The following post was written after my first loss in 2019. In this post I discuss my crisis of faith and the peace I felt when I had finally come to terms with my first loss.
So I’m gonna be honest… I have been dreading writing this post. It’s not because it’s hard, I’m lazy or I just don’t want to talk about being restored in Jesus. I mostly think, my hesitation for writing this post is because I am so humbled and gracious for all God has provided for me. I am also feeling somewhat guilty for how I have treated Him.
Before I really dive into this post, I should give you a little background of my beliefs and faith. I grew up going occasionally to a white nondenominational church. I did this off and on with my aunt until I was about 10 years old. When I was 11 I started attending a weekly bible study with my friend and even attended Lake Ann Camp for a week. It was here that I asked Jesus into my heart and to forgive all my sins. I was born again. When I was 12 I started going with my best friends to a larger white baptist church. I faithfully went to that church for about 6 years. At this church I attended many church camps, found growth and strength in my relationship with Jesus as well as wonderful fellowship with friends. I also was baptized and learned how to be a God fearing, woman of God. When I was 19 I attended my first mission trip. I knew of many people who had been on mission trips and claimed they were life changing, but I didn’t believe it until I experienced it. I traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where I met so many children, created food packages, clothing bundles and even helped build houses for widows and their children. This trip changed my life. At 19 I also started teaching 2 and 3 year olds in children’s church. Even though I felt lost in the church, I was slowly starting to discover my purpose.
When I was 19 almost 20, I decided to start attending my husband’s black nondenominational church (we were only dating at the time). Part of the reason I made the switch to a new church again is simply because, I just felt lost not knowing my identity in church or feeling like I had much of a church family. At this church it was smaller and I felt more at home and accepted. It was here my relationship with Jesus really took off. I was able to grow in skills of faithfulness, trust and even obedience.
“WE GOT MARRIED IN THE SAME CHURCH MY GRANDPARENTS WERE MARRIED IN 50+ YEARS AGO.”
Before meeting my husband, I had developed boundaries, and goals of what and how I would like to be pursued by a man, how I wanted to engage in a courtship instead of a dating relationship, and what I would like as far as values and characteristics of my future husband. When I met Charles, he wasn’t totally familiar with courtship, but he completely valued a Christian based relationship. We courted for two years, and were engaged for three months. We got married in the same church my grandparents got married in 50+ years ago. Our wedding was beautiful with traditional vows, our first kiss at the alter, and the moment I gave my purity ring to my groom. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Fast forward to January 2019, when I became pregnant. Charles and I had been married for two years and two months. Both still faithful Christians, going to church at least every other week, and thanking God for all that we have. I was content and even excited in where I was. I was pregnant, about to be a mom. We shared this news with my church family, and they rejoiced with us. Everything was great, not perfect but pretty close.
My heart and all my hopes and dreams shattered when we lost MacKenzie. Since there was no concrete reason for such a terrible loss, who could we blame? Well… unfortunately, I chose to blame God. The one being who is In charge of the whole universe, I assumed He had control over this situation and He let me down. I would even go so far to say at the time I hated Him. I cringe at even admitting that. But it’s true. My anger and my hatred was so strong at myself and at God.
“MY ANGER AND MY HATRED WAS SO STRONG AT MYSELF AND AT GOD.”
The time between my ultrasound and by surgery, I didn’t really pray much. I think if I did it was just asking things like “Why God?” and “How could you?” I know I worried I would end up miscarrying naturally, before my surgery, but I don’t think I prayed about it. I had hundreds of people praying for me, which was comforting because at the time I just didn’t have the strength. The only time I remember praying was as I was getting rolled to the operating room. I was so sad. I wanted to die. However, I didn’t want to die and hurt other people. I couldn’t bare imagining dying and leaving my friends and family behind to grieve and mourn my loss. So, I prayed. I asked God to get me through. When I woke up from surgery I cried, screaming and told God I hated Him. It was awful. I was still under anaesthesia but I felt like I was watching myself scream from outside my body. I’m ashamed at how I was acting. But honestly, this is what heartbreak looked like.
The weeks following the miscarriage, I continued to fall into depression and blame God. It really hurt my husband to see me like this. I refused to go to church for over a month. I didn’t want anyone to say anything to set me off. I also just didn’t want to come to Jesus and praise His name. So I didn’t. I cried at home, and journaled instead.
By about 5 weeks after the miscarriage, I decided to go back. It wasn’t because I wanted to find comfort in Jesus, it was because I missed my church family. When we went back we were greeted by some kind words as well as some not so helpful words. Most people at the church knew what had happen, but still didn’t know how to react. Once I was there, I was ready to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore, I came to church but that’s it. That was enough for me at the time.
” I DON’T REALLY THINK I HAD ONE ‘COME TO JESUS’ MOMENT, BUT RATHER A BUNCH OF LITTLE MOMENTS…”
So, looking back I don’t really think I had one Come to Jesus moment, but rather a bunch of little moments that helped me. After many conversations with my mom, she helped me see that having a baby in Heaven who is perfect, living joyfully and without pain is sometimes better than having a baby here on earth who is sick and in pain all their life. Seeing various rainbows in the sky, gave me peace. It was like a spiritual humbling peace, that showed me that my baby was okay up in Heaven. Going to church and having my sister-in-law pray over me was also so powerful. She just kept saying something good would come out of this, double for my trouble so to speak. But the most surprising moment that happen, was more about Charles grief than mine. As we were praying at church one day, he just burst out crying. He was crying in anguish and devastation that mirrored my own devastation and heart break. This was a side of him I had never seen before.
Through all of these moments and more, I realized yet again there is an all powerful and loving God. He is the creator of the universe, the planets and the stars… and yet He cares for me! He loves me. I am just a spec on this large planet, but to Him I am everything. I am His daughter. i was wounded, I was angry, and I was broken… and He still loved me. My baby died, but it wasn’t His fault. He allowed it to happen for a reason. The reason being she would have been in pain here on earth, and he knew if I had to watch her in pain everyday, that would have destroyed me more than miscarrying her. He is a gracious and good God.
It has taken me a really long time to get here, but I have. I’ve made peace with God. Even though it hurt, and it still hurts I know it happened for a reason. I know I have a little baby up in Heaven watching over me. I know she is living her best life probably chasing a butterfly. I know she’s okay.
I cry as I write this because I was so awful. I was wrong. Jesus took my baby home, for everyone’s best interest, and for that I am grateful. He is good. I’ve made my peace. I’ve said I’m sorry and I’m trying to do better. I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I am thankful for this lesson of grief and love. I am so thankful I was able to carry my baby, if only for a short time. And I am so thankful that even though I constantly pushed Him away, Jesus never left me, and when I came running back to Him… He welcomed me with love and open arms.
After my miscarriage, I was very angry with God. I appreciated people who prayed for me, but I did not want to hear of God’s promises or biblical scripture. I was having a crisis of faith. Eventually, I was able to find joy and forgiveness in God and what He has planned for me. The following is a list biblical scriptures that I found helpful after my miscarriage. My hope is that if you are reading this… you can also find joy and comfort in these scriptures.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord, will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” – Isaiah 40:31
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalms 56:3
“God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at break of day.” – Psalm 46:5
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6 – 7
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
The following blog post is the story of my son Matthew’s birth. This story recounts my experience of a 4 day induction, failed epidural, and the anxiety and excitement of bringing my rainbow baby into the world. I hope you enjoy the story below, and I promise… this story has a very happy ending. ❤️
On Thursday December 30th at 5am, I woke up feeling excited and nervous. Life before we knew it was about to change forever. Today is the day… I thought as I looked in the bathroom mirror at my 39 week pregnant belly. Today is the day I could meet my baby… I had waited 9 months for this moment. But when you really think about it, I had actually waited more like 3 years for this moment. I first got pregnant in January of 2019. After both of my losses in 2019, I had been praying for my rainbow baby. It had been a long journey. My entire life I have felt called to be a mom, and now my dream was coming true.
We left for the hospital around 7am. We were scheduled for a 39 week induction at our local hospital. We grabbed our bags, packed the car and said goodbye to our fur baby Rocky. As we pulled out of our apartment parking lot, my husband and I prayed. We thanked God for a healthy pregnancy, a pregnancy I thought wouldn’t happen even in my wildest dreams. We thanked God for the day ahead and prayed that his will would be done. Nerves of excitement filled the car as we headed to the hospital to start our next adventure.
When we got to the hospital we met Alli at the front door. Due to current Covid regulations, I was only allowed to have the two same people with me during my labor and delivery. I obviously wanted Charles there. We also asked Alli to be there because 1) she’s always been interested in seeing and being apart of a birth. 2) Alli knows me pretty well and I knew she would be willing to advocate for me if need be. And 3) she has lots of medical knowledge being a paramedic, and that gave me some comfort knowing she was there. Alli brought me breakfast as we entered the hospital. We went through the Covid screening and made our way up to Labor and Delivery,
When we checked in to L & D, they brought us up to the Antepartum section of the Mother and Baby floor. We got settled into a room, where a nurse asked me an hour worth of questions and hooked me and baby up to the monitors. After baby was monitored for an hour, and everything was looking fine, a nurse came in to talk to us and get things started.
The midwife came in and checked my cervix. I was dilated a centimeter on the outside but the inside of my cervix was still closed. I was also about 50% effaced. She suggested that it be best that I start the induction using the Cytotec drug. This was a pill inserted near my cervix that would dissolve and help it to ripen and dilate. The only issue with this pill was if I started having contractions too fast, then it wouldn’t be ideal to continue the drug. At 10:45am we started the first dose of Cytotec. In four hours I would get checked to see if it had done what it was supposed to and made changes to my cervix.
Four hours later, a midwife came in to check my cervix. I was disappointed to hear that my cervix hadn’t dilated anymore, and the effacement stayed about the same. Since the Cytotec didn’t progress my labor, they considered giving me another dose. However, after monitoring baby and my contractions for the past 4 hours they decided against another dose. The monitors showed that I was having too many contractions coming too close together. These contractions could be dangerous. Since the contractions weren’t strong enough to progress labor they could easily put me or baby into distress. My nurses advised that we shouldn’t do another dose of the Cytotec and try something different before starting Pitocin to advance the dilation process.
After talking to the midwife, we decided to try something called Cervadil. It was a little piece of plasstic with a string that is inserted and left near the cervix for 12 hours. It did the same thing as the Cytotec pill except if this drug caused too many contractions we could pull it out, whereas with the pill we couldn’t. Knowing that this intervention could take 12 hours to work, I realized I would not be having my baby that day. I was discouraged but tried to tell myself it was for the best and that he may come on Friday.
After receiving the first dose of the Cervadil, we were moved to the Labor and Delivery floor where they finally had an opening. I ordered room service while Alli and Charles got Chinese. After eating dinner Alli and I turned on some 2000’s music, and had a dance party and did exercises on the birth balls in hopes of getting things going. In the midst of our dance party, one of the midwives walked in on us. She was impressed with our eagerness to get the baby out. As the afternoon turned into evening, we decided to call it a day and get some rest.
At 3:30am, I met the new midwife on duty. It had been 12 hours since the first dose of Cervadil. I was feeling contractions every 2 to 3 minutes but they were manageable at a 4 on the pain scale. The midwife asked if I wanted to be checked to see if I was progressing. I agreed and she checked me. This cervical check was particularly uncomfortable as the midwife removed the medicine before performing the check. The medicine also made everything feel quite raw, which was not ideal. I was measuring at 2.5 centimeters and 50% effaced. I was thankful we were making some progress but sad it was moving so incredibly slow. We discussed the next course of treatment, and decided to do another dose of the Cervadil for another 12 hours because that is what seemed to be working. I wasn’t excited about this treatment as it was very uncomfortable, but if it meant that I would progress then I was all for it.
I woke up again Friday around 6am. I was hungry, uncomfortable and eager for things to get moving. I talked to family and friends over the phone and through messages, updating them on the progress of my labor. At around 7am I ordered breakfast, and Charles headed out to go feed our kitty Rocky. Alli left around 4am to get some sleep, and returned later in the morning. I tried my best not to feel angry, sad or discouraged. I was hopeful that this was the day. New Year’s Eve was the day I would have my baby. I spent the day, rocking on the birth balls, pacing the room, sitting in the bath, and anything else I could think of to get labor moving. Due to covid numbers being so high in the hospital I was in, I was not allowed to leave the room. I wasn’t allowed to walk the halls to progress labor. Being stuck in the same hospital room for hours was starting to make me go stir crazy, but I tried not to let that get me down.
In early afternoon, I started feeling a lot of pain in my groin. I was hopeful that it meant my cervix was dilating, but at every check, I was told the same thing. “You’re 2-2.5 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced.” It was so discouraging. After every check I cried partly from being raw and partly from feeling so discouraged. I asked for Tylenol to help with pain and my nurses said Tylenol wouldn’t do much to help, so they recommended morphine. I was given one dose of morphine in my leg. Within minutes I felt like I was on a pile of clouds floating through the sky, then I was out.
Around 3pm on Friday afternoon I met a new midwife. Her name was Jen. At first I felt like she was too nice to be a midwife. But after talking with her, I realized she was a genuinely nice person. I also liked that she was a go getter and willing to help me progress my labor by providing a variety of options. After getting checked and only progressing to 2.5 centimeters, Jen suggested we try a balloon catheter in my cervix to mechanically dilate my cervix to at least 4 centimeters. This intervention sounded very uncomfortable, but I was willing to try it because I trusted Jen and wanted to try anything to be one step closer to meeting my baby.
At 3:30pm I was given morphine to help prepare for the insertion of the balloon catheter. Within minutes I felt overly drowsy again. Jen came in shortly after to insert the catheter. She suggested I go to the bathroom before the procedure. While walking to the bathroom I was stumbling and falling asleep on the toilet. Considering how the morphine effected me, Jen did not feel comfortable giving me the catheter at that time since I was minimally conscious. She told me to sleep it off and we would try again later.
At 6pm, Jen came back to insert the catheter. Thankfully I was able to sleep the morphine off and was feeling a lot more coherent. Jen used lidocaine to help with the insertion process and it made things more comfortable. I braced myself for a lot of pain, when it actually wasn’t nearly as bad as getting the Cervadil. Once the catheter was in I decided to take a bath and relax. My contractions started to gradually speed up, and the bath water made things feel a lot better.
The balloon catheter stayed in throughout the night and I continued to have contractions that were mild in pain. I felt a mix of discouragement and hope as I prayed this would get things to progress sooner rather than later. I fell asleep around 11pm. I told myself if I wake up before midnight, I will turn on the tv and watch the ball drop. At 12:01am I was startled awake by fireworks bursting in the sky throughout the city. Alli and Charles woke up as well and we rang in 2022 in the hospital. I was slightly disappointed I didn’t have my baby in 2021. But I tried to stay positive and think about how wonderful it would be to start the year 2022 with my beautiful baby boy.
Saturday morning around 6am my nurse and midwife came in to remove the catheter. I told them I was sure there was probably no progress as I didn’t feel an increase in pain. I went to the bathroom and while in there I noticed blood in my underwear. At first it kind of startled me as I hadn’t seen blood down there in 9 months, besides some very minor spotting throughout my pregnancy. But then I got excited as I knew this was progress and things were starting to happen.
The midwife removed the catheter and checked my cervix. I was 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. My bag of waters were starting to bulge and things were actually looking up. My midwife, nurses and I decided to make up a plan. Since I was finally at 3 centimeters we were able to start pitocin which would hopefully kick start some stronger contractions. By 9:15am they started the pitocin, and I went back to the bathroom to labor in the tub. The excitement of having my baby soon was starting to sink in again. Today could be the day! I could have a January 1st baby!
At first the Pitocin seemed to be working. My contractions increased in frequency and became slightly more intense. As the day progressed and my nurses increased my dosage of Pitocin, my contractions slowed down. This was disheartening. I was so sure that once I started Pitocin it would put me into active labor, but it didn’t. That afternoon, I remember just laying in my hospital bed sobbing. Why is this taking so long? Is it my mindset? Is it my body? Does my body not know what to do? Is baby not ready to come out? I was overwhelmed with emotions and hormones. I was tired of being patient and all I wanted to do was hold my baby. Charles held me as I let all my emotions go. He told me I was strong and I could get through it. Alli encouraged me and said I was doing amazing. My parents comforted me over the phone, and told me they were proud of me. My nurses told me they knew it was hard but I was strong and they were proud of me too.
By mid afternoon, my midwife, nurses and I all came up with a new plan… again. We decided to stop the Pitocin since it didn’t seem to be doing anything and we didn’t want to put baby into distress. My nurses encouraged me to eat something since I hadn’t eaten since starting the Pitocin at 9:15am. After eating dinner around 6pm, my midwife Lanie recommended that we try the Cytotec drug again. She said since I had progressed since first trying the drug, it may be just what my body needed in order to kick start labor. Around 7pm, I was given my second dose of the Cytotec drug. Still feeling discouraged, I ate some fudge that Charlie bought me and watched Friends on Alli’s tablet. It was the episode where Rachel has her baby… which I deemed very appropriate. Throughout the night, my nurse Nichole gave me encouragement. I had the same night nurse every night I was there, so she had seen me through a lot already. Nichole brought me popsicles, 7 Up, a fan so I could get a good night sleep, and even drew me a picture to color as a focus point for when I eventually started pushing,
At 11pm, I had another cervical check. I remained the same at 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. My midwife said she could tell my cervix was starting to change and she was pretty confident my baby would have a January 2nd birthday. I was tired of getting my hopes up and didn’t believe her. I had a third dose of the Cytotec drug and was encouraged to get some sleep. At this point, I was starting to wonder if I was going to end up having a c-section. I didn’t know how much more my baby or I could take. I dozed off for about an hour then was wide awake. I stared at the ceiling and listened to my baby’s steady heartbeat on the monitor. It was 1am, and I was feeling restless. I got up and walked around my hospital room rubbing my belly. The more I moved the more often I would have contractions but they just wouldn’t increase in intensity. I called my mom and talked to her for about 45 minutes. She told me how strong and proud she was of me. I confided in her how defeated and tired I was. I so wanted to believe I was almost there but I really didn’t know that for sure. At a quarter to 2, my mom encouraged me to try and get a little more rest.
I laid back down in bed and played the Greatest Showman on my phone. I still had yet to see the movie, but heard it was good. About 15 minutes into the movie, I started feeling pain, The pain started to increase rather quickly and I realized this was a good sign. I was starting to have frequent strong contractions again. Contractions continued for the next hour at a 6 on the pain scale, about 1-3 minutes apart. I started moaning and gripping the side of my bed which woke up Alli and Charles. I felt kind of bad as they had been troopers through the whole thing and I really didn’t want to disturb them unless this was the real deal.
At 2:55am, my midwife came in to check my cervix. She wanted to see if I had progressed anymore and if I needed another dose of the Cytotec. She said she noticed my contractions getting stronger and more frequent on the monitors. As she checked me she said “Umm, I’m not sure. Well I would say you are about 3 or 4 centimeters dilated and yeah, I definitely notice some change in your cervix… oh shoot.” I instantly felt a pop, a gush and some relief. “I just broke her water, I was not trying to do that.” She said to my nurse Nichole. I was actually excited my water broke. I knew that meant somehow, some way my baby would be born in the next 24 hours. It was January 2nd and I told myself yet again Today could be the day! Today could be the day I meet my baby.
I spent the next two hours trying to be brave. Contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes and getting more and more intense. At times they were regular but at other times I would have 3 small contractions back to back and one big contraction. I gripped the bed and took deep breaths. The pain was intense and it was hard for me to think. Charles and Alli took turns squeezing my hips and rubbing my back. By 5am I couldn’t handle it anymore and hit my call button, I requested to see my nurse and see if I could get something for pain, and when I could get the epidural.
At 5:15am, my nurse Nichole came in and told me that she spoke with my midwife and that it was a good time to administer the epidural if I was up for it. I asked if it was too early since I was only 3 or 4 centimeters dilated. They said it wasn’t and by getting the epidural I could get some rest. I agreed, and they called the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural.
In between contractions I listened to my nurses instructions and made my way to the edge of the bed in order to prepare for the epidural. The nurses asked Alli to step out as I was only allowed one support person in the room while the catheter was being inserted. Alli stepped out to the waiting room, while Charles was instructed to sit in front of me. He faced me and I put my feet on his thighs as the bed was raised as high up as it could go. The anesthesiologist numbed my back, inserted the catheter and waited for the epidural to take effect. He worked quickly in between contractions as I squeezed my husband’s hands and my nurse held me still, I felt some fear during the procedure as I had read of horror stories and epidurals going wrong. I prayed that the epidural would work and the pain would not necessarily go away but at least be manageable soon.
After about 8 contractions, I started to feel the effects of the epidural. I laid back in bed and tried to relax. My right lower half of my body started to get very numb, my left side only got slightly tingly. After a few more contractions the anesthesiologist was overly confident that everything was working the way it should and left. I laid in bed for the next two hours waiting for the full effect of the epidural to kick in… it didn’t. I was in tears as half my body was numb and pain free while the other half was feeling every single intense contraction. I felt lopsided, uncomfortable and frustrated. It was almost worse than not having the epidural at all. My nurses tried rolling me on my side to see if the medicine would drain more on my left and it didn’t.
At 7:30am, my midwife Jen came into the room. Through the pain and my tears I was actually really excited to see her. She had made a joke the last time I had saw her that hopefully by her next shift she would see me on the Mother and Baby floor with my baby, but if the baby wanted to wait for her that would be okay too. I said hi to Jen and told her that the baby waited for her. She laughed and said she was happy to see things moving along, As Jen got caught up on my chart, I continued breathing and crying through contractions. Jen suggested I get checked to see where I was at. She checked me and I was only 4 centimeters and 80% effaced. Seriously!? I even screamed seriously as I was in disbelief I hadn’t progressed at all. I was tired. I was defeated and I was feeling done, and yet I still had several hours of labor to go, 6 more centimeters to dilate, plus pushing. How was I going to do this? I was on day 4 of labor, and being in the hospital. The wait and intensity of labor was really starting to wear on me. Charles, Alli, my nurses and my midwife could all tell I was getting exhausted and if I was going to push through and make it to the end, I needed help.
My midwife Jen told my nurses to call in another anesthesiologist. She said it was possible that the epidural was just placed wrong or that I had what they called a hot spot where the medicine didn’t block the pain in a certain part in my body and therefore there wouldn’t be anything they could do.
Moments later a different anesthesiologist arrived. Again I was prepped and positioned for a second epidural. This time the anesthesiologist said I have a slight curve in my back that the first anesthesiologist missed. Due to the slight curve all the medicine from the epidural only went to the right side of my body. He removed the old catheter and placed the new one higher in my back. Within minutes I started feeling relief in my left side along with my already very numb right side. As the anesthesiologist left, I told him he was my favorite person. He chuckled and went on his way. Thank you Jesus. Finally some relief.
I spent the next hour or so resting in bed. I didn’t fall asleep, but rested my mind, and talked to my family on the phone. When it was quiet I listened to my baby’s steady heartbeat on the fetal monitor while also watching my contractions start to intensify on the screen above me. My nurses started my Pitocin again. This would hopefully help to make my contractions strong but also productive in helping me dilate and progress in labor. I was fine with anything at this point since my epidural was finally working the way it was supposed to.
By 10:30am, my nurses and Alli helped get me into different positions to try and open my pelvis in order to progress labor. Since I was completely numb from the waist down (besides being able to wiggle my toes), my nurses had to physically lift me and move me. I first tried laying on my side with a peanut shaped ball in between my legs. I laid on each side for about a half hour, to 45 minutes. Then I continued laying on my side while my nurse and Alli took turns squeezing and massaging my hips, and glutes. During one session of these, my belly was pressed against Alli’s. Without any warning, baby decided to start kicking which took Alli by surprise. She found it funny and weird to feel my baby kick her belly.
Around 11:30am, I tried yet another position where I was on my hands and knees on the bed. My bed was at a 45° angle and I had a beanbag chair placed under my belly for cushion. I then laid over the bean bag chair and laid my head and forearms on a pillow. In this position I talked to Charles and Alli, texted friends, called my parents and tried to relax. It was strange being in this position and not being able to feel my legs. I had a few issues with my fetal monitors picking up baby’s heartbeat. It seemed like baby would move for a moment and it couldn’t be detected but the minute the nurse came in baby decided to move back and the monitor would pick it up again. This happened a few times and it was quite comical. I told my nurse that baby just really wanted to mess with her.
Around noon as I watched my contractions on the screen get more and more intense, I started to get uncomfortable. I wasn’t feeling any contractions but I was starting to feel pressure in my left hip and glutes. At first I thought it was my hip falling asleep or getting more tingly from the epidural. As I continued to lay there the pressure got stronger and gravitated towards my pelvis. By 1pm, I started feeling the sensation every woman talks about when it’s time to push, I felt like I had to poop. The feeling was felt mostly in intervals as if it was during contractions. As my nurses came in to check on me I told them what I was feeling. They told me they would continue to check on me every 20 minutes or so, but to let them know if the pressure became stronger and didn’t go away.
By 1:45pm the pressure and urge to push was not going away. I was thankful. I knew it was almost time to start pushing. I was uncomfortable but excited I would be meeting my baby very soon. I pleaded with my nurses that I wanted to push. They called Jen and told her what I was feeling. My nurses quickly got me out of the hands and knees position and on to my back. Jen gave me one last cervical check and said the words I had been waiting days to hear “You are… complete. So, you can either start pushing now, or wait for baby to descend a little more.” With tears and no hesitation I said “Let’s get this ball rolling, I want to push.” Jen agreed, and got into position. Jen directed Charles to grab my left leg and Alli to grab my right leg. My nurses used a catheter to empty my bladder and suggested inserting an internal monitor so we could see how strong my contractions truly were. I agreed to this and prepared myself to push. Jen instructed me to try and push as I felt the pressure to be more intense which would be during each contraction. She also told me to push like I am having the biggest poop of my life.
At 2pm, I grabbed behind both my knees and started pushing. Every 30 seconds I felt like I was doing ab crunches and having a bowel movement at the same time. Jen was calm and encouraging. She reminded me to breathe and push with my body and not my face. Alli and Charles encouraged me. They told me I was strong and to keep going. At first it felt like I was making no progress. But in the moments where Jen would say “I’m starting to see the head” or Alli saying “Oh my gosh, look at all that hair.” Or even Charles saying “He’s coming babe.” I was able to get a second wind and push harder.
As my baby’s head started to crown, Jen asked if I wanted to feel it. I hesitated at first then decided I did. I reached down and felt so much hair! Jen removed the internal monitor and told me to continue pushing at my own pace. In the moment, I was some what in disbelief that he was coming but also impatient that he wasn’t out yet. As I continued pushing, Jen explained to me that everything was going well and baby was slowly but steadily coming like he was supposed to. A few times in between pushes I panicked because I couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat. I was so afraid he was going into distress. I guess Alli read my face because she grabbed the fetal heart beat monitor and pressed it harder on my belly so we could all hear it.
It was 2:30pm and I continued pushing. My adrenaline was running and deep down I was willing to tear my own body apart in order to meet my baby. I felt like it was taking forever. I watched as my midwife put on a gown and set up trays with my nurses at the foot of the bed. She requested some Astroglide to assist with the delivery of the head. Alli and Charles continued encouraging me, telling me baby was beautiful and he was almost there. I remember telling them “that’s great cause he has a big head and I want him out.” After that I had an overwhelming wash of emotion come over me. I started to feel the ring of fire. I was so tired. I had been in labor for days. I was nearing the end but was afraid I was too exhausted to continue. I looked at Charles with tears in my eyes, then looked over at Alli and said “I’m so tired.” Alli said “I know but you’re almost there.”
Charles stroked my head, and Jen told me to give the biggest push I could. I felt a nurse pull down the front part of my hospital gown. With all my might I pushed, and I felt my baby’s body leave mine and I heard the most beautiful cry. A cry I waited my entire life to here. My baby boy was born. At 2:34pm my son entered the world. He was placed on my chest wiggling and crying. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen
During the afterbirth and as I got stitched up for my second degree tear, I held my baby in my arms. I told my son I loved him and that I had been waiting for him. I told him that I had prayed for him and that God answered my prayers. I kissed him and said “Welcome to the world baby. I’m your mom and I’m going to take care of you.”
May I present: Matthew Charles Rhames. He was born on 1/2/22 at 2:34pm weighing 7lbs 11oz and was 20 inches long. I was 39 weeks and 3 days along. A total of 76 hours of labor, 11 1/2 hours of active labor and 30 minutes of pushing. He had ten fingers, ten toes and a full head of hair. Cheeks and lips like his mommy and a nose and chin like his daddy. Oh, and big brown eyes from the both of us. ❤️
Already 33 weeks pregnant, with 7 weeks to go! The third trimester is flying! Baby Boy is the size of a stalk of celery and roughly 4 lbs.
This week mama is trying, but mama is tired. Testing positive for Covid and being quarantined for almost two weeks was not in the plans, but thankfully Baby Boy and I are surviving and getting through.
Baby and I had a non stress test done and a check in with our midwife this morning and so far all is going well. Since I have GD and tested positive with Covid so close to delivery, I am now considered to have a high risk pregnancy. From here on out, baby and I will be monitored closely through non stress tests and at least one more ultrasound.
Covid is scary, and Covid is exhausting. I’m truly thankful for my husband who has been taking such good care of us as well as my doctors to make sure we will be on the mend very soon.
On the plus side, since I have been home so much these past 10+ days we have been able to…
Get hospital bags packed and ready to go.
Finalize our birth plan
Wash all of baby’s clothes
Watch endless hours of movies on Disney+ 🥰
Thank you everyone who has been praying and checking in on us. Please continue to pray for us as we get through this Covid junk as well as the rest of my pregnancy. ❤️
Officially 8 months pregnant! 32 weeks and Baby Boy is the size of a squash! We only have 8 weeks to go!
This week has been crazy and I’m a little late posting a bump update, but trust me… I’ve had a good reason. About a week ago I was exposed to someone with Covid. I got a test on Wednesday and tested negative. I started to develop Covid/flu like symptoms Wednesday night. I got retested yesterday (Sunday) and tested positive for Covid.
This week has been exhausting, challenging and scary to say the least. I am fully vaccinated, and have known full well that I could still get Covid while vaccinated but I can honestly say I did not expect to get Covid 8 months pregnant. I have developed pretty much all the symptoms of Covid these last 6 days including cough, fever, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, headaches, loss of smell and partial loss of taste.
A lot is up in the air at the moment as I am still waiting to hear from my OB about any testing or extra monitoring for baby and I that may need to be done. All in all, I’m doing okay. It honestly depends on the moment.
Baby is still moving and grooving which gives me great peace of mind. I am also doing my best to rest and take it easy at home while I can before I return to work and leave for maternity leave in a few weeks.
I would appreciate any prayers and good thoughts for my hubby, baby and I. It’s a scary time and there is so much unknown still about Covid. Regardless of our fears we are still doing our best to trust and have faith that we will get through this and all be okay and healthy very soon. ❤️
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!
On Monday, June 14th I made an appointment with my midwife to check for a UTI. I was scheduled to see a midwife a week later, but was notified that my appointment was cancelled due to a conflict with the provider.
When I got to the appointment, I explained to the nurse that I was 10 weeks pregnant, and needed to be checked for a UTI. She listened and understood. She also expressed how she found it odd that I hadn’t seen a midwife yet for the initial first pregnancy appointment. I explained I had an appointment scheduled but it got cancelled. She said she was going to try and figure something out and see if since I was already there, if they could just do everything at once.
When the midwife came in, she introduced herself and explained that we were going to get everything done that day. She asked how I was feeling and we went over symptoms. She explained different testing that I can get during pregnancy in order to test for various genetic disorders. She also did a Pap smear, checked for a UTI and STIs.
However, before doing all the hard “down there stuff” she said she was going to use a Doppler to check for baby’s heartbeat. I expressed to the midwife that I was very nervous about hearing the heartbeat. After having two losses, ultrasounds and dopplers give me anxiety. She told me to try and stay calm. She said I had only about a 50/50 chance of hearing the heartbeat that day since I was only 10 weeks and a couple days. She encouraged me to at least try it, and if we didn’t hear a heartbeat we could always do a ultrasound.
As I laid back on the table, I prayed to God that his will be done and that he would help in whatever would happen. She put the Doppler on my belly and searched for the heartbeat. I was fully expecting her not to find it, and after a few seconds I heard the quick swishing sound of baby’s heartbeat. The midwife said “there it is. That’s your baby” I started crying, and looked at Charles. We got to hear baby’s heartbeat. Baby was okay. Baby was growing. This was the furtherest along I had ever actually gotten in a pregnancy. I was on a high and beyond thankful. The heart rate was 166 and absolutely perfect.
On Wednesday of that same week, I had an appointment with centering. Centering was a support group offered through my hospital designed to help empower women and build relationships with other moms. I showed up to my OB office to check in with the support group 10 minutes early. I was directed to wait with the coordinator just outside the office. We waited and waited and waited. It was quite awkward to be honest. After waiting an extra 10 minutes, so 20 minutes total, we decided to head over to the classroom building.
At the classroom building I met the midwife and the community health worker. They expressed their gratitude that I came and apologized that I was the only one that showed up. They said centering was a great program, and they would do their best to try and get me in a group, with more people. The midwife said, since I came all that way, I might as well check my vitals and be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat.
I had my blood pressure taken and it was somewhat high for me 129/91. The midwife wasn’t too concerned as I did walk across the hospital campus and was kinda bombarded with information. She said after hearing the baby’s heartbeat we would check my blood pressure again. I also stood on the scale and lost a pound. She said that was completely normal especially since I had been experiencing morning sickness.
After taking my vitals, I was then moved to a bed, where they would pull out a Doppler and check for baby’s heartbeat. I expressed to this midwife that Dopplers and ultrasounds make me very nervous after experiencing 2 losses. She said she completely understood. She did warn me that on the Doppler she was about to use, it was very rare to find the heartbeat before 12 weeks. She said she didn’t want me to panic if we couldn’t find it. If that did happen then she would just take me back to the office to have an ultrasound.
As she pulled out the Doppler and placed it on my belly I took a deep breath. I convinced myself she should be able to find it since, they were able to find the heartbeat using a Doppler before. I prayed. The midwife searched and searched and searched but she could not find a heartbeat. She was able to detect my heartbeat over one of my arteries but she couldn’t find baby’s. I began to panic. No, this can’t be happening again. Baby was fine just two days ago. After a moment the midwife said, “Well, it’s your lucky day. We’re going to take you to get an ultrasound so that you can see your baby again.” She must have saw the panic and fear in my face because she then said “Don’t let that worry you. Like I said, this is a crappy Doppler and very hard to detect a heartbeat before 12 weeks.” I took some more deep breaths and said okay.
The midwife and I walked back to the OB office. I got settled into a room while she searched for a bedside ultrasound machine. I laid on the bed and prepared for the worst. She put the jelly and probe on my belly and looked for baby. Only a few seconds went by and she said “See! There’s your baby. You see the little flicker? That’s baby’s heartbeat. It’s beating strong. Oh look! Baby is dancing!” After hearing this I was finally able to look at the screen. Baby was okay. Baby was on the move. Baby was precious and such a gift. I took pictures of the monitor so I could show Charles later. She said everything looked great and my mind was put at ease. I thanked her for taking such good care of me and baby. She gave me a hug and told me congratulations. Before leaving she took my blood pressure one more time and it was completely normal.
What a week! At 10 weeks, baby reached two major milestones. 1) Baby’s heartbeat could now be detected on a Doppler… depending on the Doppler they use. and 2) Baby is now moving in the womb. I had never seen my baby move on ultrasound before, and it was quite a site to see. Thank you Jesus for this gift! 💕
On Friday, May 21st I woke up at 4:50am. I tossed and turned all night as I anticipated my 7 week ultrasound later that day. I spent the morning watching tv, eating and resting. I tried my best to rest and stay calm before my appointment.
When 12:45pm rolled around it was time for us to head to our 2 o’clock appointment. I tried my best to be excited, calm and cautious.
We checked into the hospital at 1:45pm. The ultrasound appointment was scheduled at a different location because the location we usually go to was booked until mid June. My OB requested that I get an ultrasound between 7-8 weeks.
As we sat in the waiting room, I looked at my phone in an attempt to distract myself from my anxieties. When we were called back I held my breath.
When we got to the room, the person doing our ultrasound said she was a student, studying to be a radiology tech. She explained that she would do our ultrasound, then the tech would look it over, then send it to the radiologist to look over.
As I got on the table and laid back, I kept forgetting to breathe. I tried taking deep breaths and just praying in my head. I trust you Lord. It’s going to be okay. Please just have your way.
The student tech asked a few questions and went to work. She took a look at my ovaries, which felt like forever. She then took a look at baby. I saw a little blob on the screen and was hopeful. Okay, there’s baby. Baby is in the uterus. That’s a good sign. The student tech took a variety of images of baby.
Next, she brought up the heart rate scale. It was flat at first and I got scared. What if there’s not a heart beat? I then saw a wave on the scale as it picked up the heart beat. Then it went flat again. I held my breath. Was that my heart beat or baby’s? The tech started typing and then said. “Heart rate is at 147, and that is excellent.” A sigh of relief washed over my face. She looked at me and said “I knew you were waiting on that.”
After the student tech was finished she left to get the tech. The tech confirmed everything that the student tech found, and reassured me that everything looked great. I asked the tech if there was only one baby, and they both claimed that they could only find one. I was fine with that. The tech also told me that it looked like it was my right ovary that had ovulated so there’s a good chance that it’s a boy if my ovaries are quote on quote normal.
The tech gave me two pictures and sent us on our way. I was feeling beyond relieved and blessed by all that was done at our appointment. I couldn’t stop thanking Jesus. We got to see baby. Baby has a heartbeat. We saw the little flicker of the heart. Baby was measuring right on track at 7 weeks and 1 day. Heart rate was 147, and a normal heart rate is anywhere between 120-180. My due date didn’t change as it was still 1/6/22. All was good. All was okay. I was feeling so blessed!
Officially 7 weeks pregnant! Baby is the size of a Blueberry 🫐
This weeks symptoms include major fatigue, morning sickness and not just nausea but also puking while brushing my teeth. 🤦🏻♀️ I’ve also experienced some leg cramps but I called my doctor and it turns out I wasn’t drinking enough water. Things are better now though. I’m also experiencing vivid dreams, excess saliva, strong pregnancy nose, vaginal discharge and breast tenderness.
Last week I had my first prenatal appointment over the phone and all went well. I also had my first round of blood work and everything looks great. No gestational diabetes. Iron, and thyroid levels are excellent. No UTI or other infections. And no STIs of any kind. I couldn’t be more relieved with my numbers.
Tomorrow, is our first ultrasound scan. It was moved up by a week to give myself a little piece of mind. I’m excited and very nervous for this scan. I’m doing my best to trust in Jesus, and relax.
One other thing I would like to mention before my first scan is this. I think I’m having twins. I think this for a few different reasons.
1. My HCG was very high. Just at 4 weeks it was around a thousand and having a high HCG is sometimes a sign of twins.
2. Major Fatigue. I remember feeling tired in my other pregnancies, but the fatigue I am experiencing now is on a whole different level. No matter how much I sleep, I have the worst time getting up. I take at least one nap on weekdays when I get home from work and I take two or three on the weekend. Having this bad of fatigue makes me think there is more than one baby in there.
3. Intuition/Gut feeling. I just have a feeling it’s twins. I can’t explain it. Since I first got pregnant, Charles has also been thinking it’s twins. When I envision the baby, I see myself holding a girl, but I see my parents helping us care for a boy. I don’t have one strong gender feeling over the other. I feel like I’m having both.
4. The pelvic pressure is different. This time around I am feeling pressure from both sides of my uterus. It’s like my ovaries and the sides of my uterus take turns growing. Maybe that’s normal in a singleton pregnancy, I’m not sure. All I know is there’s a lot going on in there.
5. A Special Phrase. After my second pregnancy loss, a woman at my church gave me a hug and said something to me that has stayed with me since my loss. She said “All I know is you’re going to have double for your trouble. Yep double for your trouble. Who knows, maybe you’ll have twins.” She then laughed and walked away. This could just be me over analyzing little details or this could be something. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.
6. God has a Sense of Humor. I grew up with best friends who are twins. I’ve also lost two babies. We plan and God laughs. Maybe it’s twins. Maybe he has chosen us to carry twins because he knows I have somewhat of an idea on how twins grow up.
All I know is, tomorrow we will have some answers. So stay tuned friends. 🙂