Weathering the Storms

Weathering The Storms

December 31, 2018

I remember thinking (and posting on Facebook) that 2018 was the best year of my life. It honestly was incredible and I am sure that is because it was the year my son was born and I was incredibly happy. I was fortunate that I did not experience the baby blues or postpartum depression. Approximately 50-75% of women have the baby blues and 15% of women have postpartum depression. I was able to enjoy the big milestones of Luke’s first year. I wasn’t expecting 2019 to be anything like 2018, but I didn’t think it was going to turn into one of the most painful years of my life either.

I remember having a conversation with one of my friends on New Year’s Eve about how if any of us were going to have babies, we would need to get on it fast because there were only a few months left that would put your due date in the year of 2019. I was having this conversation, not expecting to be pregnant any time soon. Mitchell and I had just recently decided to stop birth control, but we weren’t actively trying. Since it took us a long time to get pregnant with Luke, we figured there was no harm in “if it happens, it happens”. I did not think that would ever happen for us. I woke up on January 1, 2019 and for some reason decided to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was SHOCKED and excited. Who would have thought it would be so easy for us to get pregnant again and that quickly. We confirmed it with a blood test later that week and we were so excited. We would have been due mid/end of September (any day now). 

January 24, 2019

I tend to have really weird timing with things. I was scheduled to have my first ultrasound scan on the afternoon of January 24th. I would have been a little over 7 weeks pregnant and that morning I was having some light cramping. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Pregnancy brings along a lot of discomfort and stomach aches, so I went along with my day. I went to my Bible Study in the morning and when I went to the bathroom, there was a large clot. Not a good sign. I tried to go back to my Bible Study group, I sat there for a minute or two (I had no idea what anyone was talking about), and I got up and told them I had to leave. I ran out the door, texted Mitchell, and went home. I had to wait a couple of hours before my appointment, but sure enough, the baby was only measuring 5 ½ weeks and I should have been over 7. They did a blood test and an additional one 48 hours later to confirm that I, in fact, was having a miscarriage. This loss was devastating. It doesn’t take much to fall in love with your little baby. The second I see those two pink lines, I am overjoyed and praying for my baby. I am celebrating the life growing inside of me and planning for the future. I am already planning baby names and thinking about how exciting it will be to have two little ones. Then, it is all torn away from you, just like that. 

March 2019 

Fast forward to early March. Mitchell is on a work trip to Germany. I am expecting to ovulate during his trip, so I assume we are out of luck this month on trying for a baby. I decided to take a few ovulation tests that week anyway.  After the second positive ovulation test within a few days of each other, I decided something was up, and I may as well check and try a pregnancy test (although, this should be impossible). It was positive. I couldn’t believe it. I had to take a few more just to be sure. Mitchell, of course, was sleeping because it was probably 3 or 4 AM in Germany. I knew that he would wake up and I would be asleep, so the logical choice was to send him an email. (Yes, he gave me crap for telling him this way lol, fair enough). We were excited and hopeful that maybe this one would stick for us. I went in and did a blood test and had to repeat in 48 hours to make sure my HCG levels were rising. For better or for worse, we found out that my HCG levels were not rising enough. My body held onto the pregnancy until March 22nd, the day of my MRI (and when I found out I had MS). Told you, weird timing with things. 

Like I said before, it is amazing how fast you fall in love with the baby growing inside of you. This pregnancy loss, is referred to as a “chemical pregnancy”. Something goes wrong with the implantation of the embryo. Your body has enough HCG hormone to show you a positive pregnancy test, but the baby isn’t sticking to your uterine lining. I hate the term “chemical” because it makes me feel like the baby wasn’t real or that it shouldn’t matter that I lost it. It does matter. It is still painful, and it is a loss. My second baby should have been born in the middle of November.

Side note – if you have ever been told or made to feel like your “chemical” pregnancy is no big deal, or not really a loss, I am sorry. That is just not true and I hope you know that your baby is important. You loved that baby and were excited for that baby and I don’t care if people try to say that is your body’s way of “getting rid of something that wasn’t right”, it still hurts. Please reach out to me if you need someone to talk to and someone that understands.

By the end of March, I was feeling defeated. Two back-to-back miscarriages and a life-altering diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. As you might imagine, I was a weepy mess. I know my fluctuating hormones didn’t help with that. Before my MS diagnosis we had already decided we were going to take a month off from trying for another baby. Try to let my body and hormones fully reset and figure out if I needed to go on the medication that I was on when I got pregnant with Luke. Of course, the new diagnosis added in a few new things to think about, but ultimately, we desired another child. I will be sure to go into more detail about MS and pregnancy in an upcoming post.

Just Keep Trying

We’re pregnant! Due February 2020.

When we started trying again, we got pregnant again, right away. This whole year with getting pregnant so easily has just been a complete shock to me. I was not expecting to actually get pregnant so quickly based on my experience with trying to conceive Luke. 

However, here are a few interesting things I have learned over the last few months:

  • The average couple only has a 15-25% chance they will get pregnant each month
  • 1 in 4 known pregnancies end in miscarriage, but 50% of all pregnancies (known or unknown) end in miscarriage
  • You are more fertile the first three months after a miscarriage

If you are struggling with infertility or feeling like everyone around you is getting pregnant, except for you, I am sorry. You are not alone and getting pregnant is much harder than it appears. Please let me know if I can be praying for you in your trying to conceive journey.

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Getting pregnant after a miscarriage adds a whole new challenge to pregnancy. For me, personally, there are fears and worries that I won’t get to meet and hold this baby. Going in for ultrasound appointments are full of anxiety and stress instead of excitement and joy. Every time I go to the bathroom, I fear what I might find. Every time. I have tried to protect myself from truly falling in love with this baby in case it doesn’t end well. But, who am I kidding anyway, I know I fell in love the second I found out I was pregnant again. And, with each day that I get to carry this baby, I fall more in love.

While pregnant with Luke, I was fearful of losing him before week 8. After week 8, I no longer had that fear. Even while I was pregnant with Luke, I knew two people that lost their babies. They were past the midway point in their pregnancies. It was unbelievable and unfathomable. I honestly can’t imagine that pain. Somehow, even with the knowledge of those pregnancy losses, I was still in ignorance for my pregnancy with Luke (I only wish I still had that same ignorance now).

This time around, I am well aware that there is not really a “safe” week where you couldn’t potentially lose your precious growing baby (typically, week 12/13 is considered safe once you hit your second trimester). Even though my miscarriages were early, it somehow sunk it and became more real that nothing is guaranteed to us. 

Truthfully, I go days or weeks where I am excited and confident that I will get to meet this baby. But, I also have days and weeks where I am terrified of losing this baby. I fear that the worst is coming and with each passing day the loss will be even harder. 

I know it is unhealthy to think this way and to let fear overtake my thoughts. I am trying to have more days of hope and joy for the life growing inside of me. I am trying to remember that each and every day I carry this baby is a beautiful gift.

Rainbow Baby

This baby that I am carrying will be considered a “rainbow baby”. This is another common pregnancy term that is given to babies born after a miscarriage or stillbirth. The term is given to these babies because it is something bright and beautiful born after a storm. I have a bit of a hard time with this term for a few reasons (explained below), but I will acknowledge that this baby is something bright and beautiful to hope for. And, I can’t wait to meet this little ray of sunshine.

For me, this term doesn’t work perfectly because of the biblical meaning of a rainbow. In Genesis Chapter 9:12-17 God explains that the rainbow is given as a promise that he will never flood the earth again. God was assuring Noah, that this storm that he endured, he would never endure again. While I believe God is good, there is much to be hopeful for, and God can perform miracles, I also believe that there is no promise to us that this storm, of losing a child, won’t be repeated. I may carry this baby full term and give birth to this baby, but there are always risks ahead (SIDS, cancer, car crash, etc.). 

Aside from the biblical meaning, I also have a hard time looking at my two babies that I lost as storms. They offered me times of joy, excitement, and hope. I was excited to expand my family. Yes, there were storms when I lost these babies, but storms I was willing to endure. There is a price to love after all. We put ourselves in a place where we are vulnerable and can be hurt by the pain of losing the ones we love. But, in my opinion, it is worth it.

Finally, I have a hard time with the term rainbow baby because it feels like it is putting a lot of pressure on this new baby. This baby does not cure or heal the pain from past losses. This baby does bring me joy, excitement, and hope, but it does not make the pain go away. Also, while I hope and pray that this baby will join our family, I do not consider that a rainbow baby is more special than any other baby. Every single baby, in my opinion, is a miracle. Is a beautiful rainbow in someone’s life. 

Moving Forward

Honestly, this topic is hard for me to share in this amount of detail. But, I feel it is important to share. I felt alone after my first miscarriage. I felt like it was my fault, and like I was the only person this had ever happened to. However, the more I shared my story, the more often I found that I was not alone. Women would tell me that they too have experienced a loss or two (or more). Life is easier when we are reminded that we are not alone and we can relate to one another and care for one another. 

I am hopeful that I will get to meet my sweet little girl in February of 2020. I am praying that 2020 will be filled with the same amount of love, joy, and excitement as 2018. I will not forget the painful storms of 2019. It has been a valuable year of growth and trusting in God.







One response to “Weathering The Storms”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    Lots of love 💕 and hugs to you sweet Rachel. God bless you🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻