It’s kinda taboo isn’t it? talking openly about a miscarriage or still birth. You can see the moment you start talking about it, people clam up and shut down. I understand they may not know how to respond because everyone responds differently to uncomfortable topics. I too was one of those people. I am embarrassed to say I would get quite annoyed if a woman talked about their miscarriage, because I felt like it was some weird attention seeking behavior. Hind sight being 20/20 it was just pain that she didn’t know how to handle.
When you go through a miscarriage, a still birth, newborn death, or even infertility issues you find yourself put in this box. You’re a part of a club you truthfully never wanted to be a part of. But here you are. You’re dealing with this pain that you don’t know what to do with. Some women hold it in, forget it happened, push it down and ignore the pain. I was advised by a good friend to just feel what I feel. And so, that is what I did.
When we found out we were pregnant it was February 25th, 2017. This weekend my husband took me to Milwaukee, WI for a little “get away” for my birthday. This was one of the best birthday’s I’ve ever had. He planned a fun weekend, and to top it off I took a test and it was positive on my birthday. The best birthday gift I could have ever asked for. This baby was very much wanted.
I sat across from Joel (my husband) at dinner and told him we were expecting. He had his typical response, a smile, a big breath in and out, and you could tell he was happy but of course he has the weight of family on his mind. He has always had a strong worth ethic and the provider role is strong in his blood.
I did the next steps, doctor visits, prenatal vitamins (when I remembered), telling family, busting out my maternity clothes, telling my three other littles, we. were. happy.
Fast forward to 12 weeks along and I am having these strange symptoms. Easter weekend, I am having what I would consider labor pains. My back was hurting, I was bleeding so of course I go in and they tell me “all is well! baby has a heart beat, just take it easy.” I went to my 12 week ultra sound scan, and that would be the last time I saw my baby alive. I was open with them about how I was feeling. I expressed my concerns for a miscarriage. My doctor told me “the likelihood of a loss this far along is very small.” So, I trusted that.
The next day, I was still in so much pain. I called the doctor again and she told me tests came back and I had a UTI. “A UTI??” I’ve never had one of those in my life. But, of course I listened, I got some antibiotics and hoped it would take away this crazy amount of pain I was in. At this point I was barely getting off the couch. I felt awful because it was my husbands birthday and I couldn’t do anything for him.
It was my husbands birthday, and that evening that we lost the baby. The pain I was in for a few days, was indeed labor pains. I kept ignoring this thought of “is this labor” because I listened to my doctor. I never had a UTI… It’s been 4 years since loosing this baby and I still cry. It’s ok to still get emotional. Our loss was unique in the way that we lost the baby at home in my bathroom. My husband sat across from me during the entire thing. I had no clue what was happening until it was over with. This was the start of a very dark time in my life. I spent 3 years asking myself “why?” We would try on and off for 3 years to have another baby but I’m glad it didn’t happen until my mental health was on the up and up. Finally after struggling with depression and anxiety for 3 years I had to put myself on medication. It was a hard thing to admit I needed help. I couldn’t handle the sadness. During this time people would be making comments like “be happy, you have 3 beautiful children” or “women experience miscarriage all the time, it happens.” Of course I’m thrilled we have three healthy, beautiful children but it doesn’t take away the sadness that I am missing one of my babies.
Fast forward to March of 2020. Everyone remembers this month right? the great pandemic of 2020. I remember it for a different reason. I found out in a hotel bathroom on a little weekend trip with my husband to Columbia, Missouri that we were expecting again. The emotions were all over the place. Scared, overwhelmingly happy, nervous, terrified to have another loss. So, I kept it to myself for a few hours (lets face it I can never keep anything from Joel.) We had breakfast and then in the parking lot of a Cracker barrel facing a KFC, I pulled out the test and showed him. His response was the typical smile, big breath in, “of course” with a little laugh this time. That 6 hour drive home was different from the one on the way down to Missouri. On the way down to Missouri we were future talking. I finally accepted that maybe it was ok to never have a rainbow baby. I finally got to a place that I was ok with how big our family was and it was ok to move on from having anymore. This was also right before the pandemic hit and we had so many plans for 2020 that actually never happened. It’s kind of funny to think about now. The ride home was very quiet. I’m sure he was going through the same thoughts as I was. Scared, nervous, the pressure of providing for a family of 6.
I was 1o weeks in when I started the same type of symptoms from before. Labor pains, bleeding.. I started breaking down again. “Was this happening again?” I kept asking myself. I took myself off anti-depressants almost immediately because I didn’t want to do anything that could affect the baby.
I did everything like before, Monday morning I went into the doctors office. She did a small hand held ultrasound and told me “there is a heart beat, baby is moving around you’re good to go!” I kept having pain all that week and finally on Friday I went back in and I had a different doctor. We did an internal ultrasound where he told me the same thing. “Everything looks normal.” And this was the moment that I snapped. I heard enough, and I was tired of being shoved off and treated like I was this whining complaining pregnant woman. I looked at the doctor and said firmly “I have had three healthy babies, I have had one miscarriage and this feels exactly like the miscarriage I had.” Thank God he listened to me. He told the ultrasound tech to look further and see what else could be going on besides proof of life. And that is when everything changed. He started using terms I didn’t understand and I’ve never heard before. “That does look very retroverted, and pretty retroflexed. I bet it’s entrapped too.”
It turns out that I had a retroverted, retroflexed entrapped uterus and my body was trying to grow a baby but my uterus was stuck folded in half basically. After a fun little procedure (sense the sarcasm) he brought me to another room to explain that my uterus flipped backwards and folded in half. I firmly believe that had I not stood my ground for him to look further we would have suffered another loss. It took about a week for my body to heal after the procedure.
We went on to have a few hiccups with the pregnancy but I can handle small hiccups. We had a Single Umbilical Artery, and he had IUGR. A single umbilical artery is exactly how it sounds. The umbilical cord is usually made up of one vein that goes into the baby bringing nutrients and oxygen to the baby, and two arteries that leave baby taking away waste. He only had one artery instead of two which made him to be a smaller baby. It also made it so I had to be induced.
This delivery was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I was all about having an epidural and a very peaceful delivery. This was my 5th delivery and my final one. I didn’t want to experience the pain of delivering a baby without pain medication. Apparently, God had other plans. After two failed epidurals I delivered a healthy beautiful baby boy.
Jacob Lee Wallace was born on November 1st, 2020 at 10:08pm. He was 6 pounds 1 oz and 19.5 inches long. He was my littlest baby. I kept feeling like I was in a daze, it felt like a dream. I labored for 14 hours to get this sweet little one here.
**Photos of my family above were done by Nicole Streeter Photography**
The hole in my heart dug out by a miscarriage is not filled in by another baby, but the pain of loosing a child has changed. I’m sad that they couldn’t find my uterus situation with our 4th baby, but I am so thankful they figured it out so we can have Jacob with us.
Having 4 children has changed our family dynamics so much. My kids are so in love with having another sibling. It’s not always easy but it is so worth it! I couldn’t wait to introduce my older kids to Jacob.
We have had Jacob in our home for a few months now and the first few months have been a little bit of a challenge with some dairy & soy reactions. But, we are finally seeing so many smiles and such a fun personality come out of this little guy!
I am sure that I will always struggle with the loss of Matthias David. Seeing a tiny little person the size of your hand will always and forever engrave heartbreak. I’m glad he is buried at the family farm and I know one day I will see the boy that is missing in my life.
If you’ve struggled with a loss and you need to talk about it, please reach out. I am always one email or text away.
All the best,
Birth Photographer & Doula – Nicole Streeter Photography
Videography – Tribute
Hospital – St. Mary’s Hospital -Madison, WI