trigger warning : pregnancy & infant loss
1 out of every 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage
Pregnancy and infant loss can be such a touchy subject–a subject most women don’t know much about until they unfortunately have to cope with the loss of a pregnancy or child. October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month and today, October 15, is the one day dedicated to what several women deal with in silence. Women all over the world miscarry during their pregnancy, give birth to a child knowing they won’t hear them cry, or lose a child shortly after birth for a variety of reasons.
I had the absolute privilege to connect, meet, and photograph 8 amazing women for this special Rainbow Project. Everyone present has unfortunately had to cope with loss in one way or another with their babies. My goal with this project is to shed light on pregnancy and infant loss, break the taboo of grieving in silence, and hopefully bring some hope to a woman who is walking this journey alone.
I started trying to get pregnant at 43 years old and shortly after I turned 44 I found out I was pregnant. I was so petrified and beyond happy at the same time. I was having a fairly smooth pregnancy until about 4 months in. I went to the doctor because something was off. I was diagnosed with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), a common infection women get all of the time. The first doctor I saw told me I could let it go away naturally and I thought “why not??? it’s probably best for the baby”. One week later the infection was still there so I went in again and saw a different doctor. This doctor was adamant that I take the medication or the infection could spread and rupture my sack. He was not wrong. One week later, my water broke at 17.5 weeks. That morning, I went to see the Doctor that had prescribed me the medication and he had to give us the grim news that my water had broken and that we would need to proceed to delivery in a hospital. While couples were cheering as their baby was being born, we were crying waiting for ours to be delivered stillborn. I don’t think there is anything more painful that the universe can give me. I did what I thought was right with the information given to me, but it has taken years for me to forgive myself for not taking the medication in the first place. Sadly, a rainbow baby has not been a part of my life. I still hope that one day, when the universe allows for it, that a special child will enter in to my life. I know that this child will not come from me and that’s okay with me because a child is a child and every single one deserves love.
“I knew I had miscarried but my body definitely still thought I was pregnant.”
We decided to grow our family and within the first month I found out I was pregnant and I was so excited. Sadly, a few days later, I miscarried. This happened 3 times — I would take a test, it would come back positive, and after confirming the pregnancies with my doctor, I would miscarry — each time without explanation. After a while, I decided I was done trying but then I found out I was pregnant again. I actually wasn’t excited at all but that one baby actually stuck and he’s a year old now
We got married and moved to Germany in 2018. In March 2019, we found out I was pregnant but unfortunately, I miscarried at 5 weeks. In August 2019, we found out I was pregnant again and my husband and I were beyond ecstatic. However, I ended up giving birth to our sweet Cayden at 19 weeks on December 22, 2019. Our son completely changed our lives. It tested me, my faith, and our marriage. For months, I only blamed myself over and over. It didn’t make sense why my body kept failing my babies. The feelings I felt did not make sense. It was the hardest thing my husband and I had to endure but it has brought us closer together. We swore to live our lives as if Cayden is alive with us. That helps us with the grief. We celebrate his every milestone. In 2 months he will be turning one and best believe that we will have a birthday party! We may not have our rainbow baby yet but we know that, one day, fate will be on our side — on God’s time and with the help of our angel.
In the U.S. alone, 2,000 women lose a baby to pregnancy or infant loss every single day.
The mental toll women go through after a miscarriage can be isolating. “Miscarriage services need to be changed to ensure they are available to everyone and women are followed up to assess their mental wellbeing with support being offered to those who need it. . .”
My husband and I tried for two years to conceive our son. We lost our first baby around 7 weeks, a couple of months into the first year of trying. After moving to Germany I was finally referred to a fertility specialist who diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and set up a treatment plan. I conceived our rainbow baby, Cadence, on my second medicated monitored cycle that had actually failed. I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant but God prevailed!
“We were very scared to even be excited after all of the losses prior”
Our fertility journey has been a decade long and tough road. At first, we had trouble getting pregnant and then once we actually got pregnant, I miscarried. My first rainbow baby son was born in 2011. He was the bright joy after walking the terrible storm from the prior miscarriage. However, while trying for our second baby, we suffered another miscarriage. It was a deep, gut-wrenching loss. Our second rainbow baby son was born in 2013. He brought us so much hope and joy after our previous pain. After our second son was born, we had many more miscarriages in 4 years; it was a very dark time. We finally found out we were pregnant again in 2018. We were very scared to even be excited after all of the losses prior but thankfully, our third rainbow baby son was born in 2018. He was such a sweet medicine for our tattered hearts from the prior losses. Throughout our fertility journey, God was our rock. So many tests were done throughout the years as we silently searched for the answers to “why”, but we don’t always get to know why. We just have to cherish the rainbows and remember our angel babies.
There is a chance someone you know is the one in four.
Your best friend
Women feel alone when they miscarry. They carry the sorrow on their own to not make anyone uncomfortable. They carry the sorrow on their own because they don’t know who to talk to. The women who have lost their baby can feel so isolated in this journey.
If you have miscarried, lost your baby, or have struggled to become pregnant, remember that the past does not dictate the future.