Miscarriage

Ashley’s Story

Baby G & Naomi

March 2021- it had been 9 months of carefully tracking every sign and symptom of my cycle. I even bought an expensive OPK from a Facebook ad thinking I’d get better results. Then, in mid March, on the day we were heading to my OB to start the conversation of helping us in our journey to parenthood, we got the 2 lines. We were pregnant! My husband and I were excited, relieved, scared, etc.

These feelings however were short lived. That night I started spotting. But my medical degree from Google University taught me that was normal. I bled off and on for a week and we finally went to the ER to see what was going on. We then found out our little bean was ectopic. At the time, I didn’t realize the severity of what could have happened. I was given an methotrexate injection and instructed to get blood work done once a week until my hormones returned to normal.

I bled for a month straight! I didn’t realize until later how lucky I was. We caught it early enough, Baby G was only 4 weeks along. “It was just a fluke!” We kept saying.

Once we got the okay to try again we did.

September 2021, another positive test. Because of the ectopic, we went in for an ultrasound at 6 weeks to make sure it wasn’t another ectopic. We held our breaths until that appointment.

Whew! Sigh of relief, not ectopic and we even got to see the heartbeat. We had to go back in the next week to make sure the heartbeat was continuing to rise as normal. During that week I was out on progesterone. That week 7 appointment was more good news! Things looked good. We were really going to be parents and we could finally be excited about it.

At this time I had also entered into, what would be, my last & most stressful year as an 8th grade teacher. Things seemed to be progressing well. My symptoms were bearable.

Then came the week before Thanksgiving break….11 weeks along

On Monday, I started bleeding at school. I ran to a co-worker’s office crying on my plan and she did her best to calm me down. As with most teachers I thought I’d stay through the day and then reevaluate from there….I did just have a pelvic exam so that’s the cause of the bleeding right?

I told my principal what was going on. She came to my room to check on me and she could tell from my frazzled instructions to the class that I wasn’t okay. She insisted I go home so I did. Bleeding had stopped so I went home and relaxed the rest day. Luckily we were given an online learning day the next day so I just had to post my assignment online and I could spend the day relaxing. The bleeding had stopped, things seemed fine.

On Wednesday, I went to work as normal. By lunch time the bleeding started again. I knew this time something was wrong. I told my teaching team and principal I needed to go to the ER. My amazing principal even offered to drive me. The ER doctors confirmed what we already knew, I was miscarrying.

I immediately texted my therapist who got me in the next day along with a follow up with my OB.

The next day I went to my therapy appointment and towards the end the cramping started. I made it home with the worst pain I’ve ever had. What happened next was a whirlwind of tears, trauma, multiple pairs of underwear, a towel, and eventually an emergency D&C.

Through all of this, take a wild guess what I spent a majority of the time thinking about? My classroom, my students, what quick sub plans I can get together, how I’m going to explain my sudden absence to my 8th graders who watched me leave in a panic twice in one week.

See, that’s the thing about teaching. Our whole identity becomes about our students and our classroom. I barely had time to grieve what had happened before I had to go back to class and try to explain to my students what happened all while dealing with the same behavior issues I’d been dealing with all year. Oh, and did I mention I was in my last year of grad school?

It was a lot. I became mad & bitter towards God. I lost who I was, I lost my baby Naomi, and even though I thought I was hiding it well, those closest to me knew I wasn’t the same.

It’s been a tough year of finding out why our journey to parenthood has been this painful. 2023 is off to a better start, I’m in my new role as a school counselor in a new school district. I have a doctor who is willing to help us.

Hopefully this story will have a happy ending and not end here; feeling left behind by life while those closest to me have been building their families.

This isn’t a club I want to be a part of but man, it’s a community of some of the most supportive strangers I’ve ever met.

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Coping With Loss

Life After Pregnancy Loss: Emily

Emily was one of the first to share her story on The Understanding Heart (and one of 3 Emily’s! Haha, we love you all). Her original story was written a year ago, right around Hazel’s first birthday. The following is her perspective of life after pregnancy loss.

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Life after loss feels like a revolving door that you’re not allowed to exit. It’s been two years since I dumped my beer down the drain after taking a pregnancy test on a whim. I couldn’t believe that there were two lines there. I held the secret in two days until my husband returned from his hunting trip because I wanted him to know in person. Only weeks later to have the elated feeling crumble into a thousand pieces. 

I used to get angry when people would tell me after losing Hazel that it wouldn’t always hurt this bad. How could I ever get over or feel better about losing a child. I’ve had to endure close friends, siblings, cousins experience pregnancy and birth all while in this inbetween. I say endure because it’s hard- some days forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other. It’s even harder to allow yourself the ability to be happy for them AND sad that it’s not you. I struggled with that a lot. It’s a hard fact to talk about but needs to be talked about more. How someone’s happy news literally brings me to my knees with tears flowing like a river. Why can’t that be me? Why do they get to bring their baby home? Why does it have to be so hard? Why do I have to hear my son’s pleas for a real baby? Explaining to an almost four year old why his sister is in heaven and not here is a very difficult thing. It makes my heart break into a million pieces. I wish it was simpler and I wish it was fair. Nothing about losing a child is either of those things.

In the almost two years since my loss I feel like I’ve been through a battle. Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I wish at this point my story had a happy next chapter, but we don’t. Sometimes pregnancy loss leads to an even longer road. In August 2021, a uterine ultrasound to get a baseline picture turned into a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE)- tests, lots of headaches with insurance, and a surgery to remove a uterine septum. I was happy they found something that could have been the cause to my miscarriage. Surely removing it and healing would help me get pregnant again. 

Once we hit the 12 months of trying to get pregnant, I had to make the phone call back to the RE office for next steps. After more tests for both myself and my husband we were diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility. That diagnosis really stung. It felt like my body failed me again. I felt broken and still do. 

We are in the throes of infertility treatments. My mind automatically goes to the what ifs. What if it doesn’t work? What are the next steps? Can I do more? Besides the physical, emotional toll, the financial toll is another issue. Nothing is covered by insurance- because apparently having a family isn’t something that we should be paying for, right? The number of phone calls I have made to the insurance company is far too great to count. This adds to the stress and trauma of this all. 

For the last two years I’ve felt like my body hasn’t been “mine”. Whether it was to house Hazel, deal with postpartum, hormones to regulate my cycle before and after surgery, hormones to induce a period after my 55 day cycle, more medications to induce follicle growth for intrauterine insemination, and hCg trigger shots. For someone with a fear of needles I am pretty darn proud of myself that I can give myself shots! 

I have many questions that come with no answers. How did the pregnancy that was so easy to come by be the one that didn’t make it? These things I will never understand. I lay my head down each day grateful for my (almost) four year old son that feels more like a miracle with every passing day. I hope for the day when I get to the other side of this storm and no matter the outcome I hope it brings me peace. Until then, I’ll keep looking for signs from Hazel to let me know she’s watching over us.

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Coping With Loss

Life After Pregnancy Loss: Toni

Toni shared the story of her baby Kingston on the blog in May 2022. This is her perspective of life after pregnancy loss.

It has been 1 year, 9 months and 21 days since we were told that our sweet baby didn’t have a heartbeat. I still remember that cold, snowy day. I remember the heartbreak in my children’s eyes as we asked the ultrasound tech to look again and try harder to find the heartbeat and watching my husband hit his knees, pleading with Jesus and calling out for my sons heart to beat again.

I remember feeling the most lost I’ve ever felt. Completely unable to make one single decision. I was met with a wall of uncertainty and, if I’m honest, I find myself back at that wall from time to time. 

It’s hard to believe how much time just moves on. Almost as though I am supposed to just walk away and pretend it never happened. 

Life after loss is really weird. One moment I’m completely fine, without a care in the world and then the biggest wave of grief just knocks me down again. It’s something I never imagined I’d walk through. Still to this day I can hear the ultrasound tech’s words ringing in my head. It feels like a really bad nightmare, except this is actually my reality. 

As a believer in Jesus, don’t think I didn’t and still don’t wonder why Jesus didn’t bring my baby boy back to me. I definitely do. It’s in those moments I have to remind myself that even though that moment in time didn’t go how I thought it should go, He is still so good and He hears me when I pray. 

Grief isn’t just over, unfortunately. It doesn’t just leave. It’s a story in and of itself, and while I don’t like to read it very often, I know one day my story will be able to help someone else and I’ll know the purpose behind my pain. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jesus didn’t take my baby. He is still so good and He can always be trusted. 

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Our Story

A letter to my baby

December 2022

Every year, near the anniversary of my miscarriage, I write a letter of some sort. The first year, I was pregnant with my now-living daughter and made a video for her. Last year, I wrote it to my pre-miscarriage self. This year, I was in a space where I was able to write a short letter for Anthony, my baby that died during pregnancy at 10 weeks and 5 days.

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Hey bud,

It’s been 3 years since you started to leave. I can’t believe it’s been that long, and at the same time, I feel like it’s too short – I feel like I’ve known you my entire life.

Even in those early moments, you felt familiar. People will say “oh, at least you were only 10 weeks.” Have you ever met someone that changed your life the instant you met them? I met you when that test came back positive, and I was forever changed.

I knew you when you were the size of a blueberry. Small and fragile, but with a beating heart. You reminded me to slow down, eat what made sense (the pancake and gummy candy addiction is still here by the way – how did you instill that in utero???) and embrace the moment. Yes, I worried about you, but isn’t that what a mother does?

And yet, at the same time I was celebrating and sharing, I knew. I knew that deep down, you wouldn’t be here for long. I asked the questions, I followed the rules, I listened to their platitudes; “just relax. Everything is fine.” And yet, I knew. I just didn’t know when.

When you left, what I didn’t know was what you were leaving behind;

A strength I didn’t know I had.

Pain I couldn’t wrap my head around.

And a legacy that would be used to help others for years to come.

When people say “at least you were only 10 weeks,” they don’t know.

They don’t know what it’s like to carry a child and then feel them slowly and painfully leave you. Wanting so badly for them to just hang on and know there’s nothing you can do.

They don’t know how it feels to start over from an already long journey. You’ve come so far, but you’ve got so far to go.

They don’t know that I knew you. And of course I did – you’re my son.

I never met you, but I know your heart. Because it beat close to mine.

You were so small, but are doing such big things.

I am so proud to know you.

Merry Christmas, Anthony. I love you.

Love,

Mommy

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Coping With Loss

Life After Pregnancy Loss: Colleen

Colleen recently shared the story of her recurrent pregnancy loss journey. The following is a follow-up of what her life has been like since losing her babies Quinn, Peyton, Riley and Bryn.

When Brittany reached out to ask if I would be interested in writing a follow up post about life after pregnancy loss, my first thought was that I’m not living life after pregnancy loss, but living life in the thick of it.  After losing four babies in less than a year, without a healthy pregnancy or another baby yet, loss is very much still a part of my life. In the past year, I have made it through three due dates, with our final due date coming up in a few days.  This last due date is for our baby that made it to the second trimester, the one that gave us hope we were finally out of the nightmare. We won’t be bringing home our baby to watch her grow, but instead have a teddy bear with her ashes that will always be a reminder of what could have been.

Life during/after pregnancy loss is constantly being reminded of what you’ve experienced and lost along the way. It begins with going into each new week knowing what week of your pregnancy you should be in, as you slip further and further away from your baby. You slowly begin to lose track of the specific week, but your due date is still etched into your mind. A swift punch to the gut comes with every pregnancy or birth announcement and seeing families like the one you envisioned makes the hole in your heart grow. The sweet messages and check-ins from most friends and family drift away quickly, leaving you feeling like you shouldn’t still be grieving. A friend of mine recently described wanting to have a baby (through loss and infertility) as feeling like you’re watching a revolving door that you can’t get into – everything is moving around you while you’re stuck in place.

With all of that being said,  I am still hopeful we will one day add the second baby we are dreaming of.  This road has been an extremely difficult one and I look forward to having this phase of life behind us.  I recently had surgery to remove my uterine septum, that was misdiagnosed for nearly a year after my second loss. This surgery has been the only thing for me to hold on to as we begin trying to conceive for the sixth time.  I hope and pray we found our answer, but the experiences of the past year have left me jaded and skeptical.  Pregnancy loss changes you, and I will never be the same person I was a year and a half ago.  We will be forever grateful if we are able to have another baby AND will always long for the four babies I held close to my heart but never in my arms. 

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Miscarriage

Beth’s Story

A year ago yesterday, I saw a heartbeat. Two days later it stopped. We went through our third loss in less than a year. 

   This time the midwife and doctor decided there is nothing we can do, just go to a fertility clinic. Of course, I felt horrible, like there was something wrong with me. That I was doing something wrong. Still to this day, I have those moments where I think that. I see someone smoking while pregnant and am like, “I never did that, why couldn’t I have had a healthy birth?” I try not to let those thoughts take over, because it causes envy, jealousy, anger and bitterness. I am so very thankful for all the babies born and so very glad there are women that don’t go through what I did. I will continue to give my negative thoughts to God, I refuse to let them take over.

    We didn’t feel that a fertility clinic was the answer. God sent us to a new doctor. He read my chart and said he wanted to run some more tests. 17 vials of blood later, he said my eggs were healthy, I was healthy and he doesn’t see a reason for me to go to a clinic. He said we will try something new when I get pregnant again. Before I left the office he said “I will be praying for you.”  I knew then that God sent me there.

   Here we are, a year later, and we have not had another pregnancy. Every month I have hope that it will happen.  I do get discouraged when it doesn’t, however, I know God has perfect timing. I struggle with many emotions daily. With the support of my husband, parents, other family and friends I continue to have hope and cling to God’s promise.

  We have found strength and encouragement from our church family. Not a week goes by without someone praying over us or someone says they are praying for us. So every week, I am in tears. Not always because of grief, but because of the love and encouragement. Just a couple weeks ago, I held a 2 month old premie and it brought joy to my heart.  Being around babies and pregnant women is not always easy. God has sent us this family at the right time and we know our own family will grow at the right time as well.

  I don’t share this to get sympathy, I share this to show God’s love through our struggles. I am growing everyday as I go through these emotions. I continually give my thoughts and hopes to God. I’ve seen many stories where couples have broken up, where they can’t get out of depression,  because they can’t get past the grief and hurt. I understand because without God, I would be right there. I don’t have the strength, but God does. God’s love and grace is so strong, just relying on Him makes moving forward so much easier.

  God is always there through the storms and the calm days as well. Let Him help you move forward. We are one day closer to our breakthrough, one day closer to God’s promise!

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Miscarriage

Emma’s Story

On February 23rd 2022, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t quite believe it at first so I took a second test, then a third. I had so many emotions, I was terrified. I was only 19 and had no idea how my boyfriend was going to react, all I could do was cry. But I was so excited, I always wanted to be a mum and we’d spoken about kids all the time.

Days and weeks went by and we both got so excited. I’d downloaded pregnancy apps, obsessed with how big my baby was this week, we’d chosen names we wanted for both genders, we’d look at cots and prams we both liked. Even stuff we could get later on, ready to turn our spare bedroom into a nursery. Everything seemed perfect. I met my midwife for the first time when I was 10 weeks pregnant. She asked general questions about my health, what pregnancy vitamins I had been taking and what would happen from here. I remember her saying “you may think you’re young but 19-21 is such a good age to get pregnant, you’ll fly though it.” She put me at ease so much, I felt like I could finally start enjoying being pregnant.

On April 6th, I had my first scan, I was so excited to see my baby for the first time. I remember sitting in the waiting room with my boyfriend being unable to hide my excitement. I was finally called in and my scan started, it was so quiet until the sonographer asked how far along I thought I was, then asked when I found out I was pregnant. He told me he was struggling to find a heartbeat and asked to do an internal scan. I immediately started crying. I remember trying to hold in my sobs while he did the second scan. I still remember him saying “I’m really sorry Emma but your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat” so vividly it still hurts 6 months later. I was taken into another room with a student midwife where she gave me a photo of the scan, told me I was measuring just under 9 weeks and how I’d have to go for another scan next week to confirm everything I was told today.

5 days later, I started bleeding lightly. A part of me was relieved because I couldn’t bear being a coffin for my baby anymore. I assumed I was just going to have a heavy period, like everyone told me it’d be. At around 3:30am, I woke up with the worst pain I could ever imagine. No matter what position I was in there was excruciating pain. I ended up having to sit on the toilet because of how much blood there was and the shriek I let out when I felt my baby pass. I remember at around 6am when the pain starting to become tolerable I had to take a shower to wash all the blood off myself, I even had to mop the floor. My bathroom looked like a murder scene.

I felt stupid being so distraught. I was so young and I had lost my baby so early into pregnancy. I knew other women had it so much worse than me. I felt ashamed and like I did something wrong. I refused to see my mother, my partner’s parents, I even struggled to see my partner some days. I really expected to go back to everyday life after my miscarriage but it was far from. I wish miscarriages and the grieving process was spoken about more as it could save a lot of pain for so many women.

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Miscarriage

Jennifer’s Story

I found out I was pregnant the week of Thanksgiving 2021, which was 10 days before our wedding.  We were pleasantly surprised, and I let the venue know so I could avoid certain foods and alcohol without letting any of our guests know of the news.  Right before Christmas, my husband caught COVID so we both were symptomatic and had to reschedule our first prenatal appointment until January 7th. My husband told most of his family, friends, and a fair amount of coworkers and I told only a select group of friends and family.  Maybe it was because it still felt unreal to me, or maybe I had an underlying fear that something was wrong. The nausea I had in early December was no longer occurring yet my belly was still growing. 

When we went for the ultrasound, the OB saw a sack but was uncertain of the heartbeat. She questioned us a few times if we were sure of the conception date because the baby was measuring about 7 weeks when it should have been about 10.5 weeks. We were rushed to the nearby hospital for a more in depth ultrasound.  Within 30 minutes of leaving the hospital,  I received the most devastating words… “there is no heartbeat. It appears the baby stopped growing 3 weeks ago.” We were told that we need to think about our next steps since I was at risk for infection with a deceased fetus inside of me. The “in sickness and health” part of our vows was hitting us hard a month into our marriage. Since the appointment was on a Friday, we had to weigh our options over an entire weekend, but luckily a family friend who is an OB/GYN walked us through the different options. I questioned whether there was a chance maybe they were wrong about the heartbeat up until I walked into the operating room for the D&C. 

My recovery time physically from the procedure was fine with minimal issues but emotionally, I was wrecked.  I blamed myself in many ways (being over 35, underweight, stressed from wedding planning, etc.).  I felt disconnected from my body when I looked in the mirror. I had trouble seeing the same person I was before the loss.  However, in some ways, the loss really helped me advocate for myself and focus on putting my own needs first. I broke away from unsupportive friendships, changed jobs, and sought out therapy and nutritional counseling. I learned what it truly means to have a supportive partner.  We have started trying again at our own pace, and we are open to what the future holds for us. 

Jennifer G.
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Coping With Loss

Cheers to One Year

As I look at this list of babies gone too soon, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with how far this account has come in just one year.

I started this blog in honor of our son, Anthony, that we lost at 10 weeks and 5 days in January of 2020. Once our healing journey began after our miscarriage, my husband and I were out to lunch. I shared with him that I started writing down every detail of our experience so I wouldn’t forget it. He replied “that’s awesome. You’re great at writing and I bet it felt good to get it out on paper.” I thanked him, agreed that it was cathartic and then paused before I said:

“I don’t know why, but I have a feeling I’m going to need this someday. I have this feeling this experience, his life, our story, needs to be shared beyond just our loved ones.”

I think this was it.

It has been such an honor to share the stories of your babies for the past year. Whether they were on this earth for weeks, months, or even made it earth-side but were born sleeping; your babies matter. They matter to you, and they matter to me. The strength, courage, kindness and support you have shown inspires me everyday. It is truly a privilege to be in this community alongside each and every one of you.


I asked some of my followers to share their baby’s names to be honored on the blog. Names put directly next to each other are siblings.

We remember…

Arthur

Vanity

Hazel

Alexandra “Lexi” Grace

Everett

Yonatan

Leif

Emily

Finley and Collins

Bear

Peanut

Abigail Rose

Stella Lee

Bryce Connor

Luca & Shiloh

Josie Mae

Harvey Thomas Comfort

Carter James

Madeline Faith

Liam Rodriguez

Claire Rebekah Rose

Ríonnach

Eli King

Avery Hope Ward

Dawn and Beau

Theodore Joseph

Palmer Knox

Parker Lane

Lennox Jace

Baby S

Riley

Josie Rae

Bri + Briar

Dakota + Posie Doering

Emma

Martina

Maverick

Hoja

Jedah Rhodes

Elizabeth Ann Killion

Bear Rozance

Ione and Elara

Ava and August

Parker

Colin

Magnolia Bea, Holland Blair, Hannah Brooke

Evelyn Barbara

Michelina Mary

Rory

Beauford

Nugget

Quinn, Peyton, Riley and Bryn

Blueberry

Isaiah

Asher Frank

Rafael

Faith Davita Rose Renner

Blueberry Flores Ramirez

Brooks & Bryce

Luca Harlow Rain and Shiloh Eden Rain

Luciana

Milo Anthony

Kofi

Milo James Coe

Joie Grace

Sarvin Bhalru

Micah

Anthony.

“I carried you for every second of your life, and I will love you for every second of mine.”

~Unknown

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Miscarriage

Jessica’s Story

Emily

It’s so strange how one moment you’re happy and the next your world is shattering into a million little pieces.

In January 2022, we found out we were expecting. We were so happy and told close friends and family about the bundle of joy coming. On February 11, I went to the bathroom and saw blood. I immediately started crying and calling my husband to figure out what to do. We went to the ER where we got to see our little baby and told that we had a threatened miscarriage. We went home feeling so scared and confused. On February 13 as we were leaving Target, I felt something leave my body. I looked at my husband to get us home now – we raced home and I went to the bathroom where a flood of blood came out. Our sweet little baby left us and went home to be with Jesus.

It was a crazy couple of weeks – various doctors appointments, my blood getting drawn all the time to make sure my body did it correctly, all the emotions and pain that come along with miscarriage. People’s faces that look on you with sadness as you tell them awful news instead of joy.

God sent a dream the night before that I gave birth to a sweet little girl with eyes that match my husband. The night that our miscarriage was confirmed we sat, prayed, cried and the name Emily was brought to us. We are mourning the loss of our little girl who was wanted so much. But in the midst of this we have seen God move – we had food dropped off, all the chai tea my body could contain, our bathrooms deep cleaned by a friend who knew that they were a place of shame for me. People sent flowers – I found it beautiful that each of them had lilies were closed and then opened up very slowly – like as I was grieving they were blooming, showing me that I don’t have to rush grief.

In March, I got a letter from my insurance company telling me congratulations for being a new mom and to sign up for their program. I was so mad at that piece of paper – I called my insurance, got a very cheery lady who was probably ready to sign me up when I told her in the most monotone voice I have ever made in my life – “no I don’t want to sign up. I had a miscarriage and I lost my baby.” This lady started crying and crying. I was trying to console her and just letting her know that I didn’t want to be on the list anymore. She said she would.

Right before Mother’s Day I got the same paper again.

Now I was pissed. I see now why mama bears get so mad when you touch their cubs. I called them again and told them “no, I don’t want to sign up. I had a miscarriage and I lost my baby.” The phone suddenly went very quiet. The first person I talked to said that there was no way to take my name of the list. I told them that I wanted to speak to their manager because that is BS that you can’t take my name of a list that I didn’t ask to be on. They transferred me to another person who said yes she could take my name off the list. Ever since that phone call I haven’t seen that damn piece of paper show up at my mailbox.

Every time I get my period, I get brought back to that cold February day. I now freak myself out by telling myself that any random symptoms could be pregnancy, only to get my hopes dashed by the awful blood that I get to see instead.

We are now trying again but it still so scary. My husband and I were talking about it and we both know we are scared for the next time. My miscarriage took away my innocence about pregnancy, but brought me so much strength.

I’m so sorry for every woman who this has to go through this. I wish I could take away the pain, I really wish I could. Thankfully, being a loss mom has made me connect with so many others. I can’t wait until I go to heaven and get to meet my little girl who was gone way too soon.

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