It’s been nearly 15 months since we lost our little girl Aaliyah, and I don’t think there’s ever a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I wouldn’t consider myself to be grieving still, but I do still cry every once in a while, and rightfully so. It’s also been about 11 months since we lost our 3rd baby. It was at that point that I felt like I was just done.
Yet by God’s grace, here we are, 9 months pregnant with our little boy.
My husband and I were very close to making the decision to pursue adoption and even foster care. After 3 losses, I began to think “Well maybe it’s not meant for us to parent our own biological children.” We kept receiving words of encouragement about how we shouldn’t give up, how it’s just in “God’s timing,” and that things would look so much different for us just a year down the road. Me being who I am, I couldn’t see 1 month down the line, let alone a whole year. I was tunnel-visioned – making it impossible for me to see a future where we might actually be happily raising a biological child.
I started looking into adoption and foster care while Sam kept insisting that we just keep trying. But I was terrified.
What if we had a 4th loss, what then? What if I couldn’t get pregnant again? If I did get pregnant, would I be excited, would I be happy? Would I actually enjoy being pregnant? Would I have the guts to tell anyone that we were pregnant yet again? What about Aaliyah, would I forget about her? Would that pregnancy help me to “get over” my previous losses? Would this “new” baby help fill the holes that my other 3 babies left in my heart?
Being this far along, I can truly say that being pregnant after so much devastation, after so much heartbreak, is honestly one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. This entire journey has been a blind faith walk. Milestone after milestone has passed, and sometimes I still doubt my ability to safely bring this baby boy into the world. I find myself asking God’s forgiveness because I continue to doubt him despite the fact that he’s brought us this far.
Making it to our first ultrasound and seeing that little heartbeat was surreal. That was the first milestone. Making it to the 2nd trimester, another milestone considering I had only ever made it that far with one baby, Aaliyah. When we got to the 16 week mark, all feelings of dread immediately flooded my mind and body. It was at this point with Aaliyah that everything began to fall apart. We finally hit 18 weeks with this baby, and celebrated that he was still here. It was an incredibly emotional day as it was at 18 weeks that I was rushed to the hospital, induced, labored, and gave birth to Aaliyah.
When we reached viability with baby boy (24 weeks when a baby can survive outside of the womb), it was a milestone we had never reached before. A time where we could indulge in breathing a sigh of relief that if my water were to break at that point, our baby had a chance to live. Even passing this milestone, there was still constant worry in my mind. “Well we made it to 24 weeks, but what are his real chances of surviving at this point?” Each week I literally googled the survival chances of a baby born at that gestation. 25 weeks, 26 weeks, 27 weeks, 28 weeks. Each week passed and for some reason I was still swallowed by doubt and fear.
I don’t think I can ever truly explain well enough the amount emotion and fear one goes through when being pregnant after so many losses. The worry changes from week to week, as did my prayers. The first few weeks, I prayed that I wouldn’t experience any bleeding, cramping, or any other signs of yet another miscarriage. When I made it to the 2nd trimester, I just prayed that my waters would stay in tact. When I finally made it to 24 weeks, I started praying that he would just stay in long enough to be developed enough to survive life outside of the womb. When I hit 28 weeks is when the kick counts started, and I just began to pray that the blood flow would be enough for him, that the placenta wouldn’t give out and that it would provide him the nutrients he needed to keep growing and to stay alive.
I think the hardest thing about pregnancy after loss is remembering that this is a different pregnancy, a different baby, and a different outcome. It was hard to not compare this baby to Aaliyah or that pregnancy at first. It was also rough forcing myself to accept that we would be having a little boy and not a little girl like we had originally planned for. No matter how positive you attempt to be, there’s always the uncertainty. There’s always the doubt. There’s always the little voice in your head that’s trying to convince you that you will fail once again.
This year has been nothing short of a faith walk, from the very beginning. Between being pregnant, and going through this pandemic, we have been walking in faith one step after another. The entire year has been full of walking into the unknown, walking into uncharted territory. I have learned to put all of my trust into God because really, what other option is there? It’s been proven time and time again that we aren’t in control. We can’t control the outcome of every situation. The only thing that we can do is learn to trust in God and that He has our best interests at heart.
Pregnancy after loss is not easy. It takes its toll on you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I hope that once we have our little boy safe and secure in our arms that I’ll be able to share with more detail how this journey has truly affected me.