May 20, 2022. The date our lives changed forever. Our beautiful baby girl, Makenna Gwen was born with a squeak and a personality much bigger than she was, only being born at 22w6d. She was feisty, sassy, and filled out hearts with so much love.
Unfortunately, her soul was too big for this world. She died just four days later, leaving us brokenhearted, lost, and confused.
In August of 2020, we began trying to grow our family for the first time. I had always had this strange feeling that it would be incredibly difficult for me to have children. So, imagine my surprise when I got a positive pregnancy test just a few weeks after coming off of birth control. We were so ready to be parents. We were ready for Baby G. We had it all planned out beginning from how we would announce our pregnancy down to how the room would be set up.
But, at 9 weeks pregnant, I found out there was no heartbeat. Due to COVID restrictions, I was alone. I had to go home and tell my husband that our baby died. Something I knew happened, but naively thought would never happen to me.
Exactly one year later, in almost the exact same way, also at exactly 9 weeks, we heard “there is no heartbeat” for the second time. This time our baby Lil B, was sent for testing. A few weeks later it came back that our little girl was healthy. I couldn’t help but feel like it was my body just killing healthy babies. Because of our losses, I began having panic attacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. I couldn’t leave the house except to go to work. I was having up to 3 panic attacks a day after never having them before all of this.
January 4, 2022, that all familiar 2nd pink line showed up. This time the anxiety and fear overtook any feelings of hope or joy. I felt like I was holding my breath just waiting for this baby to die. The weeks leading up to that dreaded 9 week mark dragged on. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma and was put on modified bed rest. For the first time, we made it past 9 weeks and began to feel like this baby could actually survive.
April 29th we found out our little miracle, our double rainbow, was a girl. Makenna Gwen.
We were finally excited. We finally began to really feel like she was going to come home with us in a few months.
It was at this appointment that we found out what was likely the cause for our previous losses. I had a septated uterus. Basically, there was a wall of tissue in what was supposed to be an empty cavity. Our first two babies likely implanted on this septum and could not receive proper blood flow. Makenna was truly a miracle.
On May 18, I began getting lower abdominal pain. I went to L&D where again I had to be by myself. They assured me everything was fine. After still being in pain the following day, I went to my OB’s office. My Dr had already left for the day so I saw his PA, who also assured me I was fine. Because of these assurances, my husband left to help his dad across the country.
At 2am on May 20, I woke up and knew something was wrong. I couldn’t shake the feeling of hospital staff and the PA missing something. So, unbeknownst to me at this time, I drove myself back to the hospital in active labor. At 11:55am our double rainbow was born with my mom in the room and my husband on the phone. He was able to catch the next flight home and finally got to meet her around midnight.
Through the 24th of May we watched our feisty little girl in the NICU. Nurses and Drs were cautiously optimistic because of her age and size, but taking into account how active she was. When babies are that little, they try to leave them untouched as much as possible. But, not Makenna. She wanted all of the attention she could get. She ripped off every line, lead, and wire she could get her little hands on.
On May 24, 2022 at roughly 3am, we got the call no parent wants to get.
Where did this leave us?
We had no idea.
It felt like our parenthood was stripped away from us and we were left standing there with nothing to show for the last 5 months except for a box and a little pink heart shaped urn.
Because she was our double rainbow baby, rainbows quickly became one of her favorite signs to send us. And not just your typical rainbow. She is creative. Her personality is just as big after her death as it was in her life. Her light continues to shine so brightly and she always has a magical way of showing us she is here. We are lucky to be her parents and she is forever our little rainbow girl.
After she died, we started a not-for-profit in her memory that supports grieving families that have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. Makenna truly guides me through everything I do and I believe this is her soul work and I am simply doing the physical work that she can’t.
I am currently pregnant with her little brother, Parker, who is due in October. While we don’t consider him our rainbow baby, we acknowledge how privileged we are to have made it this far. Because of his big sister, I was able to have surgery to repair my uterus and we had enough reason to believe I needed a cerclage during this pregnancy. Drs believe these two things are what has kept me pregnant. We don’t believe everything happens for a reason, but we do believe Makenna’s life has given us the ability to carry her brother to term.
When I found out that my mother in law booked a maternity shoot for us to celebrate Parker, I knew I needed the rainbow skirt. I knew this was the perfect way to include and honor Makenna. In wearing this skirt, I feel like I am being wrapped in a hug from our little rainbow angel.
Photos taken by Brett.
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