"The largest of blessings are those that are small." - Unknown
The following is another story of pregnancy/infant loss by one of my clients. Every one of her children except her first (her sunshine baby) is a rainbow baby due to miscarriage but this story focuses on the loss that wasn’t supposed to happen. The one that should have lived if the proper steps had been taken by her doctors. This is her story:
“My husband and I were super excited to find out that we’d be welcoming our 2nd child the following summer. But there was some complications from the beginning. I had a bad fall. So at about 8 weeks, I started to bleed a lot. Like a period. I’d see my OBGYN and he’d tell me that I had a Chorionic hematoma, and that it wasn’t much to worry about. I went on to bleed the rest of my pregnancy. Fast forward to week 17. I was standing up cooking dinner when I felt a huge GUSH of fluid. Thinking it was just urine, I go and change. But it continues to happen. Concerned, I go to the ER. They tell me that it’s just urine, and just send me home. 2 days pass. This time I go to use the restroom and notice huge clots of blood in the toilet. Very scared, my husband calls an ambulance. The hospital tells me that the Doppler is still picking up a heartbeat. They assure me that some women bleed during pregnancy, but they are just fine. They send me home. The next day, I’m in a lot of pain. I continue to pass clots and fluids. I take myself back to the ER. They test for amniotic fluid, but they tell me it’s negative. They insist that it’s just urine. Again. They tell me that it’s only Braxton Hicks, and the pain can’t be that bad. They try just to send me home, saying that I’m fine. This time though, I demand an ultrasound. They didn’t want to give me one, but after some back and forth... I got one. The baby was fine on the monitor, but I was told I had no more fluid. They finally call a perinatologist to come talk to me. After running some tests, she informs me that an infection has set in. I have 2 options: abortion or hospital bed rest until viability. I chose the latter... she explained the consequences of what can happen if I kept her in (I could die from infection), but I refused to terminate. She stayed in until 23 weeks! 5 days before 24 weeks (GA viability law. They won’t try to save the baby unless they are at least 24 weeks) fever set it. Labor started again. They tried to stop it but my body resisted. 2 days later I had to deliver as my fever wouldn’t break and her foot was coming out. Shiloh was born June 6 2013. She was alive and breathing. However, the hospital refused to help her. She passed away about 1 hour later. The hospital sent me home 2 days later. Thankfully a company (NILMDTS) came and took lots of pictures at the hospital. Even got a beautiful memory box and hand sewn dress for her. It’s still hard for me to open that box. It hurts that I couldn’t save her. Like, why didn’t God save her? What did I do wrong? I was very afraid to have any more children, but a couple months later we found out we were expecting Rainbow #1! Micaias was more June 5 2014. Almost a year to the day of his big sister! I go on to have miscarriages between the next 3 rainbows, Giovanni, Naomi and baby Genevieve. All were early on, but still very heartbreaking. And painful. Nobody ever mentions how much miscarriages hurt.”
Her most recent pregnancy which I capture back in march as well as a milestone of baby Genevive in June was also a rainbow pregnancy. She says the best thing about this pregnancy “has to be that it was pretty uneventful. I had some complications with my other rainbows but not with Genevieve. My 1st thought after pregnancy was confirmed was, “should I even get excited?” I know some may think that’s a terrible thing to say. I’m just being real. I honestly wasn’t sure if I should get attached. This was the same thought I had with all of my rainbows. I guess it was my way of coping. I told myself, If I miscarry then I won’t hurt as much. This was my thought. Not that it worked... they still hurt.”
The hardest part was “definitely not knowing. Most people agree that your pregnancy is “safe” after 12 weeks. Mother’s with late term loss/stillborn know better. There is no safe period. So knowing this, fed into my depression and anxiety. I’ve mentioned before that I’m diagnosed with bipolar depression. I can’t really explain what it’s like... except a very intense roller coaster. During mania, I was super excited about my pregnancy! I made all kinds of plans, day dreamed of all the fun I’d have with her, talked everyone’s ear off about anything and everything BABY! Would even have fun shopping for items all day long. Then the depression comes. Fear. Guilt. Sadness. I would become annoyed and angry. Filled with anxiety that something is wrong with her. Go days without (barely) getting up or eating. Then I’d feel bad. Like I didn’t deserve to have this baby. Of course, it’s not true, but that’s how I felt during that time.”
She said if she could go back and give herself some advice to prepare herself for her pregnancies or her losses she would say “I would tell myself that whatever happens, I will be ok. And that they will never know the pain and suffering of this world. So I take comfort in that. Also, that there is nothing more that I can do, except take care of myself. Nothing can truly prepare you for a loss. Just take care of yourself. I mean that. Self care is so important. If you take care of yourself, you will stress less.”
When asked what she wished other people would know about someone who has gone through infertility, infant, child or pregnancy loss she said “you know, I wish that others would understand how we feel. Then I realized... no I don’t. Their ignorance is a beautiful thing. To understand is to have felt the same pain. To have gone through it themselves. I think I speak for all angel moms that we wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on anyone. I will say though, if you know someone that has gone through a loss, just be there. I know some just don’t know what to say, well you don’t have to say much. Or anything at all. Just be there to listen, be a shoulder to cry on and be a distraction from our sadness. When you think we are “over it,” we aren’t. You don’t get over the loss of a child. We’ve just managed to find a new “normal.” It still hurts to this day, but I think I can finally say (6 years later) that I am at a sort of peace with it. This is funny because that’s what I named her. Shiloh. It means “Peace.” I believe that is where she’d want me to be at. May you all find your Shiloh. ((Hugs))”
Having her rainbow babies has helped her through the storm of losing Shiloh and her others because “I guess you could say that like there is a little piece of her in them all. When I hold them, kiss them, play with them... i feel like she’s there too. I wonder sometimes too if MAYBE God has sent her back to me. Through them. Especially my girls. Her time here was so brief, that I do wonder if she was given a new body and sent back again. I don’t know... wishful thinking I guess. So whenever I get sad, I just remind myself that she’s still here, or that I will see her again someday. My rainbows give me hope of that.”
When asked what her favorite thing about her rainbow/s babies are she said “Well they all make me laugh! Each in their own way. Including my Sunshine (born before an angel). I must say though, that the youngest always makes me laugh even if I don’t want to. I suffer from bipolar disorder, and whenever I’m in a depression episode she always manages to get a smile out of me. She will give me this big smile out of nowhere. I’ll pick her up and she’ll just snuggle her face into me. I can’t be sad after that. At least not for that moment.”
This story although has a somewhat happy ending with the birth of 4 healthy rainbow babies also has a sad beginning with the loss at Shiloh just days before the states viability law. Shiloh was born alive and breathing and they still refused to help her because she “wasn’t old enough.” Mom had to watch her little girl pass away in her arms just an hour after giving birth. That is not something that should happen to anyone. Every step possible should be taken to help these little lives who are coming into our world. And every step should be taken to support those who have lost one of these precious little lives.
Rest in peace, sweet Shiloh. Your mom, dad and siblings love you and can’t wait to meet you again someday.