One would have looked on the outside and seen that me and my husband had just gotten married and we were happy and everything was going so smoothly for us. We thought the worst of our unforeseen troubles were behind us as we were supposed to have our wedding in 2020 but the world stopped due to covid. As 2021 came around things were looking better and while there were a lot of rules and regulations in California, we were finally able to get married in August of 2021. We were happy newlyweds, excited to finally embark on our blissful future. We are a bit older, I had just turned 37, so we didn’t want to delay the possibility of starting a family if that was in the cards for us.
I have a history of irregular periods and was even told when I was younger had PCOS, so I didn’t think it was going to happen soon. Luckily and to my surprise, I got pregnant within a few months! It was a fairly easy pregnancy; I didn’t have any morning sickness or food aversions or anything. I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until almost 8 weeks in! Everything was moving along so smoothly; it was a picture-perfect pregnancy. I never suspected anything could go wrong because I was overall very healthy – I was exercising every day, eating healthy, all the tests and scans were passing with no issues.
We were so excited – we just finished the nursery and had everything ready and prepped for our baby’s arrival. A few weeks before our baby shower, I had a weird feeling that something was off. I was so busy the whole day at work and then by the end of the day I realized I had not felt him move. I thought maybe he was sleeping or something so I tried to do all the things to make my baby move – took a walk, drank some juice. Still nothing. So, I told my husband and he said if I feel weird, let’s just go in. I really wasn’t prepared to hear anything bad. I just thought, ok, we’ll just go in really quick and check and everything will be ok!
We went into L&D triage to get checked out. It felt like hours that the nurses were looking around my belly. Silence. Then the doctor walked in and we heard the most dreadful words ever – “Sorry but there’s no heartbeat.” It was absolutely the worst moment of our lives. Everything felt like it was crashing down at that very moment. The hospital stay was such a blur and in a whirlwind of events later I was induced. I gave birth to our beautiful boy Donovan – he was born sleeping at 28 weeks on May 1st 2022. He was our 1st child. He was my first pregnancy ever and he was perfect.
That day, we lost our innocence, our dreams and everything we expected pregnancy would be. I definitely changed as a person after that day. The days and weeks afterwards were a haze as we were thick in our grief. After much therapy and following pages regarding stillbirth and reading other people’s loss stories, I realized that so many other mothers have experienced a similar heartbreak yet still managed to make it through to the other side. Through these other mother stories, I found some hope. In the throes of our grief, we decided that we wanted to try again. We did not want to give up hope and give into despair. October 2022 we were blessed with getting pregnant again with our Rainbow Baby girl.
Pregnancy after loss has definitely been a mental mine field. Navigating all the feelings and emotions every day has been lonely and hard. While we have been hesitant to give in fully to the joys of pregnancy, we are still trying to stay positive and present with each day we have with her. As PAL awareness month was wrapping up, we were 28 weeks with our rainbow baby girl. As I have passed the 28-week milestone now, I am feeling more confident now to share my story.
I remember being in the hospital and I had this wonderful L&D travelling nurse named Sunny. She also experienced a loss and was so strong to share her experience with me all while I was so confused and in shock with having to be induced to go into labor with our Donovan. If I could ever find her one day and thank her for her support and strength I would love to. Mothers like Sunny and everyone else in the loss community have such great strength that I hope I can also provide that to someone else one day.
I knew nothing of pregnancy loss or grief until it happened to me. It is much more common than most people realize. It is an event in our lives that is so profound yet not talked about enough. If we are open, honest and share our experiences, it can connect our community in such a way that it can give us strength and hope to keep moving forward. For anyone reading this, if you or someone you know has experienced a loss – I am so sorry. Remember, you are not alone; There’s a community of loss mothers all here willing to listen to you and lift you up. There is always hope. Feel all the feelings and give yourself grace.
We are 32 weeks pregnant now with our rainbow baby girl. We are trying to stay present and cherish all the moments we can. We are so grateful and blessed to be pregnant today and are hopeful to watch our baby girl grow up. We know no matter what, Donovan is watching over us and protecting his baby sister every step of the way.
Photos taken by Kristin Eldridge Photography.
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