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Our Ray of Sunshine, the Storm and the Rainbow {Trigger Warning}

Our Ray of Sunshine, the Storm and the Rainbow {Trigger Warning}

(Editor’s note: this birth experience deals with loss.)

I have had two natural births, the first to a beautiful and healthy baby girl – who is now three, and the second to a stillborn son born at 29 weeks.

Due in April with my third, another baby girl – how am I to birth without fear?

I feel so empowered to have birthed both of my beautiful babies.

After two years of trying and three miscarriages – Frankie came into the world.

Frankie’s birth was textbook – ten hours from first contraction to delivery, and spontaneously on her due date. I was so lucky. No damage, no intervention, no drugs. Happy baby, happy mumma.

Ruben’s labor was at the opposite end of the scale. A week after being told he was “incompatible with living” followed ten hours of failed induction, and then another two hours of the most painful and traumatic experience of my life. The room was silent, the doctors cut his cord and took him away to check for any signs of life – though the chances were slim that he was capable of surviving labor. I remember watching my husband from the bathroom as he cradled his son. I had to stay seated on the toilet to try encourage my placenta to birth. I couldn’t fathom what had just happened, it felt like an eternity before I met him. To then go home without him.

Only 8 weeks postpartum the clouds cleared and we were told the news of our rainbow baby. At the time the news was overwhelming, we weren’t ready.

Now 7 months pregnant I am excited and anxious for my daughter to be placed in my arms. Rosie cheeked, crying, flailing around as she adjusts to entering the world. To bring a baby home to Frankie as promised. A sibling for her to dote upon, a sibling she has been so patiently waiting for.

Birth experience and photographs submitted by Jade M. 

27 ways to Support Pregnant, Laboring, and/or Postpartum Mama

27 ways to Support Pregnant, Laboring, and/or Postpartum Mama

birth without fear, partner, pregnancy, labor, postpartumThere are so many different ways for a partner to support mama. Some are obvious, some are not. Read on for some ideas on what to ask for from your partner. If you are the partner, here are some examples for you take note of.

  1. “Because he is interested in knowing my birth plan, my wishes and needs, and willing to be my voice in the hospital when I may not be able to communicate well for myself.” -Kimberly D.
  2. “When I wanted a home birth after my first was traumatizing and in a hospital, he supported me 100%. And when I received my GD diagnosis and was heartbroken and afraid of losing my midwife, he helped me make meal plans and get a handle on my diet so that I was able to manage it on my own and did not require insulin. When I was in labour he helped apply counter pressure during contractions, poured water on my back, got coffee and tea for the birth team. Oh and he baked pies for everyone who helped deliver our little girl. Basically, he was my rock and my source of strength.” -Robin K.
  3. “Lots of things, but one that comes to mind was him picking good songs for us to listen to.” -Moriah B.
  4. “Every pain, tear, doubt, decision. He was there. He held me up (literally) when I was too weak to stand. He washed my sore body after 18 hours of labor and an emergency c-section the first time and then held me again after 26 hours of labor and another emergency c-section. When I was too weak to hold our babies after surgery, he held them for me while they nursed. When we got home he showered me until I was strong enough to do it with out pain. He got up every time the baby cried to bring her to me so I didn’t have to get in and out of bed because it hurt so bad. Even though he works 12 hour shifts. He fought the doctors with me when I refused to be induced after I passed my due date. He supported me when the doctors doubted me trying a VBAC. He’s my favorite person.” -Michelle G.
  5. “He supported me whole heartedly to have a water birth at home even though he was scared. He never once left my side during labour and gave me so much strength and courage when I needed it. He was simply amazing!” -Mai W.
  6. “When we were exhausted from a false labor and my hubby bolted from half sleep to tell the doctor I did NOT want pitocin. I was so tired, not dialated, contractions had stopped. My doctor was pushy and seemed upset with me and I’m a bit of a pushover especially when I’m stressed. If it wasn’t for him I would have had a very long, strenuous labor. Baby came safe and easy 2 days later (at a different hospital)” -Kate I.
  7. “Feeding me after the baby was born.” -Kristina M.
  8. “He reminded me that we were so close to meeting our rainbow baby.” -Susanna Y.
  9. “He stayed awake…. 50 hours of labour and that man managed to stay awake with me. Just that in itself was enough. I don’t know how a person does that when you’re not in labour yourself.” -Karen H.
  10. “He worked well with my doula and basically did whatever she said which helped us both a lot. He never left my side. I don’t think he even left me to go pee. He was amazing.” -Cora M.
  11. “Being with me through my entire labor applying counter pressure and wading through the whole gruesome scene, and knowing breastfeeding is very important to me and making sure I was able to do it successfully and without public shame. (Boobs out all the time anytime).” -Tosha M.
  12. “His response when we did non emergent transfer. I was a puddle of useless mess. Totally triggered out from birth trauma from the minute I walked into the hospital. It was awful. I couldn’t get it together. They kept asking me if I wanted pain medication because I was so hysterical and it had nothing to do with pain. He stepped in and knew the answer to every question. He demanded they respect my body. He demanded they respect my midwife. he was there to take me home when they said we were both fine and I didn’t need to stay. He was there when my baby was born, at home as planned, 24 hours later.” -Jessica M.
  13. “He turned his hat backwards when I started pushing–like he was about to work too! Like ‘here WE go’, together.” -Meg M.
  14. “My husband spoon fed me many times while I nursed postpartum which is an incredibly sweet memory for me.” -Melissa H.
  15. “Our girl is our second and I had a rough, rough pregnancy this time around. But on our induction day he had learned all my birth cues. He advocated for me, requested a new nurse when it took her 8 tries on different spots on both arms to hook up my IV, made sure I was given juice on top of my water, bought me 6 boxes of Popsicles, rubbed my back and made sure that, even though transition kicked my ass, I got my med free delivery! I don’t think I would have done so well without him. My daughter was born in 4 minutes, 2 total pushes, no blood and no tearing. He was my rock.” -Eliyana T.
  16. “He helped calm me and relax me during labor and helped me with the birth by reminding me how far we’ve come and how close I was. We both cried during the birth. I had so much love and respect for him in that moment.” -Cassielynn O.
  17. “Foot massages really helped me!” -Chelsea R.
  18. “He read on natural birth and breastfeeding without prompting. And then would rattle off random facts and information. Told me we didn’t need a doula because he was all I needed.” -Ashley M.
  19. “He got all of my craving food and followed directions well during labor and delivery.” -Sarah W.
  20. “Second day home and I was having trouble getting my baby to latch. I was exhausted and in tears. My husband sat by my side and used a bottle of formula to help entice my baby and squeezed my breast just like the nurses in the hospital while I tried to adjust the baby with my hands. Now I’m going on 7 months breastfeeding!” -Jessica M.
  21. “The fact that I was literally in (primal) beast mode, unshowered, broken blood vessels all over my face, straight up demon-screaming, clawing at his hands and arms, and he was looking at me like I was the single most beautiful and amazing thing on this planet.” -Katie S.
  22. “Caring for our toddler after baby was born so I could focus on nursing and resting.” -Imani C.
  23. “My sweet husband just said ‘Whatever mama wants’ during my whole pregnancy.” -Devin S.
  24. “He made a schedule for my recovery so some one was with me at all times.” -Jocilin O.
  25. “My method of coping with labor pains was to “bah” like a sheep. My husband got right in my face and ‘bahed’ with me. It made me feel safe and comfortable and allowed me to let my body open up and baby to come out.” Jodi R.
  26. “He is working many late nights leading up to the birth of our daughter so he can take time off to take care of us postpartum.” -Allegra L.
  27. “My husband sat with me while I labored on the toilet (stalled labor, very intense toilet contractions) and prayed over us while I squeezed the life out of his thigh. During this time my other birth attendants left us alone and I progressed from 6cm-8cm.” Amanda S.

 

The Birth of Scarlet Noelle

The Birth of Scarlet Noelle

Throughout my pregnancy I had to get ultrasounds every week with my maternal fetal medicine doctor. It’s what happens when you’ve had two beautiful, stillborn little girls: one at 23 weeks and the other at 32 weeks, both due to a rare blood clotting disorder known as Factor II. The ultrasounds were always my saving grace. I got to see my beautiful girl and know right then at that very moment, she was ok.

This past Tuesday started off just like any other day. I got up and headed out the door to see my maternal fetal medicine doctor. When I got there the tech did the ultrasound, said everything looked great, and then put me in the NST room…which was odd. They don’t put you in the NST room unless something is wrong. Her excuse was that the other rooms were full, but I knew something was up. A few minutes later the specialist came in and said that during the ultrasound Scarlet’s heartbeat dropped down between 108 and 117. Her heartbeat is normally 135 to 145. Not a HUGE deal, but with my history they wanted to be extra careful. I was hooked up to the NST monitors and kept on them for about 15 minutes.

During this time I was having mild contractions every four to five minutes. Again, not a big deal; I’d been having them since 34 weeks. The specialist came back to check on me and said the heartbeat was still dipping during contractions and that she had to send me to the hospital for monitoring, except I had to go to their hospital. I wasn’t even allowed to drive to mine, a mere 20 minutes away.

From there she started to talk of an emergency C-section and told me I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything, including water, and that’s when freak out mode kicked in and tears ensued. C-sections? What? You’re telling this natural, un-medicated birthing momma she might have to get major surgery! The birth I had been dreaming of for years was quickly flying out the window and I was doing my best to wrap my mind around things and come to terms with it all. Before I knew it, I was being walked over and admitted to the hospital. By then I had called a friend to pick up my husband and bring him over to be with me.Collage1

 

While waiting for Erik, the nurse checked me. It was around 3pm and I was 3cm and 70% effaced. Erik showed up and after an hour of monitoring they said I could eat something “light”. I had a chicken Caesar salad and a chocolate chip cookie. Ahmazing! Then a total of eight hours went by and I started really pushing for them to let me go to my hospital and be with my midwife. They were being stubborn, but all it took was one call to my midwife and I was being brought discharge papers 20 minutes later.Collage2

 

Once we left that hospital we stopped at Mellow Mushroom to pick up a pizza. I was still having the same contractions I had been getting since I got to 34 weeks. Erik and I were convinced that when I got to my hospital they would either keep me over night for monitoring and send me home the next day, or induce me to go ahead and have the baby. Boy, were we in for a surprise!scarlet8

 

We got there and they had reserved the biggest room for us. Yay for awesome labor and delivery nurses! My friend Emily met us at the hospital and brought me a HUGE basket of cloth diapers and other beautiful gifts. I was floored by all the love and filled with excitement. Shortly after Emily got there, my friend Mary Anne showed up to take birth photos. She is so sweet and I am so happy she got to be there for Scarlet’s birth.scarlet9

 

A few minutes later my midwife came in to check me and sweep my membranes. She checked me at 8:30pm and I was 4cm, 90%, and with a bulging bag. After sweeping my membranes the contractions instantly got stronger. At that time Emily’s doula had come up to be with me…for free! What a blessing she was! She advised Erik and I to walk around the hospital a few times to keep things going. Then we did lunges and some acupressure.scarlet10

 

Before I knew it I was squatting during contractions and having to breathe through them, but they still didn’t hurt terribly. It wasn’t until I got a contraction that made me feel like I was going to poop and vomit at the same time that I thought, Oh crap, I’m about to have a baby. Usually when I get the urge to vomit it means transition is coming soon and sure enough, the midwife checked me and I was 6cm and fully effaced. I asked that they fill up the tub. I knew the next part would go fast.scarlet11

 

I got in the tub and it was AMAZING! It felt so good and eased the pain of the contractions. During each contraction my doula was putting counter pressure on my lower back. Let me just tell you, counter pressure is a God send! I will never have another birth without it or without a doula, for that matter. I’m not sure how long I was in there laboring before my water broke, but it broke and all of a sudden I wanted to know what time it was. All my babies have been born sometime between one and three, so I was curious when Scarlet would make her arrival. What do you know?scarlet12

 

A few contractions later and she was born at 2:57am. Her cord was very short, and my midwife said it was probably the reason for her heartbeat dip during contractions. I held her, cried, laughed, and just stared at her. I remember saying, “I didn’t think this day would ever come.” and “Oh my God, we have a little girl; a real live baby!” I could hear the tears and joy around me. It was the perfect moment.scarlet13

I held her and Erik talked to her over my shoulder. After about 15 minutes I had Erik cut the cord, because it was so short I could barely keep Scarlet above the water. He cut it and I handed her to the nurse while I got out and went to lie in the bed and deliver the placenta. A few minutes later I pushed the placenta out and that was that.

The birth was 100% done. No tears, no stitches or anything! They weighed Scarlet and she was 6lbs 2oz and 19in long at 37 weeks 4 days! My sweet Rainbow baby girl is finally here and I am in awe at how blessed I am to have her.

Photography by Mary Anne Morgan Photography.

I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

*trigger warning*

I am strong because in April of 2012, I gave birth to a precious baby girl named Evelyn, prematurely at 24 weeks due to incompetent cervix, premature labor, and infection.

I am strong because I endured a frightening classical c-section 4 hours after entering the hospital with a smile on my face, knowing it was the best chance my baby had to survive.

I am strong because I was told I will never have a future vaginal birth due to my vertical incision, and I would never be allowed to go into labor for fear of rupturing my uterus.

I am strong because I spent every single night in the NICU watching my tiny 1 pound 5 ounce, 11.75 inch long daughter through a plastic window, unable to hold her.

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I am strong because I pumped breast milk for her every 3 hours.

I am strong because at 5 weeks and 3 days old my little girl developed an infection called NEC, and within hours of its discovery, it took her life.

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I am strong because I held her for the first and only time as she was passing away.

I am strong because throughout the most horrifying time of my life I was able to plan a beautiful funeral for my baby, something no mother should ever have to do.

I am strong because 4 weeks after she died, I donated all of my pumped breast milk, roughly 600 ounces, to a milk bank  to help babies like her.

I am strong because 1 year and 9 months later I discovered that I was again pregnant, I was elated.

I am strong because I was considered high risk and went to many, many extra appointments.

I am strong because at 13 weeks and 5 days I went into the hospital to have a preventative cerclage placed in the hopes of getting me to full term.

I am strong because I was placed on modified bed rest for over a month, but I took it upon myself to continue bed rest as much as I could throughout the entire pregnancy.

I am strong because I was given weekly progesterone shots.

I am strong because despite the constant fear of losing another baby I decorated a beautiful nursery for our second daughter.

I am strong because at 6 months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I am strong because I gave up all of my favorite foods, took medication, and drew blood up to 5 times a day to control it.

I am strong because I held my breath during more than 21 ultrasounds, expecting to hear the worst each time.

I am strong because at 37 weeks to the day, 3 days after my cerclage was removed,  I began having contractions that eventually were 2-4 minutes apart.

I am strong because I finally realized they were not Braxton Hicks and had my husband drive me to the hospital.

I am strong because I was given 4 pills of Procardia to help relax my uterus, but the contractions continued to get more intense.

I am strong because after 3 or so hours of contracting in the hospital I was told I would be having my cesarean that night.

I am strong because at 8:08pm, just one minute later than my first daughter’s birth, my second beautiful girl, Emily, came screaming into the world at 6 pounds 5 ounces and 19 inches long.

I am strong because during her birth my doctor discovered that my previous incision scar was thinning, and had I not gotten to the hospital when I did it would have eventually ruptured, and endangered both of our lives.

I am strong because I heard over the curtain the doctors exclaim that Emily had a true knot in her umbilical cord and her cord was wrapped around her neck, but thankfully neither affected her health.

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I am strong because my baby had to spend 5 days in the NICU, due to being slightly premature and having jaundice, a place I thought I would never have to visit again.

I am strong because I was finally able to bring our baby home from the hospital.

I am strong because I have two beautiful girls, one on Earth and one in my heart, to motivate me to be the absolute best mother that I can be.

From Katariina Shoemaker

Completing Our Family, Part III {A Story of Loss and Hope in Three Parts}

Completing Our Family, Part III {A Story of Loss and Hope in Three Parts}

Vanessa continues the story of her quest to complete her family. After two miscarriages, two complicated pregnancies, a traumatic and premature birth, she and her husband knew that, despite the warnings from family and friends, they were meant to have another baby. At this point in her story, she is in her third trimester, pregnant with their baby baby, who was diagnosed at 32 weeks with Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR).

Read Part I
Read Part II

“The weekend leading up to my growth scan appointment I started to feel sick like I did with Jackson and Eva when I had preeclampsia. I spent most of the weekend in bed resting. I had headaches, elevated blood pressure and pain in my right side. On Monday at my appointment my blood pressure was elevated again and Lincoln’s growth went from the 7th percentile overall to the 3rd percentile. In the meantime I hadn’t been gaining weight and my belly wasn’t growing and my doctor decided it was time to admit me.

I was admitted to antepartum because there were no open rooms in labor and delivery. Another doctor came in about an hour after I was admitted to discuss the plan for me. We would be moved to labor and delivery as soon as a bed was open and I would be started on the mag drip to help with my preeclampsia. It’s a nasty drug and I wasn’t thrilled about it.

This doctor had done my second D&C in 2010 and is one of the other high risk doctors. I was happy to know that if my doctor couldn’t deliver me that this doctor could. They worked together the whole time on the plan for me. So on Monday I just rested and waited for a room to open up. I was checked and to my surprise was dilated one centimeter and was told I was 50% effaced also. At 1am on April 1st I was moved to L&D.

Once in L&D they did one dose of Cytotec. I had been contracting regularly the day before so they hoped that this would be all that they would need to do. They had planned to administer three doses every four hours but after the fourth, my contractions were coming too frequently to do anymore. So they tried Pitocin. I had really wanted them to just break my water since that is what put me into labor with both Jackson and Eva but Lincoln was still high and they were worried about a prolapsed cord which would cause an emergency C-section.

So we did Pitocin, and there was no change – exactly what my husband and I expected. So we decided in the afternoon to stop the Pitocin and try to get my contractions to stop so I could try Cytotec again. The doctor said we’d be having a baby one way or another the next day and I was really hoping my body would just cooperate to have him naturally just as I was able to with the other two kids. I had a massive migraine all day on Tuesday which was awful. We were finally able to get it to calm down by the night. I was hoping and praying that things would go well the next day.

Starting the evening of April 1st they once again gave me my first dose of Cytotec and I was actually able to have a second dose. But after the second dose my contractions were once again too regular for a third. So that morning we waited to see what the doctor would decide. He came in just after 11 am and checked me. I was two centimeters dilated but still pretty thick and Lincoln was still high. He said, “Well, we’re having a baby one way or another and you said breaking your water will do it so that is what we’re going to do.”

At about 11:15 he broke my water and started Pitocin again. At that time I just rested for a few hours and changed positions in the bed often. I had asked Sheryl, my nurse, if I could take a bath and she found some cordless monitors so that I could. It was awesome. I spent an hour relaxing in there. {Side note, Sheryl was an awesome nurse I met when I was in labor with Eva and we had stayed in contact over the past two-and-a-half years. She was my nurse on April 1st and came in on her day off on April 2nd to be my nurse again!}

After the bath I go out and dressed again and Sheryl said it was time to walk. Matt and I spent half an hour walking the halls until around 4:15 in the afternoon. We came back in since I felt like my contractions were changing. Sheryl checked me at 4:35. I was a three and thinned out (FINALLY) and our baby had come down a bit. She said that he was feeling the contractions because he was having decels with them.

The doctor came in and had me wear oxygen for a bit. We were not sure which way it would go since at this point I was only three centimeters dilated and could be in labor for hours longer. I still didn’t have an epidural either and really didn’t want to but I had some incredible pain and finally caved and asked for it. While we waited the contractions were beyond intense. I felt like such a baby because I kept thinking, how can I be in so much pain and only three centimeters dilated?! Little did I know, I was progressing incredibly quickly.

It took the anesthesiologist a while to get to me. I thought about asking to be checked first but it hadn’t been long since the last check so I thought again, There is no way I have progressed that much. I remember saying to Matt that I felt like I was complete already. At this point Sheryl had to leave due to a family commitment. She thought I would be at least a few hours more. Once I had my epidural and the anesthesiologist was leaving I asked the nurse to check me and so she got the doctor and – what do you know, I was complete!

I, along with everyone else, was incredibly shocked. No wonder I had been in so much pain. The epidural never took effect because it was given too late when he was too low so I was feeling it all (my epidural didn’t work with Jackson either). Once the doctor checked me he told me that if I felt pressure to get him because it would be soon. I said okay and he went to leave. He got to the door and I yelled at the nurse to get him back because I had to push.

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She got him in and phoned NICU as I was doing my best not to push. The doctor and my husband got into position for Lincoln to be born and in two pushes he was out. Matt was able to help guide him out as he did with both Jackson and Eva. They cut the cord and had to take him away right away to work on getting him to cry. He was born at 5:33 in the afternoon, when less than an hour ago I had only been dilated to a three.

Since my epidural never worked I was sitting up on the bed when they took him so I could kind of see them working on him. It took just a bit to get him to cry by rubbing his back and then he did. He looked PERFECT! We knew immediately he was smaller than Eva and when they finally weighed him he was 4 lbs even. I was beyond thrilled because on Monday they had said he was 4 lbs 1 oz on the ultrasound and I was praying it was accurate (as it was for Eva). When I found out that he was really indeed 4 lbs I cried.

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It was a crazy fast labor and I felt every pain with it and I am SO glad that I got to experience that. This was not the labor I had hoped and dreamed of but out of my three, it was the closest I got to little intervention. I did not need the internal monitors like I did my daughter. I was not incredibly sick like I was my first son. I was alert the whole time and able to experience all of it including the pain.

After they got him cleaned up a bit they brought him to me to do kangaroo care for about 15 minutes. Ahhhhhh I was so thankful that we got to do that!!! After about 15 minutes, though, they had to take him to the NICU and Matt went with him. The nurse knew how bad I wanted to get over there so less than an hour after he was born I stood up and got in the wheel chair to go and see him. He was perfect and I got to hold his hand and be there with him while our kids were on their way to meet him too.

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They came in and saw him and were in love! Especially Eva. She kept wanting to touch him and kiss him. It was adorable. They only stayed a short time and then we had them taken home. We were told in the NICU there was a chance that Lincoln would join me in my room that night. I could hardly believe It. There was no way! But I was so excited!

Lincoln was not able to join us that evening back in our room. In fact, he had several setbacks which kept him in the NICU for 17 days. He lost some weight and got down to 3 lbs 12 ounces and was not able to maintain his body temperature. He had to be in an incubator for a week. He had some issues feeding as well and was jaundiced and required a special blanket. The worst was apnea.

He had several spells where he stopped breathing and started turning grayish. It was incredibly scary. He was put on a dose of caffeine and I was told he would go home on a heart monitor. Thank God I was able to room in with my littlest man and we worked on breastfeeding. After 17 long days Lincoln came home the day before Easter. We were able to baptize our son on Mother’s Day which was incredibly special to me.

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He is the missing piece to our family. His birth has completed us. Pregnancy and deliveries have never been easy on me but I would do it all in a heartbeat to have my three living children here with me today. I think about my angels in heaven every day and know that someday we will meet again. I might not hold them in my arms but I always hold them in my heart.

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Like so many women, my pregnancies and deliveries were far from what I had hoped for but I made the best of my situation. I feel so grateful to have had a wonderful doctor and team around me as well as a great support system. My husband and I are thankful for these blessings and as I finish typing this and watch my littlest miracle sleep I feel humbled by what God has given me. I am truly blessed.”

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Professional photos by Tera Ward Photography, Michigan.

Completing Our Family Part II {A Story of Loss and Hope}

Completing Our Family Part II {A Story of Loss and Hope}

Today, we continue a story shared with us by Vanessa from Michigan. Despite many challenges and deep loss, she knew she wanted to carry more children. This is the story of her journey to complete her family.

Read Part I
Read Part III

“We found out just shy of 16 weeks that we were expecting a rainbow baby girl and from many ultrasounds she appeared strong and healthy. That was amazing news. At 22 weeks I was placed on blood pressure medicine as my blood pressure was getting quite elevated. My appointments became more frequent and I had many ultrasounds to track our daughter’s health. At 32 weeks we learned that our daughter had IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction) and was measuring weeks behind. She also had low fluid and poor blood flow through the cord. My blood pressure was rising more as well. That is when we started my twice weekly NSTs and once weekly biophysical profile ultrasounds to watch her.

Despite everything, our daughter, whom we had named Eva {means giver of life}, was strong and doing well. At 35 weeks her rate of growth had slowed down to under the 10th percentile and I had protein in my urine. I was sent home on bed rest for the weekend. The next week I was admitted due to dangerously low fluid, preeclampsia and IUGR. After yet another scary induction where her heart rate kept dropping and required an amnioinfusion, Eva was born after only one push and weighed in at 4 lbs 8 oz and 17.5 inches of pure perfection. She was born at 36 weeks and three days’ gestation. She required no help with anything, was amazing at breastfeeding and was discharged with me at two days old. She was our miracle peanut baby girl. We felt so blessed.

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After the birth of our daughter in September 2011 (shown at age three in the photo below) my family urged me to be done. They worried about my health both physically and mentally if I were to get pregnant again. We sold everything because after a miscarriage and two complicated pregnancies and deliveries and now a preemie, other people thought we should be done. After a lot of soul searching, I knew that I was not done. I knew in my heart that God had plans for another baby to bless our family. So with our families’ support my husband and I embarked on the journey to finish our family. When our daughter was 17 months old we learned we were pregnant again.

This baby, like our second, was called home to God but at 6 weeks instead of 14 weeks. Again, I was devastated but also knew that after a loss would come a rainbow. We waited 6 months to try again this time because I wanted to give my body a little bit of a break.

Eva turned 3

In late August of 2013 we were elated to find out that we were indeed pregnant again. Once again, I was monitored closely by my doctor at maternal fetal medicine. He was such an amazing doctor. My blood pressure, as in every other pregnancy, was an issue again. I was put on meds just shy of eight weeks this time to control it. I also had a subchorionic hematoma that did resolve itself and spotting throughout my pregnancy.

At my 15 week appointment we had difficulty finding the heartbeat so I was sent for an ultrasound. We learned that this rainbow baby would be a boy and were so excited! We named him Lincoln. At 22 weeks I had protein in my urine and was evaluated for preeclampsia and luckily I did not have it. Shortly thereafter at 26 weeks we learned that, like his big sister, this baby was beginning to measure small. At almost 32 weeks he definitely had IUGR.

He was estimated at only 2 lbs 9 oz at that point. Then started my twice weekly NSTs and once weekly biophysical profiles again to watch over our sweet boy. His fluid was also lower but we did not seem to have the blood flow issue this time around. I had always dreamed of a water birth where I would go into labor naturally but that didn’t appear to be in the cards for me. On Monday March 31st I had a scheduled growth ultrasound and biophysical profile ultrasound with our doctor. We had known that Lincoln was measuring small since 26 weeks and that he was diagnosed with IUGR. We knew at that point there was a chance we would be induced early, possibly at my next growth scan.”

Professional photo by Tera Ward Photography of Michigan.

I Am Strong {Kylee}

I Am Strong {Kylee}

Trigger warning: contains loss

I am strong because when I was 19 I had my daughter Madison Lee. Madison was delivered all natural on Dec 3, 2005 and screamed from the time she took her first breath until she was all tuckered out 4 hr later.

I am strong because my second daughter Marrell Louis was born July 3, 2012 and didn’t make a sound. I am strong because we never got to take our daughter home. At 8 mo pregnant our daughters heart quit beating after the cord got wrapped around her neck.

I am strong because on July 9, 2012 I buried my child, and I never thought I would bury a child., but that my child would bury me.

I am strong because my husband Levi gave me strength and my other daughter Madison did too.

I am strong because even after a year of trying to conceive it hasn’t happened….

I am strong because I have faith in God and if it’s in his plan he will bless us with a Rainbow baby.

I am strong because all though you only see me parent 1 child, I’m actually a mother of 2.

A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the LOVE she holds in her heart.

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A Rainbow Baby Born to a Hyperemsis Gravidarum Survivor

A Rainbow Baby Born to a Hyperemsis Gravidarum Survivor

My birth story starts almost 6 years ago. My husband (we were dating at the time) found out we were expecting a bundle of joy. He asked me to be his forever on Christmas Day. We were married on February 22, 2008. I was 18 weeks with our precious gift, which we found out the same day we were married we would be parents to a little girl. One month later on March 22, 2008, I went into labor at 22 weeks. We were unable to stop the progression of labor due to an incompetent cervix and had a beautiful little girl, Karlee Jordan at 9:10am. She went to be our angel at 9:15 am.

With the loss of Karlee, we both were devastated. My husband and I had decided to wait a few years before trying to have another bundle of joy. I had found out at my postpartum check up that with any more pregnancies I would have to have a cervical cerclage at 14 weeks, and I was diagnosed with MTHFR, which meant I would have to take a daily blood thinner to ensure the adequate blood flow through the placenta.

My husband and I had decided in the summer of 2011 that we would try to have another bundle of joy. On August 1, 2012 we found out we were pregnant. I immediately called my OB/GYN office and set up an appointment for the following week. On August 4th, I started miscarrying. I went to my scheduled appointment 2 days later, which I was told I had miscarried. I was heartbroken yet again.

On September 6th I had decided to take a pregnancy test because I wasn’t feeling like my normal self, it was positive. I called immediately to set up an appointment for blood work. We were approximately 4 weeks along. I started progesterone pills 3 times a day to help prevent miscarriage and was informed at 16 weeks I would start a progesterone shot I would take weekly until 35 weeks. At 13 weeks we scheduled my cervical cerclage for the following week. I was given a spinal block to put in the stitch. I went home to a week of strict bed rest. After that long week, I went to back to my doctor and was released off of bed rest to light work duties.

At 19 weeks, we had our anatomy scan appointment, which we were told we would be having another little girl. During that appointment we had a cervical length check, which showed contractions in the uterus. My doctor put me on moderate bed rest until birth. During the pregnancy I struggled with gaining weight. I lost about 50 pounds in 4 months due to having hyperemisis gravidarum. I started maintaining weight at about 6 months of pregnancy. At 35 weeks I had a BPP ultrasound in which I told my daughter had quit growing intrauterine and was only about 4 pounds. I remained positive after being told this information. I knew I was a small person only 5’3” and my husband is 5’5”. I knew my daughter was healthy just small like her mommy and daddy. I continued with twice weekly BPP and non-stress tests.. At 37 weeks, my doctor removed my cerclage in office and told me that we would be having a baby with in the week. I was already dilated 1 cm.

The next day I was spending the day at my grandmother’s house when I started having contractions. I went to our labor and delivery ward, where I was admitted for observation. My contractions were 4 minutes apart yet I was only 2 cm. I stayed overnight where I continued to have contractions every 3 to 4 minutes. The next morning my husband had went home to take care of our dog and bathe, when my doctor came in. He had noticed that during the contractions our little one was having some deceleration of heart beats. He wanted to help with labor since I was 20 hours in with very little progress. I was worried that my body couldn’t handle any more labor and I agreed with the help.

At lunch time they started the Pitocin and at 2:00PM my water broke and I was 7cm. After my water broke our little one became distressed. I was scared there was something wrong. My doctor did an amnio-infusion, where a catheter was placed in the uterus to pump saline water around my little one. Almost immediately after the infusion started my little one calmed down and her heart rate stabilized. At 5:30, I was 8 cm and my doctor had noticed that there was a band of scar tissue from the cerclage not allowing any more dilation to occur. He proceeded to help stretch the cervix open.

At 6:15, our little one was having more decelerations and it was decided that I would start to push. My daughter was born at 6:25PM with the help of the vacuum assistance. Sophie Mae weighed 5 pounds 4.6 ounces, and was 17 inches long. During the delivery, I had an internal sulcus tear, a class III episiotomy.  I received a total of 27 stitches.

I have a beautiful Angel watching over Sophie and Myself. I could not imagine going through any other pain as great as this was. My daughter is my life now. At 2 months old she is healthy and weighing 10 pounds 12 ounces.

Kadey's rainbow baby born after an HG pregnancy

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