“For as long as I can remember, my husband has always wanted to be a dad. So, when I showed him a positive pregnancy test on April 4 of this year, I thought all of our pieces were falling together. Boy oh boy, I had no idea what we would face.
I’ll go back to the beginning. 2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone. I always say this isn’t a competition. For some of us, it’s been a little uncomfortable and for others, it’s been completely earth-shattering. But recognizing the pain and struggle of the individual next to you, even if it looks different than your own, is essential. We can and we will make it through this year… together. I share my story, not for attention or to try to ‘one-up’ anyone. I share my story to hopefully offer encouragement and community to anyone else walking through the same valleys we have.
This year started with my anxiety crashing down on me. I had been pushing all my thoughts and feelings to the side and told myself (and everyone else) I was ‘okay.’ In reality, I was having multiple panic attacks a day, I was hardly sleeping, and I’d lost weight I couldn’t afford to lose. I found myself in the emergency room being treated for dehydration and anxiety, and later, being darn near sedated. The last thing I clearly remembered was my husband walking into my room, still dressed from work, and my parents walking out. I woke up the next morning to learn my husband had driven me home from the hospital, carried me up two flights of stairs, and tucked me into bed. The next few weeks were full of rest, reflection, and growth – each equally essential to my recovery. Looking back, I’m thankful for that particular ‘rock bottom.’ Knowing now what I would walk through, the Lord was preparing my heart and my brain to adequately process the roller coaster that waited for us. I needed to give my anxiety attention.
On a whim, I took a pregnancy test the night of April 4. Mentally and emotionally, I had improved leaps and bounds, and we had been trying-but-not-trying for our first baby. Although my husband had been temporary laid off due to COVID, we felt ready. I expected a negative test considering I had been testing all week long with no positive results. Nope! A big fat positive! I sat and stared at the test in complete disbelief as if I was somehow misreading the word ‘pregnant.’ My husband was in the other room, oblivious to the fact I was testing again (pregnancy tests can get pricey, so we had agreed to wait a few more days before I took another one). I could hardly keep the news to myself for another second, yet somehow, I managed to video his reaction. I’m so thankful I did, considering that video is one of the few tangible pieces of evidence this first baby even existed. If there’s something I’ve learned about loss and grief, it’s this: document it all. Photos and videos may be all you have.
He was overjoyed, I was overjoyed. We immediately started FaceTiming friends and family to share our news (we aren’t great secret keepers). Again, I’m so thankful we did. We were able to celebrate this baby, even if it was for a short time. With each call, our news became more and more real. This was happening! I. Was. Pregnant. We fell asleep still in disbelief.
About 10 days later, I started cramping and spotting. Google, my mom, and my nurse friends all assured me it could be completely normal. However, they still encouraged me to call my doctor. The nurse who answered the phone agreed my symptoms could be normal, but if they worsened, to let them know. April 15, the cramping became significantly more intense and I was scheduled for an emergency ultrasound. Of course, due to COVID regulations, I had to go alone. I sat in the waiting room and tried not to get worked up one way or another. I could be moments away from seeing proof of my baby for the very first time. Or… well, I didn’t let myself go there. Either way, regardless of the news, I wished my husband could be by my side instead of waiting in the parking lot.
My name was called, I was brought back to a small dark room, and was prepared for a transvaginal ultrasound. I studied the tech’s face the entire time, trying to relax as much as possible so it’d be easier for her to do her job. She asked what felt like a million questions: ‘Now when was your last period again? How much spotting have you had? When did you get a positive test?’ I had never done this before, but all the questions didn’t seem ‘normal.’ And she didn’t project anything up onto the big screen. My optimism was slowly changing to worry. Per protocol, she couldn’t tell me anything but assured me she’d return as soon as the doctor reviewed the results. I laid there, alone, cold, half-naked, with absolutely no idea what to think. The wait was the longest 15 minutes of my life. I got dressed, texted my husband, snapped a few photos to document the experience, and still… nothing. When the tech returned, she informed me a doctor or nurse would be in touch. ‘That’s it? No answers?’ Patience isn’t my strongest virtue and this situation definitely didn’t help. I returned to the car and tried to update my husband the best I could.
The nurse finally called and informed me they saw no signs of pregnancy. However, it could just be too early, so I’d need to go in and get my HCG tested. ‘Great,’ I thought. Needles were a big fear of mine and the thought of doing something else alone, especially lab work, nearly sent me over the edge. But we went. We needed answers. As I sat in a back room alone, bleeding, I just started bawling. I sobbed to the nurse, ‘I know it’s gone, I just know it.’ All the fears, stress, and unknowns had piled up against me and I couldn’t hold back anymore. Bless her. I know she meant well but her reaction was not helpful. ‘Oh, you think so?’ wasn’t the phrase of comfort I desperately needed. As she poked me and completed the test, I realized just how common my situation was.
During the overnight hours of April 15, I passed our darling baby. At the time, I was unsure exactly what happened but in retrospect, I know. I was rocking back and forth, on all fours, in extreme physical pain – my back, the cramps, and lots of blood. My husband was present through it all, calling the hospital when he thought I couldn’t take it anymore. As bad as it hurt, what the pain represented was even worse. I knew with every cramp and spike in back pressure, my baby was leaving my body.
April 20, we received confirmation we lost the baby. I had already assumed and sort of accepted a miscarriage. I felt like I failed my husband, who had dreamed of being a dad. I was embarrassed to call our family and friends. How do you tell them all ‘nevermind’? I didn’t want to be pitied. I wanted my life to return to normal.
Our miscarriage experience was a lesson of grief. Everyone grieves in their own way. I don’t think I truly grieved until we learned about our rainbow…
On May 26, after some prodding from a friend, I took another test. My period hadn’t returned, and I fully expected this test to be negative. Again, I was shocked! Positive. My husband and I didn’t know what to think. Was this a new pregnancy? Was the test detecting hormones still left over from the miscarriage? I Googled, called my nurse friends, and eventually called the doctor. Over the next week, I went in for more HCG tests. As I waited to see if my levels were rising, I had to face the truth of my feelings. I didn’t feel ready to be pregnant again, and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be pregnant again. And the guilt from that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Many women are begging and praying for a baby, and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful if I really was pregnant. ‘What a horrible person I am,’ was all I could think. As I waited and waited and waited, I became more and more anxious. I’m sure I shook and cried for 3 days straight. At this time, I knew I hadn’t fully grieved our miscarriage. The grief, the guilt, and the unknown hung over me. My mind was racing, and I honestly didn’t even know what to think. That weekend was dark, but I walked through feelings that needed to be processed. I started to become hopeful. I wanted our rainbow. I was ready for our rainbow. I learned I could grieve our loss while celebrating a pregnancy.
On June 9, we saw our baby. Our treasured rainbow was real! We quietly and hesitantly celebrated, guarding our hearts in case this news ended in another loss.
On June 13, I started bleeding. I was sent to the ER, but baby looked great. I was put on pelvic rest. On June 18, I bled again. Due to my symptoms and the amount of blood, everyone assumed another miscarriage. I fell apart yet my husband managed to stay strong for both of us. As I collapsed into his arms, I kept apologizing. I accepted another loss and had placed all the blame on myself. I pulled myself together and back to the ER we went. But. Baby looked great. Although there was no medical explanation for the bleeding, I was put on bed rest.
On July 1, my husband’s birthday, I bled yet again. Another trip to the ER. The last thing I wanted was to lose my baby. The only thing that could make it worse. Getting the news on his birthday. Again, everything came back normal.
Talk about a roller coaster. As we entered the second trimester, my fears started to ease. Each milestone was celebrated with a sigh of relief. We even found out we were having a baby girl – our little fighter, Portland Gray Peacock. We eased into the new routine of preparing for a baby in the midst of a global pandemic.
Then, the week of November 8, my husband and I both tested positive for COVID. Knowing there was little data on COVID and pregnancy, I was uneasy. I stayed in contact with my doctor, kept the staff updated on my symptoms, and alerted them when the chest pain became difficult to bear. Another ER visit, another appointment alone. Luckily, my husband had been able to attend my ultrasounds and previous ER visits with me, but this one was different. The staff would only enter my room wearing gowns, booties, gloves, masks, and face shields. An isolating experience only became lonelier. Tests were run on Portland and me, and praise Jesus, all results returned as normal.
Now, we’re recovering. I have extra appointments, tests, and ultrasounds. I’ll start seeing high-risk doctors soon and we’re all planning for an early induction. The lack of information regarding COVID and unborn babies is concerning, but I choose not to focus on that. We have the best-of-the-best medical professionals on our team and they’re actively fighting for us.
What a year, what a journey. My husband and I have grown a million times closer. We’ve leaned on each other and our Father as we’ve walked through the darkest valleys, and we’ve praised Him as we rest on each mountain. Time and time again the Lord has shown His sovereignty, especially with Portland. There have been countless ‘but, God’ scenarios.
Unemployment during a global pandemic… but, God.
Might not be a new pregnancy… but, God.
Probably another miscarriage… but, God.
Positive COVID test… but, God.
He and only He has carried us through.
Friend, you’re not alone. One thing I’ve learned and a lesson that resonates through my bones is this: There’s so much we can’t control. The only thing within our control is our reaction to situations. I choose to use my story to connect with others and I hope my story encourages others.
You’re still a mama. Your grief is valid. However, you choose to grieve. And I’m sending all the sticky, rainbow baby dust your way.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kelsey Peacock of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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