Holding My Rainbow Baby

**TRIGGER WARNING**

For most women we get to a stage whereby we start planning our families. How many children we want being one of them. Having children doesn’t always come easy for many and while my blogs are about how I live my life with my children, I also like to have guest bloggers who can tell their stories. My guest this week has gone through a lot to have her beautiful family and I have been one of the handful of women who has known what her journey has been like. You hear about those mamas who met on some Facebook group and they develop a special friendship. Jacqueline is one of the mamas i have had the privilege of knowing since i was pregnant with my son. Many women go through what she has gone through and I hope after reading my post a lot of women will continue to have hope and faith that they too will have beautiful families.

Photo by: Ashley Grimes at http://ashleygrimesphotography.com/

Tell me about yourself and your family

Photo by: Ashley Grimes at http://ashleygrimesphotography.com/

I am a wife to a wonderful husband, Jacob. We have been together 8 years in August and married almost 6.5 years. Together we have 4 beautiful children, Aryona (14), Brayden (6), Brock (4), and Bronson (2 months).

Jake and I met in the Navy while we were stationed on board an aircraft carrier. It literally was attraction at first sight and love shortly after. He asked me out on a date right after we met and I never left his side after that. Since getting out of the Navy, we are now teachers in the same school district we live in. I teach the littles and he teaches middle school students who have extra needs outside of the regular classroom. Watching him teach them melts my heart because he has so much patience and enthusiasm for his career and students. He is also a fantastic father first and foremost.

Our oldest, Aryona, is going into high school this year and is in volleyball, track, plays the flute in band, and will be the Student Council Treasurer as well. She tested out of several classes and will be taking advanced courses this year!

Our oldest son, Brayden, will be starting his 4th year of wrestling in September and just finished his first season of track. He started kindergarten this year but then was moved up to first grade after three weeks, so he will be going into 2nd grade this upcoming school year.

Our middle son, Brock who was also our first rainbow baby, just became a big brother 2 months ago and was so excited! He also just finished his first season of track and first year of wrestling. He is a VERY active little boy who loves adventures and running around.

Bronson, our second rainbow baby, loves to be held. He loves being rocked to sleep by Daddy. His favorite thing is smiling at everyone. Bronson is such a laid back baby so far. It’s funny how you can see their personalities coming out at such a young age already!

 How do I know I’m having a miscarriage?

Jake and I have suffered through 6 miscarriages since we had our first son, Brayden. Getting pregnant with Brayden was so easy! I was 19 years old, Jake was 26, and we decided to start trying. I knew I was pregnant immediately with him and 3 weeks later it was confirmed by a test! Fast forward to 9 months later and we decided to try again for another baby because we wanted them close together. We got pregnant again in the first cycle. We went in for our ultrasound and everything was great! Baby had a heartbeat and was growing right on track and measuring about 6 weeks along. We scheduled another ultrasound for the next month to confirm my due date. Honestly at this point, I knew VERY little about miscarriages. I was so naïve and looking back now, thankfully so!

About a week before we went into our appointment I started feeling great, like I wasn’t even pregnant. I just thought I was lucky to not have the horrible morning sickness I had with my first, although I think my gut was trying to tell me differently. We went in for our 10 week ultrasound so excited to be giving our 2 older children another little sibling. We have always wanted a large family.

The ultrasound tech was moving the wand all around and told us they needed to get the doctor to help them out. I immediately knew something was not right and started crying. The doctor came in and went through the same procedure of trying to find our baby’s heartbeat. When he told us our baby was dead (not in those terms-he was so respectful and caring), I was bawling and through pouring tears I remember asking, “Is there any way the baby’s heartbeat could just come back and start working?” That was obviously not going to happen, but I wanted my baby back so badly. I was devastated and just hoping ANYTHING would bring this baby back to us! I was even convinced the machine was broken and we would just do a repeat ultrasound and everything would be fine.

I remember Jake going to get the truck afterwards to pull up to the front and get me and seeing him cry made it sink in even more. We called my Mom to let her know what happened. I wanted to throw up, I felt so sick to my stomach. Part of my soul died that day. Those next couple of weeks was a blur. We did a repeat ultrasound and unfortunately it was confirmed.

Our lifeless baby was still inside me after being passed away for 4 weeks at this point, so I decided to take the medicine to help so that I would not develop an infection. Watching your tiny precious baby come out of you at only 8.5 weeks gestation is horrifying and heart wrenching. I can’t even go into details, but our baby was precious and I am very thankful I was able to hold him/her in my hand even for just a few minutes. We decided to have a ceremony in our back yard and plant our baby with a weeping willow in memory of our sweet angel.

The grief was intense and came in waves, and still does even though it’s been so many years. We then had 3 more miscarriages between 4-6 weeks. Each time I knew I was pregnant before I tested as we were trying and of course, I always got pregnant in the first or second cycle. Each time I would start bleeding and cramping before I could even make it to my first 6 week ultrasound appointment. Getting pregnant came so easy to me but for some reason, keeping the babies in and growing strong seemed to be a problem.

We were even more heartbroken each time. I felt like everyone was starting to get to the point where they were wondering, “When will you guys finally stop trying? This obviously isn’t meant to be!” Most people would just tell us to enjoy the two healthy kids we had already. That’s really hard to do when you know your family isn’t complete and you keep suffering through these devastating miscarriages.

July 4, 2012 I was watching fireworks from our bedroom window after Jake and the kids were in bed. I made a wish that this would be the month we would finally get pregnant because we had decided if it didn’t work this time, we were going to take a break from trying. We were also looking into becoming foster parents and possibly adopting from there. I know it seems silly to wish on a firework, but 3 weeks later I found out I was pregnant with Brock. I did nothing different this pregnancy and somehow I made it to 42 weeks to give birth to my biggest baby, 12.5 lbs, in the tub! I am pretty sure he was sent down from above with all of the personalities of our 4 angel babies because he is so full of energy and spunk!

After we had Brock we knew we still wanted at least 1 or 2 more children. November 2014 we had just celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and he told me the day we were leaving he thought I was pregnant and I should take a test. I was in denial because I didn’t want to get my hopes up again. Once we were back in town, I took a test. It was positive! Unfortunately, we miscarried again before we could make it to our first appointment.

Our last miscarriage was in April 2016. Everything was going great and we made it to our first ultrasound (yay!!!). Our baby was growing perfectly with a heartbeat. We were so relieved and optimistic but still cautious of course due to our past history. I started having horrible back pain and cramps about a week later and knew right away this pregnancy wasn’t going well. My husband was trying to be reassuring and told me it was probably all ok and just normal cramping and I didn’t remember those cramps because it had been a few years since we had our last son. The day I actually miscarried I was sitting at a baby expo with other excited expectant mothers knowing I was probably losing my baby as I listened to the speakers.

The following week I had an emergency ultrasound to confirm what I already knew but was hoping was not really happening. I went in alone to my ultrasound (my husband couldn’t get off work) and the tech was moving the wand all over my belly with the wand. I knew this procedure. My heart sank but I was so hopeful that I could see our baby had definitely grown since last time! When he couldn’t locate the baby’s heartbeat he tried vaginally. He tried and tried and finally typed on the screen, “No fetal cardiac activity detected.” I was devastated all over again and knew this grief all too well. I sat in the room after he told me how sorry he was and cried. He came back with a nurse a bit later and sent me to the on-call OB to discuss my “options” to help the baby pass.

I again had to take the medicine so I had my husband take the boys to wrestling practice since we didn’t have anyone to watch them. I didn’t want them to hear me screaming and crying. After the baby came out, I held our precious baby in my hand. I was home alone and it was horrific. I was finally able to have this baby tested for chromosomal abnormalities which meant as soon as I passed the baby, I had to immediately drive myself to the doctor’s clinic to give our baby to the lab before they closed (15 minutes). Otherwise, I had to store the baby in a container in our fridge overnight which just seemed horrific to me!

About a month later we found out I had been carrying a baby girl and we named her Bree Mildred. She passed away from Triploidy. This is a very rare abnormality and means she had an entire extra set of chromosomes. I think knowing the sex of our baby made it sink in even more.

 Did you have to have treatment to prevent miscarriages?

I asked to have testing done after our first miscarriage but was told that they do not do testing until you have had 3 or more. After we had our 6th miscarriage with Bree, we were finally able to get testing done because of my adamant requests. I ended up going to a Naturopathy Doctor to get testing done after meeting with the geneticist. Everything in my lab work came back fine except for my Progesterone levels. I was told that the next time I tried to get pregnant I would need to immediately start Progesterone suppositories 3 x day. When I got pregnant with Bronson I started taking the Progesterone 3 x day from 3 weeks until 25 weeks. He was born April 20th, 2017 at a healthy 11 lbs 2 oz in the tub! April 20th also happens to be Triplodiy Awareness Day, so I know our baby girl Bree was watching over her little brother!

Photo by: Ashley Grimes at http://ashleygrimesphotography.com/

 How soon after your miscarriage did you try again?

We usually waited a few months after each miscarriage to start trying again. It gave us time to comfort each other and let my body heal as well.

 Is it something you talked to your other children about and how did they take it?

We have always been very open with our children. Those were and still are their siblings as well. I want my children to grow up and have sympathy for others, even empathy for peers as they grow up and may unfortunately go through similar events in their lives. We tried to not talk about a few of the miscarriages we had and many people did not know about them until a year or so later because we needed all the support we could get. Growing up, I never heard anyone talk about this subject and when I had my first miscarriage I felt so alone and it felt taboo to talk about. I already felt guilty enough and blamed myself for what happened as you naturally do when your baby passes away. I want other people to know that you are not to blame! To this day our kids will tell other people about their siblings that went to Heaven.

 What advice would you give to the women and their partners who have or will experience this?

My biggest piece of advice is to give in to the grief! Allow yourself to cry, scream, laugh, cry again, be angry, ask why me, etc. I realized that bottling in the emotions will catch up to you eventually. It’s best (for us at least) to let them out as they come. Also, please make sure you have family and friends to lean on. Give each other grace. Miscarriages can really take a toll on your marriage and this is a time when you will need each other most!


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