‘I gasped so loud Dylan ran in. ‘Is this the baby?’ I held onto it, utterly confused and shocked.’: Woman details pregnancy loss, grieving process on path to rainbow baby

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Disclaimer: This story contains details of miscarriage and may be upsetting to some.

Beyond Excited

“Beginning of 2021, my husband, Dylan, and I agreed to start trying for a baby. I had dreamed of the day I would get to be a mother. I was so ready. Our hope was we would be pregnant on our one year anniversary, June 27th. It was a Friday night, and I was so giddy wondering if I was pregnant. Dylan told me to just take a test before bed because I couldn’t sleep without knowing.

In the small bathroom in our apartment, we flipped over the pregnancy test together and it was positive. Before bed that night, I took a selfie of us with the caption, ‘We’re pregnant,’ to save as a memory for me to see for the following year. Dylan kissed my belly goodnight and I really could not sleep now, I was too excited.

husband and wife hugging with pregnancy test
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

We celebrated the joys of this new life growing inside me over Valentine’s day weekend. Of course, I had already calculated my due date using an online due date calculator and was looking forward to bringing home a baby at the end of October that year, just before my birthday. I created and essentially finished my baby registry before I was even five weeks pregnant.

Later that week, we announced to our parents we were expecting. Dylan’s parents were going to become grandparents for the first time; they were overjoyed. I went to the mall to check out baby clearances and scored a baby Christmas sweater and red plaid shirt for our baby to wear during the holidays. I could not wait to have a baby to bring to all the holiday gatherings. I woke up each morning wondering if morning sickness was ever going to hit me.

baby Christmas clothes
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

Aside from being exhausted and hungry, I felt pretty good. ‘This baby must be a boy, this pregnancy has been so easy,’ I thought to myself. We talked about baby names and considered some that related to the ‘sea’ or ‘ocean’ because that’s something we both love.

Pregnancy Loss

A few weeks later, March 2, 2021, I came home from a long day of work. My husband and I sat down to eat our ‘Taco Tuesday’ dinner together. We shared about our days and laughed together. I reached for a fourth taco, shocked at how true the saying ‘eating for two’ was. Soon after, I began to clean up dinner and get ready for bed. I was so thankful I had made it to 7 weeks pregnant without being nauseous, but the exhaustion was no joke.

Before getting into bed, I began to bleed. Overtaken by panic, I texted some friends what was going on. They comforted me and told me to go to bed and call the doctor in the morning. The next morning, March 3rd, the bleeding had subsided a little bit and I was relieved. I left a message with the doctor and went off to work. I took it easy with the two little boys I nannied. Distracting my mind seemed impossible but I kept telling myself, ‘It wouldn’t happen to me.’

I’m young, healthy, and being pregnant was a dream come true. The bleeding was coming back later that morning and this time it was heavier. I reassured myself again, ‘At least I’m not cramping, early bleeding can be normal.’ Anxiety filled my body so I left work early and headed home to rest. My husband also left work early to meet me there. My mom, who has suffered two miscarriages, came over to sit with me for a little bit to help take my mind off things until we heard more from the doctor’s office.

husband and wife
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

The bleeding continued and I was really concerned. I laid on the couch in the living room and cramps started to overtake me. Still, I was in disbelief and reassured myself everything was fine. Dylan and I played battleship together. During the game the cramps (well, contractions, but I brushed them off as cramps) were so intense I was breathing through them. Shortly after one intense contraction, I felt a gush. We finished our game of battleship and I won; I always win. I laid on the couch scared and afraid to go to the bathroom.

The fear I kept brushing off was following me and becoming more of a reality. I could not stomach the thought. I wanted to be pregnant so bad. ‘Why would God take this baby away from me? There’s no way He would. He knows how badly I wanted this and how much I already loved this baby,’ I thought to myself. I walked to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. There is where I saw my 7-week-old baby, still in its amniotic sac and surrounded by blood. I gasped so loud Dylan ran in. ‘I think this is the baby… is this the baby?’ I started breathing faster, I could not believe what I was seeing. The head and little arms were so tiny and vividly there. ‘What do I do with it?’

No one teaches you how to dispose of your dead baby. I held onto it, utterly confused and shocked. I still did not want to believe I lost my baby. Dylan took it from me. I sent my doctor a picture and they called back confirming I had miscarried and that was my baby I delivered. After the nurse hung up the phone, I was still sitting on the toilet. I looked up at Dylan and we both started sobbing, all while the remaining pieces of my pregnancy left my body.

I got into the bath afterwards to try and relieve the physical pain, unaware at the time of the emotional pain I would be facing. That same bathroom that held all our joy when we found out we were pregnant, now also held so much sorrow as we grieved the loss of life.

drawn photo of husband wife and child
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

Processing Grief

My in-laws ordered us dinner that night. My sister dropped off some healing tea and soup to help the body aches. I didn’t want to see anyone. I could not and did not want to come to terms with what had just happened. A friend texted me, ‘All that baby knew was the love and warmth of its mama.’ This broke me. She was right, the baby didn’t experience pain on earth. It just knew the safety of me and now the safe arms of Jesus. The following day, my husband and I rented a private hot tub. A place for us to be together and relax. Although I enjoyed going, it was painful because if I was still pregnant, going into a hot tub would not have been allowed.

During our time there, I decided I was not going to stay silent about what had happened to us. My baby existed and was so loved. I could not stay silent and pretend it didn’t happen. Three days later I posted to my Instagram about our loss. ‘Seven weeks wasn’t long enough. I will always wonder what you look like and if you act more like your mom or dad. I want to see your hair color, your eye color, and your personality flourish,’ I wrote. The emotional pain was unbearable.

husband and wife
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

I wanted my baby. I continued to share about loss with my family, people at my church, on Instagram, and with my TikTok community. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who began to share their miscarriage story with me and surrounded us with love. A few people brought us meals the following week, gifted us memory keepsakes for our baby, and simply grieved with us. Although horrible, it was painfully beautiful at the same time. We were not alone.

I’m fine. The loss was early. I cried for a week and tried to move on, burying my emotions. I did not want them anymore, it was too much to handle. My emotions were constantly back and forth. Some days I’d feel okay and other days I just wanted to stay in bed all day. I felt understood by some people but others didn’t seem to care. I continued to share my story and my grief. At the same time, my heart was aching to be pregnant again. I was depressed.

I would come home from a day at work and crawl in my bed to cry. The pain of loss was so overwhelming. I realized I really needed to deal with my grief. Trying to bury it deep in my soul was not working. It caused me to lash out in anger and tears at unexpected times. I could not go on like this. I wanted to pretend it didn’t happen because thinking about it was too much. At the same time, I wanted to cherish that baby because I missed the baby so much it hurt. I felt like part of my heart had been ripped out with no warning. How was I to heal? As Zoe Clark-Coates says, ‘The greatest pain on earth is carrying and delivering a child you never get to raise,’ and I fully agree.

husband and wife at Christmas
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

I was given a book called, Grieving the Child I Never Knew, by Kathe Wunnenberg. This book opened my eyes to the ways I was hiding from my grief. I was trying to take control of a situation I could not control. It also encouraged me to name the baby we lost as a way to heal. I searched and searched for names. I started looking at names that related to the ocean or sea like we had talked about.

Ironically, I kept coming across the name, ‘Dylan.’ That is my husband’s name, so I kept skipping past it. Finally, I shared with my husband how I kept seeing the name Dylan as an option because it means ‘son of the sea.’ His eyes swelled with tears and I said, ‘I think we should name the baby after you, Dylan.’ It was perfect.

Mother’s Day rolled around and my womb was empty. I still felt the emptiness. That day, I posted to my Instagram, ‘Today stings a little as I had hoped I would be feeling my baby kick inside of me right now. Instead there’s a void in my heart aching for just a little more time. There is a mark that has been left on my heart forever and I’m learning how to do life with it. My short time being pregnant changed me completely. I’m not the same person I was before.’

heart in hand
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

I could not understand why I had to lose my baby. God knew how much I wanted a baby. ‘You can just try again,’ people would tell me. No, I wanted baby Dylan. I continued to write, ‘As I grieve, I’m remembering I’m not just grieving the loss of our baby. I’m grieving my baby, our future together, my husband being the best dad this fall, the seasonal clothes I bought that now sit in a box, the thought of having a snuggly baby on my birthday and for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. I’m grieving all that, and that’s okay. It just takes time.’

Learning this was huge. There was space for my grief in all circumstances. Although I could rejoice with those who got to bring their baby home safely, I knew I was also allowed to have my own feelings because I was not able to do that with baby Dylan. This was also my journey, I could not compare my grief to others who have walked the same road. My husband is my best supporter. He comforted and validated me during my unpredictable grief and healing. There were days I would cry over the littlest things. He was always right there with me, providing a listening ear and a hug.

Rainbow After The Storm

After months of trying for our rainbow baby, a baby that comes after a loss, we conceived and found out I was pregnant four days before our anniversary. We were overjoyed at God’s gift to us at the perfect time. Our daughter we named, ‘Echo Fidel’ which means ‘echoes faithfulness,’ because she is our precious rainbow baby that reminds us of God’s faithfulness every day.

rainbow baby
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

Echo does not replace the baby we lost; nothing will ever replace baby Dylan. Grief still hits me at strange times. However, she brings us such joy and light after a horribly dark time. She truly is our rainbow after the storm. Do not lose hope, even in the darkest of times, and cling to what is good. God always provides what we need at the perfect time.”

husband, wife and rainbow baby
Courtesy of Bailee Nyhof

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Bailee Nyhof of Holland, Michigan. You can follow her journey on Instagram and TikTok. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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