2019 is when I began my motherhood journey. I knew it would be challenging but I was not prepared for just how much it would change me as a person. Through motherhood and loss I have physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually become who I am today.
My husband and I welcomed a perfectly healthy baby boy in July 2019 and he is currently a thriving 2 1/2 year old. In February 2020, seven months after our son’s birth, we found out that we were pregnant again! Although there was initial shock because we weren’t trying to conceive, we ultimately were excited to bring another little bundle of joy into the world. When we found out that it was a girl I was so happy. I was going to have a son AND a daughter! They were going to be 15 months apart. I envisioned them growing up together, being really close siblings and always being there for each other.
I had what you would call a “textbook second pregnancy”. I had no complications, other than relentless HG sickness throughout most of the pregnancy. The pandemic gave us some challenges as my husband could only come to one ultrasound appointment because of the restrictions and having to take care of our son. Something that really hurts my heart when I think about it. I wish both of them could’ve seen our little girl while she was alive and moving.
Nine months went by. We had all the baby supplies ready, I prepped our son for welcoming a new baby in the house, everything was set. I felt like a seasoned pro since I had only just gone through the newborn baby stage a couple months prior with my son. If only I could have prepared for what really was going to happen.
My doctor and I had talked about inducing me about a week before my due date. I felt comfortable with this as I had been induced with my son and everything went fine. However, when the induction date came I wasn’t effaced or dilated in the slightest so my doctor wanted me to wait at least a couple more days to see if I would progress at all on my own. A few days later I came into another appointment and still nothing had changed so my doctor scheduled another induction date. This time I would be going over my due date by a couple of days but I wasn’t worried at all. I had one last ultrasound appointment the day before my induction date. Baby girl was thriving, moving and wiggling on the screen. Heartbeat was strong. The tech told me that my amniotic fluid was a little low but reassured me that baby was just “running out of room” in there. I still didn’t worry.
I went about my day, my husband and I took our son to his grandparents house so they, along with my older sister, could watch him while we were in the hospital, we ate take-out Mexican food for dinner, and went to bed early, anxiously waiting for the morning. At some point throughout the night I rolled over in bed and suddenly I heard a “pop” and a gush of liquid. My only thought was that my water had broken, baby was coming on her own! I then went to the bathroom and saw that I was bleeding a pretty good amount. I became worried but still was not prepared for what I was about to endure. I woke my husband and we rushed to the hospital, thinking we would be meeting our daughter very soon.
Because it was the middle of the night we had to go to the emergency room entrance of the hospital, this is where my world suddenly shattered right in front of me. The nurse first tried to find baby’s heartbeat with the doppler but seemed to be having trouble. I changed positions to see if that would help and still nothing. I really began to worry now and started crying. I couldn’t recall if I had felt her move since leaving for the hospital. Eventually, they brought in an ultrasound tech to see baby on the monitor and maybe that would be easier for finding the heartbeat. The next words out of the tech’s mouth were the most heartbreaking. “I’m sorry but I’m not seeing any movement or a heartbeat”. I could not believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I screamed “no” over and over and withered in agony as my husband wept beside me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a painful sound come out of me before. How could our baby girl be dead? She was perfect literally hours before at my last ultrasound appointment. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened. This was my worst nightmare.
The next decisions that my husband and I had to make were the most difficult we have ever had to face. I was going to have to deliver my daughter, lifeless. We were going to have to decide if we wanted to bury or cremate her. Things that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
After several hours of being in labor, Layla Marie Loera was welcomed into this world on October 28, 2020 at 8:05 AM, silent but oh so beautiful. We were very blessed that we got to spend almost two days with our daughter. I was so scared to look at or hold her but she was absolutely precious. With a full head of fine, dark hair and long fingers and toes, she looked so similar to her big brother when he was born. We were told by my doctors that a spontaneous placental abruption is what took our Layla from us. A “freak accident” they said. All I remember thinking was “Why us? Why my baby girl?”
The months after Layla’s death were met with heavy grief, anger, and sadness. There were days where I didn’t think I could go on any longer. I longed for my baby girl more than anything. I struggled to be a good and present mother to my living son (something I still struggle with today). My and my husband’s entire families were affected from this tragic loss. I tried not to let my mind go over all of the “what if’s”. What if I had pushed for that earlier induction date? Was it something that I did that had caused the abruption that night? It didn’t matter because none of it brought our Layla back to us. I had to accept that I had had a stillbirth. That death had lived inside of me. But I also had to realize that I was a survivor through all of this.
Making the decision to try to conceive again after such a devastating loss was so difficult. I don’t think I was ever really ready but I desperately longed for another baby. On Valentine’s Day 2021, we found out that we were expecting again! I assumed I would be overjoyed but ultimately, I felt conflicted. I knew this baby wasn’t Layla. No baby could ever replace her.
Unfortunately, that baby didn’t get to stay as I experienced an early missed miscarriage at 8 weeks. Again, we were devastated. Now we’ve had two losses in a row, each different in their own way. We saw it as we just couldn’t catch a break and were definitely discouraged at that point. After our second loss, my husband and I decided we would not actively try to conceive again until we were ready. We said if it happened on its own, then great! But we needed some time to emotionally heal and deal with our grief.
In July 2021, the day after our son’s 2nd birthday, we found out that we were expecting again. This would be my 4th pregnancy within three years. My body was tired but I hoped that this baby would stay. I needed this baby to stay. When we found out it was another little girl, it was bittersweet and again, I felt conflicted. I was going to have another daughter but it wasn’t going to be Layla. Making that distinction was hard for me and something I had to get used to.
Pregnancy after loss has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. Knowing that I could go through another entire pregnancy and there be a possibility of not bringing a baby home is the most anxiety-inducing feeling. Connecting with this baby has been a journey that took some time but now, with only a couple weeks left to go, I am cautiously optimistic that we will bring this baby girl home with us.
We will never forget our Layla girl. My family and I try to honor her in any and every way that we can. My living children will always know that they have a sister living up amongst the stars. I like to think that Layla handpicked this little rainbow girl just for us and will watch over her and our family for eternity.
My motherhood journey is still ongoing but the four babies that have lived in my belly (all with varying lengths of time) will always be apart of me. They made me who I am today – a mother.
“Our rainbow baby girl, Ella Marie, entered this world in March 2022, safe and healthy. She shares a middle name with her big sister who lives amongst the stars. We are so happy that she has made it earthside and are already so in love with her!”
Photos taken by Bresha Porter.
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