Miscarriage. I hate that word and everything it means. In some ways it makes it sound like the mother was at fault or did not “carry” her baby properly, so the pregnancy failed. As a mother who has now suffered 3 miscarriages it is impossible to not question what I did wrong, or blame yourself. Is it that cup of coffee I drank, it it because I slept on my stomach? The guilt you harvest is real. But, the truth is, all 3 of those babies were wanted so badly and I would have done anything possible to keep them. Deep down, I know its nothing I did. I did everything I could. The loss of a baby, no matter how far along you were, is heartbreaking. It is life changing. Let yourself grieve, it is a real loss and the stages of grief will be real. After each loss I felt broken, and as I am going through my most recent one I still am. Until my first loss I had never felt a pain like this before. I was in a fog and angry for months. Angry that life continued to go on around me and I felt as if mine was at a standstill. As time has gone on, I understand that life for others will go on and I am trying my best to not let myself get stuck at a standstill, but its a constant struggle.
8 years ago we saw our first set of 2 pink lines. It was unexpected. Not unwanted, just not expected. It took us about 24 hours to really wrap our heads around how much our lives were about to change. I always knew I wanted kids, 4 to be exact, but was I really ready at that moment to be a mom. I guess I had 8 months or so to prepare. 8 months later the sweetest baby changed me. He was perfect in every way and it just confirmed my want and desire to have multiple children. We were ready for another right away. I remember our little man was only 3 months old and I told my husband I wanted to try for another. I realize now just how crazy I was for thinking I wanted another after only a few months. I was clearly still sleep deprived and delusional. After several more sleepless nights we decided maybe we should wait a few more months before trying to expand our family.
The day our first turned 11 months we learned I was pregnant with #2. We were trying and it happened quickly. I felt so lucky. But, I also had a very close friend that had been struggling with infertility and I remember feeling so guilty. Why am I so lucky to get pregnant so easily with 2 sweet babies and she is still struggling to get pregnant. Life just isn’t fair sometimes. My second pregnancy was a “textbook pregnancy,” just like our first. No problems, no scares, and at 39 weeks pregnant we welcomed a healthy baby girl.
Fast forward to when she turned One, I had just finished breastfeeding and my husband and I were on a weekend getaway to New Orleans just the two of us. I remember exploring the town of New Orleans and both saying we were ready to try for a third. Given our past, we joked that we would be pregnant next month. Little did I know it would be 3.5 years before we welcomed our third.
As you might remember from my previous blog post about our journey to our third, we tried for a very long time before I saw those 2 pink lines again. I was so confused, what changed? Why was my body struggling to get pregnant after 2 very easy pregnancies? It was a rough journey and I felt very alone in the situation. I knew I should be thankful for the two children I did have, and I was, but it didn’t take away from the desire to have another baby.
Finally, almost 2 years into our TTC (Trying to conceive) journey I saw those 2 pink lines. I was in disbelief. I remember we had just moved back to Colorado from Louisiana. My husband was at work when I took the test and as soon as he walked in the house I told him I needed to show him something in my office. I showed him the positive pregnancy test. We cried, we hugged, we celebrated. Our dreams were finally coming true. We would finally welcome that third baby we had wanted for so long.
Unfortunately several weeks later our dreams were shattered when we learned we were miscarrying. My body didn’t catch on, we learned by going to our first ultrasound and realizing it just wasn’t right. As the weeks went by I passed everything at home and remember being so emotional. I felt as if I could never get over this loss. I would cry anytime someone asked if we wanted more kids. But day after day, things got a little better.
Several months later, we received another set of 2 pink lines. I’ll be honest, this one was a little harder to “celebrate” Was I thrilled, Yes! Was I terrified, definitely! I remember walking into that first ultrasound so scared that we would learn that sweet baby didn’t make it, either. Instead we saw the most perfect little bean and a healthy beating heart. We celebrated. We were so overjoyed that things were looking up. After a couple more ultrasounds and hitting the second trimester we couldn’t wait to share the news with our friends and family, we were finally going to have a third baby!
I wish I could say that months later we welcomed that little bean, but unfortunately it didn’t end well. At almost halfway through the pregnancy we learned we had a “fetal demise,” her heart stopped beating. No explanation. Her genetic testing came back great, she was a perfectly healthy little baby. I delivered her in the hospital, we held her and cried as all of our dreams for her disappeared in an instant. It was by far the hardest thing my husband and I have gone through. I remember crying so much that I felt like I had no tears left to cry. The days following were so hard. It was difficult to pick myself up off the floor, hard to get out of bed in the morning. The simplest daily tasks felt impossible.
Months later we received another set of 2 pink lines. All I could think was how does this happen? How do we go from no positive pregnancy tests after months of trying, tracking ovulation, fertility treatments, etc. Nothing. And then all of a sudden I am able to get pregnant again several times but now the problem is carrying the baby full term. We were trying for this pregnancy, I knew it would be an emotional journey, but I knew how badly I wanted a third baby. I quickly realized I wasn’t emotionally ready to be pregnant again. It was so hard. Just as I had with the last two babies, I remember walking into my first ultrasound terrified. 1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage but only 1 in 100 will experience reoccurring miscarriage. I knew it was uncommon to have 2 miscarriages in a row, and even more uncommon to have 3 in a row, but I was expecting to be told I was the unlucky one and was having another miscarriage. To our surprise we saw a beating heart and another seemingly healthy little peanut. We were celebrating, but of course we were very cautiously optimistic.
Things continued to progress, but each ultrasound was such a trigger for me. I was convinced that at some point I would be told we had another fetal demise. I was seeing a counselor through this time as it really helped me sort out my feelings during this pregnancy after 2 losses. At 15 weeks I went to the bathroom and found a large amount of blood. I was convinced that was the end. I cried and drove myself to the ER (our kids were already asleep for the night, and I didn’t want to wake them so my husband stayed home with them). To my shock, it wasn’t the end. That little guy was still bouncing around and moving in there and again, seemingly healthy. But, because of the blood and soon after being diagnosed with a subchorionic hemmorage I was told I was at higher risk for loss. Great, just what I needed. As if I wasn’t already fearful enough that we would lose this baby.
Thankfully, a few months later, at full term, we welcomed the most beautiful “rainbow baby.” I have never felt such relief. I remember I kept rubbing his face and thinking, is this real? Am I really holding my baby right now, 3.5 years after we started trying for our third. For hours, days really, it felt so surreal. He brought back so much joy to my life.
The last 18 months with him have brought so many laughs to our family. He is such a happy baby and is such a perfect addition to our family.
A few months ago, my husband and I decided we were ready to try for that fourth and final baby. We were cautious, knowing what we had gone through prior to baby number 3, but we were trying to stay optimistic. To our surprise, we quickly saw those 2 pink lines. We celebrated. We were so thrilled. Was I terrified? Absolutely. But, I kept telling myself, I just had a healthy baby, everything will be ok. My body can do this.