HAVE A BOYFRIEND, PARTNER OR HUSBAND THAT DOESN’TOUTWARDLY SHOW HIS GRIEF… YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
It can be challenging as we all grief differently. My advice to you would be communicate with one another and allow each other to grieve in your own time. My mistake, and often the reason for many of our spats was that I would push my husband to grieve… and that wasn’t right. With time, patience and communication…. grief starts to become more manageable… and something to experience together rather than apart.
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As many of you know I have experienced two losses and now our Rainbow Baby is on the way. Because of this I would like to share some resources I created at the time I was going through my losses in 2019.
1. THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN SAY IS “I LOVE YOU, I’M HERE FOR YOU, AND I’M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS”
Wouldn’t you agree that after someone dies, there’s not really much of anything that people can say to take the pain away. Even though people don’t like to see you hurt, they also don’t know what to say. And when it comes to experiencing a miscarriage, people really don’t know what to say. They can see your grieving, but they don’t feel the loss nearly as deeply because they didn’t meet or have a bond with the life that was once inside you. Unfortunately, our society does not know how to treat miscarriage as a loss or death.
When I was grieving and at my worst, people didn’t know what to say to me either. There were people who said a lot of the wrong things, and there were a lot of people who just left me alone. But the best things people said to me that were not hurtful, did not offer unsolicited advice, and were sensitive were: “I love you, I’m here for you, I’m sorry for your loss, if you ever want to talk let me know, I’m thinking about you and I’m praying for you.”
2. OFFERING TO CLEAN, COOK AND RUN ERRANDS.
You know how when someone dies, people make you food? Well, I really appreciated this. I don’t know why food is such a comfort, but it is. It seems that when people don’t know what to say they make food. I had a neighbor make dinner for my husband and I, a yummy dish from the Dominican… it was amazing. Our associate pastor and his wife made us chicken, green beans and potatoes…. so good. My sister in law, who worked all day invited us over and made us a feast! Bless her heart. And my Momma provided me with lots of comfort food when I was recovering from surgery. Food doesn’t make everything better, but in that moment of grief when you need something to numb it for awhile, food helps.
3. PAMPERING THE ANGEL MOMMY
Being pampered by friends and family helped me in many ways. My momma bought me a massage right before Mother’s Day. I had no idea how badly I needed it, until my tears and emotions came out all over the table. My husband went out and bought me chicken wings at midnight when I was having a really emotional night and couldn’t sleep. My bestie Alli came over in the middle of the night and we drove all over town eating Oreos. So many people did kind things for me, when I needed it most, I highly recommend this. Of course I also would recommend proceeding with caution and sensitivity.
4. PROVIDING SPACE TO THE GRIEVING COUPLE
I feel this is super important. The Momma is not the only one that experiences a pregnancy loss. Sure, she is the only one that experiences the physical pain of loss, but it’s also important to remember that father’s grieve too. I know of many men, my husband included who not only struggle to help their wives grieve, but also felt somewhat disregarded when it came to their grief and emotions. So, it is super important to allow the grieving couple time and space. Even recommending a getaway could be beneficial… but again proceed with caution.
5. CHECK IN
Hearing the worst news, that your baby is gone is heartbreaking. It honestly numbs you. Looking back now, I barely remember the time in between my ultrasound and my surgery, and the whole month of March is a blur. I do remember laying in bed a lot, eating occasionally, crying until my head hurt and listening to sad music. I also remember having people check in. It’s something I would have never asked for, but truly appreciated. I had friends and family call and text me daily just to check in and make sure I was alive. So many of them opened the doors for communication and gave encouraging words to my tender broken heart. I highly recommend checking in on a friend or loved one if they have suffered a loss. It’s not much, but also not to pushy. Even if they don’t respond it is still nice that people care for you when you are feeling so alone, Sure, there were many times I didn’t want to talk, but I still loved that so many people cared. ❤️
6. BE SENSITIVE WITH YOUR WORDS
This is a big one… and I can’t stress this enough. Please be very careful with your words. After suffering a loss your mind and your heart are in a truly fragile state. It is likely that the grieving mother is heart broken, constantly blaming herself and hating life. So, it is truly important not to contribute to these emotions of anger and sorrow by saying things like “You’re young you’ll have more, or You shouldn’t have stressed yourself out so much, or at least you already have a baby.”
7. HONORING THEIR LOSS
Above anything else I’ve said, I think this is actually the most important. One of the biggest fears that I and so many moms have, is that the child they have lost will be forgotten, as if that little life that lived in them had never existed. It means the world to me when friends and family talk about my baby. It may make me sad and weepy, but also makes me feel loved and my baby never forgotten. I really appreciate it when friends and family are sensitive and saying they are thinking of me on holidays and anniversaries, because they know it’s not going to be an easy day for me. Showing love and honoring the baby’s memory is literally the best thing you can do to help a woman after a miscarriage.
I am not an expert or doctor in anyway, just a woman, a writer and a woman who has lost a baby. I hope these little pieces of advice help in some way. If you are reading this and you have suffered an unimaginable lost, I just want to say I’m so sorry for your loss, reach out to me anytime.
Hello Third Trimester, and Goodbye Feet! We are in the final stretch! 28 weeks pregnant, and baby is the size of an eggplant! Only 12 more weeks to go… if baby decides to come on time. 🙂
These last few weeks have been crazy with Braxton Hicks really kicking in, getting diagnosed with GD and my apartment being taken over by baby items. Never the less we are so incredibly blessed!
This week I have two appointments, one with a dietitian about my gestational diabetes and one check in with my midwife.
This is our rainbow baby for whom we prayed for, cried over and waited on. As we get closer and closer to our due date, I feel myself getting more anxious for the birth and what raising this little miracle will be like.
I know I am beyond blessed for making it this far in my pregnancy and I don’t want to take that for granted, but at times I do struggle to appreciate what I have and what could be.
I know as someone who has struggled with recurrent miscarriages, trying to conceive and endometriosis that it’s hard to see others on their pregnancy journey. I also know the fear and anxiety of being pregnant after a loss. Please know you’re not alone. I see you. I hear you. I am you. If you ever need to talk I’m here. If you need encouragement I’m here. If you need a hug I’m here. 💕
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As many of you know I have experienced two losses and now our Rainbow Baby is on the way. Because of this I would like to share some resources I created at the time I was going through my losses in 2019.
1. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH FRIENDS AFTER A LOSS?
This seems like a very broad question, but I will try and answer it as best I can. I had many friends after my loss show compassion, while I had others who lacked empathy. I think the best advice I can give you is just to be honest with your friends after a loss… as hard as that might be. Be honest about how you’re feeling and doing. Don’t sugar coat it and say “I’m fine.” When in reality you’re not.
Secondly, I would also suggest being honest about telling them what you need. If you need company, invite them over. If you need to be left alone, tell them and be willing to set that boundary. I guess the biggest thing I am trying to say, is just be honest. I really struggled with being honest and open with my friends and family after my miscarriage. I didn’t want to tell people what I needed because I was stubborn and didn’t want to ask for help. Eventually, I swallowed my pride and started being honest and asking for help. Once I did this, it allowed many lines of communication to open which helped me and my different relationships entirely.
2. WHAT WERE SOME THING’S THAT PEOPLE SAID TO YOU THAT WERE HELPFUL AFTER YOUR MISCARRIAGE?
After my miscarriage, I dealt with a lot of people who either didn’t know what to say, or said the wrong thing. However, there were a few people who said things that were truly helpful and sincere during my grief. I am currently writing a whole post covering this question. However, I will share with you now a few things that were helpful after my miscarriage.
I really appreciated it when people said things like…..
I’m sorry for your loss.
My heart breaks for you.
I’m here for you if you need anything.
I’m praying for you.
It’s okay to be sad. You grieve the way you need to grieve.
3. ANY ADVICE FOR FIRST DAY BACK AT WORK AFTER 20 WEEK MISCARRIAGE?
For the person who sent me this question, I first just want to say I am very sorry for your loss. I also want to say thank you for reaching out to me. I guess the best advice I could give to you or anyone is to be gentle on yourself. It can be extremely challenging returning to work and everyday life following a miscarriage or any sort of trauma. I would encourage you to ease into this transition back to normal slowly. I would also like to encourage you to be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for little victories.
4. DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT WHEN OTHER WOMEN AROUND YOU ARE PREGNANT?
Yes! It is extremely difficult. Parts of me wishes so much that I was still pregnant, while other parts of me worries and has anxiety for women I know who are pregnant. I hope and pray all the time that they don’t experience the loss that I had.
5. WHAT HEALING LOOKED LIKE, WHAT YOU LEARNED, HOW YOU CAN USE YOUR EXPERIENCE TO HELP OTHERS?
Healing I feel is a life long process. It is enveloped in the grief process, and is felt and experienced in many moments throughout a life time. It changes you. The biggest thing about healing, is allowing yourself to feel the grief. Allowing this anguish allows us as humans to move forward in life. You gotta feel it. You gotta face it, or you won’t move forward. I found healing in various activities including writing, knitting, spending time with friends and family, taking pictures and so much more. It’s a never ending journey.
6. HOW DID YOU GET BACK TO FEELING LIKE YOURSELF AGAIN?
This is kind of a complex question, but I think the simplest answer is I got back to feeling like myself again by choosing to move forward and choosing to heal. I chose to talk about my miscarriage. I allowed myself to cry. I encouraged myself to write my story.
7. DO YOU REGRET TELLING PEOPLE YOU WERE PREGNANT BEFORE YOU MISCARRIED?
Not really. This thought crossed my mind after we lost the baby, but I’m thankful people knew I was pregnant and then lost my baby. I’m thankful I had people around me for love and support.
8. WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?
Okay, so my bestie sent me this question. Haha! Thanks girl! I don’t know if I am that amazing so I wouldn’t even know how to answer that question.
Thanks for all the questions! Again I’m no expert, but I’m here to help and here to listen. ❤️
18 weeks pregnant, and baby is the size of an artichoke! This week has been pretty crazy, so allow me to catch you up.
On Wednesday, I had a check in appointment with my midwife. We discussed my pregnancy symptoms, getting the Covid vaccine, birth classes and local pediatricians. My midwife checked baby’s heartbeat and baby was definitely moving around in there. She said everything sounded perfect and baby’s heartbeat was 150.
One issue that came up during the appointment is I’m not gaining any weight. In fact, I haven’t gained back the weight I lost in the first trimester which is about 6 lbs. My midwife encouraged me to increase my calorie intake by 300 a day and try to start gaining a little weight.
On Thursday morning I went to work like any other morning feeling completely normal. While at work I went to the bathroom and noticed a tiny bit of light brown blood in my underwear and when I wiped. It was faint but enough that I could see it. I prayed and tried to stay calm.
I let someone from the admin team know what was going on and that I needed to call my doctor. I called the after hours nurse service. I explained that I wasn’t feeling any pain or cramps, and that the blood was light brown. The nurse told me that it’s likely just old blood or I could have over did it. She said if I start to experience pain, cramps/contractions; I start leaking fluid; or the bleeding gets worse then I would need to call back and possibly go into labor and delivery triage.
Throughout the day I tried taking it easy. I sat down in my classroom more than I usually do, I drank lots of water and I didn’t lift anything over 10 lbs. Thankfully I didn’t experience anymore bleeding/spotting except that one episode.
Despite the scare this week, I am really enjoying feeling baby’s little flutters and I can’t wait to find out what we are having in 2 WEEKS! 🎉
At my last OB apptiiontment with a midwife, I was offered some optional prenatal testing called sequential screening. The tests looks for various genetic abnormalities including Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrous, Spina Bifida and more. The test is done by looking and measuring baby through ultrasound as well as testing for different hormones through a mother’s blood draw.
I considered this test when it was first offered to me, and decided to do it for two reasons. 1) because of my history with miscarriages I wanted to know all I could about baby. and 2) with the family history of my brother dying as an infant I knew I could be higher risk for different genetic abnormalities.
On the day of the test, I was a bundle of nerves, as I always am. I went to work that morning as normal as possible. Teaching preschoolers was a good distraction for most of the day. However, as the time drew closer and closer to the test, my fears and worries started to creep up on me.
I confided in many of my coworkers, and they encouraged me and sent me many positive vibes before leaving for my test. The funny thing is, at the time I wasn’t even concerned about the results of the test or any genetic disorders that may be found. I was actually scared of the actual ultrasound. We all know how ultrasounds give me anxiety since my last two losses. I was more concerned that I had lost baby and didn’t even know it. What if baby’s heart stopped beating? What if baby stopped growing? In between work and my test I also confided in my family and friends, read my bible and did some deep breathing.
Charles and I headed to our appointment. I prayed and talked to him the entire time. Charles reassured me that everything would be just fine. When we arrived, we were called back immediately and shown the ultrasound room. Before laying down and preparing for the heated jelly, I confided in the tech and told her I was very nervous.
I laid down and prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. The tech turned on the screen, asked me some questions and began the exam. I held my breath and watched as she looked for baby. She said “There’s baby, and there’s the heartbeat.” I sighed with relief and thanked Jesus. The tech measured baby’s heart rate and it was 163. Perfect. She then started to take images of baby’s heart, stomach, head, and spine.
Baby made little movements here and there but actually looked like he or she was sleeping. The tech still had a few more images to take. She tried nudging baby with the probe and getting baby to turn or roll over… that didn’t work. She then thought she’d take a moment to look at my ovaries then come back to baby. She continued nudging baby with the probe, asking me to roll to my left then roll to my right then flat on my back. She asked me to roll quickly and roll slowly. She asked me to walk around, do some stretching, and anything to get baby to try and move.
As the tech tried nudging baby again, baby turned it’s head and looked at us. It was hilarious and obviously trying to tease the tech. Then baby started waving it’s arms and tried sucking it’s thumb. Baby even put one hand on its forehead, as if feeling irritated and trying to be dramatic. Baby was just stubborn and really wanted to nap. I told the tech during the appointment that this time of day after work is normally my nap time, so it’s understandable why baby wants to take a nap. Eventually, baby cooperated enough to where we were able to get all the photos needed for the test.
After the test I was given a bunch of pictures of our photogenic baby and sent to the lab for some blood work. I was told all of my scans and blood work would be sent to the Mayo Clinic and I would receive results from them within a week or two.
When it was time to go home, all I could do was stare in awe over baby. So many pictures. I got to see baby move and I got to see baby’s heartbeat. Charles actually enjoyed himself too because baby was starting to look like a baby! I shared the good news with my family and friends. They were excited, relieved and so happy for us.
I even shared this little update on my Facebook page as I truly want to not only share in my pregnancy with others, but also share the struggle of pregnancy after loss. I wrote:
It’s funny, now that writing is my hobby, I’m usually really good at explaining what I’m trying to say. But today, I’m at a loss for words. I guess I’ll try and speak from my heart, and maybe just maybe it will make sense. . I’m going to be completely honest, pregnancy after loss is freaking scary. Sometimes I lay awake at night worried, and over analyzing my symptoms hoping and praying baby is okay. Other times, I am happy, I am at peace and I am content. . Today, I didn’t know what I was feeling. I was hoping and praying for the best, but truthfully planning for the worse. When you’ve gone through loss you know what the heartbreak feels like and you remember the never ending grief, and in someways you never really escape it. . This afternoon we had a special appointment. I walked into the room holding my breath and giving it to Jesus. The minute I heard the tech say “there’s the heartbeat.” I knew it was all okay. . Baby is happy, healthy and stubborn! Heart rate was 163. And I’m measuring a few days early so we are already at 13 weeks! I don’t think I could have asked for better news even if I tried! Baby is okay. We are overwhelmed with joy and feeling so blessed!
This Mother’s Day wasn’t so sad this year. I had just found out about a week before that I was pregnant again for the third time. I had bloodwork to confirm my pregnancy and everything was looking really good. I was already consistently nauseated and throwing up. Things were on track.
On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, we went to my parent’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day with my Mom and Grandma. It was a wonderful afternoon as we enjoyed sitting on the porch together, enjoying a variety of foods including pulled pork, deviled eggs, Cole slaw, pickles, cheese mashed potatoes and salad.
While sitting on my parents porch talking and catching up, it was killing me to not be able to tell them that I was pregnant. Not Yet. I kept telling myself. I wanted to wait until after my 8 week ultrasound and surprise them. It was also killing me how much the food was giving me a bellyache. I ate slightly too much and had an upset tummy, but I did my best to hide it.
Before leaving my parent’s house, I visited Mackenzie’s garden. I then asked my mom if I could take home some baby clothes. I told my mom I wanted to take some home, go through them and figure out if I wanted to donate anything. Really I just wanted to go through it and see what I still had from previous pregnancies. I don’t think she suspected anything, but I plan to ask her after I officially tell her.
On Sunday, I had a very relaxing Mother’s Day. I laid around and took three naps. My feelings on this day were different. I was sad and grieving the babies I lost, yes. I also was excited to be pregnant again, especially on Mother’s Day. I was also scared. I was scared to have another loss. I did my best to cherish and appreciate the current season of life I was in.
Throughout the day I got some very sweet messages from people. One message in particular I thought was very sweet and brought me to tears.
“Happy Mother’s Day! I know you have such a long time but this is stillyour day too! You’ve been a mother to many kids and your own angel babies! Enjoy today and relax. Don’t over do it.”
A few months back I wrote a post about being more like Hannah from the Bible. Coincidentally, I was writing that post around the same time I got pregnant. In that post I talk about how all Hannah really wanted was a baby. She prayed and cried out to God about her longing to be a mother. However, God made her wait and it wasn’t until she humbled herself and dedicated her unborn baby to the Lord, that she became pregnant and gave birth to her son.
When my pregnancy hit 5 weeks, I started to become very anxious. the shock of finally being pregnant again started to wear off and reality started to hit. My life was forever changed again. In 9 months I would be giving birth to a beautiful baby or at any point I could suffer another loss.
When I hit 5 weeks in my pregnancy, I laid in bed crying. I texted my friend Andrea and talked through my anxieties. I stayed up talking to Charles and praying to God about the baby.
A Mother’s Prayer
Lord, please forgive me of my sins and I just want to thank you so much for this little blessing.
Lord, thank you for this baby, no matter how long we may be blessed with him or her.
Lord, I want to dedicate this baby to you. This is your baby, that you have simply allowed me to care for. I am going to do my best to care for and love this baby.
Lord, thank you for this baby. Thank you that we are both healthy. Thank you for allowing me to get pregnant and thank you for this pregnancy. In Jesus name, Amen.
After saying this prayer, I felt peace and went to sleep. 💤
After the weekend of finding out I was pregnant again, I called my OB office and asked if I could have my pregnancy confirmed. They said they were going to do a quantitative HCG level check to not only see if I’m pregnant but also see if my numbers were doubling.
Charles and I went to the lab after work and a few hours later I got my first set of results. While sitting on the couch I anxiously prayed and logged in to my account. As I scrolled and looked through my charts, I found my most recent test result. Before clicking the view result button, I prayed that what ever happens would happen. At that point in my life, I knew that I couldn’t control my circumstances but I had to trust and believe that God knew what he was doing.
When I opened my test results I was in shock. My HCG levels had already hit the 1,000’s and I was only 4 weeks. I couldn’t believe it. I cried. I danced around the living room and praised God for his love and his mercy.
The next day I received a call from an OB nurse. She said congratulations and that my doctor took a look at my labs, and everything looked great. She felt there was no need to have additional bloodwork done as my levels were in a great range. I asked the nurse a few questions and scheduled my first prenatal appointment. I was a bundle of nerves and excitement as I hung up the phone. It hit me all over again that I was pregnant.
My second pregnancy was different than my first. For my pregnancy with Mackenzie, I was in shock for days and not at all prepared. For my pregnancy with Chase, I was very prepared for the first trimester as I knew what pregnancy symptoms to expect. At 6 weeks I was already feeling nauseated, tired, hungry and hormonal.
THOUGH THESE EARLY PREGNANCY SYMPTOMSWEREN’T EXACTLY FUN, THEY GAVE ME COMFORT KNOWING MY BABY WAS DOING OKAY, AND MY PREGNANCY WAS ON TRACK.
For this pregnancy, I had my mind made up that I definitely didn’t want too many people to know. I didn’t come to this decision lightly. The reason I didn’t want to share about our pregnancy isn’t because we didn’t want people’s love and support; more less, we just wanted to keep it under wraps until I was further along. I don’t in any way regret telling people I was pregnant before my first miscarriage….. but I have learned a lot since then. I have learned that people will look at you differently when you go through a traumatic event. I also learned that though people may have good intentions… they can say some really hurtful things on the topic of miscarriage. Due to all of this, Charles and I decided to keep things a secret until we were ready to handle other people’s opinions.
At this stage in my pregnancy, I had so much peace. I had peace knowing and believing my baby was going to be okay. All the statistics and stories I had read, told me I was more likely to have a healthy pregnancy than a repeat miscarriage. My HCG and thyroid levels were great for a healthy pregnancy. I was ten times stronger than I was before experiencing a loss. Lastly, my faith, my education, my relationships and my job were all in a good place. Things were starting to go right for once.
At 7 weeks pregnant… I started to feel better. My nausea started to subside, and food was starting to appeal to me again. I think that since I had already experienced a loss, this symptom made me really nervous and anxious. I feared that I was losing my pregnancy symptoms and I was going to lose another pregnancy. However, I also wondered if it was just my nerves talking and this pregnancy was different than the first.
Around 6 weeks and 6 days I started to experience a really weird symptom. It was an aching pain deep near my cervix. It kind of felt like a menstrual cramp, but also just felt sore. I started to get concerned about this symptom as I had never experienced it during pregnancy before. I asked a friend and even a nurse at my OB clinic. They all said it sounded pretty normal. I also Googled the symptom, which probably wasn’t a good idea. The only term I could find was lightning pain. This is a term used when a woman experiences pain at the start of labor. I figured that probably wasn’t what I had and just decided to trust that everything was okay.
At 7 weeks exactly, I had my first OB appointment. I ended up going to the appointment by myself since Charles had class. It was just like last time as I had to sit with a nurse and talk about my medical history. I also met with the community health worker. In this meeting I felt compelled to share with her about my previous loss and how I was treated. I expressed to her how I was given promotional offers, samples and other reminders from various places. I shared how hurt I felt that I wasn’t given any resources until 3 months later. I expressed how I wasn’t treated kindly by my doctors. Lastly, I shared the struggle in the waiting room and how it can be hard on any woman of loss to have to sit among other pregnant moms.
THE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER WAS SO KIND AND SUPPORTIVE. SHE LISTENED INTENTLY AND ALLOWED ME TO FEEL HEARD.
Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.
Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.
WHY WAS I BLEEDING? THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING! NOT AGAIN! I CAN’T HANDLE THIS! I CAN’T HANDLE ANOTHER LOSS! I FRANTICALLY STARTED PRAYING. GOD PLEASE, PLEASE KEEP BABY CHASE SAFE! I DON’T WANT TO LOSE HIM!
I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.
Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.
One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….
DON’T BE SCARED, BECAUSE YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT TO DO, AND IT IS GOING TO DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. SO, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND BE THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER BECAUSETHIS AFFECTS BOTH OF YOU.
Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.
That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……
At 12am on Sunday September 29th, I was startled awake. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had just gotten home from the ER a few hours prior. I was advised by my doctors and nurses to get some rest. I had only been asleep for a few hours when I woke up at midnight. I was confused. My heart was racing. I was sweating and I felt really uncomfortable. It’s just anxiety. Calm down. Relax. Baby is okay. I tried talking myself down from my minor panic attack.
I NUDGED CHARLES AWAKE. HE HELD MY HAND AND WE BOTH FELL BACK ASLEEP.
I woke up again around 2:15am. I woke up sweaty and gross and had to go to the bathroom. I was scared to see I was still spotting and it was getting worse. I was now seeing bright red blood instead of light pink. In wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was getting darker. I prayed, prayed, prayed then fell back asleep.
I woke up at 4am in pain. Cramps radiated from my groin throughout my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I held my belly, then curled up in a ball. It wasn’t taking the pain away. I got out of bed and tried stretching my legs and my back. I was so confused. What was going on? Why was I in so much pain? After a few minutes of stretching the pain died down. I laid back down. Fifteen minutes later it happen again. Sheering pain was radiating through my core. I tried stretching, pacing and slowly breathing, at that moment it dawned on me. Oh my gosh… I know what this is. Cramps that are painful that radiate throughout my back. Uncomfortable positions. Pain every few minutes. This pain wasn’t just cramps, these were labor pains. I was in labor and I was going to lose this baby.
When this realization hit me, I wanted to throw up. Part of it was the pain, and part of it was my mind and emotions trying to catch up with what my body already knew. I had cramps every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes, then every five. I paced through my apartment, tried laying in bed and tried sitting on the toilet. Nothing helped with the pain. Around 5:15am, I found myself laying on my bathroom floor sobbing.
I FELT SCARED AND ALONE. I CONSIDERED WAKING UP CHARLES, BUT I DIDN’T. I DIDN’T WANT HIM TO BE SCARED.
At 5:36am I cried out to God. I pleaded with God to help me. I knew my baby was already gone, and my body had a job to do. I knew this was completely out of my control. I knew the end was coming, but I couldn’t bare to think about it. I asked God that if this was it, if I was truly going to lose my baby, then could He just please make it quick. Ten minutes later at 5:46am, I felt my baby leave my body. I felt blood pour out of me and I felt my heart shatter yet again as I said I’m so sorry to my baby, and left the bathroom.
I went into my room and woke up Charles. I sobbed and told him what happen. He was confused and saddened. He held me and we cried together. That was it, it was done. My second pregnancy and my Rainbow Baby Chase were gone.
The next morning we woke up and tried to wrap our minds around what had happen. I took it easy that day, since my body was truly drained. I reached out to family and friends and let them know what had happen. They sent their love and condolences. I couldn’t believe it. We lost another baby. Why? That afternoon, Alli and Andrea sent us some flowers that read: In Loving Memory of Baby Chase. Reading this made me cry, and after that I didn’t cry for awhile. I didn’t feel like I should.
I wrote this post a year ago, and even though some time has passed since I wrote it, I still feel it is even more relevant today. ❤️
It’s Mother’s Day. This is the day we celebrate all the mothers. We celebrate the women In our lives who have raised us, nurtured us and taught us how to be good people in our society. We celebrate the women who showed us unconditional love from the very beginning. This day is meant to be a celebration, but to many… it is a somber holiday.
Being a mother is a very special role. It is one of, if not the hardest jobs there is. That being said not all mothers are the same. When you think of a mother you likely will think of biological moms, step moms, foster moms, moms who have adopted and grandmothers. But what about the other moms in this world? What about the women who hold a mothering role in a child’s life, such as an aunt, cousin, friend, teacher, or mentor. What about the moms who have lost a child, whether it was a pregnancy loss, neonatal loss or loss of a child at an older age?
ALL OF THESE WOMEN ARE JUST AS MUCH MOTHERS, AND HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY AND IN A CHILD’S LIFE.
And let’s not forget all the women who want to be mothers. These women may struggle with infertility, illness, are choosing not to have children at this time in their life or suffer from recurrent miscarriages. These women are as much mothers to our society and to children in our world, just in a different way.
This mother’s day is also different as the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented some children from seeing and celebrating their mother’s today. It almost seems as if there is a grief in the air just from the pandemic. I feel that in it self has made this holiday especially somber this year.
Even though this is a holiday to celebrate all the mothers, it is sometimes a somber holiday for those who have lost a child, who are unable to have children, or who have lost their mothers. If you are reading this, and you have lost your mother, lost a child or are unable to have children, I just want to say… I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry this holiday brings up emotions of grief, guilt, anger, sadness, anxiety and dread. I’m sorry for the atmosphere of loneliness you feel on this holiday. I want to remind you though that you are not alone. Yes, your experience is yours, but their are so many of us who too have experienced that loss.
THERE ARE SO MANY OF US WHO HAVE FELT THE PAIN THAT CAN BE EXPERIENCED IN THIS LIFE, EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.
So today, not only are we celebrating all the traditional mother’s out there, but we are remembering the mothers who have faced loss and heartache as well. I can tell you first hand, this day is not easy, but when the grief and loneliness become too much, remember to take care of you. Don’t have high expectations on yourself. Give yourself grace and love. Order food in, eat some chocolate, take a bubble bath, binge watch a comedy series, or stay in your PJs. Happy or not this day is about you and the love you’ve shared.
Today I will be taking it easy and remembering my babies I’ve lost because even though it hurts, they made me a mom. When the grief gets to be too much today, I will remember that I am not any less a mom because my babies are in Heaven.
I will end with this. It’s Mother’s Day, happy or not this is the day we celebrate and remember all mothers and to all the women who share that role. Thank you for all that you do and love that you’ve shared. I will be thinking of you today.
For the past couple weeks, I have been reading a devotional focused on Hannah and her journey of infertility and longing to be a mother. I have found that this book, is the kind of book that you read when you need a pick-me-up. This isn’t the kind of book that you read in a couple days, at least for me. It’s a book that you can pick up and put down in order to let the message of the words marinate in your mind and resonate in your soul.
These past few weeks, I have been heavily investing and putting my all into my job as a teacher. It’s in many ways a good distraction of the circumstances I am often dwelling on, but sometimes it still doesn’t satisfy what my heart truly longs for. I spend everyday with children, I teach, care for, and build relationships with children that aren’t mine, but I love and care for as if they were my own.
Everyday is a challenge, as I did not think I would be where I am today. Some days are worse than others. Every holiday, I anticipate another pregnancy announcement and every time I am envious that I am not the one announcing. Every April Fools day, I am infuriated that someone is making a joke out of being pregnant when there are so many women who are struggling to get pregnant. Every family gathering, birthday, holiday or celebration I feel like something is missing. I feel that Charles and I should be bringing along a car load of kids to join in our family memories.
I try to put my all into my writing, my family, and my job but it’s just not enough sometimes. I have this yearning to be a mom that I simply can not fight. Since the young age of two I can remember carrying and loving on baby dolls that my family gifted me. In Young Five’s I can remember playing house with my classmates and I always wanted to be and was the mom. Growing up I always cared for animals such as a stray litter of kittens, baby bunnies born in my backyard and a baby chick all as if they were my baby, Even as a young adult to now, I snuggle and care for babies I know, watch and teach with my whole heart. Being a mom is who I am and who I have always desired to be.
The 2 pregnancies, 2 losses, 1 D & C, a year of trying, grief and trauma… it’s changed me. It’s damaged me. I am recked by anything dealing with death, sick or dying babies, miscarriages, and the harsh reality of grief. I’ve clawed my way back from the dark road of mourning I once faced, but I still sometimes feel broken. My life was altered by loss. The year of 2019 was so significant that when I look back on my life I think of before my first pregnancy and after my second miscarriage. It’s a powerful reminder and something I will never forget. It changed me for the good and the bad.
I share all this, to be real and honest about how I look at my life. I love my life, I do. But I guess don’t feel I am fulfilling the purpose God has for me or feel that my cup is only half full. Maybe that’s not the case. Maybe this is right where I’m supposed to be, but if it were… wouldn’t I feel differently?
When I feel this way, I often think of Hannah. All Hannah wanted was a baby. She was jealous and envious her husband’s other wife was able to have babies, but she was not. Hannah went to the temple and prayed. She was so distraught that the priest thought she was drunk. Hannah was not drunk but so emotional and passionate about her hearts desire. As Hannah prayed she asked God yet again for baby. She promised God that if she was given a child she would dedicate them to Lord. Eventually, Hannah was blessed with a beautiful baby. Of course, I am paraphrasing this story, but if you are interested in reading it, check out the book 1 Samuel.
Through studying Hannah’s story I have learned a few things.
1. Certain things are just out of our control. I can hope, I can pray, and I can fast; but the Lord is going to do what He is going to do.
2. God hears you. It may not seem like it. He may seem milllions of miles away and completely silent but he hears us when we pray and when we come to him with our needs, and our wants. He knows and he wants to help us. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s no and sometimes it’s wait.
3. Sometimes it’s not all about me. This was a hard one to swallow. But it’s not. If I had my way I’d have two living children with a third on the way, living in a two story house on Lake Michigan. But it’s not all about me, and I don’t always get my way. When we pray for things and the answer is no or wait, that is really tough. But there is a reason for it. God isn’t saying no just to say no. I believe He puts our best interest at heart. He knows our hearts desires and he knows what’s best for us in each season of life. And as hard as that is, the best thing to do is to trust him.
4. Put your focus on God. Hannah prayed day in and day out for a baby. And yet until she went to the temple, did she change her prayers and change her focus on God and what he has for her verses what she wanted. I can imagine that it took a great amount of humbleness to put God first.
So, to come full circle. I am changed and sometimes feel broken. I don’t feel like I am currently living up to my potential. But yet I know that God has a plan for me. I know that, God is bigger than anything I may face. I know that i want the Lord’s will to be done rather than my own. And I know that God sees me. God knows me and God loves me. So I am going to be more like Hannah. I am going to humble myself, I am going to put my focus on God and what he wants for my life rather than what I want. I am going to try to understand and accept that there are just certain things out of my control. And I am going to keep loving Jesus, doing my best in my job, in my family, and in my life. I am going to be more like Hannah because I am going to keep going even when it gets hard.
This past year, and actually since starting my blog I have developed various goals for myself that are a mixture of personal and professional goals. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that each year I create goals that I hope to accomplish by New Year’s Eve and a Summer Bucket List of goals I hope to accomplish in the summer. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then head over to my blog post….
One goal I am trying so incredibly hard to accomplish is writing and publishing my memoir. My memoir was an idea that first came to light the day after my second miscarriage, in September of 2019. After suffering my first loss, I felt led to start a blog… this blog in fact :). After my second loss, I realized there was more to my story and my grief that needed to be done. I realized that I have a gift of writing and since suffering two losses, though it was devastating… my circumstances had then given me the chance to expand my story and share with others my story, in order to help women like me. My circumstances, my grief and my passion is what drove me to write my book.
I have officially written the first draft of my book and currently working on the second. It’s small, raw, detailed, sad, but powerful… and I’m very proud of it.
I will be keeping you all updated as I continue to make the final touches to my book and begin the self publishing process!