Pregnancy & Infancy Loss Awareness - My personal story about loss ❤️
October is pregnancy and infancy loss awareness month, and it felt like the right place to start on this new journey. I haven't opened up about my miscarriage since it happened, but I was recently reminded by a friend who had a similar loss how important it is to share about this topic. So many of us go through it, and often feel so alone because we are made to think we can't talk about it or feel ashamed to open up. What helped me in my healing and recovery the most was other women so bravely sharing their experiences with me. Talking to all these women who suffered from a miscarriage (or multiple), and went on to have beautiful families gave me so much hope in a time of so much darkness. I hope if you’re reading this, I am able to share a little hope with you. Even if you have no connection to this topic, we have all experienced suffering and loss to some capacity in our lives. I truly believe that’s what unites us and brings us closer, is our ability to show up for one another during those times. No matter what you are going through, you will get through it, and there will be so much strength, love, and light on the other side. ❤️
— Marshall and I got married in June 2013, and at that point we were on the path of the “white picket-fence” scenario. I was an elementary school teacher, he was a restaurant manager, and the next step you are told (by society) is to buy a house, settle down, and start a family. We instead decided to jump completely off of that path and start a business on our own (more on that later because that’s a story of its own 😂). This path took us on a much less traveled journey, and one that we subconsciously put the idea of starting a family on the back burner. We always knew we wanted kids, but the instability of running a business and the non-stop working at it, just organically pushed it to the side. We were fighting so hard to build a business we really didn’t ever talk about it, it was just always this thing that would “eventually happen one day”.
Fast forward 8 years later and we were still non stop grinding to build the business and also still felt that overwhelm of instability (does that ever go away owning a business!?); however, Marshall’s mom had suddenly passed away, a good friend passed way too soon, and we lost our dog of 13 years, all within the span of a few months. There was so much loss and so many reminders of how short and precious this life is. Marshall and I both decided that we really wanted to start to try to have a family. There is never going to be the “perfect” time, and I knew we would stop at nothing to build a beautiful life for our family no matter what obstacles would come our way.
We didn’t get too serious about it, I just started tracking my cycle, and we would see what happened. Only a few months later, in January of 2022, we found out we were pregnant! I’ll never forget realizing I was late, going to the grocery store to get a test, and how excited I was to tell Marshall right when he got home from work. We cried so many tears of joy and felt overwhelmed with joy thinking of this beautiful new chapter we were about to unfold. The next day, we immediately called up a few of our closest friends on FaceTime to tell them. I just remember my cheeks hurting so much from smiling and I couldn’t stop the happy tears from coming! Everything truly shifts in the most beautiful way the second you find out.
Marshall called the doctor wanting an appointment right away (if you know him, this makes complete sense 😂) and they assured us there was no need for an appointment for a few weeks. Two weeks later, we went for our first appointment - this was still Covid times so Marshall wasn’t allowed to go with me - so he waited right outside the window of the office - literally his face against the glass haha. The first appointment went great my levels were showing I was 6 weeks and healthy! Everything you want to hear. They had told us the next appointment would be to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat, however, with Covid restrictions, Marshall would not be allowed to be there with me. We both didn’t like the sound of that, so we found a place that would allow us to be together for the first ultrasound, so when I went on the formal appointment, we would have already shared that moment. We went to the ultrasound when I was close to 7 weeks pregnant. We heard the heartbeat and it was a sound you’ll never forget. Baby was measuring a little small for the date, but there was no concern at the time, everything still looked great!
Two weeks later, we had our formal ultrasound appointment at the doctor. A few days prior to the appointment, they lifted Covid restrictions and were allowing one support person in with you during appointments. (I think back to this day and can’t imagine going through this without Marshall by my side - and I think of all the women who went through this alone during Covid and my heart breaks.) We both went in and got set up for the ultrasound, it was a younger woman getting us all ready, you could tell she was in training. She shared in our excitement and said her best friend was newly pregnant as well. When she went to find the heartbeat she was having a little trouble, but we had no concerns just said baby was hard to find. So Marshall and I just held hands anticipating that beautiful sound we heard a few weeks prior. The smile and excitement started to leave the nurse’s face and it had been a few minutes and she still couldn’t find the heartbeat. She called in another nurse, who started much more aggressively pressing on my stomach and moving around and before you know it, she’s setting up for an internal ultrasound - it all happens so quickly you don’t know what’s going on - I just remember squeezing Marshall’s hand so tight feeling so confused. They then called the head doctor in, an older male, who had horrible bedside manner. He checked the internal ultrasound for a second and I remember him saying so nonchalantly “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat, you’ve lost the baby”. It honestly felt like time froze in that moment, I didn’t understand. I just heard the heartbeat, our baby was alive and healthy two weeks ago. The first words I could let out between the tears were “what did I do wrong”, I immediately felt this overwhelming feeling that it was my fault. The doctor bluntly just said this is very common and left a standard little pamphlet about miscarriages on the table and left the room. He felt so cold and sterile, I’ll never forget it. I’ll also never forget the tears in the young nurse’s eyes, I honestly felt so bad for her having to witness all that.
Over the next few days we were left navigating our next steps, still in complete shock. I had no idea what to expect, because nobody talks about miscarriages, let alone the trauma our bodies endure. After a day or two and more information, we decided to let the baby pass naturally. The doctor offered medication to help speed it up as it could take weeks or over a month of waiting without it, so we agreed to it.
After taking the medication, I immediately started cramping and bleeding. The next 48 hours were spent laboring in extreme pain in the bathroom waiting for baby to pass. There was a moment the contractions were at their height, I felt a big release, and I knew the baby had passed. So much overwhelming emotional and physical pain to process, just talking about it brings me back, it truly felt like the darkest time. I’ll never ever forget Marshall by my side through it all, holding my hand through the pain, and in the darkest time our bond growing even deeper than I could imagine.
It took about two full weeks for my body to stop bleeding and start to recover. Still recovering emotionally, hormonally completely out of whack, and slowly starting to process what we had been through. I knew as I started to heal, this was something I wanted to share openly about, as it shocked me how many close friends and family had suffered miscarriages and I had no idea until I was going through one myself. Them sharing their story helped me not to feel so alone and I had hoped to do the same sharing mine. (Full post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cas9GFBuAUj/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA== )
As I started to talk more, it helped my healing journey but I was still struggling to feel like myself again, I just felt so sad. Every day felt heavy. I went down a spiral of depression, I had no desire to work, lost the momentum of my wholesale brand, struggled to create new work, and eventually was unable to keep the studio space I had been working so hard to build. It really felt like I was spiraling. All I could think about was how much I wanted our baby to still be with us, and how much I wanted to build a family with Marshall. Every month I got my period felt like a whole new let down, all I wanted was a family.
In hindsight, as always, everything worked out in the time it was meant to - but that was impossible to see as I was going through the darkness. It took about 3 full months to start to feel I was getting back to normalcy. My body started to feel less out of whack, and I felt I was slowly coming back to life.
5 months after our miscarriage, we found out we were pregnant again. We were filled with all of the emotions - joy, fear, gratitude, uncertainty - pregnancy post miscarriage is a wild ride: on one hand you truly understand what a blessing it all is and cherish every moment, and on the other you are so fearful of loss. ( there’s so much to share on that journey - for another day). Our second pregnancy was with our baby girl Yemaya who we welcomed earthside on March 12, 2023. There are no words to describe the joy she brings. She is every bit amazing, magical, and truly life’s greatest blessing.
I will never forget our first beautiful baby, and all the joy she brought us. We will forever remember and honor all the happiness and all the firsts she brought us. She opened up our hearts for Yemaya and watched over & protected her ❤️ Pregnancy loss is a scar that never goes away, and I truly believe our babies are always with us ❤️
If you are going through pregnancy loss, or any loss, know that there is light on the other side of the darkness and you will get through it. All I have been through these past few years has instilled how powerful women are. It’s truly amazing what we can endure and recover from. I am so proud to be a woman and to be raising one It’s not lost on me how blessed we are that our story ended with our rainbow baby Yemaya. If your in any chapter of this journey, I’m sending so much love and light your way. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here holding so much space for you and your journey 🙏❤️