One year ago today, we said goodbye to our son Jacob at about 13 weeks of pregnancy. He was my second second trimester loss and my fifth pregnancy loss in total. And mostly likely, he is the last baby I’ll ever carry.
I haven’t shared about Jacob before because I wasn’t ready. The effect that repeated loss had on me was brutal. Jacob was my third loss in a row (my pregnancy with Grace, our other second trimester loss, and our other early miscarriage occurred in between Layla and Ellie.)
All three losses happened within a year, and the cycle of pregnancy and loss, pregnancy and loss did a number on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was depressed and truly shaken to my core.
My story with Grace was soul-crushing and heartbreaking, but getting our redemption with Eliana was the rainbow at the end of a tough storm. But this time, after Aaron and I decided to put trying for another baby on hold indefinitely, it felt like that last sliver of hope was squashed. Ending our pregnancy journey on a loss has been difficult in a new way.
I’m sure you’re curious about Jacob and his story. I found out I was pregnant just a few days before Christmas and was elated. We found out about our pregnancies with both Eliana and Layla around the same timeframe in December, and it truly felt meant to be, especially after our previous two miscarriages that year. It felt even more magical when the sonogram technician told us that he due date was the same as his oldest sister’s.
But things changed rather quickly. After the end of our sonogram appointment, we were taken in to see a doctor and given the hard news: our baby had a large omphalocele where his intestines, liver, and other organs were outside of his body. We immediately went into discovery mode with more sonograms and meetings with specialists and geneticists. But over the next couple of weeks it became very clear that our baby would not live. There were quite a few issues at work that were insurmountable. I don’t think there are words to describe the pain and anguish. I was crushed and so devastated.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of answers as to the cause of our recurrent pregnancy loss. Aaron and I have both undergone testing and haven’t been able to pinpoint a specific reason for our losses. Not having any hard answers as to what happened is difficult for me. I’m a give-me-all-the-info kinda girl, an over-researcher to a fault. And this is one area that we just don’t have answers. I’ve learned that I have to let go of the knowing.
Therapy has been lifesaving for working through the pain and trauma of recurrent loss. I turned to therapy for the first time after my loss of Grace, and thankfully was able to sync up with the same therapist. I went to twice-a-month sessions for months to help me work through my emotions and thoughts. I also started taking anti-anxiety medication that made the biggest difference in my energy level and ability to function.
I wish I could say that now, a year later, I’m all healed up and feeling great. But the truth is, is that the grief of losing a child never goes away. It changes. Some days it feels like a crashing wave dragging me down into the ocean. And some days the burden is a little lighter. But I will always carry the love and grief of the loss of my heavenly children with me.
My babies both here and in heaven have forever changed me. And I hope my story changes you. If you haven’t personally experienced pregnancy loss, I hope it softens your heart to those experiencing that unique grief. Let your people know how much you love them. And if you have experienced pregnancy loss, I hope you feel seen and heard. Please know that you are never alone in your grief. I am here, and I love you.