A Mother’s Instinct {Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness}

Pregnancy Loss - EdieMother’s instinct. If you don’t believe in it, I am here to tell you it’s a real thing. I woke up one morning, 25 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our second child, and discovered some spotting. I didn’t have anything remotely close to this with my pregnancy with our nearly 18 month old daughter, so I just knew something was not right. It was 7:30 am, and my doctor’s office did not open until 9. Where could I get some reassurance until 9 am? Google.

Dr. Google provided me some internet comfort in knowing that plenty of women spot during their entire pregnancy {along with diagnosing many other things that sent me directly to crazy town}. At that point, my biggest fear was being put on bed rest and missing out of the remaining 15 weeks of our sweetheart being our only child. I felt movement the night before, so everything had to be okay.

When someone finally answered the phone at my doctor’s office, they said spotting was normal and that I didn’t really need to come in. Mother’s instinct spoke louder than the lady on the other end of the phone, and we were heading to the office soon after. Sitting in the room describing what was going on to the nurse resulted in another “spotting is completely normal during pregnancy. Your doctor is in our other office today, and the doctor here may not even want to see you.” But my mother’s instinct spoke louder than the nurse as we said we wanted to hear a heartbeat.

Our next stop was the ultrasound room. Placenta looks good, there is his face, his hand…and then the silence every mother fears during pregnancy. The doctor continued to move the wand around and around, then informed me she wanted to check my cervix. Mother’s instinct kicked in yet again. “What did you see in the ultrasound?” I asked.

“I couldn’t find a heartbeat.”

And with those 5 words, my heart fell into my stomach. Miscarriage was my biggest fear in both of my pregnancies, landing me in my doctor’s office for a heartbeat check sometimes weekly. And here we were. Almost to my third trimester and talking about induction, VBAC, and do we consent to autopsy and testing on his body. How is this possible? All of our genetic testing came back “normal”and low risk, all of our ultrasounds looked great. We felt him move around and were laughing about a foot “sticking out” the night before. {Which we were told was caused by my body moving him around.} We were told that sometimes this just happens, with no answers or explanations. I had felt SO much better this pregnancy and was actually enjoying it rather than suffering the “all day, almost all pregnancy” morning sickness I had with our little girl.

And then the next morning came. We got the call there was room at The Woman’s Hospital for me, and I could not escape reality any longer.

Walking into the hospital felt like what I imagine walking into jail must be like – every nurse glared at us {many with tears in their eyes} and knew exactly who we were as we walked through. Although my teary eyes gave it away, I felt like I had a scarlet letter on my chest. I knew at that moment that we would start getting “that look” whenever we went places that people knew us…birthday parties, preschool, you name it.

Hats off to The Woman’s Hospital for doing everything in their power to make one of the worst days of my life as easy as possible. I delivered our son at 1:30 am, and they did everything they could to get us out of there as soon as possible. By lunchtime the next day, we left our room in the medical/surgical recovery unit {so we wouldn’t have to see mamas snuggling their babies}, snuck out a different door, and were heading home. No balloons. No flowers. No baby.

Only a keepsake box of our child, pictures of him, a mold of his body, a hat, and the footprint certificate. None of which I have been brave enough to look at yet. I didn’t believe then that it happened. I don’t think I had a glass of wine or sushi for over a month after…still in disbelief that I was not pregnant. Twelve weeks later, I still can’t believe it.

Now, on what would be my 38th week, we are working on picking up the pieces of our life, healing, and marching on. At the beginning I blamed myself for what happened. I was in such a dark, sad place and felt it was all my fault. As much as I wanted answers {from the autopsy and testing}, hearing the word “inconclusive” removed all the guilt I had put on myself. That night {4 weeks after}, I finally slept. He is, and always will be, our son. We never, ever, want to forget him. And while I yearn for the day that this whole experience doesn’t sit at the front of my brain, I don’t ever want to forget it either. For that reason, I started a journal and have documented everything from little details to general feelings. Just writing my feelings down gets them out of my head.

I also have a post it note taped to my mirror with affirmations I often need to tell myself. Some days I don’t even look at it, whether I don’t need it or they are engrained in my brain. Other days I am looking on my phone for the picture I took of them to read over and over again. I have found comfort in guided meditation. Immediately, I reached out to Ali at A to Zen Meditation. I 100% credit my more positive attitude to the peace I have found during my time with Ali and my private meditations at home. As mothers we all know that sometimes silence can be golden. My “gold” often comes in these quiet, meditating moments, reflecting on what we have endured, looking forward, or being grateful for all we have. We are so lucky to have such an amazing support network of friends and family. While I have been told I am so strong and brave, sometimes I am not. Luckily, these people have helped us all along the way. They know who they are, and we will forever be beyond appreciative of their unending support. This entire experience has shown our family the definition of true friendship, true love, strength, and so much more.

Nearly three months later, what would have been the remainder of my pregnancy, and I can already promise you there are lessons that my husband and I, and our family, have learned. And there are so many more we will learn as we go on this journey of healing.

Pregnancy Loss - Edie 2Our life right now looks very different than what we imagined it would at this point in October. We are using this time to count our blessings, the biggest one being our 20 month old princess. There is no way we would be able to get through this if we didn’t have her. While I have had a few “I’m not getting out of bed” days, I don’t want to miss a minute with our little lady. Her laugh has kept us going, her smile fills our hearts. No lies, there is absolutely nothing more heartbreaking than snuggling with your baby and crying on her shoulder. It breaks my heart to think of how resilient she has had to be at such a young age. She has no idea what all she has already been through. But you know what? I am so proud of her for being so strong and helping us remain strong. She is our rock, our everything. On top of all the love and laughter she gives us, she also gives us hope. We will be forever grateful to her for that.

There are, unfortunately, too many stories of pregnancy loss. Whether it is in the first trimester, 25 weeks like myself, or even later. It makes me so sad that I am now a member of this club, one no mother or mama-to-be ever wants to join. But I am now a part of a network that can relate and help me heal. While everyone’s story is different and I have learned to take some advice with a grain of salt {and sometimes a shot of tequila!}, we are all in this together. That togetherness, that community, it is nurturing me as I heal, and for that I am thankful.

 In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, we are dedicated to remembering the little ones who were lost too soon and raising awareness within our community.  Please join us all throughout the day as several local moms bravely open up and share their stories with all of you.  To read more and show your support, please click here.


Edie BioAbout Edie E.

Edie is a true Southerner, born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from The University of Texas, she moved around while teaching and working on her masters in education. A teaching job brought her back to Texas, where she met her husband. Five years later, this first grade teacher turned Mama to Sophie Laine {20 months} loves being “mamarazzi” to her little lady, cooking, attempting to be crafty, working out, all things southern {smocked clothes, mason jars, football}, laughing with friends, and making memories with her Houstonian husband, their girly girl Sophie, and pup Emmie.

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3 Responses to A Mother’s Instinct {Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness}

  1. Avatar
    Amy Seigle October 15, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Edie, your strength and candor in sharing your family’s story will make such a difference to the blog readers. I didn’t realize it was your story til I saw your family picture come up on the scroll. It’s so good you have found healing ways of comfort. May you continue to listen to your instincts as you embrace whatever life brings next.

  2. Avatar
    Rachel Ann Miller November 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    I have endless respect and admiration for the honest, meaningful ways you’ve dealt with such tragedy. There’s no doubt that your words will reach many others struggling and will make them feel less alone. It’s not a “club” you wanted to join, I know, but may your compassion and strength be a guiding light for others.

  3. Avatar
    Mo Starnes October 16, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and heartbreaking story. So much love to you and your sweet family.

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