Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy After Loss: Brooke

My husband and I were ecstatic when we found out that we were expecting our second child in July of 2021. We were excited to be expanding our family and for our older son to have a sibling. Just a few months later, we lost our precious baby girl at 17 weeks gestation. We deeply mourned the loss of our baby, Jedah, and talked about how our desire for more children hadn’t changed.

Just 3 months later we found out we were pregnant again. I was flooded with fear and worry immediately. Would this pregnancy be like the last? I felt like every doctors appointment would be the one where we would be told that our baby no longer had a heartbeat. I felt a panic every time I laid on the table to hear our baby’s heartbeat. But, time and time again, we heard that strong thump thump of a heart beat and saw our baby’s perfectly formed body. I began to feel God’s overwhelming peace and comfort. I reminded myself over and over that this is a different baby, this is a different pregnancy. I now hold our sweet 4 month old son in my arms.

We will always miss our baby girl and continue to honor her through our lives everyday. Our rainbow baby, Jensen, is a perfect addition to our family. I am gently reminded how precious life is every time I see him smile or pass a new milestone. A rainbow baby is not a replacement, but a miraculous addition.

Pregnancy After Loss, Uncategorized

Pregnancy After Loss: Vitoria

I didn’t know if I would ever be ready to talk about it.

I don’t think people talk about this enough, it’s such a lonely pain and I wish I knew more about it before it actually happened to me, like it happens to so many other women.

A loss so painful that it left me speechless.

It’s very difficult to lose something you didn’t have, to lose a dream that had just begun, that you were going to hold your baby in your arms, smell it, put it to sleep, wake up tired at dawn, being hard or not, in 9 months I would have had the chance to feel the strength of being a mother and celebrate it for the rest of my life.

Nobody prepares us for this loss, there is no book, video or advice that prepares you to go through one of the most difficult moments of your life.

It’s not easy to share this pain, and it’s more common than you might think, 1 in 4 women go through what I’m going through. And how should I feel? What can I do with the guilt? Was this my fault? Even knowing I didn’t do anything wrong, that it was completely out of my control, how do I deal with the emptiness of a little piece of life that was taken from me?

I don’t have answers, I still can’t understand why, but I know that everything happens for a reason, our pain makes us stronger.
And the fear of trying again, the fear of allowing myself to hope, I don’t know if it will pass, but I hope I can give myself the chance to feel the joy of being a mother, once again.

Then this year started and people always say there’s always a rainbow after the storm, and as I write this I can feel my rainbow baby growing inside me. The anxiety wants to win, the doubts crippling in, but I will remain strong for me and for my little peanut!

It’s not an easy journey to be going through pregnancy again, without knowing the outcome, with all the fears of what can happen.

But I do believe, and I do have hope.

We will grow together and I am a mother, once again.


Rachna’s Story


On March 1, 2020 I found out I was pregnant. My husband was out of town at the time, because his father was transitioning to hospice care. We were able to tell my father-in-law about the positive pregnancy test shortly before he passed away. 

The world shut down due to the pandemic that month. We were all in an odd reality where working from home was the norm, hours were spent on the couch and I had so much time to think about the little life growing inside me. I remember my mom telling me that my pregnancy news was getting my family through the terrifying new world of COVID. 

However, I am a worrier by nature. I am also a physician, so I am the worst type of worrier that exists. I kept waiting for something to happen with my pregnancy. Every day, I would read a story about a woman having a miscarriage or an Instagram page about stillbirth would pop up on my feed. 

Still, I had the picture-perfect pregnancy. It was a little strange that my husband couldn’t come with me to any of my OB visits due to the COVID restrictions. I eventually learned to call him on the phone while they listened to the baby’s heartbeat, so that he could hear it too. Our 12 week ultrasound showed a beautiful baby, and the ultrasound tech “was pretty certain” it was a boy. We immediately went home and bought him a Spiderman outfit. 

And–isn’t this how it always is–on June 21, 2020, we had a beautiful Father’s Day. I had just had my 19 week appointment and everything looked great. I remember we ordered takeout and excitedly talked about how next Father’s Day, we’d have a little baby to hold!

That night, I started to feel some mild cramping. Nothing to worry about, I told myself, I had been walking a lot that day, and just needed to take it easy. Then I noticed some discharge when I went to the bathroom. It seemed different–more wet and tinged with blood. That could be normal too, right?

Overnight, my physician brain was working overtime. Sure, plenty of pregnancy symptoms are normal, but they could also be a sign I was losing my baby. At 4 AM, I called the OB triage line and they told me to come in.

I cried the whole car ride to the hospital. I rubbed my belly gently and prayed that it was going to be okay. When we arrived, an OB resident immediately did a physical exam. She tried to make small talk, but after my exam was finished she quickly left the room, saying she would be right back. 

Another resident came in with her, and did an exam. She looked at me pale and wide-eyed. I remember she spoke in very short sentences. She told me it wasn’t my fault, and I did nothing to cause this, but my cervix was 5 cm dilated and the baby’s membranes were coming out. 

The next few hours were a blur. We met with an MFM specialist, who told me I had cervical insufficiency. A horrendous diagnosis that usually isn’t discovered until a woman has had at least one 2nd trimester loss or a pre-term birth. My cervix was weak and couldn’t hold my baby in. 

We met with the Pediatric NICU team, who basically told us our baby was not going to survive if he was born that day, week, or month. He had to be at least 24 weeks to be considered for resuscitation, and even then it would be a long hard battle in the NICU (and in life) due to the risk of infection, developmental disabilities, brain bleeds and a whole lot of other terrible things. 

To top it all off, I had my 20 week anatomy scan, which confirmed we were having a boy. He was perfect in every way, other than the fact that his feet were nearly coming out of my cervix. He was starting to move too, I could feel the little flutters in my belly as a constant reminder of how far along I was. I was halfway through my pregnancy, I kept telling myself. I made it halfway through.

There was one tiny sliver of hope–a cerclage, or cervical stitch, could be attempted to try to buy us some time. In this case, an emergency cerclage (placed when a woman’s cervix is already thinned and dilated) had about a 50/50 shot of getting me to a stage of pregnancy where it would be safe(r) for the baby. 

We knew we had to give this baby a chance. So a few hours later I was wheeled into an OR, had a spinal epidural placed and a thick band of surgical suture sewn into my cervix. 

The next few days were torture. I was on strict hospital bedrest, while they monitored me for signs of infection or pre-term labor. I was scared to cough or sneeze or move. Not only was I terrified to move, I had to be alone overnight because of COVID visitor restrictions. I left the TV on constantly to try to keep my mind on anything else. 

After a few days, they let us go home, but I was told to continue the strict bedrest. My husband even got me a wheelchair so I would never have to be on my feet. It didn’t matter. Less than 8 hours later, I was back, this time with bloody red discharge and more cramping. 

I lasted one more day in the hospital before my water broke. Fluid gushed down my legs as my uterus began to contract. I called my mom in an automated sort of voice and told her they had to remove the cerclage. I was in labor because I probably had an infection, and baby needed to come out. 

They wheeled me into labor and delivery–to the room at the end of the hall, so I wouldn’t have to hear the women in labor with their babies who would actually make it. The hallway seemed long, but a second later I was in the room.

I remember pushing a small body, feet first, out of me. I remember my husband, half crying, kissing me on the forehead while I pushed. I remember holding our perfect son in my arms. He didn’t even weigh a pound, but his heart was beating when he arrived. I remember my husband cutting his umbilical cord and holding him while he passed. I remember praying that it would happen quickly, because I didn’t want him to be in pain, even if it meant an extra moment with him.

Afterward, we slept. Our small family of three. The little baby, who we named Rohan (Sanskrit for “ascending”) wrapped in a blanket. 

If there are angels on earth, my labor and delivery nurse was one of them. Not only did she take photographs of Rohan, make tiny imprints of his feet, and help us to bathe him, she made me sandwiches, helped to stop my bleeding and hugged us both. 

We were able to spend the next several hours with him. We would take turns holding him, crying over him, kissing and snuggling him. Mourning the life he would never get to have and the love we wanted so badly to show him. When it was finally time to say goodbye, I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul with him. 

I’m not even sure what to say about the aftermath except that it was worse. We did everything people usually recommend. I took time off work, I saw a therapist, I even started bullet journaling. None of those things made a huge difference. I considered a day a success if I got out of bed and put on something other than pajamas.

No one really knew what to do for us. My family wanted to visit, but because of COVID they couldn’t. Our friends and colleagues sent us food and flowers, but I didn’t want to endanger anyone by seeing them in person. 

I also had an immediate knee-jerk reaction that I wanted to have another baby. Immediately. I was trying to grieve for one baby and plan for another. My body needed to heal, but my heart had so much love stored up for this baby that I didn’t get to hold for more than a few hours. 

Eventually I went back to work, which was another hurdle. Two of my colleagues were pregnant.  I spent most of my time dodging them so I wouldn’t have to see their bellies. I told them flat out I wouldn’t be going to their baby showers. I muted Zoom meetings if I heard a baby cry. If I saw a pregnant patient or someone who recently gave birth, I immediately locked myself into a bathroom stall and sobbed until I felt better. 

It seems obvious, but I learned that everyone grieves differently. My husband was more introspective with his grief. I had to let it out. I talked to anyone I knew that had lost a baby. I craved story after story of something similar happening to someone else, because it just made me feel less alone. I read and listened to so many stories of miscarriage and loss. Their words echoed what I desperately wanted to feel. They seemed to say: I will never get over this, but I did get through it. I survived, and so will you. 

The question everyone asks after something like this happens is, why? Why did this have to happen? That question got me nowhere, so I started to ask what? What can I do about this? What is Rohan trying to teach me?

He taught me this:

-I definitely married the right guy

-My family may not ever understand exactly what I went through, but they will do everything in their power to help me find happiness

-You can still be a mom to a baby who isn’t Earthside

-Time and distance don’t erase the pain, but they do ease it

-You have every right to protect your heart. You do not have to congratulate someone on their baby news, you do not have to go to anyone’s baby shower, and you can cry in the baby clothes aisle at Target if you want. 

-You can (and will) feel intense fear and intense joy at the same time

-You can (and will) go through pregnancy again

-Wearing your pain like a badge of courage, sharing your story with others is how you make meaning out of the senseless things that happen in life

I have a little 4 month old now. His name is Sam. He has my chubby cheeks, and he’s my husband’s best friend. He’s the best thing to ever happen to me, the best thing I’ve ever done. And it’s because of Rohan that he’s here. 


Rebecca’s Story


I found out I was pregnant for the first time right before Thanksgiving 2019. It was a smooth pregnancy to start – monthly visits with my OBGYN and everything was normal.

In early March around the 20 week mark, I was scheduled to have our anatomy scan and a gender reveal party that weekend! Unfortunately, that never happened. We lost our baby girl at 19 weeks, 5 days on March 9, 2020.

I started feeling pressure on my right side the night before, but I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought it was a normal part of pregnancy. Well, thankfully I had a scheduled doctor visit that morning and I just felt that something was not right since the pressure hadn’t gone away. Come to find out, I was in painless labor and my cervix was already dilated. 

The next thing I know, I’m being wheeled to labor & delivery and I was going to delivery my baby. All I kept thinking was “this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. My baby won’t be able to survive this.” This was my first pregnancy, and I was in complete shock. The nurses were amazing and were very sensitive and compassionate about the situation.

Zoey Ann was delivered at noon, and she was perfect in every way. She was 9 inches long and weighed just under a pound. She was alive for 18 minutes. All I knew at that time was grief, sadness, and pain. I was still in stock that this happened. How could it? Nothing else was wrong. Why did this have to happen, why to my baby? I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. I’ve never heard of it before, but it affects 1 out of 100 pregnancies. In most cases, you don’t hear about it until you already experience symptoms and deliver way too early. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. 

Now, 2 1/2 years later, we have a beautiful rainbow baby named Chloe! She is 18 months old now and she is amazing. I love being her mom, but I wanted to share Zoey’s story because it’s important to talk about loss. I also want to let other moms know that they are not alone.

Pregnancy After Loss

The “Rainbow Baby” Connection

CW: mention of living children, birth, pregnancy after loss

I love a rainbow baby.

I mean this literally and generally. I am lucky enough to have a rainbow baby to love and adore.

Rainbow babies fill me with joy. They carry so much hope and have so much love in their corner. Their existence is a testament to the literal blood, sweat, and tears it takes to conceive a child.

But what if you don’t get a rainbow baby?

What if that term frustrates you?

What if the thought once gave you hope but now it’s fleeting?

What if you don’t get to find out “what’s on the other side?”

What is a “rainbow baby?”

A rainbow baby is a term used to describe a baby or a pregnancy that comes after pregnancy or neonatal loss. It is often used as a symbol of hope, just as rainbows can come after rain, like healing after a hardship.

Some people are not a fan of this term. It often gets branded as a misnomer… “why would the baby that you lost be a storm?!” Calm down, Karen. He’s not. And no one thinks that he is.

The “storm” loss parents are referring to is the turmoil, pain and heartbreak that happens after a loss. A baby is a symbol of joy, of new life, no matter how they came to be. Even parents that have experienced loss after a surprise or unplanned pregnancy or had to terminate for medical reasons still experience grief from their loss. The devastation of pregnancy or infant loss is a dark and isolating event, similar to a storm. Alternatively, a rainbow is a symbol of hope, a promise of good to come.

I love the term “rainbow baby” and use it frequently. My daughter will know what it means as a reminder of how wanted she is and how hard we fought for her to get here.

But what happens when you fight and beg and plead and bleed and fight some more and the rainbow doesn’t appear? What if the storm continues and the sky refuses to clear?

“Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when we wished on a morning star?”

This is my problem with the term “rainbow baby:” a rainbow is not guaranteed.

Pregnancy after loss is a part of some people’s stories, but not all. Telling someone it will be “their turn soon” may sound right in the moment and feel secure, but what the loss parent won’t tell you is they wonder every day when “soon” will be. When will this storm pass?

A rainbow is not a symbol of how hard someone fought for their pregnancy. It’s easy to think “since she has a rainbow baby, she did something right. Since I don’t, I did something wrong.” If you’ve ever tried to conceive a child you know that it’s not all that simple. You know how the stars, the universe, prayers, chakras, WHATEVER have to align in order to see those two pink lines.

A rainbow pregnancy does not equal success. Maybe you decide to take a much needed break in your journey. Maybe you decided to adopt or foster. Maybe you had the courage to keep going, even when you thought you couldn’t. Your “rainbow” can be whatever good comes after a loss.

“Rainbows are visions, but only illusions…”

On the same token, rainbow babies do not replace the babies that have been lost. While it is truly an exciting moment when a pregnancy after loss can be announced or a baby is born healthy after a loss, the babies that came before still exist to those parents.

Many feel like there is a timeline for grief, often convinced that there are “stages” you must go through. Once you have gone through the stages, you’re cured!

Grief isn’t a disease. There isn’t a cure. It’s something that lives in your soul, some days taking up the most space it possibly can, growing so strong and so overpowering, you feel like you might explode from the pain.

And some days, grief is simply a resident. Sitting quietly on a bench, holding the hand of its strong and more powerful friend; hope.

A rainbow baby does not replace the babies that have been lost, it is just another baby we’ll love and honor and protect as long as we live.

“What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing and what do we think we might see?”

For some families, pregnancy after loss becomes a part of their story.

Right after my miscarriage I thought, “if I could just get pregnant again, I would feel better!”


Pregnancy after loss is a loss of innocence. You know everything that can go wrong. How it feels, what to look for, what is a “bad” sign, what is a “good” sign. And so many of these “bad” signs can also be just very normal things; cramps, bleeding, abdominal pain.

I’ve heard this said many times; pregnancy after loss is like holding your breath for nine months. During that time, it is a constant battle of what we “think we might see” once we hit each milestone:

“Once I hear the heartbeat, I’ll feel better.”

“Once I make it out of the first trimester, I’ll feel better.”

“Once I can feel kicks, I’ll feel better.”

“Once I get to the anatomy scan, I’ll feel better.”

“Once I make it to the third trimester, I’ll feel better.”

“Once I make it to labor and delivery, I’ll feel better.”

And the truth is, you may not “feel better” until that baby is crying in your arms.

There was a time at the end of my pregnancy with my daughter where I truly wondered if I would be taking a baby home from the hospital. Nothing was wrong, my miscarriage just taught me that nothing is guaranteed. I would start conversations with “God willing I bring this baby home…” or “assuming all goes well…” I thought about how many mothers go into the hospital in labor and come home with an empty car seat. This “rainbow” business is knowing that while hope is present, sometimes it’s all we have to pull us through these terrifying possibilities. Even though I was lucky enough to experience a rainbow pregnancy and have a healthy “rainbow baby,” it didn’t feel all that “rainbow-y” in the moment.

While rainbows are bright and colorful, a rainbow pregnancy can still be clouded with fear.

While rainbows are cloaked in sunshine, a rainbow baby can (and will) have dark and difficult days.

Just because you see a rainbow, doesn’t mean the darkness still can’t creep in from time to time.

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?”

Someone on my Instagram shared that the term “rainbow baby” felt like “a club [they] really didn’t want to join.” I hear ya. I would like to unsubscribe as well.

Some people just hate the term. And that’s okay.

It’s not a perfect label. It is not all-encompassing and truly, it is hard to reduce the pain, suffering and love you feel if you have lost a child to one word.

Maybe you prefer “miracle baby” instead.

Maybe it feels cheesy to you.

Maybe it feels overused.

Maybe you’re “rainbow-phobic.” (Is this a thing?)

No matter how you choose to label your pregnancy or baby after a loss, that “club” (the lovers, the dreamers, and me) is always here to support you and cheer you on.

Song lyrics by Jim Henson, “The Rainbow Connection.”


Allie’s Story

Have you ever had that gut feeling? The one that gives you that sinking sense that you just cannot seem to shake. That is what I felt that day.

I had woken up with my heart racing from a dream I had – a nightmare, really.

In that dream, I tried so hard to save you. From what? I had no idea at the time. My only goal was to make sure you were safe, and even I couldn’t do that as your mom-to-be.

I went to work and tried to shake that nauseating gut feeling that I had. I was successful at distracting myself all day. I dove into a few projects before heading home early.

I walked into the house and set my things down.

That’s when the cramps started.

Blood, so much blood.

I sat on the floor of the bathroom for hours before my husband came home.

Until he came home, I thought I could make myself not feel.

I told him with a straight face, forcing myself to not show my heartbreak. I told him I thought I was losing our baby. I could see the pain on his face. He’s my rock though, always has been, and now wasn’t going to be any different.

He just held me, and didn’t need to say anything.

At that moment, I let the first tear fall, then the second, and third. Soon without realizing, I had surrounded myself with an ocean of tears. It was an ocean of dreams, of hope, of unconditional love. Part of me felt like I wanted to just float away in that ocean. Float away with everything I wished for you in this world. Every dream I had for you rushed away almost as quickly as it came. I just wanted to stay with those dreams and escape the reality of losing you.

When I went to the OB the next day, I sat in the waiting room, surrounded by pregnant women, eager to meet their little ones. I walked up to the receptionist who proceeded to ask me the reason for my visit. Saying the words “to confirm the loss of my pregnancy” made me want to run out so the other women didn’t see me lose it.

An hour later, it was confirmed. I was no longer pregnant.

As she began to trail on about how many women this happens to, and how we can try again, I tune her out.

For days and weeks following, I found myself going into the shower, just to cry and not be heard. I felt so much guilt and shame. Until I was just numb.

Sometimes I would forget, sometimes I’d beat myself up for forgetting. Either way, I have a hole unable to be filled. It would break my heart at least once a day.

Around 2 years later, I still have that hole. However, it is a little bit smaller. I have a little girl who loves me and looks at me like I’m the most amazing person in the world. She looks at me like I couldn’t look at myself for so long. She is that unconditional love I had been searching for. I think that is healing in a way.

Anyone struggling with pregnancy loss or infertility, know you are not alone. It may break you for some time, like it did me.

Something that I had a hard time with was the resentment that built up, for friends and family. Not everyone is going to say the right thing – they may say something that makes you feel even worse. Not everyone is going to understand what you went through or are still going through – and that is OK.

Just wait for that long awaited rainbow, in whatever form it appears in.