Our Pregnancy Journey

I write this as I sit here waiting to go into labor. It could be any minute or it could be days. My impatience and anxiety are growing yet I am trying to treasure every last moment. I have all of the third trimester things right now… my body hurts, I spend most of the time going to the potty, I can hardly breathe anymore, and don’t even think about asking me to bend down! But through all of that I am constantly reminding myself how lucky we are and the road that brought us here.

It was the fall of 2018 when we decided maybe another baby was in the cards for us. We have a big family and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are literally made up of his, hers, and ours. Gene (my husband) and I each had two children before we got married and in 2015 I gave birth to our son Brady. That pregnancy was a dream. It went by fast and everything about it was easy until my placenta wouldn’t deliver. My ob had to manually remove it but that was the worst thing that happened during our entire pregnancy and delivery so hey, not bad for our first try at babies!

Fast forward to December 2018. I saw those two pink lines on a pregnancy test that told us we were going to be parents again! I called and made the confirmation appointment a few days later, only to be let down later that same day when I started bleeding. They told me it was a chemical pregnancy and if I hadn’t been tracking my periods I wouldn’t have even known the difference. There was no sac. No baby.

I was heartbroken. I had gotten super excited already in just the few days that I thought I was growing a tiny human again. December came and went and with it we lost our beloved pet shih tzu of 8 years as well. December was a whirlwind of emotions and sadness but wouldn’t compare to what was coming.

We got pregnant again on our next cycle. Wow! We started telling ourselves all the things you say when something positive comes after tragedy. This is meant to be! God works in mysterious ways! There’s always light after darkness! We just needed to be patient! All the things.

Later in January, we went for an ultrasound at 9 weeks. There was our little bean on the screen! My palms were sweating. Gene looked like he was going to pass out. Something wasn’t right. No heartbeat. To say we were devastated is an understatement.

I had birthed 3 babies with no complications. How could this be happening now? Was something wrong with me? Were we only meant to have Brady and that was it? Should we just be grateful for the beautiful family we have? So many unanswered questions. So much doubt. So much guilt. So much heartache.

I chose to get the D&C because honestly I just couldn’t bare to go home and sit and wait for my dead baby to literally leave my body.

Just when I thought my body was starting to recover, two weeks later on Valentine’s Day, I was in my classroom having a Valentine’s party for ten bright eyed third graders when blood started gushing down my legs. This is graphic so if you don’t want to know the details, skip over this next paragraph!

I went to the teacher bathroom and was passing softball size blood clots. I managed to waddle outside of the bathroom to the phone to call my mom who also works at school to come to me. We ended up going straight to the Women’s Center where I was admitted to (of all places) the Labor and Delivery floor for the next three days.

I had to walk the halls so the clot would pass while listening to newborn babies cry and watching pregnant mamas prepare to meet their unborn babes. There are no words. It was a huge setback.

The following months we tried to get back to “normal.” Finally summertime came and we enjoyed life again, spending more time in the sunshine and with family. Time was healing us.

July 2019 was a good month. In August, I saw those two pink lines again! Only this time I didn’t get too excited. I didn’t freak out like I wanted to. I didn’t tell the world that we were expecting again.

We went for an ultrasound at 12 weeks. Scariest. Day. Of. Our. Lives. Everything was fine! Baby bean was growing. From then on I never got comfortable but I was hopeful. We found out at 20 weeks that I had a low lying placenta. They assured us it would correct itself and it did. We decided that we weren’t going to find out the gender. This was our surprise rainbow baby.

When you are pregnant after experiencing a miscarriage, anyone who has been through this will tell you that there’s always a trickle of doubt in the back of your mind. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, the moment you notice you aren’t feeling baby move will send you into a frenzy. You will be nervous for every single prenatal appointment. You will continue to think “Is this real?” You will pinch yourself just to make sure.

Time is a funny thing. When I look back on this journey in particular, I think about how I felt then. How I couldn’t see past my grief. I couldn’t believe that I could get past that empty feeling. I didn’t think I would ever feel like myself again. Grief never really goes away but it changes.

I think about the baby we lost every day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what life would look like today if that baby was here. Was she a girl or a boy… would she have had red hair and big brown eyes? She or he would be 8 months this week.

So we made it this far. We are at the end of this pregnancy. Just when we think, “We did it!,” a national pandemic hits the US. Coronavirus. One baby shower cancelled and a change in birth plans… leaves us with no birth photographer and our other children won’t be able to visit us in the hospital. This has tried to bring us down. The anxiety and fear that has set in surrounding this virus has been overwhelming. We are nervous about being in the hospital where there are known cases. We are worried the baby, or any of our kids, will get it and have to go receive treatment without us by their side. It is terrifying. But we will not let this ruin what we have waited so long for. This happiness. This joy.

We are only days (maybe hours!) from meeting our rainbow baby. We are overcome with excitement and gratefulness. Our entire story has led up to this. And I know this isn’t where our story ends and I am nervous about how our delivery will go! We are praying for a healthy baby.

Maybe it’s a “thirties” thing.. but you begin to see your life as a novel God has written for you. There’s a setting and a plot… even characters. There are chapters. There is heartache and tragedy. Love and happiness. We are starting our next chapter and it just feels right.

Xoxo,

MK

Pregnant during the pandemic

I think it’s safe to say that everyone is aware of the worldwide pandemic that is the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. The media surrounding this virus has provoked fear, panic, and skepticism across our country. Schools are closed, events are cancelled, sports seasons are halted, and grocery stores have cut back their open hours. We have been encouraged to stay at home, refrain from going to the park or have play dates with friends. It seems the internet and news programs have forgotten about much else besides this virus. The average healthy person may or may not be worried about catching the virus, but what if you’re pregnant?

The CDC tells us that because COVID-19 is a new disease, we do not know yet if a pregnant woman has a greater chance of contracting the virus nor do we know how the virus impacts pregnancy or whether it can be passed on to the unborn baby. The CDC website states that there have only been very few cases in pregnant women and that much is still unclear. Read more here – (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fpregnancy-faq.html)

In a way the data is positive in the fact that the numbers of pregnant women who have had the Coronavirus are very low. There have only been a small number of complications with pregnancies in women who have had Coronavirus and those outcomes cannot be solely blamed on the virus itself, according to the CDC. Overall, pregnant women should still be cautious and stay away from anyone who is sick, just as they would treat the flu or strep throat, or the stomach bug.

Does this information take my fears away? Absolutely not. I was anxious and nervous about birthing a healthy baby before I even had knowledge about what this virus was and way before the virus came to America.

Does this information increase my fear at 8 months pregnant? Absolutely. The fact that there is so much unknown is scary. However, what’s more scary to me is how people are reacting to all of this. It’s a pandemic of panic.

My biggest fear is that I would have the virus and have to be separated from my baby after delivery. (This happened in England!) Although I would never want to get my newborn sick, I am more concerned that because of the hype surrounding this virus and the precautions that have been put in place by hospitals to protect us due to the hysteria, that those special first few minutes, hours, and days with my newborn could be compromised if I were to test positive for the virus. What if this virus could affect me simply as a bad cold and not harm my baby at all? I get it. So much is unknown and we can’t take any chances. Can you imagine not being able to immediately bond with your baby?

I am not trying to downplay this serious virus by any means and these precautions may be necessary and in our best interests… But I can’t help but be prematurely disappointed in how this may affect our delivery. I have been looking forward to spending those first few days with our baby in our little hospital room bubble since the day we found out we were pregnant. I have been looking forward to seeing our other children’s faces as they walk in our room to see the new baby for the first time. Granted, I’ll still get to see their reaction, even if it’s not until we get home since our hospital has now implemented new visitation rules stating no children may visit a patient. And we will still be in a little hospital bubble at some point, but so much is unknown and out of our control because of the craziness that has been provoked recently that it does cause us to be anxious and nervous about what will happen when our baby decides to make his or her entrance into this world.

I will heed all precautions and avoid people and public places and the Lord knows I’ve been washing my hands like crazy. I will sadly stay away from Target. (Internally crying) I will continue to be the germaphobe that I have always been when it comes to trying to avoid any kind of sickness. But the only way to get through this with a peaceful mind is to have faith in God. This is all out of our control and there’s nothing I can do about the hospital policies or when the baby decides to come. There’s nothing I can do about the way the entire world is going ballistic. I can only have faith that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. That’s. All. I. Can. Do.

When the fear sets in, I have to remind myself that we have overcome SO MUCH to get this far… surgery to remove my IUD, over a year of trying to get pregnant, a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage, and everything in between… After many negative pregnancy tests… after we had stopped “trying,” and those two little pink lines appeared out of the blue… We have made it through every ultrasound and every prenatal appointment with flying colors. We have spent 9 months worrying and hoping and preparing for… now.

The world can’t hurt this joy.

I will do everything in my power to protect this baby, as I would do if there wasn’t a pandemic outside my front door. All that’s left for us to do is keep the faith and trust in God, praying that this too shall pass.

Stay healthy my preggo friends!

Xoxo,

MK

The rainbow after the storm

March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month! March is the perfect month for this because it represents fresh beginnings and brighter days. This month, we acknowledge and support women who have experienced pregnancy loss but are now trying to conceive or are pregnant with their rainbow baby.

Pregnancy after miscarriage is harder than I imagined it would be. The last 7 months have been full of fear and hope simultaneously in the strangest way. I have prayed more than I ever have in my entire life. I have worried and prayed and worried some more. I told myself that with each “milestone” of this pregnancy that I would feel better and it would be easier. But, even after passing the first ultrasound, after making it to the 24 week mark where baby is considered “viable,” and even after overcoming a low lying placenta and hearing that baby is healthy and head down and ready to go… there’s still a sliver of fear that trickles in every now and then that makes you doubt that these dreams will come to fruition.

At the same time, I’m excited and anxious and happy. There are so many “what if’s” and I have to constantly remind myself that everything is okay. But the joy is one that makes your heart so full it could literally explode.

Pregnancy after loss is so different from the other three “normal” pregnancies I’ve had. This time you notice every kick. This time you are scared to death when you arrive for a check up at the ob and you’re on top of the world when you leave the office with a good report. This pregnancy is buying all the baby things with all the hope but you say a prayer beside your new bassinet that you’ll actually get to meet this baby. This entire experience has been a balance between joy and grief.

Pregnancy after loss is still grieving the baby you lost while learning to fall in love with a little rainbow. There’s a feeling of guilt that will overcome you every time you begin to complain about your back hurting at 34 weeks or when you’re throwing up for the 21st day in a row, you tell yourself you’re being ungrateful because deep down you know that things could be so much worse. When none of your clothes fit and you can’t sleep at night because you’re so uncomfortable, you remind yourself that this could all be over in an instant.

There’s also an awareness you have when you’re talking about being pregnant or planning for the new baby. While I want to be excited and share everything, I am cautious because I know there could be someone present or listening who is struggling with infertility or who just lost their own baby. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It has happened to women all around you. Miscarriage has taught me to be sensitive to those statistics.

If you just found out you’re expecting a rainbow, or you’re trying to conceive, or you are grieving a loss, there is hope. This month we remember the storms we’ve been through. We accept the difficulties we are experiencing and we talk about it. We spread awareness about this almost taboo topic and we continue to support each other in an effort to understand that not one of us is alone in this journey.

“In the world of pregnancy after loss there is a story of hope about a precious new life, and it’s the story of the rainbow baby. It is based on the understanding that the beauty of the rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. The clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides hope and promise of new life ahead.”

Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month

Xoxo,

MK

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

This pregnancy has been a whirlwind of emotions so far. I will be 19 weeks this week and after losing our last baby at 9 weeks, I am still extremely nervous every day.


Every time I go to the bathroom, I can’t help but look for the one thing that has the potential to change everything… blood. Every time I feel any kind of pain, it sends off alarms in my head. Every minute of every day, I have to try not to think about what could go wrong.


Am I drinking enough water? I forgot to take my prenatals. Maybe I’m sleeping the wrong way. I’m not eating healthy enough…. All of these thoughts that I have this time around because I’ve experienced how quickly babies can be taken away.


It‘s hard to see the future when the future has been ripped away from you before. It’s hard to imagine I’ll actually give birth this time or that we’re actually having a baby. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, even when I’m looking at this growing belly or putting on my maternity pants. Who would have thought that buying onesies and tiny hats would be scary?


I’m terrified. Nothing is promised and theres no guarantee I’ll be pregnant.. even tomorrow.


Looking back on when I was pregnant with my first 3 kids, I honestly feel like I took those pregnancies for granted. That I.. got lucky.. that we made it through those 9 months that I realize now are so fragile and delicate. There are so many babies and mamas that aren’t that lucky. And I had no clue until it happened to me.


So many people have said to me, things like.. I knew it would happen for you! Or… I’m so happy you’re pregnant! All things we want to hear, but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking… when will we ever feel like we’re “in the clear” this time?


Don’t worry, there are plenty of moments where I am SO excited! We are thinking of baby names, asking about family names for inspiration, and we’ve even started buying a few baby things. We’re looking at car seats and I am planning on where to put the crib, and what new furniture to buy.


Every. single. moment. I am grateful.

Even with the worrying, I am thankful, and I won’t stop praying, praying, praying that our rainbow will be here this Spring, plump and healthy with all ten fingers and all ten toes! This holiday season we have so much to be thankful for and I will continue to pray for all of those other mamas out there who are pregnant and battling their own fears… and for those mamas who are still hopeful and trying.


Xoxo,

MK

I Still Think of You

I think about you often. Some days, what happened feels so far away. We’ve been so busy with summer, vacationing, boating… all good things that bring me happiness and time with my family. Somehow I keep going.

But other days, you feel so close. Like you were here just hours earlier. Like I was just so sick yesterday. Planning and dreaming. Those are the moments it comes flooding back… the joy, the hope, the pain, the tears, the emptiness I feel inside.

There will always be something missing. Because we had a miscarriage.

I was 9 weeks pregnant when we found out that your little heart had stopped. That you had stopped growing. The week of my 32nd birthday I found out you had died. I had to have surgery so they could take you away from us.

My birthday will always.. pretty much.. suck. Not because of you but because I will miss you even more every year if that’s even possible.

Your brothers and sisters are growing up. Driving, middle school, dance classes, pre-k… we are all moving on but I still think of you.

The world keeps turning. The days go by. But I still think of you.

I think of how I would be preparing our home for you right about now. Nesting in full swing. Only a couple of months to go until we would meet you. I think of your chubby cheeks and baby smells. I wonder how fast you would roll over or begin crawling. I think of how cute you would look trying to be a ballerina like your big sisters. I imagine how much your brother would dislike you for coming in last, taking his stardom as the baby.

I think about what you would look like. Whether your hair would be red like your big brother’s. Or if it would be curly or straight. Would you have your daddy’s nose or my big brown eyes? Would you have my petite feet? Would you love the beach?

Whenever I see other pregnant bellies I think of you. I think of you when I photograph other families. I think of you every time I see a bird flying above me or a dragonfly lands on my foot. I still think of you.

You may be gone and we will never meet you here on this earth. But some day I’ll get to hold you in my arms. Until then, I will continue to share. I will write about you. I will always love you.

And for now, I will still think of you every day and there will always be something missing in my heart.

Xoxo,

MK