In honor of Remembrance Day today, I wanted to share my story again. And I am thrilled and blessed beyond measure my second Rainbow Baby is with us, as she was born last week! When I wrote this post last year, I was in a rough place. After losing two babies back-to-back (and three total), I did not know what our future would hold, and if I would ever be able to carry another pregnancy to term. We now have the sweetest little girl, Emerson to hold in our arms, as of last week, and I feel so blessed. God knew she was what we needed, and the timing was perfect. I know this is not always the case for everyone experiencing loss, but I do want to emphasize hope and trust. There is always hope of something bright in the future, it may just not look like you had expected. Trust in God that his timing is perfect, and he knows exactly what you need.
Originally posted October 15, 2018
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.