‘Why don’t you adopt? Take a break and see what happens.’ I gave birth to my baby, who never took a breath.’: Mom loses first child, finally gives birth to rainbow baby after long battle with infertility

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“Getting pregnant proved to be extremely difficult and took much longer than I anticipated. I thought going to the fertility specialist would almost ensure we’d get pregnant as soon as we tried. I had one loss and when I did get pregnant again, I took a cheap little test upstairs while my husband was cleaning up the dinner mess downstairs. I screamed to him and told him, ‘The test was positive!’ It was a faint line, but it was there. We immediately made a late-night run to Walmart for a more legit test. I came home and took 3 tests, one included a digital, and all said the same thing, I was pregnant. The next day I went in for a blood test at the fertility clinic and they confirmed my pregnancy.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

I tried to keep the news as quiet as I could. After suffering a loss already, I didn’t want to lose this baby and have to announce it to the world again. I told those closest to me: my mom, aunt, brother, sisters and my very closest friends.

‘I’m sorry, but your baby has died. Did you have any pain or fluid loss before today?’

I had never met the doctor who told me our first daughter, Amelia, died when I was 28 weeks pregnant. I wouldn’t be able to describe her to you or recognize her if she were in front of me, but I remember the words she said. I carry their weight with me.

I had an uneventful first pregnancy. I was healthy, and according to my OB, my baby was healthy, too. That’s why it was such a shock when I went in for a routine checkup and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. My husband and I were confused, angry, and devastated all at the same time. I’d had friends who lost their babies, but certainly not so far into the pregnancy. We thought we were in the clear. I had just paid for invitations to our baby shower 2 days before.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

I surprisingly stayed calm when the doctor told me Amelia had died. I was crying and called my husband who left work immediately to come be with me. We sat in a room and just cried until the doctor came in to tell us the plan for delivery. When I told my family, I asked them not to come to the hospital, but they didn’t listen and I’m so grateful for that. They showed up and got to hold and love on my daughter before we had to say goodbye to her forever.

No one tells you moms who lose their babies after a certain gestational age have to go through the entire delivery experience anyway. So, the next day we were admitted to the hospital and I gave birth to my baby, who never got to take a breath, on November 4, 2016. We spent a short 12 hours together and said goodbye to her sooner than my heart could comprehend. We suffered through our days, trying to get a handle of our grief and praying for the heartache to leave.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford
Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

After losing Amelia, the longing inside of me to have children intensified. As soon as my husband and I were cleared to try again, I did everything possible to get pregnant naturally. I woke up early to take my temperature, used OPKs (ovulation predictor kits), took supplements, drank the special tea, got acupuncture, saw a naturopath, joined online communities for advice, and spent countless hours reading books and articles trying to make sense of it all. After a year without success, I went to my OB for help. He prescribed me my first dose of fertility medication, Femara. I took a low dose for 3 months before he finally diagnosed me with PCOS. And thanks to my hours of research, I just knew I’d need more help.

I often felt hopeless. Especially when girls around me got pregnant without really even trying or by accident. I wondered all the time if I just wasn’t meant to be pregnant.

Finding out I had PCOS answered so many questions I had about my body and why it didn’t do what I felt it was supposed to do. While my girlfriends suffered through their monthly periods, I was lucky if I got a few periods a year. It made sense why I had such terrible acne, even in my adult years. Mostly, it made sense why I couldn’t get pregnant on my own.

My first pregnancy was probably just a ‘fluke’ after stopping birth control. My doctor said it was probably the first time I had ovulated in years. Once I got pregnant again and was considered high risk, we were referred to a specialist who found my blood gets too thick and doesn’t pass enough nutrients to the placenta which explained my previous loss.

I scoured the internet for an amazing fertility specialist, and it only took me one phone call to find the relentless people who eventually got me pregnant with my rainbow baby. My doctor and nurses held my hand during painful diagnostic testing, coddled me when the anxiety became too much, and stayed positive when I was ready to give up.

I remember my doctor saying, ‘You are healthy and have a lot of eggs, but your body just doesn’t help them grow fully or release them when they are ready.’ She said, ‘We just had to find the right combination of medication and hormones to get your body to function the way it needs to in order to get pregnant.’ She assured me we most likely didn’t have to do anything drastic like IVF or an IUI, and we’d only do what I was comfortable with.

I spent almost 2 years on Femara, supplementing with Menopur shots, and triggering egg release with Ovidrel. In those two years I was consistently poked and prodded. I had at least three ultrasounds per month, countless blood draws and follow-up calls with bad news. There were dozens of trips to the specialty pharmacy for my fertility medications, and lots and lots of negative pregnancy tests.

The first time I met my fertility doctor, she told me, ‘I WILL get you pregnant,’ and she did. My husband and I had so many discussions and were really close to just calling it quits altogether, but in March of 2019, I finally saw a positive pregnancy test again. I remember looking at the cheap, tiny test I’d buy in bulk from Amazon and feeling fear and excitement all at once. There’s no other feeling like it in the world.

I spent my second pregnancy in an unrelenting fear of losing another baby. I held my breath during every ultrasound. The first question I’d ask the technician was, ‘Is she breathing?’ I bought a doppler to listen to my baby’s heartbeat and went into a full-blown panic if I couldn’t find it right away. I mourned a little bit when I found out we were having another girl, as if I were cheating on our first baby by bringing a different girl into the world. I drove my close ones crazy with needing constant reassurance. I prayed harder than I’d ever prayed in my life.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

Our second daughter, Quinn, came 10 weeks early on October 6, 2019. I was induced after finding out I had preeclampsia and it was attacking my body with a vengeance. She spent 68 days in the NICU before we could finally bring our rainbow baby home.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

Our family’s journey to get where we are, at home with a baby of our own, was not easy. I also know we are extremely blessed because we know others who have suffered and sacrificed much worse in order to start their family. Many times throughout our trials I was asked why I was taking it so far. ‘Why don’t you just adopt? Why not foster? Why don’t you just take a break and see what happens?’ Constantly answering those questions and hearing the judgment in people’s voices was really heartbreaking. Sometimes I couldn’t even get an answer out and I’d just break down into tears.

The honest answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know why I had this desire inside of me to be pregnant and have a biological child, especially since my husband and I have always wanted to foster and adopt. I just did. I know now it’s okay.

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

I found a community of women struggling in the same way I was struggling. There are so many of us who hide because of the hurtful questions and judgmental tones. I’d search online for anyone in the world to talk to who understood what I was going through because sometimes I just couldn’t understand it myself. The one thing I’d always find, even on my very worst days, was hope.

Losing a child and battling infertility is excruciating, but there is hope and it is healing. I am so thankful to the women hurting who still radiate hope.”

Courtesy of Chelsea Ford
Courtesy of Chelsea Ford

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Read more beautiful stories about rainbow babies here:

‘She placed her hand on my belly and shouted ‘PREGNANT! PREGNANT! PREGNANT!’ I never met this woman before in my life.’: Woman becomes pregnant with rainbow baby after ‘five years of praying for our family to grow’

‘Don’t get too attached. You’ll probably lose this one too.’ I prayed, ‘Please find a heartbeat.’ I longed for people to rub my belly.’: Woman has ‘miracle’ rainbow baby after pregnancy loss, ‘The clouds had parted, he’s perfectly healthy’

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