As a child, I was told that when the clocks strike 11:11, you should make a wish! I never imagined the importance of those numbers and what they would truly mean for me. My husband and I married November 2017 and discovered we were pregnant in March 2018. Many reactions consisted of, “that was fast!” but little did they know that the picture was not as perfect as they imagined. Before getting married I started asking doctors questions to make sure you that I would be able to have babies only to learn that a high prolactin level might require some “help”. Various ultrasounds, testing, and a vacation later, I found out I was pregnant! Everything went according to plan or so I thought.
During my pregnancy I started to suffer from depression & anxiety. I couldn’t understand why I felt sad when being a mom was all I’ve ever wanted. I feared what would happen to my baby when she was no longer in my stomach where I could protect her? I tried talking to friends and asking if they experienced similar feelings, but it seemed like no one could really relate. I continued to make wishes at 11:11, that my fears, anxiety, and depression would all disappear once my baby was here. I prayed and convinced myself that things would eventually settle. They did not.
The day finally came, 11/11/18, my princess arrived! A symbolic birthday that fit perfectly for a day I always dreamed. All was perfect except my anxiety and depression was still present. The visions and fears I had of something happening to my baby made it hard to drive in a car without my heart racing. I specifically had fears of her head being squished. I would often ask myself, “What if something happened while I was alone with her? What if I caused her pain or dropped her? The anxiety made everything hard. I felt like stranger in my own body but even worse, I kept all my feelings and thoughts to myself. I finally sought refuge in my Primary Care Physician during a routine physical appointment who immediately saw the signs of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. Thanks to him, with the guidance, support, and medical attention, I started to find myself again. Talking about things seemed to help. Most importantly, I felt like I was finally able to enjoy seeing my daughter grow and hit milestones.
Fast forward 2 ½ years – I started to feel like the time was right to grow our family. I got pregnant once and knew it would be easy, or at least I thought it would. I was wrong! Negative test after negative test after negative test. The disappointment felt like it was never ending. I just wanted to see a “+” or the word “pregnant”- I finally got to see that in October. Our excitement was in overdrive, Isabella was finally going to be a big sister! The thoughts of telling her and seeing her reaction made me smile. How would I announce it? How would I tell my parents, brothers, in-laws and family? I thought about all of the cute ways I could include my daughter in the announcement – I made her a custom shirt. I was radiating with emotion and excitement.
The day came where I was finally going to see my little peanut and hear my baby’s heartbeat. I remember walking in the room and immediately asking the doctor if I could record the ultrasound since my husband was traveling for work. I started recording on my phone, but her silence was deafening the look on her face, one I wish I could forget. After a deep breath she finally let me know that she saw “the start of a little guy” who might also be measuring smaller than expected. She questioned my calculations and dates – I knew the dates were right. I tracked EVERYTIHNG! She decided to give the baby another week to grow, and another ultrasound would be needed. During what felt like the longest week of my life, I kept convincing myself that there was no way our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. The morning sickness was in full effect, food aversions, exhaustion, breast tenderness - you name it, I had it.
The following week, I asked one of my best friends to go with me to the ultrasound. My husband was still away for work, and I couldn’t do it alone. I could feel her anxiety kicking in with every deep breath she took, and I felt the same way. Another ultrasound and notably quiet technician -my worst fear became a reality. The baby did not grow, and she could not find a heartbeat. I became a statistic - 1 in 4 women and I was part of that. The doctor came in and explained that I had experienced a missed miscarriage and my body did not recognize the loss. As I called my husband in hysterics, I could barely say the words, “Our baby doesn’t have a heartbeat”. How could this happen to me? Why? Did I do something wrong? I felt myself quickly falling into that deep dark hole of depression. It was taking over me. My heart is still broken.
I would be lying if I said “I’m ok” – some days are harder than others. However, I will never forget the excitement of getting a positive test or the smiles I had while daydreaming of Isabella being a big sister. I still have her “Big Sister” shirt hanging in her closet and I’m faithful that one day she’ll be able to wear it.
I’m still mourning. I’m still healing. I cry often. But I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life.
I’m still praying for my rainbow baby.