Hello, my name is Rachel and I am expecting our Rainbow Baby for the third time. My husband and I have 3 living children (9, 7 & 3). Since October of 2019 we have experienced 3 miscarriages. Our first loss came as quite the surprise as we have always had healthy pregnancies before this and had no reason to believe anything would happen to our baby.
At 10 weeks I went in for a routine check and there was no heartbeat. I had no cramping, no bleeding, no signs that anything was wrong, just no heartbeat. We gave my body almost two weeks to miscarry on its own. It did not. I was told the risk of infection was too high and would need to be scheduled for a DNC. That DNC was completed on Oct. 3rd 2019. I found out later that day happened to be national infertility, infant loss and miscarriage awareness day. It was chilling.
Our next miscarriage came just 4 months later in February 2020. I was 11 weeks along. It was a very similar situation. I went in for a routine check and there was no heartbeat. No cramps, no bleeding, just no heartbeat. I chose to have another DNC immediately. I asked for genetic testing, and was told this baby was a boy and had a trisomy mutation.
We were not offered testing on our first loss and I didn’t even know to ask. I was devastated, but knew that this little life couldn’t be. I asked for more testing, I asked for help or answers to find out what was going on with my body. But was told this sort of thing wasn’t done until after the 3rd loss. I was furious and confused. Why do we make women go through this three times before we are willing to help them find answers and do a deeper dive into their health?
Fast forward to Thanksgiving of 2020, I found out that I was expecting once again. Obviously, I was very nervous. There was a lot of prayer, worry and breath holding until we made it through the first trimester. Everything was looking really normal and we were told that all signs pointed to a healthy baby and the doctors didn’t see any reason to be concerned. All genetic testing was normal.
At about 14 or 15 weeks I finally felt comfortable enough to share our news and planned a beautiful rainbow baby announcement with pictures. We were all so excited. I allowed myself, friends and family to plan a gender reveal party (as we had never done one) in hopes of allowing myself to find more joy, hope and connection.
2 days before the party, I called my care provider and just wanted to hear the baby’s heartbeat again. She had told me I could call and come in anytime I needed reassurance. I had been shopping for gender reveal supplies right before the appt. I was 17 weeks and 4 days along. At the appt the midwife could not find the heartbeat on the doppler. I was immediately moved to ultrasound. There was in fact no heartbeat. We were all shocked.
I screamed four letter words so loudly in that OB office that day. I was destroyed. I called my husband and sobbed and screamed. We were told we had to deliver this baby. That I would need to go into L&D at the hospital the next morning and be induced to deliver this baby. I screamed more four letter words. I begged for another option. I was told I am so sorry, but this far along we cannot do anything.
The next day was the worst day of my life. Horrible, graphic, bloody, traumatic, confusing, agonizing. There are so many words to describe it and yet none at all. The delivery was long and painful and complicated. A blood bath, really. A few hours after delivering her, my placenta had yet to be delivered and it was ruled that I needed yet another DNC to extract it. I was gone for 2 hours. My husband thought I had passed because he was not updated or contacted and had been told it would be 20 min. At some point during this delivery I held our baby girl, my body had a visceral reaction. Everything went black and tingly, I began throwing up. Nurses were called in. My body was in shock. I could not handle the trauma. It was truly awful.
For months after delivering her I was consumed with finding answers. I demanded testing on our baby girl and myself and my husband. They did every test possible including an autopsy and microarray. Every test, once again, ruled a genetically normal female. They tested me for lupus, clotting disorders, etc. There were no other tests to run, they said. You, your husband, and your baby are genetically normal. Yes, you have the MTHFR mutation, but you have done the right things in taking methyl folate and baby aspirin.
Unfortunately this is called an unexplained late term miscarriage. We do not know why this happened or what caused it. But based on your health and medical history we do not see any reason you cannot have a healthy baby once again. It was no news, but in a way, it was good news. I was angered that no one could tell us why we had lost three babies in a row, but also relieved that nothing was “wrong” with us. I dove into healing for my husband and I. We bought a course on nutrition for healing, made stocks, broths and teas. We took supplements and sought out the help of functional wellness practitioners. We did metabolic resets. We needed to feel like there was something we could do to heal ourselves.
We were told to wait 6 months to try again. Honestly, we were not sure what we would do. We had a lot of conversations about it. But I, personally, wasn’t ready to make a decision until we hit that 6 month mark. I am 37 and my husband 39 and I knew that if we wanted to try again for another baby that we wouldn’t want to wait too much longer.
Around 5 month postpartum, I was feeling that I just didn’t want to put my body, family, and emotions through another pregnancy. I was beginning to feel like I was ok with calling it quits. I was beginning to feel like that although my heart had always felt so strongly that 4 kids felt like home to me, that I would be ok with the three beautiful ones that I had. That I thought our family could be complete as it was. That I could be at peace with the way things were now. I had not communicated this to my husband yet, as I was still trying to wrap my mind around it. Could my heart finally feel whole after all of this? Was I going to always long for or wonder?
A week or two later, I had a strong feeling that I was expecting again. We had a weekend trip coming up and I took a test because I just wanted to be sure before our planned celebrations. I was right, I was expecting, I knew before my missed period. I just knew. I called the Dr. immediately, before calling my husband. WHAT DO I DO? Get back on prenatals and baby aspirin they said. I rushed to the store and began immediately. Oddly enough, I was very excited. My husband too.
I had my first ultrasound around 5 weeks, and we had a heartbeat!!! I didn’t plan to, but I told my kids very early on. My middle baby girl kept asking what was wrong? Was I ok (bc I was sick)? She had watched me grapple with pregnancy and miscarriages for almost the last two years…she knew. I shared our news with her and my other littles and we have had so many conversations about hoping and praying for the best but proceeding with caution. They ask to check the pregnancy apps with me weekly.
Over the course of the next 4 months I asked for repeated progesterone labs and supplementation even though my levels were “within normal range”. I have had an ultrasound for a heartbeat check almost every other week. Because my body never gave me any signs that our babies were not ok, I could not ever trust just that. I needed to have visual evidence that we in fact, still had a healthy baby and heartbeat.
We only told very close family and friends until 20 weeks. We waited for our anatomy scan to announce our pregnancy and share our news. We finally did our gender reveal, even though it wasn’t near as exciting as I had hoped, but we did find out we are welcoming another baby girl to our family. At 20+ weeks, I have finally allowed myself to begin planning for our baby. Names, nursery, showers, maternity pictures. But yet, I still proceed with caution.
I stumbled upon the traveling rainbow train and Journey for Jasmine in searching for rainbow nursery décor. I would be lying to say I haven’t struggled to allow myself to plan for a baby that isn’t here yet, that I know so much can still go wrong. But I am trying to find joy and reassurance in every single kick and healthy check up. I am hoping to find some joy and peace in knowing this is my last pregnancy and allow myself to celebrate and be excited about her arrival. I am so grateful to receive the rainbow train and be able to capture a beautiful moment that we have waited so long for.
Our rainbow maternity session will fall on March 27th, the day of our last baby girl’s birth. It will be a beautiful way to honor her and the other babies we have lost and celebrate the upcoming arrival of our next baby girl. We cannot wait to welcome her to the world and celebrate her arrival to our family.
Photos taken by Grey Day Photography.
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