Miscarriage, Baby Loss and One Mother's Story

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In honor of the month and because I am navigating familiar territory again, I thought I would take a moment to share my story. Much of the reason I make sentimental jewelry at Stacey Fay Designs is because I know it is needed, even pieces that honor our most difficult experiences.

A Miscarriage Story.

miscarriage baby loss“I don’t hear the heartbeat, I’m so sorry.”

This time, we had just returned from a blissful vacation in Vancouver, Canada. We had taken pictures by the water, smiling while I made a heart sign over my belly with my hands.  This was our second pregnancy that year and we felt hopeful - an early ultrasound before we left for vacation showed a strong heartbeat.

Yet there I was, in the same position as the first pregnancy; the baby had stopped growing and I had miscarried. This time, unlike the first time around, I didn’t have any warning signs - no cramping, no bleeding, no signals from my body that something was wrong.  I simply had those dreaded words - “I don’t hear a heartbeat” - and now I had a decision to make of whether or not to wait it out and let my body miscarry naturally, which could take weeks, or take a pill to expedite the process.  Having miscarried naturally the first time around, I chose the second option, a pill which gave me instantaneous hot flashes, nausea and cramping, ushering forth the inevitable.

A Messy Path to Motherhood: Julian's Birth Story

mother and baby

Those words carried with me for much of the pregnancy with my son Julian, who’s now a thriving little boy of a year and a half. Each ultrasound, each check-in, I held my breath just a little until I heard his heartbeat and received assurance from the doctor. Despite my worry, the pregnancy moved ahead well and with little complication.  After days of labor and close monitoring by the doctors, I managed to push Jules out just in time to avoid an emergency C-section.  We were told that the pediatric team would only need a few quick minutes to assess our baby once he did arrive.

Doctors worked on him, on a little table next to my head, for close to a half hour.  Having breathed in meconium in the womb, he came into the world non-responsive; doctors pumped his lungs and heart to get him breathing. I remember thinking in those very long minutes that I may have a stillborn baby - that I may need to come to grips with that reality.  After all of the worry throughout pregnancy, I had cheered alongside the doctors when I finally pushed him out and avoided the C-section. I had assumed the worst was behind me.  Little did I know that this was the start of a year-long journey of many doctor’s appointments and tremendous uncertainty of whether or not our boy would be normal…or far from it.

Here We Go Again - I'm Pregnant!

As I sit here writing this, I’m 7 weeks pregnant and a few weeks out from my first doctor’s appointment. While I’m a long way away from feeling the kicks and movements, I am squarely in the center of moodiness, nausea and extreme fatigue. Despite needing to run my business, most afternoons now include a mandatory nap during Julian’s naptime. I’m grateful for these symptoms - I’m hoping they foretell of a healthy baby in the womb. 

Even to get to this point, however, it took months of my husband and I debating about a second child (and fourth pregnancy). For anyone who has had a rough journey to parenthood, you know that going into another pregnancy is done with eyes wide open.  Unlike the bliss-filled anticipation of first-time pregnancies, you instead anticipate all of the uncertainty and risk and know that there are no guarantees.  You could not conceive. You could miscarry. You could even lose the baby during birth. Anything is possible.

The Baby Loss Necklace: A Talisman of Strength

miscarriage jewelry

As we wrestled with these questions and now into this pregnancy, I find myself wearing the baby loss necklace more frequently.  It’s a reminder of my story - the same story millions of women share - but more so, a reminder of my resilience, strength and resolve. It evokes my connection to the two babies lost, and the fact that I can bloom and grow even despite that history.  It is a call to arms to let go of fear and jump in again, for life and children are worth it.

{Update: Just last week I had my 8 week ultrasound…and they heard a heartbeat.  See the variations of the baby loss necklace }


1 comment

As a sonographer I have heard those words spoken to patients countless times. It always breaks my heart to watch a happy couple full of excitement and anticipation leave my room with their hopes and dreams dashed. Spontaneous miscarriage is relatively common, but it is deeply personal and deserves to recognized and not pushed away and forgotten. I love that you can openly share your story of loss and the anxiety as you face another pregnancy – it is something that is not always easy to admit. And, your necklace is truly an emblem of strength, courage and love – very necessary virtues of every mother. Best wishes for many reassuring ultrasounds and doctors appointments over the next several months!

Kathy October 11, 2019

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