When you hear about pregnancy loss, the first thing you think to yourself is, “that can’t happen to me.”
In February 2021, I learned I was pregnant with our first and could not wait to add on to our little family of four, which consists of my husband, our cat, Blue, and dog, Hooper. Sharing the news with my husband is a memory that will stay with me forever. I began dreaming of the future and reading as much as I could to prepare while dealing with the first looms of morning sickness.
The thought of pregnancy loss was far from my mind. Then I became that logistic. I was the one in the four of women who experience pregnancy loss. That “can’t happen to me” thought became my reality. We lost our first baby when I was only 5 weeks and 3 days along.
The innocence was lost and for some time, I felt like I was stuck alone on an island with no way to get off. I could not shake the feeling that I had done something wrong. I would replay the day before over and over in my mind. Was it the prenatal yoga? Or was the spaghetti squash we had for dinner bad? All these questions ran through my mind. And even though I read how common pregnancy loss was and knew of my own family and friends who as well experienced their own losses, I still felt trapped on that island.
Then began the daily visits to the doctors to confirm that I had truly miscarried. Since this was all happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to venture into the doctors alone while my husband waited in the car. Sitting in the waiting room waiting for my name to be called for blood work while surrounded by expecting mothers was truly one of the loneliest moments in the world…talk about feeling trapped on an island.
After two long weeks of back-and-forth doctor appointments, I thought I would have been prepared to start the journey of accepting and healing, but the month of March was more difficult than I thought. I spent the month just focusing on self-care and crying when I needed to. I thought the sadness would never go away, but with the passing months and the support from family and friends, I slowly found my way off that island.
Like spring, I started over with a new page. I decided to embrace and accept what happened and manage my day-to-day feelings. Some days were good, and some days were bad. I recall that Mother’s Day being the hardest day to embrace. I had decided to have our family over that day to keep my mind busy and instead, I cried over the Penne Vodka Sauce I was preparing. I think once Mother’s Day passed, I truly was able to accept my feelings even more and focus again on my full-time job and side art business.
My side business is what helped me close the chapter of being stranded on an island for good. I decided to create a series of paintings that expressed all my feelings through pregnancy loss and the painting that really paved the way was called “Carried Away”. It is a piece I could never part with. It hangs in my living room to this day and reminds me that through it all, I was able to overcome this lonely island feeling.
I took the summer to rebuild my relationship with myself and enjoy the time with my husband and together we agreed to try for our rainbow baby in the fall. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant in the beginning of September, I felt excited, guilty and scared.
As prepared as I thought I was, the fears of another loss were always in my mind. Waiting for my first appointment was the longest 8 weeks of my life, but with the support from my husband, family, and friends I was able to take one day at a time as I waited for the doctors.
The morning of my appointment, the only thing I could think of was hearing bad news. Like I had said before, the innocence of pregnancy was lost and was replaced with fear and uncertainty. I think the doctor could sense the anticipation because we immediately went to the exam room and there on the screen was the perfect little heartbeat.
It was the start of a new journey. A journey that would have its moments of sadness, fear, but most importantly joy. I had reminded myself to put my faith in God and to embrace every day knowing that I was one day closer to meeting our rainbow baby.
With our baby girl’s arrival in June, I look back on this past year as a journey and lesson. Those first few months, I spent time forgiving myself, accepting the loss of our first baby and working towards the future. I knew I had taken the first step forward by embracing each day as a new day. I know that my first baby can never be replaced, but I believe that my first baby played a part in our rainbow story.
Afterall, no matter how many weeks or months along we are in our pregnancy, the children we lose are always a part of us and the journeys that lay ahead.
Photos taken by Nicole Coppola Photo.
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