Vanessa’s Story

Project finding your rainbow baby- Vanessa & Robert

After being together for 8 years, and married for one, in 2019 my husband Robert & I made the decision to start growing our family. Never did we imagine that we would be on a journey of joy, heartbreak, grief, trauma, hope and faith.

After trying for a year naturally, my doctor referred us, to a IVF clinic. We went through a lot of testing and came to the decision we would try a few rounds of IUIs (Intrauterine Insemination) A few rounds turned into a heartbreaking four rounds of failed IUIs. At that point we decided we had to move on, and the next option would be IVF/ICSI (In-Vitro fertilization). Emotionally & mentally this process was rough. I had amazing support from my husband, and that was the only thing that kept me going. But deep down I still felt very alone, and questioned “why us?”

After a few retrievals and failed transfers, we finally became pregnant in 2021! We were over the moon with excitement. We graduated from the IVF clinic, we shared with our family, friends, and social media. We purchased our nursery set, and we had a big gender reveal party. We found out we were having a baby boy. His name was Ivan Robert. It was the best day ever. At 19 weeks we went in for our anatomy scan and we walked out with news of a healthy baby boy. At 21 weeks and 5 days I woke up with cramping, hours later I was in the hospital 3cm dilated with bulging membranes. I was told there was nothing they could do to save my boy, that I was suffering from an incompetent cervix. The next day we gave birth to the most beautiful little boy ever. He cried when he was born, and it is a sound I will NEVER forget. He lived for just a few seconds before leaving this earth.

The minutes, hours, days, weeks, months after giving birth to my boy felt like torture. I could not understand why my body failed Ivan. Life stopped for my husband & I. The deep dark pits of grief took over and most days I did not even want to be alive. I never thought we would see the light again.

After doing some research I came across a group on Facebook called “Abby loopers.” This group was filled with women from all over the world who had comparable stories to me! Who lost their babies to IC & PPROM. Many who went on to get a TAC (Transabdominal Cerclage) and brought their rainbow baby’s home! Many who shared my grief but reminded me that the light would come back into my life. They made me feel less alone. With the support of our grief counselor, God, family, friends, and the loss community, somehow, we pulled ourselves out of the deep part of grief and found some hope. We traveled from New York to El Paso Texas to get our TAC by the amazing Dr. Sumners.

After that we made the scary decision to jump back into IVF. At the same time grieving and honoring our beautiful son. We shared our story on our local news station, we participated and still participate in walks and a lantern release to honor our Ivan. We talk about him often and feel his presence every day.

Today we are a few weeks away from welcoming our beautiful rainbow baby Luna Akili in late March 2023! Our hearts mourn and miss our son every day, but we believe that God & Ivan sent us this little girl to help continue to heal our hearts.

Pregnancy after loss is FAR from easy. Many days I still wonder if this baby girl will make it home. But God has continued to carry us through the anxiety, the fear and somehow givens us this sense of hope and faith to keep believing that good things can happen for us.

If you are in the deepest part of grief right now, I promise you are not alone. Find your tribe, this can be your family or friends, or social media. Talk about your baby(ies), they mattered no matter how long they were here. The light does make its way back in! The grief will always be there, and you will always miss your baby(ies), but it changes. You learn to live with it and smile at the wind hitting your face, or that bird or butterfly that lands on your windowsill. Find & feel your baby(ies) in the things around you. My inbox is always open for anyone who needs to talk, vent, cry, etc. Hang onto that little bit of hope and faith because it can carry you far!

Vanessa and her husband smile at each other and hold hands.  She is wearing a white top and the rainbow skirt.

Vanessa wears the rainbow skirt and holds her hands on her pregnant belly.  Her husbands hands are in the picture holding an ultrasound picture of their baby.

Vanessa wears the rainbow skirt.  She holds a silver teddy bear with a blue heart.

Vanessa wears the rainbow skirt.  She leans against a brick wall with a window.  There are white flowers on the windowsill.

Photos taken by Zandalee Photography.

Find out more about Project Finding Your Rainbow.

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