“I met Tim at a bus stop in Perth, Australia in 2011. Me, a Dutchie, and him, a Canadian. Our journey to being together was hard, but we fought for each other and knew we were meant to be together. When I moved to Canada in 2014, I was convinced the hard part was over after going through a long-distance relationship for two years. Little did I know, I was going to be faced with a whole different journey that was going to break me to my core.
In 2016, we decided we wanted to start trying for a baby. We weren’t in a rush but were realistic about the fact it might not be easy because ‘you never know’ and at least we would have started our journey. It took us 4 months to get pregnant; we were over the moon. We didn’t tell our parents we were trying, so I sent a letter to a television program in the Netherlands called ‘All You Need is Love,’ explaining I would love to tell my parents they were going to be grandparents for the first time for Christmas. A day later, I received a phone call asking if we could be on a plane the next day and they would love to have us on the show. And so we went. We had a great time spending Christmas with my family and I wished I could have stayed longer, but I needed to come home because of medical appointments regarding the pregnancy.
The room was awfully quiet when she scanned me. The screen was turned away. Tim was not allowed in (which is the rule in Ontario), but she told me that she would call him in when she was done scanning and taking pictures.
‘Are you sure about your dates?’ I was. I knew right then and there, something was not right. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. ‘Okay, you can go.’ Wait, what? ‘Aren’t you going to ask him in?’ I asked. ‘No, sorry. You can go and your physician will call you with the results.’ I was 8 weeks pregnant, and I knew there should be a heartbeat to show me. Instead, I was not shown or told anything, but abruptly send away. I spend the rest of the day trying to reach someone to confirm what I already knew. I never cried so much as I did that night and the following day. I did not go to work the next day. I could barely function. The phone call did not come till 3 p.m. ‘I am so sorry, there was no heartbeat.’
My world came crashing down. I had talked to this baby, told the world about this baby, made plans, had hopes and dreams, and now… nothing. There were no physical signs. I had stretch marks on my breasts from growing so fast, I was nauseous at times, I was not bleeding. How could it be over just like that? My body was fiercely holding onto a baby my heart wanted so badly, but there was nothing I could do to save it. My baby was gone. I waited a few weeks as I wanted everything to happen naturally, but after nothing happened and my hormone levels stayed high, I was advised to take pills to induce the miscarriage from happening physically.
If you’ve ever seen a miscarriage happen on television, it is always shown as a bit of blood and then it is done. Unfortunately, miscarriages do not get talked about often and so women do not know what to expect and what it can be like. For me, I had timed contractions and a full-on ‘mini’ labor. It was traumatizing, upsetting, and the whole thing was an extremely lonely experience.
We had a trip planned to Australia shortly after and it could not have come at a better time. Traveling is the best type of therapy for me. It allowed me to process a bit. 3 months after the miscarriage, I became pregnant again. ‘Surely it won’t happen again,’ I thought. I was told miscarriages are common, especially in first pregnancies. Two in a row, well, that does not happen very often. I was scared and anxious, afraid to love this baby, plan for this baby, and dream about this baby. I changed ultrasound clinics because I was traumatized by how I was treated before. I can now confidently say ultrasound trauma is a real thing. As I was sitting in the waiting room at our 8-week ultrasound, tears were streaming down my face.
And then it came. The silence, again. I could barely get the words out of my mouth. I did not want to hear the answer because once she confirmed it, it would be real. ‘It’s not good is it?’ I asked.
She shook her head, ‘I’m sorry, honey. I don’t see a heartbeat and the baby is measuring behind.’ Anger, fury. How could this happen all over again? I knew what the physical and mental part entailed, how my previous miscarriage lasted 3 months, and how much I struggled with all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘should be’s’ of that pregnancy. I knew I was going to have to relive it all over again. I was so mad and so sad. I kept busy at work. I didn’t allow myself to process it all. I worked at a school so when summer started 2 months later and I was off work, the dark clouds came rolling in. I went to a really dark place for a while. I did not realize it at the time but looking back, I was definitely depressed.
About 5 weeks into summer, we had a family beach day. My 13-month-old niece pointed at my belly and said ‘bubba.’ The following day, I was holding a positive pregnancy test. That ‘bubba’ is my son Finn: my double rainbow baby, the one that saved me. However, he did not come ‘easy’ either. Pregnancy after loss and the anxiety that comes with it is hard enough as it is, without any complications.
I was 6 weeks along when I was attending a wedding party and I started to bleed. I was convinced it was happening a third time. ‘At least they will test me now since it will be my third,’ went through my head. I headed straight to the ER. We were 2 hours from home and spend the whole night there. We snoozed in our car for about an hour or two and in the morning, I was sent for an ultrasound. ‘It might be too early. You’re only six weeks along, we might not even see anything.’
‘I know,’ I replied, fully expecting the worst. And then, she gasped and said, ‘Oh wow, a heartbeat!’ Words I had never heard before. Peace came over me; there was hope. I decided no matter the outcome, I was going to love and celebrate this baby, even if we only would have a short time together. I sung to him and talked to him and started to believe maybe, just maybe, he would be here to stay. The night before my 8-week ultrasound, the one I was so scared of, I had a dream about having an ultrasound. I was told everything looked perfect with a strong heartbeat. That dream came true, as did the dream I had a few weeks later where I was told I was having a boy, and then saw a vision of him. At my 20 week ultrasound, I found out that dream also came true. I started to believe he would really make it here.
Everything was going great until I hit 30 weeks. I started having placental abruptions and had to go on hospital bedrest. Every week was a celebration. The longer this baby would stay inside, the more chances he would have on the outside.
Even though I was told at 30 weeks he could come at any time, I managed to keep him in until 34 weeks and 6 days when he made a rapid entrance into the world and I could finally hold one of my babies earthside.
Finn was born completely healthy and was breathing on his own. He was discharged from the NICU after 3 days and transferred to the pediatric floor where he needed to grow and get stronger to feed without help. When he finally came home, I was so happy but also so anxious. I could not believe he was here, that he made it, and that he was safe at home.
It was like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to go wrong and for him to be taken away from me. I learned going through what I went through made me a different mom and person, not necessarily a better or worse one, but a different one nonetheless. A more anxious one, a less innocent one, but also a stronger and more grateful one. I did not care about the multiple night wakings. I did not care about the hard things of motherhood because the only thing that mattered was he was here. He made it and I got to hold him every day.
Just after his first birthday, I unexpectedly became pregnant again. I knew now I COULD carry a baby, and thought maybe the doctors who told me it was ‘just bad luck’ were right. I was extremely nauseous, way more than I had been with the previous three, and I took that as a good sign. But unfortunately, I had to hear those dreaded words for the third time.
I thought I would be able to handle it better. I now had Finn after all, and this just confirmed how blessed I should be to have him, how much of a miracle he is. I never realized how much my experiences had traumatized me until it happened again. Despite the fact I did have a child already in my arms, I struggled immensely mentally and everything hit me three times as hard as all my previous experiences came flooding back.
I am part of a ‘club’ no one wants to be a part of, yet I cannot think of a more supportive group of women. I started blogging to raise awareness and to connect with others, to help them feel less alone, and in return, it helped me feel less alone too. I am currently seeing a fertility specialist and hoping to get some answers so we can try for another rainbow baby. My son was supposed to be a big brother. I scooped him out of bed the day I found out and told him he would be. Now I don’t know if he ever will.
I recently decided to hold onto hope, to look for rainbows during the storm. If I did not lose my first two pregnancies, my son wouldn’t be here. Through all the heartbreak, I got him. Fellow loss and infertility mamas know the strange feeling I get when I look at my son and think: if those losses didn’t happen then, he wouldn’t be here. I remind myself what is waiting for me at the end of this road. I’ve tried to change my mindset from ‘I don’t want to jinx anything’ to ‘I’m putting it out there in the universe and I believe it will happen.’
So here it is: I will have another one. All the tears shed along the road to this next rainbow baby will be worth it because one day I will look at them and think, ‘If it all didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have you.'”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sanne from Ontario, CA. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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