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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day: My Story

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to write this post. It wasn’t just because of the personal nature, as I am striving to have transparency and share our real lives on this blog. I struggled because every time I sat down to start writing, I broke down.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and today, October 15th, is Remembrance Day. Today is a day for remembering those sweet souls and the time we were able to carry them. I wanted to honor my babies with this post, and to share my story so that anyone who is going through the same thing knows they are not alone.

Here is my story.

We got pregnant the first time about 5 months after we started trying, which even though it felt like a lifetime, really wasn’t that long compared to so many others. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited as when I saw that second pink line. I immediately sprinted out in the living room and showed Josh. So much for those grand plans of how I was going to tell him…I just couldn’t contain my excitement! We decided to nickname our baby “Peanut” and started dreaming and making plans.

I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy or excited as I was that first week. I immediately called the doctor and made an appointment for my pregnancy confirmation the following week.

That next Monday appointment finally came and I was thrilled. They confirmed I was pregnant, gave me advice and scheduled my next appointment (the sonogram-I could hardly wait)! I went home and told Josh all about it and we dreamed of our little family and who that baby would grow up to be. The due date was December 20, and I circled that date on every calendar and could not wait for it to come!

The next morning at work, I noticed some blood. I googled and searched and saw that maybe it was okay…it wasn’t very much. I was worried all day, but surely nothing was wrong, right? But that night when I woke up, I knew I had lost the baby. I cried and it woke up Josh and we cried together until morning came.

Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to make it in to work that next day, but I did. I made an appointment to go in to the doctor and tried to hide my pain to those around me.

That week we went in to the doctor and it was confirmed I had miscarried. I was devastated. How could this have happened? What did I do wrong? The doctors assured me it was nothing I did, but I still blamed myself.

I had a hard time and faded into the distance from friends. It was too hard to be around them and act happy, like I wasn’t going through my own hell on earth. I avoided people and avoided church as I would burst out crying at every song we sang.

We took some time and eventually became pregnant again. The entire pregnancy I was terrified. I had lost that innocence and excitement because of what I had been through. But God blessed me with the most amazing little red-headed boy, Elijah. He must’ve known this little quirky, fun-loving boy was exactly what my heart needed.

I wish that was the end of my story and I could say that was my one baby I lost. But it’s not.

We decided we wanted to try for our second baby when Eli turned 1. After about 3 months of trying, I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test again. I was so excited, I immediately ran and told josh and we almost couldn’t believe it! That night we ordered Eli a “big brother” shirt to tell our families and began planning out how we would do so.

A week later, we had Eli wear his big brother shirt on FaceTime with my family. They were thrilled and so were we! Our “Pickle” was due May 7 and that day couldn’t get here fast enough.

The next day I went in for my pregnancy confirmation. The nurse came in and asked how long ago I found out as she had to squint to see the positive result. That terrified me. How could that be when I had a crazy-strong positive over a week ago with a similar test? That night I miscarried. I discovered this in the Pittsburgh Airport bathroom, where we had just arrived to spend the weekend with Josh’s family.

I was devastated once again. Why was this happening a second time? What had I done wrong to cause this!? How I made it through that weekend, I will never understand as I hid what I was going through to everyone around me and faked a smile through my pain.

We didn’t try that next month after I miscarried, but I guess our timing happened to be perfect.  Somehow that second pink line showed up again. To me it was a miracle. We had gotten pregnant again without hardly trying. I had read you are most fertile following a miscarriage, and wow is that true.

I wasn’t over the moon excited when I saw that line. To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was real or if it was leftover hormone from the previous month. Even if it was new, I couldn’t let myself get excited and my hopes up.

I called the doctor the next day and they ordered some blood tests to check my HCG levels. Those came back positive…I was definitely pregnant once again, and they ordered another round of blood-work to ensure my levels were going up as they should.

I started to let myself get excited at that point. This was our miracle rainbow baby. June 7, “Jelly Bean’s” due date seemed so far away, but I could picture that day and dream about it again. I knew this one would stick.

They called the next day and let me know my second blood test had shown my HCG levels had gone down, and I was likely miscarrying again. For the longest time, I just sat and stared off in to space.  I couldn’t bring myself to face the world right then.  I finally gathered up every ounce of courage and strength I had and hid my devastation and pain, and finished out the remainder of my work day. I was almost in a stupor. I didn’t feel much. I was in so much pain, it didn’t manifest in tears, but only in complete devastation and speechlessness. That night I started bleeding, again. I had lost my 3rd baby.

3 pregnancy losses. I never ever thought that would be me. I never thought this would be part of my story. When you’re little and you dream about your future kids and have names picked out and how many girls or boys you will have, you never for one instant even think about or acknowledge miscarriage. I never imagined my story would be filled with loss and hardship, but it is. And rather than hide or feel shame for my story, I choose to embrace it. It is part of me and who I am.

Through my story, I can 1,000% see God and his boundless grace. Without Him, I never would have had the strength to have yet another sonogram to tell me I’m not pregnant anymore, while I sit in the waiting room next to so many pregnant, happy women. I wouldn’t have had the strength to even get out of bed, let alone be the mom that little red-headed boy needs.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

Those words resonate with me more than they ever have. I have never felt so weak or helpless as I did during each of these losses. He is the reason I am who I am today and I am able to share my story. And if you are going, or have been through a similar situation, know that He is there for you too. You are never alone.

And don’t forget to take time to remember. Remember what it felt like to carry those babies. Remember the excitement and love you had for that angel inside of you. Remember, the first thing those babies saw when they opened their eyes was Jesus Christ, holding them tight and showing them His incredible love. And remember, you are never alone.

5 Comments

  • Leslie Holman

    Dear Neely and other mothers ,
    First I am so sorry for your lost your little boys or girls. I too have miscarried 3 times that are confirmed. However my losses were at a time before infant loss was recognized. The lost pregnancy was ignored, or i was told it was for the best. Well, I wanted each baby any way God had created them. I saw no best or good in this. My husband and I were alone in our grief.
    We had 1 son easily. I got pregnant, got morning sickness (who knew morning sickness was a good sign) and delivered a beautiful baby boy.
    18 months later I got pregnant with”Penelope “. Like you I told everyone, dreamed of Our so. as a big brother and all the fun we would have. My best friends were also pregnant. We were due April 25, May 1 and May 3rd. While I was at a family wedding across the country I “ didn’t feel pregnant anymore” I wasn’t sick anymore, I wasn’t tender. The day after we got home I spotted. The dr said it could be nothing or it could be something. Fortunately he has 3 daughters and was very kind. Well it was something! I missedcarried at home that night. Back then moms still had to go to the hospital. What had I done, was this because I flew? The dr was reassuring that I had taken good care of the baby.
    Five months later I became pregnant again. I was thrilled and relieved but told only family
    and my still pregnant best friends. On the day
    of my 2nd missed period I began to spot. Not
    again! When I came home to see my sweet
    now 2 year old he was playing in his room,
    after a cuddle and some stories I got on the
    phone to tell family and friends I had” lost”
    the baby. I heard Our little guy emptying the
    bookshelf, his toy box and his dresser. Kevin, what are you doing? With his 2 yr old hands on his hips he looked me square in the eye and said” I am trying to Find the baby”. Typing this 36 years later I see his sweet face and hear his Ernest voice and cry all over again.
    We hugged and I had to explain we wouldn’t have a baby this time. I decided to see a fertility specialist for tests. If there was a problem, let’s fix it, if this was just bad luck, I would kiss my hope of another child to God and be open to another attempt to become pregnant. My very best friend’s baby was born on “Penelope’s due date”. She is beautiful. I am her godmother and we have a special bond.
    Well during the testing we had to make love then go straight to the dr ( romantic huh) well the dr said do you want to watch yourself becoming pregnant? Under a microscope we watched what I had only seen in a biology book and yes, I did get pregnant. I was
    cautiously excited. Afraid to fall in love with this baby, all the while being very protective. I
    did not lift or carry anything. Anytime I had a reprieve from throwing up, I thought I was misscarring again. Back then ultrasounds
    we’re not common, but the dr took one to show me that “ the little white m
    and m that was beating was our baby” . “Herman” was born in February. He weighed 10 lbs! I was so afraid
    something would happen to him even to the date of his scheduled c section. The nurse
    was so sweet, she turned up the heart
    monitor so I could hear him. My first words to My first son were “ hi sweetheart, I have been waiting for you “. My first words to Our second were “ you are alive”. The boys are 37 and 34.
    Kevin has children of his own.
    Thank you for allowing me to share a story that sat in my heart for so long. Praise for the babies we hold in our arms and hope for the babies we will meet someday.

    • Neely

      Leslie, thank you so much for sharing your story. I cried while reading it but it does give me hope that some good can come out of this. You got your Kevin. And although nothing can ever replace those sweet babies we lost, good can come from it. You are so strong for all you went through and I hope in many years to come I can continue to tell my story and allow other mothers to feel they can share theirs. I am so sorry you had to go through that alone and hide your grief. Thank you again so much for sharing!

    • Neely

      It was incredibly hard to write, but it also so therapeutic, to allow myself to relive those days and actually grieve. These last two, I have been busying myself so I didn’t have to stop and think about it. I didn’t want to let myself grieve. Writing about it and sharing my story has forced me to think about it, accept it as part of my story, and finally grieve the sweet babies I lost and all the hopes and dreams I had for them and our family. Thank you for reading my story and for your sweet thoughts and comment!

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