“‘March 16, 2019 – a date stuck in my head since July 2018. At that point, it was filled with joy, hope, and excitement.
On July 5, 2018, my husband and I found out we were pregnant for the first time. I couldn’t believe it – we barely tried. It felt almost too good to be true – a baby before our first wedding anniversary! Those feelings still haunt me. Because about a month later on August 9, 2018, we heard words I’ll never forget, ‘there’s no longer a heartbeat.’
My pregnancy journey begins with a story of miscarriage and loss. I remember the moment the ultrasound technician hesitantly uttered those words so vividly. I remember sitting in complete shock after she said it. I didn’t understand. There were no physical signs of miscarriage from my body, I still felt ‘pregnant.’ Tears eventually began streaming down my face and my husband reached for my hand.
Soon, we learned I had experienced a missed miscarriage. There were three options: wait for my body to miscarry naturally, take medication to complete the miscarriage, or have a surgical procedure known as dilation and curettage (D&C). I hated the idea of being surprised by my body and the D&C presented possible complications, so I opted for the medication. Even though I felt this was the best decision for me, the process still pained me so much. I wasn’t even entirely convinced it was real. Like, are we sure there’s no heartbeat, or is this medicine going to kill my growing baby? I took the meds knowing that sometime soon I would feel and see those physical signs I so desperately wished had come earlier, naturally instead – if they were destined to come anyway.
The next morning, I started to experience bleeding. We had begun planning – throwing around names, taking ‘bump’ photos, creating a Pinterest board titled ‘Baby E.’ We had wondered how a baby would fit into our townhouse with virtually zero storage space. So we had emptied the closet and furniture in our guest room to prepare for the nursery transformation – leaving only a basket of stuffed animals on the shelf for baby. And worst of all, we were just about to share the news with our families. Instead of rushing to my parents the day after that second ultrasound to tell them they would be grandparents again, I peeled myself off the couch and hysterically drove to tell my mom I lost a baby.
The following day the medicine had run its course. I felt the pain of this loss like nothing before. Not the pain of a failed first marriage nor of losing loved ones – family and friends – way too soon – even came close. My heart literally hurt. I didn’t know it at that moment, but that pain wasn’t going to fade. The end of my first pregnancy was the beginning of three months of absolute hell.
At my follow-up appointment a few days later, I was given more bad news. The miscarriage was incomplete – there was some tissue left in my uterus. Still hoping to avoid surgery, the doctor suggested another round of meds. Another cycle of bleeding, another incomplete result. Options had run out and I was scheduled for a D&C on August 23, 2018 – which right on cue, resulted in an infection.
I blamed the miscarriage on myself. And then I felt guilty for being upset. After all, I was only nine weeks pregnant – this has happened to women much further along. But it wasn’t my fault. The truth is, there could have been a chromosome issue. So really, the miscarriage was a blessing. God or some higher power’s way of protecting me –us – from even greater pain (if it exists) in the long run. It took me a long time to see this point of view, but it’s so much brighter.
Most of what I was feeling post-miscarriage, I kept to myself and it was a really dark time. I started suffering from what I now know was panic attacks. I had never had one before – the racing and pounding heart, uncontrollable crying, hyperventilating, vomiting. I cried every day. I couldn’t think – not even to make a grocery list or clean our house. Two things this over -organized girl could typically do in her sleep – something I was also having trouble doing. The panic attacks became a daily thing. I was scared, my husband was scared. For my health and the sanity of our very new marriage, we decided I’d quit my job, with no plan for what was next. And no one expected what was next.
At this point, my trouble sleeping got worse. Baby-less, job-less, I just couldn’t shut my brain off. On October 4, 2018, I was taken to the hospital for my worst panic attack yet. I was released late that night, but now the lack of sleep turned into pacing; for hours, all night long. I was prescribed meds to try and ease this new heightened anxiety and get me to sleep. But I fought those, too. The pacing turned into insomnia.
Next, I was prescribed sleep meds. Those resulted in brief sleep, followed by faster pacing, and horrible thoughts unimaginable in my right mind. Those thoughts led to two additional hospital visits before we realized I was having a very negative reaction to the medication. But now, my choices were non-existent, and I landed an extended stay in a hospital’s mental health facility from October 9-15, 2018.
I legitimately didn’t think I’d survive the month of October. But here I am, two years later, telling you that I did. That I’m okay – better than okay. And the love and support of my incredible husband, parents, and friends are a big reason why. As are the therapist and psychiatrist I’ve seen since being discharged from that 2018 hospital stay. I’ve continuously shared my story to offer support for other women like me. I want them to know it’s not their fault and they’re going to be okay. I want miscarriage and mental health to stop being something we keep to ourselves out of guilt, embarrassment, or shame. I want to say, you are not alone.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the beginning of a global pandemic. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant again since October 2019. Starting to lose hope as I prepared to get my eighth month of negative pregnancy tests. But then, right when we needed it most, we found out our rainbow baby is due January 2021!
‘Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.’ – E. Y. Harburg
During my first trimester, I felt really good all along. Sure, the pregnancy fatigue was a bit of a downer, but I lived for daily naps and enjoying them while I could. The biggest downer by far is being pregnant during a global pandemic. Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t able to join me for any of my appointments but was ‘with me’ waiting in the car during each and every one. It breaks my heart that I can’t entirely share the experience of our first pregnancy with him, but thankfully, my doctors allowed me to FaceTime him twice – once during my very first ultrasound, and once so he could finally hear the beautiful sound of our little one’s heartbeat.
Around 12 weeks, I experienced a scare with some bleeding. I immediately broke down, having flashbacks of my missed miscarriage. Of course, it happened in the evening when my OBGYN was closed, so we had to wait until first thing in the morning to make an appointment. Walking in alone to check the heartbeat on that morning was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. But, come to find out mild bleeding can be totally normal and baby was totally healthy!
My second trimester was also smooth sailing. It was all, ‘feeling good, feeling great,’ when someone asked how I was doing. Then, just two days before entering 28 weeks and my third trimester, it decided to go out with a bang –and not in a good way. The last, terrifying, 48 hours included a 9-1-1 call and an unexpected hospital stay. ‘No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.’
At 12:30am on Friday, October 23rd, I woke up feeling like I had to pee. And I noticed I felt wet. I’m a super sweaty person – especially now – so I assumed that’s what it was. When I rolled out of bed, I saw three puddles on our sheets. Of course, it was dark, so I couldn’t exactly tell what it was, but it definitely made me nervous. After a very loud, ‘what the hell is that’ my husband woke up alarmed and immediately began checking the bed while I went to the bathroom. At about the same time that I started peeing blood, he said, ‘I think it’s blood.’
As the toilet filled with blood, the tears started streaming down my face. My mind immediately went to the worst. This couldn’t be happening AGAIN, not now, not at 27 weeks. I thought maybe it was over and we could just call the doctor and figure out what to do – all the while, waiting to feel the baby kick and be given any sort of sign that she was okay in there. I got up from the toilet and as I began to walk, the blood was dripping all down my legs and onto the bathroom floor. At this point, my legs got weak, I was shivering, and I began to feel like I was going to throw up. My husband had me lay down on the bathroom floor, covered me with towels, and called 9-1-1. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance arrived and answering my prayers, baby girl continued to kick me all the way there. A little after 1:00am, the triage nurse found her heartbeat and confirmed that she was perfectly happy and healthy in there. However, I was still bleeding – and apparently experiencing regular contractions, which I couldn’t feel at all.
They gave me an IV, then admitted me to Labor and Delivery for at least the next 24 hours. I was given a shot of Terbutaline almost immediately to attempt to stop my contractions. After a few hours passed, and the bleeding had lightened but not stopped, they also gave me a steroid shot to strengthen baby’s lung development should I have to deliver early. A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) doctor came to chat with us explaining all the potential scenarios/procedures should I need to deliver early – a scary conversation, but much appreciated. Finally, around 3:00pm the bleeding and contractions had both subsided. I was taken for an ultrasound to check on baby and my complete placenta previa (diagnosed around 20 weeks), most likely the cause of the heavy bleeding I experienced. They checked my cervix first, noting that it was still completely closed – good news. Then they did a complete anatomy scan on baby girl, again, and everything checked out perfectly. It was also noted at this time that I still had complete placenta previa.
Feeling even more relief now, the doctor let us know we’d be staying at least until Saturday afternoon to be safe, then would be evaluated for discharge. Around 10:00am Saturday morning, the doctor came in and let us know we would be discharged around noon. Not 30 minutes later, I went to the bathroom and passed a very large clot, experiencing more bleeding. So much for going home. The doctor came back in and did an exam to check for active bleeding – there was none. So, for lack of a better explanation, she cleaned out all the old blood allowing my body to start fresh, and hopefully, avoid passing any additional clots. We were now going to be at the hospital until at least Sunday afternoon.
The next 24 hours were relatively uneventful. They gave me another steroid shot so the baby would benefit from the full effect, still as an early labor precaution. Finally, we were discharged from the hospital around 3:00pm on Sunday, October 25, officially day one of my third trimester.
The silver lining from this traumatic experience? My husband was able to be with me in the hospital the entire time. After not being able to join me at a single appointment since finding out we were pregnant, Brad heard that magical heartbeat in person for 48+ hours in the hospital. He heard every kick, swish, and tiny dance move. He got to experience the 20-week anatomy scan he originally missed, at 27 weeks instead. He FINALLY got to experience the overwhelming joy of his first child, his baby girl, growing.
Since that first big bleed, I’ve had three others. In fact, I’m currently writing this from my hospital bed at, where I am on permanent bed rest at 34 weeks, with daily monitoring and weekly ultrasounds until baby girl arrives. Believe me when I say, our little girl is already so strong and will come whenever she wants. But if she decides to stay put in there, and my placenta previa has not resolved itself by 36 weeks, I will be scheduled for a c-section between weeks 36-37. So, while we’re still hoping she can wait patiently until 2021, 2020 might end with a rainbow after all.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristina Eberhardt. 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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