Morgan H’s Story

I have pretty regular cycles so when I noticed that I was a couple days late I thought that was off. I finally took a pregnancy test because I wanted to be certain that I wasn’t pregnant, but I was! I actually took a video capturing the moment just in case. Immediately shock and fear raced through my body. I called one of my close friends crying and she reassured me that everything would be okay.

I did not want to hold onto the information so I drove to KJ (baby’s dad)’s house to let him know in person. He was super surprised and neither one of us were happy about the pregnancy at the time because it was so unexpected and not the right time. The next day KJ and I had another conversation and he said that he still was not ready to be a dad, but this time that angered me. I realized how much I wanted this baby. The moment I knew I wanted this baby was when I was alone in the car and the beginning of the song “I Bet on Losing Dogs” by Mitski came to mind. “My baby, my baby, you’re my baby say it to me”. I thought wow, this is my baby! I will do whatever it takes to care for this child even if it means I have to do it “alone”.

After about a week, I settled in with the idea of having this baby. The next challenge would be telling my parents who I knew would not be pleased that I was pregnant before marriage. They actually had a pretty good reaction and it completely shocked me! Once I shared it with my parents/close friends and prayed about it, I was super happy to be having a baby! I had seen what I thought were signs that everything was going to be okay with me and the baby. After getting over that hump, I was fully content with my future of being a mom. KJ came around too, he was just super nervous and felt unprepared. He would never let me be alone during the journey to parenthood. My biggest worry was that I was going to have to push back the start time of my internship for my Master’s degree. Delaying my schoolwork, giving up a trip later in the year, and missing my friend’s wedding were now on the backburner for me.

While I was pregnant, it was a smooth journey and overall I felt pretty good. I was never nauseous, but I was more fatigued, emotional, and had many painful headaches. I noticed that I started bleeding a few weeks later and the doctor’s office said to go to OB Emergency if I saw bright red blood. I called KJ and he met me at the hospital. I cried the whole ride to the hospital and cried out to God to please let me have this baby.

I received my first ultrasound at the hospital and they told me that I could not see or hear anything and I was super disappointed. Once at the hospital I was reassured that everything was fine and I was probably just spotting. The baby appeared to be doing well and had a strong heartbeat. The following day, I had an appointment for an ultrasound and it was ultimately canceled (after I got there). All I could do was cry because of how sad I was and because I had a full bladder for no reason. They could not give me another ultrasound until my 20 week appointment (insurance issue).

My heart sank because I was not allowed to see my baby the day before and both me and KJ were really looking forward to hearing our baby’s heartbeat and taking home pictures. The thought of doing a private scan did not cross my mind at the time and I wish it did. After one week, the bleeding had not stopped and I was filled with anxiety. I called the doctor on call and they said that they were not too concerned because I was not experiencing any pain. Later that day, I felt some cramping and I was really uncomfortable. I was babysitting at the time and I knew that I should probably call OB Triage before going in because I had consistent bleeding and now cramping. I was advised to go to the hospital and I took my mom and KJ with me.

In my heart, I think I knew my baby was gone, but was in a bit of denial. I had to get another ultrasound where I could not see or hear anything yet again. Getting another transvaginal ultrasound was torture because I knew they would be searching for a heartbeat, but also as a rape survivor, those ultrasounds in particular are even more uncomfortable. I was worried about being triggered by the ultrasound and about the baby and I prayed my way through. We waited for hours and not knowing was killing me. I have an app for the hospital and in the portal they can upload your results before the doctor comes in to talk with you.

I immediately opened the results when I received a notification and knew I had a miscarriage. Reading the words “There is currently no cardiac activity” broke my heart. I think those words along with “Intrauterine fetal demise” are burned in my brain. I was trying not to cry, but it felt like one of the worst days of my life. Once the doctor said “I’m so sorry Morgan” I broke down. No one wants to hear that their baby’s heart just stopped beating. It was probably a chromosomal abnormality that no one could have prevented. When KJ came to the back I had to share the news that our baby was gone. I could barely tell him because I was very overwhelmed with emotion and did not want to believe the news. He just hugged me and let me sob in his arms. I will never forget how vulnerable I was in the moment. I remember saying that I wanted to be a mom so bad.

Before leaving the room we decided to name our baby. If the baby was a boy, the name Amari was at the top of our list. Since Amari is a gender neutral name and we did not find out the gender yet, we kept the name Amari. KJ knew it was a boy in his heart and I believe that too! When we talk about Amari we mostly refer to him as he. I never had any guilt about losing Amari. The only thing I felt guilty about was grieving my baby so much when other women have experienced a stillborn baby or multiple losses when this was only my first. Through therapy I learned that my pain is still valid, Amari was my first baby and I have every right to grieve. I loved my baby. I talked to, sang to, and prayed for Amari. I had plans for us, I made sacrifices, had hopes and dreams for Amari and it was all taken away. I was never angry with God or myself and I really think that my constant prayer over the situation is the reason why.

The doctor gave me three options on how I could move forward with the miscarriage (naturally at home, take medication to speed up the process, or have a D&C). I went home to sleep on it and I cried myself to sleep and when I woke up I already had tears streaming down my face. It felt like I would be sad forever. Later in the day I started to feel more intense pain. I realized that my body had already started the process without me needing medication or a surgery. Not only was this day the hardest day emotionally, but physically I was in a lot of pain. I was not expecting how much pain I would be in. I can remember crawling to the bathroom because the pain was excruciating and my heating pad did not help. When I passed the blood clots it was so hard to flush the toilet because I knew my baby was in there. I can’t even see that bathroom the same anymore. Even during the first trimester you still birth your baby, that was traumatizing. Looking back now I wish I could have gotten a D&C. I continued to bleed for an additional week after this. Getting my first period post miscarriage was super rough both physically and emotionally. It was just another reminder that I was not pregnant anymore.

KJ and I had different experiences after leaving the hospital that night. I was pretty numb and slept in the car. We did not leave the hospital until after 1am, so everyone was tired. He later shared with me that he drove home in silence and it was hard to fathom all that happened that night. During the drive home he could envision Amari riding in the car with him and smiling. The things he looked forward to doing with Amari were now gone. I was under the impression that KJ did not feel much when Amari died. I had no idea what he was thinking or feeling and it caused a few disagreements. Tensions were high between us for a while and it resulted in us not speaking for a while. I love him with all of my heart and wish that things happened differently. Ultimately, losing Amari put a strain on the relationship because we were grieving differently. I am grateful that KJ wrote a letter to Amari and let me read it so I could have an understanding of how this loss impacted him as well. Knowing that KJ loves Amari is so refreshing to hear because I know it can be hard for men to connect with their babies before they are born.

The time after losing Amari has been difficult. I have been navigating new emotions because this was my first pregnancy and first loss. People have been saying that I am so strong, but I don’t feel that way. I cry just about everyday when I think about Amari and what could have been. It is hard to see that everything moves on and I feel stuck in my grief. Thankfully I am starting antidepressants to help me feel more like myself. I have lost motivation for some of the things that used to really excite me about the future. Not only have I lost my baby and had to give up my hopes and dreams for them, but I have also lost the family I wanted. I have not lost hope that God will bless me with a rainbow baby one day and I will have living children. As for right now it’s a strange feeling, my womb feels empty, and I do too. I did not know that my heart would long for my baby everyday. I did not know that everything would upset me. I did not know how hard Mother’s Day would be. I keep seeing constant pregnancy announcements and pregnant women everywhere I go and it angers me. I am happy for these women, but why can’t I have my baby too? I am still coming to terms with these feelings.

Two days after I learned about my miscarriage I decided to get two tattoos in honor of my baby. One of them is the September birth flower which was the month of his due date and I got Amari’s initials, A.H.M. on my wrist (Amari Harrell-Meekins). I had a few mementos made (two Amari bracelets, a personalized pregnancy test keepsake, the letter A resin piece, and a personalized teddy bear). As a sentimental person, these keepsakes mean a lot to me. I sleep with my Amari teddy bear every night! I was also able to get a disk of my first ultrasound and from there I printed out a couple of pictures. It will always pain me that I never had the chance to hear Amari’s heartbeat, but at least I now can cherish the one clear picture I have.

If it wasn’t for my faith I don’t think that I would have the strength to move forward. Through depression I forced myself to pray and do Bible plans when I did not want to. It made me feel better! I am grieving, but God has not given up on me and I am grateful. I would tell a loss mom who is struggling with their faith to share everything that is on their mind with God. He wants to hear from you! There are times when all I can do is pray and say “God I just really want my baby”. I have to give myself grace and let myself feel the necessary wave of emotions. Humor helps too! Journaling has helped because I get to freely share what I’m feeling. Buying specific miscarriage journals on Amazon was the best purchase.

I had a pregnancy journey journal that I ultimately decided to throw away, it was too painful to look at what I missed out on. I threw away the rest of my prenatals even though the doctor said I should keep taking them. I got rid of the onesies I had, but I kept the first purchase I made for the baby (baby crocs)! I started therapy and it is beneficial for my mental health. Therapy as well as Facebook/Instagram support groups and pages help me to not feel alone.

Although it seems like everyone is pregnant/having their baby right now, there are also many women who lost their babies. They feel the same sadness, anger, and grief that I do and it is refreshing to see that my feelings are normal/common. Jesus will continue to help me get through this heartbreaking experience. That is how I am finding my rainbow for now since I will not be having another baby for a while. My sweet Amari, I love you beyond words and I will see you in Heaven! I was so happy that I could be a part of this project and share Amari’s story!

Morgan wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt. She holds a bouquet of flowers in her hand.

Morgan wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt. She holds a resin letter A in her hand that includes some keepsakes from her baby Amari.

Morgan wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt. She holds a white framed photo in her hands.

The rainbow skirt lays on the ground. In the middle of the skirt is a teddy bear, a bouquet of flowers, a resin letter A, and a framed photo.

Morgan wears a white dress and the rainbow skirt. She holds a teddy bear in her hands.

Photos taken by KW Photography.

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