Amanda R’s Story

1. Describe the process of getting pregnant.  Was it easy for you?  Was it hard?  Did you have to go through fertility treatment?

It often makes me feel guilty as I know the struggles so many face with infertility but I never have had issues getting pregnant. My first three pregnancies occurred naturally, without trying. My fourth and current after my losses I utilized intrauterine insemination (IUI) as I used donor sperm. The first round was successful. Twin baby boys. 

2. What was the pregnancy like?  Was it easy and smooth?  Hard with a lot of pregnancy symptoms?

Each pregnancy has had a different set of complications for me  The first I started bleeding in my fifth week and it would happen nearly weekly up until my loss at 14 weeks and 5 days. In the week prior it was determined I had a subchorionic hemhorrage after my water had broken  my second pregnancy I found out I had type 2 diabetes and also another subchorionic hemhorrage. I miscarried at 10 weeks 2 days . After my second loss I decided to undergo gastric bypass to lose weight and as I was told it would be my best shot at a healthy pregnancy as it would correct my blood sugar issues. I got pregnant nine months after surgery with my daughter. I was in the best shape I had been in years. My A1C was perfect to start and raised a bit as I got further into pregnancy which required a small amount of insulin but I was told this was basically inevitable. For the most part aside from that the pregnancy seemed text book perfect until it sadly was not. I found out at 28 weeks and 4 days that her heart was still and delivered her after 34 hours of labor at 28 weeks and 5 days gestation. So far this pregnancy aside from my diabetes coming back (once again I’ve been told this would likely happen especially since I’m carrying twins) things have been very good! 

3. Did you have a reason why your losses occurred?

The only official answer I have is for Rosalie, which was due to IUGR intrauterine growth restriction which ultimately caused cord flow issues resulting in lack of oxygen. For my first two pregnancies there was no official cause but likely the first was due to the undetected diabetes I didn’t find out about until pregnancy two and subchorionic hemhorrage and the second due again to the diabetes

4. How far along were you?

Baby one who I chose to name Ashton I was 14 weeks 5 days. His gender was confirmed via the NIPT results that tragically came back the same day I found out I had lost him. Baby two whom I did not find out the gender but predicted was a girl (and I’ve been right with all my other babies) I chose to name Everly and I lost her at 10 weeks and 2 days. My third and final loss, my stillbirth, was my daughter Rosalie Margaret at 28 weeks 5 days

5. What was the birthing/loss experience like?

All completely different. My first I had to undergo a D&C. Second, I miscarried naturally. My third and final loss was my stillborn and I delivered her after 34 hours of labor.

6. Did you get to spend time with your baby or get any keepsakes?

I sadly did not get keepsakes from my first two losses really other than things I’ve collected on my own. With Rosalie I got to spend nearly 12 hours with her, which would have been longer but that was the time I was allotted since I had decided to have her autopsied. I have many keepsakes from the time we spent together. blankets she was wrapped in, the hat she wore, some of her hair and hundreds of photos to name a few.

7. How was the medical treatment/support during your loss?

The medical treatment that I received has kind of been all over the place. I was very unhappy with the care I received the first two. with the labor and delivery process I went through for my daughter I was very happy to be surrounded by a team of nurses that really understood what I was going through as many of them had experience loss before themselves. 

8. Did you receive support from family and friends after your loss?

The amount of support that I have received over the past five years through my loss has been indescribable. I am so lucky. I’ve taken an approach that many don’t, and have been extremely vocal through my journey on social media, and while I could never describe it as “paying off” it has enabled me to create a very strong community around me that is wrapped me with so much love and support. This past Mother’s Day, I was able to get a lot of the story of my journey as well as my daughters story featured front page on our local newspaper. It was an absolute honor to be able to give a glimpse into issue that is so prevalent yet that so many people don’t speak of. Coincidentally, the same day is what I found out that my IUI was a success and I was pregnant.

9. How were your emotions after loss? (Angry, sad, scared, confused, etc)

I think any parent of loss knows that the kaleidoscope of emotions that such a devastating loss can create. I went through many different phases. Sadness, rebellion, disbelief, shock.

10. How did you know you were ready to try again?

I think it really just comes to you. There’s truly no timeline on grief for me after losing three babies in a period of four years I knew that my desire to be a mother was extremely present. It wasn’t even two weeks after I lost my daughter that I knew that no matter what I did that desire would not disappear at that time being newly single I decided to start exploring my options of becoming a single parent by choice. 

11. What has the pregnancy with your rainbow baby been like?

This pregnancy so far has been everything I could ask for. After having a daughter who had a growth restriction that was undetected it is more comforting that I can put into words that they are both measuring over the 50th percentile in growth. Each day I feel the move more and more and I am constantly reminded of how blessed  I am for this experience.

12. Is there anything special you do to remember your angel baby/babies?

I light a candle for my angel babies every night shortly before bed. In addition to this each year on Rosalie’s birthday I plan to purchase another child’s cake at a local grocery store. I have also made random act of kindness cards with Rosalie‘s picture that I will hand out to people at various times when I decide to do something kind for them in her honor, with this, I’ve created an email address, so that anyone who receives a card is able to share their story. 

13. Is there anything you want others to know about going through loss?

If there’s anything I could share from my experience it’s that there is no right or wrong way to handle what you’ve been through. Give yourself grace, take your time, and most importantly, allow yourself to feel every single emotion that you have absolutely every right to experience. Above all, know you are not alone. 

Amanda wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She stands in a field and the skirt flows out behind her as she faces away from the camera.

Amanda wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  The She holds onto one end of the skirt as it flows.

Amanda wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She looks down at her pregnant belly.

Amanda wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt.   The skirt flows out behind her.

Amanda wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt.

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