I recently came across this photo while I was browsing Facebook. The blog Scarrymommy shared it. The photographer, Alex Bolen, of Shutter Darling Photography captured a stunning image of 6 women that had their own stories of loss but where able to come out of it with their rainbow. In a Facebook captions, Bolen writes, “A rainbow is a promise, of sunshine after rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of peace after pain, of love after loss.” She says, “A rainbow baby is a baby born following loss. These mommas are just six out of the millions that experience pregnancy/infant loss every day. Some speak out. Some stay silent. Some have lost many. Some try for months or years. Some meet their sleeping angels. All loved and never forgotten.”
This got me thinking. Loss is something often shared and talked about but the type of loss that these women endured are something that most people shy away from and don’t speak up about, but let me tell you from experience, this is a loss that most need support more then ever.
Pregnancy loss is a hard subject to talk about because most people don’t know what to say. They haven’t known that human growing inside of you so it’s hard for them to imagine what your going through. For most people suffering through this loss, the feelings of being alone and embarrassed can be overwhelming. That’s why I think we need to start sharing so that those women feeling trapped in there own nightmare can feel like they aren’t alone.
I was a year into my marriage, 28 years old, when it finally hit us that maybe this getting pregnant thing wasn’t gonna be easy for us.
My OBGYN referred us to a fertility doctor to see if there was further testing that needed to be done to determine why it wasn’t happening for us. I never thought I would be in this situation, my periods where like clockwork and I never had any indication that I would be one in so many women suffering from infertility.
Our first appointment was stressful and after a what felt like a million questions and a ton of bloodwork, we waited to see if there was something that could give us a better answer. Well, there was nothing. Our bloodwork came back normal and TMI my husbands sperm count was above average. So why was this happening, why aren’t we pregnant yet.
There where a few Dr.s that we cycled through on our journey to have a baby. Every appointment started with an awkward wait in a room full of other women going through similar situations but eye contact was never made. I still don’t understand that but that’s how i felt in the situation. It was an odd feeling of embarrassment and being alone even though I knew they all where struggling with something like me.
Our first cycle approached and the Dr. Suggested we try a round of Clomid with an IUI. In easier terms, that means they took his swimmers and basically turkey basted them into me. Sorry, that was literally how I felt. Lol. Once it was over I was left there with no pants on a cold table with a paper sheet that barely covered me. They let my husband come in and we waited for 10 mins, although it felt like an hour. As we waited we where trying to stay positive so he Tryed to make me laugh and I chanted, in the words of Dory,”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.
After that they sent us home and the dreaded Two week wait had begun. For those of you who don’t know about the two week wait, it’s a two week process where a fertilized egg makes its way to implant into your uterus and you can become pregnant. In other words the two weeks you are stressed and anxious and Google every possible early pregnancy symptom.
Well the stars must of been aligned bc two weeks later I got my very first positive pregnancy test. I immediately found a box and wrapped it up so cute with a bow and waited patiently for my husband to get home from work. He was so thrilled to open it and we sat there in our empty house and cried. Finally it was happening for us. The next two weeks where the most exciting and devastating time I have ever gone through.
I was too impatient to keep it to myself so I told my mom, my sister, the random lady at the Dr.s office, everyone I could tell. Knowing that there was something growing inside me gave my life a purpose that I have never known. The excitement grew when I got my first phone call after bloodwork congratulating me that I was officially pregnant.
Going through fertility, you constantly are going in for bloodwork so the next week I was in every couple of days so they could check if my hcg levels where rising the way they should. I’ll never forget the next few days, they replay in my head all the time.
We live on the east coast so hurricane season is often a time we know well. It was 2012 so Predictions of hurricane sandy where playing on the news over and over again, yet I had to get out to the house to go for more bloodwork. The storm was suppose to hit the day I was planning on driving in so I was nervous to get on the roads. It was very windy that day but not too bad. It took me a little longer to get there but I survived the storm and made it there and back with no problems. Again I waited. They weren’t sure if they would be able to get my results to me that day because of the storm but I didn’t care. I was pregnant and that’s all that mattered.
That afternoon the Fertility office called. They didn’t sound the same as they had the few times before. They began to tell me that my levels didn’t rise and actually that they where dropping. I didn’t understand what was happening at the moment but the fact of he matter was, I was about to have my very first, yet not last, miscarriage. I was devastated. On top of it all, on the same day I found out I was about to lose my baby, i was given news that my brother was expecting their first baby. A time I wish I could be excited for them and for me, I ended up feeling like a failure.
I was told to expect to start bleeding in a few days and to come back for routine bloodwork to make sure my HCG levels would go completely down. It felt like forever waiting for something that I thought was growing to end. Every time I used the bathroom I expected to see blood but it didnt happen for another week. I spent days at home not getting out of bed and crying constantly. I was mourning something I didn’t fully get to know and it was so confusing. My family was torn between the excitement for my brother and his girlfriend that they didn’t know how to handle things with me. No one close to us had ever gone through something like this or so we thought. My husband was grieving in his own way while trying to be there for me but we both didn’t know what each other needed. Still to this day I think about that baby growing inside of me that I didn’t get to hold or know.
The next year was filled with bloodtests, ultrasounds, negative pregnancy tests, and disappointment. Going through this journey to have our rainbow baby became too stressful for us to handle. We decided to take a break and found ourselves getting pregnant out of no where and on our own. Unfortunately after a few weeks I began to bleed and ended up miscarrying in the hospital at 7 weeks pregnant. Again we had to go through the grieving processes and again I felt alone.
It wasn’t until I decided to get another opinion that I finally felt alittle relief. I was told to expect to be at the first appointment for up to 4 hours. He was very thorough and did every possible test you could think of. By the end, all he told me was that I don’t need all these treatments they where doing and he suggested that my progesterone is just low. Progesterone is a hormone your body makes and is necessary to build the uterine lining so that the fertilized egg can implant and continue to grow. So we moved forward with his suggestion and used progesterone suppositories after I ovulated. We prayed that one would stick and stay.
After 3 years of trying and 2 miscarriages, my rainbow baby came on May 18th 2014. Jake Gerard came at 2:24am weighing in at 6lbs and 13ounces.
My pregnancy wasn’t the easiest but it progressed the way it should and I didn’t have too many terrible symptoms. We did have one little scare at 10 weeks when I had some spotting but otherwise I was fine and best of all my baby was growing normally. He came 5 weeks early and spent a few days in the NICU but only because he had low blood sugar. Once that evened out we where able to take him home.
Although I have this absolute miracle, I still have suffered more loss than I can handle. I currently have had 3 more miscarriages on another journey to give Jake a sister or brother, but that’s another story for another time.
In this process I have found some unlikely sources to help me cope with my infertility and pregnancy loses. I see a therapist when needed to help me get out the emotions I keep bottled up. I found others that I am close too that have gone through similar situations and use them for support and advice when I need it. I browse the internet reading countless stories of loss and success and it helps me feel like I’m not alone. I like to paint although I don’t do it nearly enough. Most of all I cherish every minute I get to have with this child that grew inside me. The one quote I found that meant something to me through this process was “When the world says give up, HOPE whispers, try it one more time” I may have Tryed it way more than one time, but it got me through each individual situation.
If your out there going through anything similar to what we have gone through, just know that your not the only one suffering. Although it’s something that will always be there, it will get better. Keep trying to find what’s right for you and your family. You have to do what’s best for you. You are strong and amazing, but most of all, you are NOT alone.
#rainbowbabies #infertility #pregnancyloss #miscarriage #recurrentmiscarriage #hopeafterastorm #hope #justkeepswimming #dory #findingnemo #ellen #ellendegeneres #miracles #youarenotalone