Mélissa C’s Story

We got married in 2018 and I was told I had PCOS since I was a teenager. We figured it would take a while to get pregnant since my cycles were never regular. We got pregnant to our surprise right after our honeymoon. We were so excited, and it was smooth sailing for the most part. We were super happy when we found out we were expecting a boy, our Mathéo. I already had issues with hypertension but was on medication and it was stable. All my other tests were fine, and we were optimistic. It being our first pregnancy we were naïve when it came to loss and didn’t even think about it. At the time we thought pregnant meant bringing home a baby.

Myself being adopted having this child was something I couldn’t explain because it would also be the first person I would see having a part of me and someone I could be like that has my DNA.

When I was 23w4d pregnant I started to have some upper right quadrant pain which made me super uncomfortable and I remember the nurses telling me that it was a sign to look out for. I checked my blood pressure and is was super high about 170s over 100. I went into the Labour and Delivery Triage, and they did some tests. For the first time my protein in my urine went from 0 to 3+ and my liver and kidneys were shutting down and my platelets were super low. I came to learn after I had HELLP Syndrome and Severe Preeclampsia. This was a shock since 2 weeks prior other than my high BP everything else was normal and perfect. We adjusted my med and thought all was good.

I was rushed for an emergency c section in hopes to save both me and our babies life since if we waited any longer they said it would have been a higher chance of losing us both so this was a life or death situation. Luckily my husband made a lot of the hard choices since I was already on so many medications and a lot is still fuzzy to this day. When they took him out he was a little fighter. He was only 390g so a lot smaller than he should have been but he put up a fight for 54 minutes. Unfortunately he could hold on no longer and they brought him to me where I could hold him for his final breath. I was shattered. It didn’t hit I think until later that night when I woke up and it all played back and all I could do was scream and cry. I held him for about 10 hours that day but it would never be enough. I was pregnant that morning and now I am not and also don’t have my son to hold and watch grow and help through life. The hospital support staff, nurses and doctors were so helpful and tried everything to help me through the process. The worse part was leaving the hospital knowing his body was still there and all I had leaving was a box with memorial items and a teddy bear. The look of sympathies from others who I think realize what happened was the second hardest.

Melissa and her husband are holding their baby that passed away.

Once we got home and saw how our nursery was empty and tried to get back to life it was hard. This is not how it should have been. We should have a baby that needs changing, feeding someone we can watch grow and laugh and see their firsts. But all I had was an empty room, scar and pain from recovering from the Classical C Section, the eerie quietness that filled the apartment and the lost hopes of what should have been.

After a couple months we decided that we wanted to try again. All I could think of was I needed to be a mother I needed to give my love and nurturing a place to go. I was meant to be a mom. We had tried and we had gotten a couple positive in the first few months but shortly after they showed positive, they quickly went negative. The bloodwork has confirmed pregnancy but also confirmed loss quickly after. There was no reasoning for the losses to happen, so we were defeated and I felt it was all because of me and my body. After a few months of not even positives now we decided to get referred to a fertility clinic. All tests were normal minus my issues with ovulating due to my PCOS. We did about a year of medicated cycles and timed intercourse and cycle tracking with them and nothing. No success. All the treatments did was fill me with hormones and my weight had gotten worse due to all of this which then made my ovulating even more inconsistent.

I was also dealing with health issues that were due to having HELLP Syndrome this whole time. My liver was damaged and never able to heal itself to a point where I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

My fertility doctor then referred me to go for the gastric bypass in hopes it would help with my liver and fertility. It was a hard decision since I did not see how it would change since I was already trying everything to lose weight and starving myself and all it did was make me gain more. I agreed and went through the process. March 17th 2021 I got the surgery and my weight was coming off quick. First time I had some hopes I could get a glimpse of my old self. More so being able to do things without feeling drain and tired.

Melissa shows three different pictures of her weight loss journey.

3 months after my period came back on its own after almost 200 days of no period, my liver was fully healed and even better than it was before I had issues. My blood pressure was perfectly normal and I was off all medications I was on for 2 years since my HELLP Syndrome experience. All was going well. I started jogging and would spend my time outdoors and felt myself coming back to me slowly. I was able to laugh and smile and enjoy things how I used to. I wanted to experience things and go explore.

At 5 months post op the day came we were not expecting. I saw 2 pink lines. I had only had 2 periods and was still tracking so was not 100% when the cycle would start since it would’ve been that time that showed if my cycles were regular or not. Keep in mind I have NEVER had a period naturally. I have always had to take birth control or fertility meds to make periods come. If not they never would. Only after surgery did they come without any assistance. So when we saw the 2 lines after the first time we tried intercourse without any precautions last thing we thought was we would get pregnant. I was close to my goal weight and all was going well so I wasn’t too worried but shocked, I was plenty of that! 90lbs down best health I have ever been in happier than I have been for a while and now pregnant!

Melissa and her husband are holding a baby onesie with a rainbow on it.  There are a bunch of balloons and their dog is wearing a bandana.
Positive pregnancy test, teddy bear with the name Matheo on it, an ultrasound picture, and a onesie with a rainbow.

Of course I was nervous thinking this would be a loss again like before so I got obsessed with tested and spent hundreds on pregnancy tests and would test every day multiple times. Seeing the lines get darker gave me some reassurance and hope. Blood work confirmed and showed my HCG levels doubling. Then the ultrasounds came. First ultrasound was booked on September 8, 2021 which 2 years prior was the day we found out we were expecting our first. So right away I had a feeling our Mathéo was watching over us. All my appointments and test came back great. Things were going perfect but of course I still felt nervous something may go wrong.

This pregnancy was different. So many more symptoms and I was sooo tired and drained a lot of the time. I felt pregnant this time compared to last time. I also started showing very quickly this time too which was nice, it gave me some reassurance. At 16 weeks we got confirmation we are going to have our second little boy. This of course was scary since I know everything happened last time with a boy but at the same time it is like I get to experience what I should have last time. Bittersweet. But we are so happy and blessed too.

Today I am 27 weeks pregnant and still everything is going well. This is the furthest I have ever gotten and now just counting down the days to when I can hold our Rainbow Baby Lando. I had our most recent ultrasound on what would’ve been our Mathéo’s 3rd birthday. Again, little signs that he is watching and taking care of us making sure everything will be good.

Melissa and her husband holding their son and a picture of her new pregnancy.

I have been followed very closely this time due to having HELLP Syndrome very early on last time as well as having the Gastric Bypass surgery. Thankfully all my levels and tests are still good, and I am hopefully this will be a different outcome and I will be bringing home this Baby Boy. He is already about 3x bigger than his brother and doing good.

It is definitely hard going through a pregnancy after loss. It is as if we were robbed of that pregnancy cheer and knowing what could happen always makes you stand on guard something may happen. That joy most moms feel when they see those lines and then plan of a baby arrival home is something that we only do once the baby is here. The whole 9 months you are on your toes and feel like you’re on thin ice holding your breath. I feel like I am robbed out of enjoying a pregnancy but at the same time I feel blessed to be pregnant after all the trouble we had trying for this rainbow baby. I try to remind myself this is a new scenario and try to hold on to the good but unless you experienced loss you don’t understand the hardship that comes with this.

I have been blessed with support from family and friends. Thank god for social media too and finding the groups and the loss community that helped guide me through all parts of our journey. I felt less alone and was able to find people who felt the same and understood where I was coming from. There have been some hard parts with losing some friends in the process but I am better for it now and have wonderful people in my life who I know I can count on through the good and the bad.

I am so thankful and blessed for my wonderful husband who has been there for it all and held me up when I could not do it for myself. He was a pillar and still is for me. I know loss can hurt a lot of marriages and we went through all of this within our first year of marriage and we still pulled through. I know after all of this there is nothing we can’t accomplish together and he is my partner in life through good and bad. I am so thankful for him and glad I can give him the chance again to be the dad I know he is and can’t wait to see it happen.

If there is anything I can tell those going through the same it would be accept all the feels coming your way. Don’t try to do it on your own behind close doors. Don’t listen to others who do not know what you are going through yet trying to give you advice. Reach out to those who are part of our loss community and lean on them. Be open and communicate as much as you can and understand you and your spouse have different ways of grieving. Do not feel guilty for the odd good day you may have it is ok! Always carry your angel as part of your story because after 3 years I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Mathéo. He formed the strong person I am today because I would have never known what I was capable of getting through without all of this.

Melissa is standing in the snow in a long dress.  She is holding the rainbow skirt that flows out behind her.
Melissa is standing in the snow in a long dress.  She is holding the rainbow skirt that flows out behind her.
Melissa is standing in the snow in a long dress.  She is wearing the rainbow skirt.
Melissa is standing in the snow in a long dress.  She is wearing the rainbow skirt.

Read more about HELLP Syndrome here.

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