Our Second Pregnancy

Before you read this, I want to fully disclose this is a story of miscarriage. I’m sharing our story for two reasons; 1. It’s a big part of who I am and 2. I want to reach someone who has or may be going through this.  It is not my intention to make you feel bad for me, nor am I looking for pity or attention.  I’m simply sharing my experience to reach that one person who needs to hear this story, who may have gone through this, or needs to know it’s ok to not be ok.  And when you’re ready, talk about it. I’m right here for you if you need someone to listen.  I want you to know there is life after miscarriage and I hope this gives you a glimpse of hope.

We found out we were pregnant with our second baby on Thanksgiving morning in 2018, after just a couple months of trying.  I will never forget this morning.  Aria, who had just turned two, was snuggling in our bed. I took the pregnancy test and brought it over to my husband.  As I showed them the positive result “pregnant”, Aria went to grab the test. I told her she couldn’t hold it (it had pee on it of course) and she lost it! Having just woken up herself, she was cranky and threw a fit over not being able to hold the urine-soaked pregnancy test. We laughed over how hilarious it was, and how typical of our Aria.

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So things went on as normal for the next several weeks. I had a short time with morning sickness, but otherwise felt great. At my nurse visit around 7 weeks they even checked my labs and the HCG was elevated as expected. We planned to tell our family after we returned from our trip to Arizona for my 30Th birthday. We had a great time down there but on the day we were leaving I had some light spotting, and this was actually the second time it occurred. So, I decided to call our OB and they wanted us to come in as soon as we could for an ultrasound.  After flying home overnight, we drove to the office straight from the airport.

Never in my life did I imagine I would hear the words “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. I was certain the Ultrasound Tech was wrong, there was no way… I was pregnant, pregnant for over 9 weeks now. We planned for this baby, talked about names, took pictures for an announcement… we saw a life with this baby… everything was fine.

It was so hard. So hard to understand what just happened. There was no heartbeat and we saw it for ourselves, but I couldn’t believe it. I cried silently, laying there motionless.  I wanted to ask her to check it again. We were sent to another room to talk to the OB. I wanted HER to take another ultrasound, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask.  She told us how the baby had stopped growing around 6.5 weeks based on measurements.  How it was nothing I did or could have done, but likely something in early development of the cells. After discussing our three options, I went home in denial. My body was not recognizing that I was having a miscarriage either.  But after two more days at home, acceptance crept in. There was nothing I could do to reverse this, so we said goodbye to our angel baby on January 4th 2019. 

I had my husband and our daughter right beside me. My sister knew what was going on and was more supportive than ever. But, I never felt more alone.  I had held off telling my mom for a few days so I didn’t ruin her time while she was meeting her newest grandbaby.  Very slowly we only informed a few people.  It was uncomfortable to bring up the subject. How does that naturally come up in a conversation? It doesn’t. It was difficult to say the words out loud. So I suffered in silence, trying to bury it away.  I kept it in for a long time, bottling up all the pain and sadness. Losing interest in my normal activities. Trying to be a good mother to our daughter while my heart kept breaking was exhausting. And I felt like the world kept spinning, without a second to catch my breath and process any of it. I kept questioning where I went wrong, what did I do to cause this miscarriage. I blamed myself and searched for every possible cause… was it a stressful event I had around 4 weeks, or because I had gotten the flu shot? …maybe the flight around 5 weeks along…or was it the thyroid medication I had to be on ever since having Aria. I needed an answer, something to help ease the pain.

Slowly, I started to tell my closest friends. Because something so significant cannot stay hidden forever.  It was in my friends that I started to feel the slightest relief of pain.  I was able to mourn with the friends who had gone through a miscarriage too.  They let me cry, checked in on me, and sent me words of encouragement and pictures that spoke right to me. And those that had never experienced a miscarriage were also very supportive too, always available for a shoulder to cry on.  Being able to talk about it helped me so much. Once I started letting the words out, it made me realize how many other people have gone through this, who also probably suffered alone too. Why is this topic something no one can talk about? It shouldn’t have to feel that way.

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Having a miscarriage was a short incident in time, but it is something that will be with me for the rest of my life. There will always be an unfillable void; that hurt will never go away. Over time there is healing. I often feel, in many other circumstances as well, that you may not understand why things happen as you experience them, but in the end everything happens for a reason. I will always wonder who that baby would have been, or what life would have been like if they lived.  That will never go away. But if I had carried out that pregnancy, I would have never been pregnant 6 months later. And if I didn’t get pregnant in June of 2019, then we would have never had our rainbow baby arrive in February of 2020.  I know now that Theo was exactly who we were meant to have, at exactly the right time.  He is every part sweet and calm, arriving right before a worldwide pandemic.  He has brought so much joy and light to our lives.  I know he was sent to us and picked out flawlessly.

If you have had a miscarriage, or struggling after having one, I am sincerely sorry.  I promise you that you are not alone. It’s ok to mourn the loss, take all the time you need. There is a lot to grieve when this shakes your entire world.  When you are ready, talk about it. Tell your family members that you can confide in and let your closest people know. The process may be slow, don’t force yourself to rush it.  Give yourself permission to cry.  If you have a faith in which you believe in, lean on it. Know that it is possible to be strong and broken at the same time.

My heart is with you.

>>Erin

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Juggling the Holidays with Children

Let the chaos commence! Am I right? Don’t get me wrong, I love this season. I just can’t believe it’s already here. Have you started planning out how you’re going to manage your holidays? Or are you the person who’s already done some Christmas shopping and the tree is up? I am not. I really just put away some Halloween decorations I just found. But my mind is already turning over how to handle the upcoming festivities.

Like I said, I love the holidays. Having kids now makes it so much magical. Seeing everything through their eyes… watching how excited they get when you drive by a house with Christmas lights on… or witnessing their reaction to meeting Santa Claus. It’s all so wonderful. However, the holiday season can certainly be exhausting when you are towing little ones along. Trying to see everyone, making sure we packed everything…And when or where will they nap?! I felt myself becoming anxious over the upcoming holidays about two years ago, with our first born getting a little older. What should be an exciting and enjoyable time of year, was turning into a dreaded hassle.  I even considered traveling so we didn’t have to deal with it!

Sometimes family members have high expectations of you committing all your time to visiting them.  This can be so hard if you have both sides of the family, and even more so with split families. Not to mention if you have family living far away. Our first couple of years with one child we actually squeezed in seeing everyone all in one day. Our families live in the same state, but it was still over 2 hours of driving in one day to see them all.  It was hectic, rushed, and stressful. Trying to please everyone can be so grueling, and then have a negative effect on your family or kids. 

The first two years as parents, we were so caught up in pleasing everyone else that we never spent a Christmas morning in our own house, with our own little family.  Part of me regrets that because we didn’t have a special ‘Christmas morning’ experience with our first baby or pictures to look back on.  So last year, I decided enough was enough. We would not be fitting in both sides of the family on one day.  Our children deserve a slow quiet morning in their own home. Giving them time to enjoy opening presents and playing with them instead of running off to the next house.  It’s also not fair to the little ones to be pulled away from playing with their cousins or enjoying the quality family time. Cutting them short of that special time usually doesn’t go well either…do I need to explain further? I don’t think so.

You can’t satisfy everyone so put your little family first. If you and your partner are unhappy, then it will likely reflect on the children and/or stress them out. So brainstorm and consider your options. For example, we decided to celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband’s family, Christmas morning as our own little family at home, then Christmas afternoon/evening with my side of the family. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Alternate the holiday each year. Thanksgiving with one side, Christmas with the other, and then switch the following year.
  • Split the holiday into two separate days.
  • Have everyone come to your house.
  • Consider starting a new tradition, like baking together or meeting up for a walk.
  • Or my newest plan…go travel! Just kidding, but not a bad idea… just a really bad year for it.  
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Whatever you decide on, be clear about your plans and stand your ground.  You’re doing what is best for your children. And if you have a difficult time with your family, then at least this year you can use the pandemic as an excuse! Depending on what state you live in, the law can really be on your side this time!  Or maybe you really are nervous about larger gatherings because you have a new baby or small children.  I know I am, our youngest is 9 months and I’m very cautious about who we visit. So…leave it at that… it’s the pandemic’s fault you can’t see too many people in one day! Then your extended family will see how nice it is to enjoy you without cutting the visit short, setting a precedence for the years to come.

In the end, do what brings you joy. Have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season, from my family to yours.

>> Erin

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