Hello! My name is Khadijah and this is my story about finding my rainbow.
My husband and I got married back in March of 2008. We originally talked about waiting 3 years to start a family. Even after wanting to wait, we found out I was pregnant in March of 2009. Although it wasn’t planned, we were ecstatic. We were given a due date of October 25th 2009. At my first prenatal appointment at 10 weeks along, my OB attempted to listen to baby’s heartbeat on the doppler and was unable to find it, so she sent me for an ultrasound. My due date was adjusted to November 11th 2009, with my doctor telling me that I was not as far along as they thought. After that it was smooth sailing. We had our anatomy scan at 21 weeks and were told we were having a boy. Then at 37 weeks (39 unadjusted due date) I went into labor only for the nurses to tell me I wasn’t actually in labor (my doctor had told me I was in early labor). They gave me medication to stop the contractions and sent me home. At 39 weeks (41 for original due date) I went into labor and had my son. While being assessed, the entire staff (and his birth paperwork) said that he presented as overdue around 41 weeks and not 39. My doctor later stated that my original due date must not have been very off but that my babies measure small.
It’s June 2013 and we’re making a cross country move from Las Vegas to Houston Texas. We decided once we got settled in, we would try for another baby. By August, we were feeling ready, so we starting trying to conceive. I knew I was pregnant before I got a positive. I felt “off”, and I kept telling my husband that I was in fact pregnant. At this time I had no idea what a faint positive was, so I figured until the second line looks like how it shows on the box, it’s negative. Finally by 5 weeks along I got a dark second line and a positive digital. I went to my family doctor happily to get labs and a urine test done. Both came back positive. But just as I was basking in the joy of being pregnant again, it was taken from me. I woke up just a day shy of 6 weeks with cramps. Then the spotting started that advanced into a bleed. By mid day, I was doubled over in pain. I went to the ER by my doctors orders, only to be told it was a “suspected spontaneous abortion”, but I would need additional blood tests to confirm this. Come Monday, it was confirmed, we had lost our baby.
Our doctor said to wait one cycle before trying again. We did exactly that and got pregnant that following month. Everything was going smooth once again, we figured our loss was just a fluke like the doctor said and we were getting excited about a new baby. I had my first prenatal appointment, doctor said everything looked good and we were given a due date of September 18th 2014. I never had an early ultrasound. I was deemed low risk. Finally it was time for my scan. I was 12 weeks 5 days. No growth past 8.5 weeks and no heartbeat. I was given a choice of a D&C or to miscarry naturally. I chose the latter. My doctor didn’t tell me my body would go into labor. That traumatized me til this day. I thought I was going to die. There was blood everywhere. I was curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor bleeding out. I couldn’t walk so my husband had to carry me to the car to take me to the ER. The ER thought I was suffering internal bleeding and was talking about a blood transfusion. I passed baby there. I didn’t know I could have testing done. I didn’t know I could advocate for what I wanted. A missed miscarriage they called it. We lost yet another baby.
After 2 back to back losses, our doctor advised us to wait 6 months. I still had residual hcg. It took me 6 weeks after my “delivery” to test negative and even longer for me to get my cycle back. Come September, we were cleared and given the green light to try again. But after loosing my second baby in a row in March, I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t know missed miscarriages were a thing. And I especially didn’t know it could happen to me. I was reluctant to try again for fear of another loss, but I again figured statistics were on my side. We found out in October of 2014 that I was pregnant once again. But this time, all I felt was fear. I waited like clockwork for the bleeding to start. And just like our first loss, 2 days shy of 6 weeks, we lost that baby too. And I broke.
I was tested using the rpl (reoccurring pregnancy loss) standard panel for what would be causing the losses, but nothing was found. 3 back to back losses had our doctor telling us to wait a year to try again.
I needed healing. My heart was shattered. A year went by with a heavy heart and withered soul. And at exactly the year mark, in October 2015, I found out I was pregnant. Against all odds, my miracle baby defied my broken body. Milestone after milestone was met. My whole pregnancy I was terrified of loosing him too. After some complications and a IUGR (inter uterine growth restriction) diagnosis, I was induced at 36 weeks pregnant. Our 3x rainbow Ibrahim was finally Earthside and we were walking on clouds.
From 2017-2020, I had 5 more early losses. Then in September of 2020 I fell pregnant with my daughter Sakina. Everything was perfect until it wasn’t, and my world came crashing down around me. My anatomy scan got pushed out, and for the first time in my pregnancy, I felt scared something would happen to my baby girl. She didn’t move one night, and I knew before they told me the next day that she was gone. I wasn’t supposed to loose her. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was in my second trimester and had completed more than half my pregnancy. How after every healthy ultrasound and every negative test, was she gone? After 19 hours, I delivered my beautiful Sakina on February 6th 2021. I would’ve been celebrating viability shortly after we buried her. She was smaller than they thought she’d be. My doctor said my babies are just small. She was perfect. She looked just like her brothers. We sent her for testing. We wanted answers, but we got none. Unexplained fetal demise. So many words explaining absolutely nothing.
I know religion is not for everyone, but if I’m being honest, my belief in God is the only thing that got me through everything. My OB had us tested once again. And once again, we had no answers. She requested that until our karyotyping was complete, to hold off on ttc. I figured I couldn’t get pregnant so quickly postpartum anyway. Going back to my OB’s office was Hell. I spent my 6 week postpartum visit bawling my eyes out to my doctor. I wanted to know why. Why me? Why all this heartbreak? Why couldn’t my body do what it was supposed to? My doctor wanted us to try IVF. My husband said absolutely not. IVF isn’t always the answer, he said. March came and went. April brought Ramadan and many blessings. I had a feeling. I took a test. Positive. I called my OB to have blood work scheduled. Over the weekend I started bleeding. Another loss. I prayed. Constantly. Ritually. Obsessively. After our most recent loss, my doctor advised me to start baby aspirin, continue my prenatal vitamins, and high dose folic acid.
May brought much healing to my heart. We had the final 10 days of Ramadan and Eid. I had no idea where my cycle was because I had not yet had a period postpartum. Eid day was busy with many engagements and hustle and bustle. Towards the evening I noticed some pregnancy symptoms. I still had tests left. As I rushed home, I realized I also hadn’t gone to the bathroom since morning. It was the perfect time to test. I didn’t think to record this moment. I wish I would have. As soon as I set the test down, that second line appeared. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started crying, yelling to my husband “I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant.” But my fear was greater than my excitement. All I thought was I will loose this baby too. At this point I knew nothing else. 5 early losses, a stillbirth and another early loss taught me that all my body knew how to do at this point was ruin everything. I went in for blood work Monday. Then Wednesday. I was pregnant. My hcg doubling faster than expected. My ultrasound couldn’t come fast enough. My doctor put my on a reoccurring loss regimen which consisted of baby aspirin, high dose folic acid, 2x daily progesterone, and daily lovenox (blood thinner) shots in my tummy. I was to start Makena shots at 16 weeks. I was extremely anxious as the tech started my scan. It was the same tech that told me Sakina no longer had a heartbeat. I asked her if she remembered me. She replied, “yes, some things stick with us, especially those times. I’m so sorry for everything you went through.” Before measurements, the first thing she did was show me my little miracle’s heartbeat. There it was, beating away. We had a baby with a beating heart. I was given a due date of January 20th, 2022.
Pregnancy after loss is not for the faint of heart. Anxiety, fear, insomnia, food aversions, PTSD, panic attacks, and crippling sickness followed. Every day I was terrified that I would loose this baby too. But week by week passed and I was still pregnant with my miracle. NIPT came back a healthy baby and it was a boy. It still didn’t put my heart or mind at ease. At 16 weeks, I started Makena shots weekly at my OBs office. I was referred to the MFM and had my anatomy scan there. I was waiting, anxiety filled, for something to be wrong. I was crying, trying so hard to keep my composure. A healthy boy, they said so reassuring. I did, however, have a partially anterior placenta, which would restrict some movement I would feel. But I wasn’t reassured. I waited with baited breath for viability. I, now, was visibly pregnant.
Once we got to viability in September, I decided before the news started spreading like wild fire, I’d announce on social media. I wanted to control the narrative and reduce gossip about me since this baby was not juicy gossip but something I had been praying for so hard for so many years. I had some people upset that I didn’t announce sooner or that I didn’t tell them first. The weeks went by and I was finally in the third trimester. I couldn’t breath most of the time from the anxiety and if I didn’t feel baby for an hour or so, I would go into a sheer panic and induce movements by drinking something sugary or cold. I would do this more times in a day than I’d like to admit out-loud.
November brought my baby shower and baby sprinkle. Those two events were something I always dreamed of. I never had a shower with my two previous children, and we had just set a date for a my shower with Sakina when we lost her. They were more amazing than I could’ve ever expected. I focused on celebrating my miracle and putting the fear aside.
Then when I was 31 weeks contractions started. I had a history of preterm labor and my OB wanted me to go to L&D. I was hospitalized until they could get my contractions under control. They gave me multiple IVs and shots to stop the contractions. Luckily, they were successful and I was sent home told to rest as much as possible. From the beginning of my pregnancy, both my OB and MFM said that I would be induced by 37/38 weeks to reduce the chance of stillbirth again. I advocated for a 37 week delivery, not only was my anxiety out of control but I couldn’t risk something happening again. My doctor happily obliged.
My induction was a lot faster than anyone expected. My labor lasted a total of 1 hour and 58 minutes. At 1:59 am on December 31st 2021, my miracle 7x rainbow son Ismail was finally Earth side. We named him the Arabic version of Ishmael who was born to Abraham and his wife after many many years of prayer. It means “heard by God,” and we knew from the minute we learned the meaning that it was perfect for him. So many prayers were answered the day he was born and I am forever grateful for each and every blessing, big and small.
This journey has been full of tears both happy and sad. It’s been so many high highs and such low lows. Out of 13 pregnancies, I’ve only had 3 live births. While I am beyond blessed for everything I have, I can’t help but grieve everything I’ve lost. Babies don’t replace babies. I miss my heavenly children more than I can express, especially Sakina.
Project finding my rainbow has been dear to my heart since I read your story Sarah. I adore the opportunity to tell my truth and be your first scarf wearer to be featured. Thank you so much for allowing me the honor and participating in something that is so important to speak about.
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