The story of Jacob Finley

Told by: Rachel

The story of Jacob Finley.

I’m sitting here trying to gather the strength to type yet another story that is far too short. My hand wanders to what remains of my baby bump which still angrily cramps most of the time as a painful reminder off all I have lost, and all I can think is how cold and lifeless it is inside me now.

How did I end up here again? I really thought this would be my forever rainbow baby, “I won’t lose a 2nd baby… that happens to other people but not me”.

I had been in therapy to deal with the loss of baby Dawn in 2012 at 5-6 weeks. I felt I was has healed as I would be and I was moving forward in my life. My brother had died by Suicide that year and this had devastated my whole family. However I had returned to college and was studying nursing with a minor in International Rescue and Relief. I absolutely loved diving over the side of tall buildings in a harness to rescue my “victim” stuck somewhere half way down.

I got a job as an EMT working nights and excelled knowing I was in a field I loved. I had started dating a guy from home and we were making the long distance dating work. Apparently it worked REALLY well because on October 28th I took a pregnancy test before leaving for work at 5am. I took them regularly not because I thought I would get pregnant (I was on the pill) but because I just wanted to be sure because of the dangers of my field to a pregnant woman.

Before I ran out the door I remembered to glance at the test, and my world changed forever. From the beginning I had a hard time accepting my pregnancy. I loved my tiny baby with all my heart and was so excited to welcome him in July. However I struggled with depression and fear of losing him. I was also upset about having to leave work and give up some of the adventures I had planned for my life. My boyfriend was ecstatic when I told him and immediately began to make plans for the future as well as taking a second job to save for our little one. I had intense cramps from the very beginning of my pregnancy, but everyone I talked to seemed to think they were normal.

However on November 2nd on the three year anniversary of losing Dawn I began to bleed and my college roommate rushed me to the hospital. After a rough exam by a male doctor he told me I would need a catheter to fill my bladder with fluid before my sonogram. My nurse never asked my permission she simply shoved a tube the size of her pinkie inside me. I screamed and began to cry from the pain, to which she laughed and informed me that I really did not need the cath it just “made her life easier”.

She then left me alone and in pain for an hour.

I heard her outside telling a friend how she “did not have the right size so she made due”. I know I learned to disassociate from my body during that hour but I finally had my friend call the nurse and demand that they remove the cath. My request was ignored and instead I was taken back to ultrasound alone. My bladder was then filled with a bag of cold saline which increased my already horrible pain. I never even got to see my ultrasound I was in so much pain I could not even look. Afterword I was left alone in that tiny room while she took her scans to the doctor. I was finally diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage and told to go home. After that the bleeding and cramping stopped but I decided it would be best if I moved home early despite it being mid semester. My sister was just a few weeks ahead of me in her 4th pregnancy and I loved being able to gloat about how I was sailing through with little to no morning sickness while she puked her guts out well into her 2nd trimester.

Baby was looking great and my HCG was right on track so I saw no need to be concerned. Besides I had PLENTY of other symptoms like craving garlic so bad that I would cry if none was available. Even though it was early in my first trimester Mike and I announced our little surprise to family and friends and began to gather things for our yellow and grey nursery.

There was never a question to anyone this was totally a boy! We decided to name him Jacob Finley simply because it was a name we loved. At 7 weeks 4 days I started bleeding again much more than before and the cramps were back in force. I sobbed in the ER waiting for my sonogram and HCG test results to.

However It only took a few seconds for us to see a healthy little flutter and my cute little bean still hanging in there strong and healthy. He had a heartbeat of 130 which was amazing for a baby so young. The doctor sent me home on bed rest but was optimistic about me having a healthy full term baby. Every person who took care of me that night was pregnant which my mom and I joked about being a sign.

On Monday at 8 weeks 1 day my cramps seemed more intense but I decided to ignore them and focus on my healthy baby and staying as still as possible for him. However as the day went on my labor began to pick up and I started having full on contractions every few minutes. Michael helped me through them until he had to leave for his first night shift at 6 pm. Neither of us thought anything was wrong still since cramps were nothing new to me. At 7 PM I had three contractions in a row that made me want to cry out and a pressure and stinging in my cervix and I felt like I could not take another minute of it. I did not say anything to my family who sat nearby watching TV I still did not believe anything was wrong. I made my way to the bathroom doubled over in pain hoping a warm bath would bring relief. I turned on the water to let it run while I sat on the toilet.

Almost instantly I felt a pop and something that felt huge came out of me. I jumped off the toilet and reached in after it. As a midwife I knew exactly what I was feeling before I even saw the placenta. It was about the size of my palm which I felt was awfully large for my gestation. For some reason my first instinct was to put it in the bath I had just drawn for myself and washed the blood away. I saw the fully intact placenta, what looked like a cord and a small bubble of fluid. I could not see a baby anywhere but the fluid bubble was impossible to see through. I held it for a second but simply could not bring myself to open that bubble and see my worst fear.

Looking back I wish I had but I know I was in shock. I calmly walked out and told my mom I had just lost the baby and I needed to go to the hospital because I was bleeding a lot. We put the tissue in a jar and drove to the hospital in total silence I say tissue because at this point my defense went up and I decided that I had not lost the baby this was just a twin that they had missed or the part of the placenta that had been bleeding had broken off. I told the nurses at the hospital and my mom that I knew the baby was just fine and we would soon see a little heartbeat. I continued talking about nursery colors and working on my online baby registry during my wait. I did become superstitious when I noticed that none of my team were pregnant this time…Was it a sign?

A tech came in and asked if he could take the baby from me for testing at the lab.

Looking back I wish I could remember his name to thank him because him calling it a baby and not the fetus or fetal tissue has been something I replay over and over. Although I deeply regret letting the lab take the baby something about him calling him a baby and his respect lets me imagine that my baby was treated with respect after he left me.

My mom started crying and said it felt wrong to let him go and asked if I wanted to say goodbye first. I laughed and reminded her that my baby was still alive and well inside me and that was just tissue. However as he walked away with him I felt a sinking in my heart and instinct told me to run after the tech and not let my son go.

This is my greatest regret… why did I not run after him? Why did I let my baby go with a stranger to a lab? Why did I not insist on them giving him back to me to bury? I did none of these and I’m left with this as my most painful memory. I feel like it was so important for me to open that sack and see him, and hold him, and kiss his tiny body, and tell him how I love him. I was not allowed to see the sono screen but I knew from watching my mom’s face that she had not seen the heartbeat. The whole thing took about a minute to complete and to this day its so hard because I always want to slip back into denial and wonder if she missed him on the ultrasound because it was so quick.

I had the most incredible doctor who sat beside me and gently broke through my denial to tell me that my HCG was down a thousand points and that my uterus was absolutely empty, I had passed everything. I was sobbing by this time saying how much I hated my sister for having a healthy pregnancy when I could not even get one healthy baby. My nurse took my hand and I could hear emotion in her voice as she told me she had an angel baby too and she understood my pain.

I had been trying to call Michael all night but since it was his first night on his new job his phone was off. I sobbed for him and refused to take the pain medication because I was sure that there was still hope my baby was ok. I must have taken the drugs because I remember waking up feeling very drunk and hardly able to open my eyes because they were so swollen. Michael was climbing into my bed and holding me tight crying with me. We cried together through the rest of the night and since we both struggled with denial we finally looked at the pictures I had taken sometime before I left the house. Although you can’t see the baby in them it helped to solidify what had just happened. Those first days were my low point, I just wanted to die with Jacob and leave the pain of this world behind.

My mom bought me a pendent of a mother holding a child in her heart and I spent my nights holding that to my heart along with his tiny outfits and crying myself to sleep.

Now that I’m two weeks past the miscarriage I feel like I have some words of wisdom for any of you mommas who are going through this now.

The first days feel like life will never go on and you will simply implode from the pain. You are stronger than you think and you can get through this. You won’t get over it but you will get through it. Find a support group online in those first days. I ended up finding two other mommas who were miscarrying the same day I was and we formed such a bond as we grieved together and shared our journey.

My family loves me but in their search for answers they don’t realize that they suggest that this was somehow something I did or did not do which hurts so much. My sister had her gender reveal today and cried without shame when she found out she was having a girl.

I had to leave because I felt such anger that someone blessed with a healthy baby could complain about anything. The truth is everyone around me is going through their own grief and part of that is losing me to the new woman I have become.

I am Jacob’s mommy and part of me will forever be his alone. All he ever knew was me singing to him at night, Michael pushing against his little home feeling my growing tummy and the love of his extended family. Michael and I are ready to begin our journey toward a rainbow baby so here’s hoping that the new year brings with it that positive pregnancy test and a sticky rainbow baby.

In loving memory of Jacob Finley Nyarko Born sleeping at 8 weeks 11/24/2014

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Zayra’s the Eldest

Told by: Sabrina

My daughter was born sleeping at 32 weeks on October 6, 2012,we named her Zayra Rayne she weighed 4lbs 4 oz and was 18 1/2 inches long. I posted my story about my daughter under the 32 weeks page. Sadly this was not the end of our disastrous 2 years. 6 months after we lost out daughter, we decided to try again.

The doctor gave us the go ahead but warned this pregnancy would have more tests so we could try to prevent another sleeping baby. I got pregnant that month, we were so happy this was going to be our rainbow baby. I had blood work down 4 times a week to check my HCG levels to ensure they were rising like they should.

At 8 weeks I began to bleed, we called the doctor and we were told to come right now. We had an ultrasound done and to our horror our child had passed away at 6 weeks. I decided that I would let my body do the natural thing and have my child at home. I was in pain,it felt as though I was having contractions that night at 9 p.m.

I gave birth to our daughter whom we named Deona Marie.

The next day the doctors confirmed my baby was no longer there. My doctor would later inform me that he knew I would miscarry because my HCG levels stopped rising at 6 weeks. 2 months later I became pregnant once again, it was our little surprise but we were ecstatic and scared. I had blood work done 3 times a week my HCG was rising great. I had every symptom in the book. I went to the doctors for my 8 week check up, I had to go alone because my husband had to work. During the ultrasound I saw my babies little legs and arms sadly I also saw that my baby did not have a heartbeat.

He had passed away the day before. We named him Ace Hope. The doctor told us we should do an emergency D&C because he wanted to know why this happened. I reluctantly agreed.

The tests showed nothing, we still do not know why this has happened 3 times in a row. I am unable to comprehend why this is occurring to us. All I wanted was a baby to hold and love to be ours; and it can not happen. I have no hope left.

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Nobody Knew but Me

Told by: Brionne

I was 21 when I had my son. The getting pregnant part was easy (and accidental), but the being pregnant part was really hard.

I was horribly sick with morning sickness then when I finally got over that I developed pre-eclampsia and was put on bed rest. My son was born at exactly 37 weeks, all 8lbs 9oz of him. He was/is absolutely beautiful. Even when I was pregnant and miserable, I loved it.

I loved him moving and hiccuping and kicking.. I loved seeing my belly grow. I knew that I wanted more kids. I knew that I wanted my kids to be close in age, just like I was with my brothers. So when my husband and I divorced, I was heartbroken for my son for a lot of reasons.. one of them being that I knew he might not ever get the siblings I always so wanted for him.

Fast forward to 7 years later… I waited until I was a week late with my period before I took a home pregnancy test and “Pregnant” popped up immediately. A surprise pregnancy. But an oh so happy pregnancy because I already knew that this baby would be 8 years younger than my son, but my son LOVES babies and younger kids. He always has. As soon as I found out, I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to be excited and I wanted him to know that he had someone coming for him.. but I decided to wait until after my 8 week check-up at the doctor’s when they did the sonogram so I could show him the picture. I decided to wait to tell the rest of my family as well. I told a few friends and that was it.

One of my best friends told me to take another test about 6 weeks, so I did. The plus, again, popped up immediately, confirming the original test. A few days after this, at 6 weeks, I started spotting after a pap smear, so I called the doctor in panic. She told me everything was fine and that it was normal. They said they would see me in a couple weeks. They said don’t worry. So I didn’t worry. I kept taking my prenatal vitamins, kept rubbing my belly while imagining this little boy or girl growing in there, kept picturing the future of my family with two kids, kept picturing my son as an older brother.. such a wonderful, loving older brother.

At my 8 week check-up my doctor did a sonogram. She searched and searched and searched. She said maybe she just wasn’t getting a good picture. She said maybe I wasn’t as far along as we thought. Then she sent me across the street to an imaging place. The lady there was very gentle. She did an internal ultrasound and an external. She said everything looked great as far as my body, but she said there was no heartbeat.

As she walked me out she said maybe I got a false positive on my home pregnancy test. My doctor called me as soon as I got out to my car and told me to go have my blood drawn to check my hormone levels. By this time I had been bounced around everywhere and it was 5pm. I went just next door to the lab, but they were closed. I cried the whole way home. I had one last pregnancy test, and I wanted to know. So I peed on the stick and waited… and waited…. and waited. Until “Not Pregnant” popped up.

And my heart broke into a million pieces, just shattered on the floor. This baby, this little boy or girl that I had waited for and wanted so badly for so long, this precious little being, this amazing little baby that I loved from the second I knew, that I wanted from before I knew… was gone. Not just gone, but gone before I even knew. When the doctor told me everything was okay, it wasn’t. And I still believed for two weeks that this miracle was coming when it was gone already. Because I hadn’t told my son, my family, my boss, or anybody else, nobody knew why I was crying.

Nobody knew why I couldn’t get out of bed. Nobody knew why I couldn’t function. And I felt like I couldn’t tell them because he or she was gone. Was I having a boy or a girl? Maybe was I having twins? Was he going to be tall like his father? Was she going to have red hair and green eyes like me? Would he look just like his brother? Would she like sports? Would he like games? What would have happened? All of these questions that I imagined that I will never know the answer to. Cause they were taken before I ever had the chance.

And, honestly, sometimes I feel like I don’t have a right to mourn. Nobody knew but me. My belly didn’t grow big. I didn’t hear his or her heartbeat. I didn’t have to give birth. But my heart knows that’s wrong. My heart knows I lost something so tiny but so monumental. Now I find myself just trying to find a way to honor him or her in my way, without making things awkward for everyone around me who just wants me to move on or get over it or whatever else they say. Now I find myself just trying to be okay, to get from day to day.. I just don’t know how.

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And I Felt It

Told by: Andrea

We found out I was pregnant with our second pregnancy at the end of October. I felt nauseous three days before I was even late for my period so I had a feeling we got pregnant right away. Sure enough, 4 days later, I tested positive.

I was feeling increasingly tired each day, and was not concerned that this would end in miscarriage. At 7.5 weeks, I went in for our first ultrasounds, and just like my first pregnancy, all we could see was the yolk sac. My NMW was concerned about a blighted ovum and told me to come back a week later, as I was only measuring on the cusp of 6 weeks- which would still be normal to not see the fetal pole and heartbeat. I came back a week later without my husband as he had to work, and lo and behold…there were now TWO yolk sacs, two fetal poles, and one baby with a beating heart. While I was sad that one didn’t have a heartbeat, it was also measuring smaller, so we thought perhaps by the next ultrasound it would catch up. I also knew vanishing twins is common, and was prepared for that.

I continued to feel pregnant (aka ill), so again- I was not prepared for what lay ahead. We took our almost 3 year old daughter to our next ultrasound 1 week later and I was immediately uncomfortable. I can’t tell you why- I still don’t know. I just had an icky feeling. I saw right away that the babies hadn’t grown at all, and that the one baby that did have a beating, appeared to have lost the heartbeat somewhere right after our previous appointment. I still didn’t believe it.

They sent me up to OB and I had to wait for a doctor whom I’ve never met to tell me that I had lost the pregnancy. She had looked back through all the previous ultrasounds and noticed that it wasn’t growing as we would expect, and that the heart rate was low which can indicate miscarriage. She informed me that I had the option to do a D&C, or wait to miscarry on my own. I opted to wait to miscarry on my own. I had given birth before, I wanted to say goodbye in the privacy of my own home. So, I went home and cried.

I cried all the way home. I felt grief that I didn’t expect to feel- after all, I barely knew these two little ones existed- how could my heart hurt so much? But, I was experiencing the loss of hope, the loss of a dream, the loss of a future part of our family and I felt it.

After a week, I had gradually lost all of my symptoms. I was only having twinges of cramping and some very light spotting, so I went to my Naturopathic MD who gave me some homeopathic medications that would basically start a period (or induce labor if the pregnancy is unviable). About 4 days after that I started having heavy HARD cramping, and I began to miscarry.

It was so much more painful than I thought- it was a full on labor, not just a heavy period. I was not prepared for that. It was about 8-9 hours of off and on heavy, hard contractions, and then I would lose some tissue, rest, start all over again. The bleeding was pretty heavy, so I ended up going to urgent care, who then sent me to the ER to do an ultrasound to make sure the miscarriage was complete.

Thankfully, by the time I got there, I had passed everything on my own and had no need for a D&C. The real grief hit me the next day- that huge drop in hormones. Boy. That was so tough. I just couldn’t stop crying- but I let myself feel it all. All the anger, sadness, hurt, loss. These were mine, after all. And they are no longer.

Then came the awkward situations that would stir up heartache- hearing others announce their pregnancy at the time I would have, seeing announcements of a due date that was the same as mine. Just having to be reminded that I am not pregnant anymore. It is so hard. But, I do believe we will have more children. I have a lot of hope in that.

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I Knew

Told by: Karin

At 32 years old I had had two normal births and pregnancy has never been an issue. I was in a new marriage and we both wanted a baby, so when we found out that I was pregnant the joy was amazing.

I knew exactly when I got pregnant so I know that exactly at 12 weeks I started spotting. It started while I was at a friends house, and I knew. I just knew. I had been working as a Doula for 6 years and I was seriously considering becoming a midwife, so I knew.

So I just sat quietly for a couple more hours at my friends till my husband came and picked me up and I asked him to take me to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and it said that my baby was only 6 weeks, when they said that I knew. They tried to comfort me saying that maybe I had my dates wrong, but I knew.

The (because I am Rh-) they told me I would need a Rogam shot, I broke down. My husband didn’t understand why a shot was so upsetting to me. He couldn’t understand that the only time the give those shots is after birth and during a miscarriage. I hated the nurses and the doctors because they wouldn’t just say the “m” word. I hated them because they treated me like a child. They kept saying “if this is happening” I knew it was and they continued to discount what I knew. The offered to let me stay and have a procedure, I declined and told them I would just go home. I just wanted to be alone with my baby when it was born. I didn’t want those lying, overly nice doctors to touch my child.

So I went home, and my baby was born in the middle of the night in my bathroom. Because she had died at six weeks there wasn’t really anything to see, but oh the pain it took to bring her into the world. Truly while I was heart broken, I was okay. Until “friends” began to question weather I was ever pregnant in the first place. Asking weather I lied for attention, all because the couldn’t understand my decision not to have a D&C. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t let doctors rip my baby out. I was alone with my pain, because as much as my husband loves me he was consumed in his own pain and loss. Miraculously three weeks after I lost the baby I ended up pregnant again. I didn’t find out until I was almost 18 weeks because I assumed my lack of a period was due to my loss.

The thing is, 5 years later, that I struggle to share because of guilt or shame or whatever, is I still miss my other child, I still cry because I never got to feel her move inside me or hold her in my arms. I never go to celebrate or grieve her 6 weeks of life. I was made to feel guilty because of my choice to go home, I was shamed because I was pregnant but still sad about my loss. I feel like my pain is worth less, because I wasn’t as far along as others, I am trying to heal those wounds today and I am trying to mother my own grief.

 

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My Baby Deserves My Heart

Told by: Andie

I’m a mother, been a mother since I was 17 years old.

I have four amazing children…three boys and a girl; ranging from 15 to 19 months.

I’m still nursing my littlest guy. I haven’t had a period in a long time- since I got pregnant with my last baby actually. I have however in the past few months experienced other signs of ovulation. I’ve kept track because we were wanting to try for another baby. I hadn’t had of those signs in the past few weeks…on the contrary, I’ve felt “different”. I considered the possibility of a pregnancy. I tried not to get excited, yet, and didn’t take a test. I wanted to wait a few more weeks before I jumped the gun. Well last night, as I got in the tub with my baby, I noticed a few bright red clots. Which is weird for me in a cycle. I’ve continued to have bright red bleeding, clots, and a general sense of being un-whole.

Now I’ve spent the night and day wondering and thinking if this is a period or an early miscarriage. It makes me feel blue- because if it is, I may never know on paper. I didn’t get to celebrate someone that was and is no more.

That probably doesn’t make much sense.

I am a registered nurse, and a student midwife, so I have this curse of knowledge. I’m trying to overlook some of the tale tell signs because I don’t want it to be so.

I’ve never had a loss and I don’t know how to process it or communicate it. My entire being is saying I’m losing something important and special and unique and worthy and meant to be. I’m confused. I’m feeling emotional and regretful…guilty and sad….uncertain and quite alone.

Because I never had a pregnancy test or an ultrasound that gave me the scientific yes- I am taking on this societal NO, giving me a weight of NO:

No Andie, you don’t have a reason to celebrate, and no you don’t have a reason to mourn because there’s no certainty.

I can’t live with that. I just feel…I don’t have a good word for it…but something.

There was something and now I feel empty. My body is going through a new experience, I know my body well and this is foreign. I would have been due in February. I wanted to share mostly because I had an inner voice telling me not to, and that’s not right.

This is happening and why should it be a secret that lives only in me. I don’t want to ask permission to be sad over this, I’m giving myself that privilege.

I deserve to have my feelings and my baby deserves my heart.

Its strange how a mother can love a being she didn’t even know existed, but I do. I’m in love with the tiny babe my husband and I made, I’m in love with God’s creation, I’m in love with knowing Jesus is rocking the baby I can’t and that one day he will return that babe to my aching arms.

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