October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month…I’m all too aware

Hey guys.

I tend to ghost in this space and on my instagram when life gets rocky…and 2017 has definitely been a bumpy ride for us.

Going to get really personal here, and if that makes you uncomfortable feel free to exit and wait for a fun shopping post…but I’ve found {through Beau} that sharing can do a lot of good even when it’s not fun subject matter, but the hard stuff. Just hoping that someone out there that comes across this can take away something from it that can help them in some way.

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I never “pregnant” well…I don’t glow or have a cute tiny bump. I tend to balloon, never sleep, get cranky and have major back problems. It’s not a pretty sight.

I also generally don’t attach myself to the baby until he or she gets here…I don’t know…just how I am. Now, once they arrive I pretty much become obsessed and want to eat their faces off {especially when they are sleeping} every day for the rest of their lives.

So I think that’s why when I miscarried this summer, I was so shocked by the level of extreme sadness I felt.

Like extremely sad. About a baby that still didn’t seem real to me…but when I lost it, it did. Does that make sense?

I think I was very much still in emotional recovery mode when we got pregnant again. surprisingly. Yes I know how this happens, but I am telling you this was an act of God {Chad referred to it as immaculate conception for awhile} because logistically I don’t think it should have…I was shocked.

We learned I was pregnant 2 months after losing the baby, and only took a pregnancy test because I was so extremely bloated and thought it was an antibiotic I was on.

Nope. God surprised us with another baby.

And unlike my spring pregnancy where I was thrilled…I was scared out of my mind. I was sad and worried and filled with anxiety. I thought of all the ways it would likely go wrong…I was in a terrible head space.

Thank God for husbands tho. Chad was optimistic and excited, but also respected how I was feeling and we talked very little about the baby.

{already showing in Hawaii…maybe why I posted very few photos of myself…also because I felt like poo}

We got to see the little one at 7 weeks {all good…praise hands}, 11 weeks {all good…praise hands} and had testing done that came back all positive {praise hands majorly}!

Chad was dying to tell the kids…so when we got the all clear and the “you have less than a 5% chance of something happening to the baby” and congratulatory hug at our 11 week doctor appointment, I was willing to give.

We still waited until 12 1/2 weeks…this is how the kids felt.

And there is just no medicine for the soul like that. Their joy and excitement started to turn the tide of my fear.

A week later we started slowly telling friends…and I felt the anxiety lifting even more and excitement taking it’s place. I began feeling like we were now standing on solid ground.

Truthfully I had been afraid to say out loud that we were having a baby. So fearful that as soon as I did, it would crumble again. But as my belly grew, so did my confidence.

Stella constatly talked about the baby. Hoping it was a “sister” but being ok if it was a brother. As long as she could hold him or her first and be my main helper. She was going to move bedrooms to be closer to the babies room and gave names suggestions constantly.

The boys were excited too. Grant drew pictures of our new family on the drive way and was quick to tell his teacher and classmates.

Word was out now, especially thanks to Stella who told just about every person we saw…like I’m talking the guy at the check out at Walmart, Sonic workers, anyone who would listen to her.

So I booked our family pictures for Monday October 23rd to take an “announcement pic”. I would be 15 1/2 weeks. I finally felt confident and believed this baby would join our family come April.

We started talking about names..

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Let me back up, with our last baby, I started bleeding at home and had some major stomach pain, just shy of 11 weeks…which is what led us to the doctor and the terrible ultrasound.

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So this past Thursday, when I rolled in for my 15 week check up feeling great, I brought the littles with me, anxious for them to finally hear the baby…and felt totally calm.

Until the doctor couldn’t locate a heartbeat.

I thought ‘you have to be kidding me. There is just no way.’

After a quick ultrasound, and some unclear images…the doctor confirmed no heartbeat, and told us to come back Monday {to her main office} for another ultrasound and to discuss our next steps.

Crushed and heartbroken in new ways, walking out of that appointment. And so angry at myself for bringing the kids…which thankfully were nabbed halfway through by an urgent call to my mother in law.

But as the weekend went on, I really started to believe that maybe she wasn’t sure. That maybe thats why we needed a follow up and I have heard of miracle stories where ultrasounds are bad but then when they go back things are fine. And I prayed and held onto that all weekend.

So on Monday, was another blow to learn that the doctor had been right. We had lost the baby. You’d think I would have been prepared this go around. To not feel like a rug was pulled out from under us. But I now realize that you aren’t ever really ready for news like that.

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With our last pregnancy, the baby measured at 8 1/2 weeks, so the doctor was able to perform a D&C that same day.

This time, the baby measured 14 1/2 weeks…meaning I literally had just missed a beating heart at my appointment…and that the baby was now too big to safely perform a D&C on.

My options were to induce labor and deliver with my doctor or go to Barnes Jewish in St Louis and have a D&E done there.

All 3 of my babies were born via c-setion, so I can’t imagine {emotionally} delivering a baby I would never take home.

We opted for a D&E in St. Louis…but I wasn’t ready for all the questions they would ask…

Barnes Jewish is an amazing hospital with amazing doctors, and we were treated so well, but I must have had 3 different doctors ask what I would like to do with my babies remains: cremation, burial and print outs of local funeral homes, or donate to the hospital…felt like a whole different thing that the last miscarriage. This time it hit much harder that we were losing a person.

I’m not downplaying at all my earlier miscarriage. I think it hurts whether you are pregnant for 24 hours or 24 weeks…but the fact this baby looked like a baby in the ultrasound, just affected me differently.

And most of all, this time, we are going to have to tell the kids. To tell Stella.

Yesterday we said goodbye to another baby…one that we will never hear cry, or hold, or curl up with on the rocker.

It was hard, and horrible. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

But as sad as I am, and as much as this sadness will linger and yo yo for…well I don’t know…forever? I do know that time is a powerful healer. And that there is no greater medicine that surrounding yourself with small people you love. I spent today at home with Beau who ice-skated around the kitchen in a new pair of socks {seriously we never wear socks} laughing and crashing into everything…and I am feeling stronger and happier than yesterday. It’s a start.

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To answer some questions: {because this shiz is never talked about}

-We do know the sex {or the doctor does…and has since week 11, but as of now I still don’t want to know…but I may ask one day. I yoyo on that}.

-We don’t know what happened the first time, our doctor told us miscarriages in the first trimester are shockingly common. This go around, we had some blood testing and an autoposy done in hopes of maybe some answers since a second trimester miscarriage is much rarer. We did not opt to send off for genetic testing because..

-We will not be having any more children. They say you shouldn’t make a decision like this when the hurt is still fresh, but it’s been such a hard year with difficult pregnancies and then too much heartbreak. Plus I am only getting older….and the fact Beau had a birth defect and then we lost 2, is not a strong track record. So I told Chad early in this pregnancy that no matter the outcome, this would be our last go around. He is supportive of that.

-If you are like me, you have no idea what a D&C is or a D&E. Click here to read about what a D&C is, or here to learn about a D&E. Recovery is similar, though the D&E in St. Louis felt like a much bigger procedure than a D&C. The hardest part was being asked about the body, and having to meet with councilors and such.

-How will we tell the kids? That I’m not totally sure of yet…but will try to keep it simple and as light as we can. I want them to know its ok to feel sad but I don’t want them to stay bogged down in that place for very long…I also don’t want them to be scared or worried about how we are doing.

-What can you do to help someone who this happens to? Pray for them. Then say another prayer. Offer to take one of their kids to play or on a fun outting. Can seriously a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru…I personally like to have my kids around when I am down. It keeps me happy and outta the sad place, but nothing makes me happier than my kids happy, so a quick play date at someones house or to the park gives me a minute to take a breath and to KNOW my kids are having a big ole dose of happy that I may not be able to give them in that moment. Oh, and food. Or anything that can help in the “mothering” department…because at least for me, losing a baby has made me feel like a crummy mom. Like I am failing everyone. So at our house, food is already low man on the totem pole, but when things go south, it’s the first to go. So I am beyond thankful for my girlfriends who showed up with dinner, Dr. Pepper’s , and play date offers without being asked if they could. You too are likely part of a village…but to be reminded of your village when you feel very alone is pretty powerful medicine.

-How are you doing? It’s my most asked question by my friends…I am majorly yo-yoing… one minute looking up Halloween pizza costumes and talking party games through my car window, and the next wanting to cry and fall on the floor…Part of me wants to be totally left alone, and the other part wants to go out for margaritas with the girls. I want and crave normal…but also know I need {need} time to feel the heaviness of this. Give yourself both. Make plans. But break them if you need to. Your friends {if they are keepers} will be ok with that.

-Why am I sharing all of this? I am sharing because writing and sharing is my own kind of therapy…and because not a lot of people talk about this {which is TOTALLY OK, I’m just a get-it-off-my-chest type girl}. And life has taught me that if you are willing to be open and vulnerable and share the shit, it can help others as much as it helps yourself…When we miscarried the first time, I can’t tell you how much the texts and messages and comments meant to get. I had no idea so many people I knew had miscarried and been in the same boat…It was so helpful to know they knew how I felt, and that they had moved on into a happy space. I share because I think it’s important to.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you. To anyone that has taken the time to read this…I’m not exactly sure what this post was meant to be. Chad and I talked in the hospital as I was googling and questioning each doctor that came in what could have caused us to lose the baby this time? Genetics? Was I sick? Did I do something? Chad then asked if I had ever asked any of my friends that had gone through this what caused theirs and I realized I hadn’t….they likely don’t know, or if they do, it’s an awkward thing to bring up…so I just wanted to share our story as openly and honestly as I could. To answer questions you may be hesitant to ask or share an experience you maybe can relate to.

Whoever said “Mom-ing ain’t easy” was right.

But it’s worth it. Even on the cloudiest of cloudy days.

And while I know this emotional yoyo will be with our crew for years to come, we are now ready for some sunshine in the Gill Household.

So the plan?? I am going to throw myself as hard as I can into the things that make me happy. To my kids, my husband, my health, my blog and closet {materialistic, but brings me joy}, and to putting positive energy out in whatever ways I can in whatever the days bring.

So here’s to leaning in hard to the things that hold us up. And to knowing that my kiddos have an extra set of wings looking over them.

Thank you again for the love, support and prayers.

xoxo

27 thoughts on “October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month…I’m all too aware

  1. Katie kuipers

    This is so beautifully written. I have tears streaming down my face for you. It’s so so good to share the hard along with the good- I’m convinced that we are all better for it in the end. Many many prayers for your family in the days ahead. So very sorry for your loss. And thanks for sharing the hope that can come from the hard as well. ❤

  2. Clair

    First of all I want to just say you are AMAZING. I have been “following” you and your family for probably a year and a half (maybe more) and i honestly look forward to your posts because even though we are very different I feel like we are a lot the same. I’m so so very sorry for your losses and can’t even begin to imagine how you are feeling. I hope and know that you can overcome this rough patch in your family’s life. Your an amazing mother and wife, friend, daughter, sister & human.

    I just want to let you know from “someone on the outside” that you are doing an amazing job, and I respect all your thoughts. Thank you for being you, and just being someone who I can look to for a little lift in spirit in my day.

    Like someone always says “life isn’t always greener on the other side—-but find hope and love and happiness that there is, and make do with what you have.”

  3. Rebecca

    Beautiful words on such a sad, heartbreaking subject! When we lost our first child and had a D&C we were so leery on trying again. When we got pregnant the second time, nervous could not even begin to explain our emotions. After having a happy and healthy child, that fear has still kept us from trying again… maybe one day! I am so sorry for your second loss and will pray for strength for your family and understanding for those precious kiddos!!

  4. Marie

    Do not personally know you and your family but I love “watching/seeing/reading” about your family. You’re always so open and down to earth and I love that. I have not ever been through your situation but my heart breaks for you.. Sendifn prayers and lots of love to you and your family. ❤️❤️🙏🏼

  5. Emily

    It’s not by accident I started reading your just a few weeks ago. God is in control…I am friends with Whitney Bandermann who is the cousin of Erika Slaughter and found your blog/instagram through my sister and comments from Erika. 😉 Gotta love social media.

    I am from Jackson, MO. My husband and I got pregnant with twins in 2010 (not “on purpose” either) I carried both boys until 36 weeks. Ryder is in heaven and Wyatt is with us here on Earth. I have posted about it on my blog but like you was very hesitate in the beginning.

    As time goes on I am learning my story has been written and if sharing it helps one other mama then it’s worth it.

    I know we have never met and I didn’t find comfort in “talking” to anyone when the hurt was raw but I have to say when you are ready to talk, ask questions, vent…I am here. I will NOT tell you I have been through your situation because I have not but I will listen to you. From one mama who has lost a child to another…

    You all are in my prayers.

  6. Maggie

    Thank you for pouring your heart out and making everyone feel closer to your soul. It is hard to talk about the “real” stuff but that is what makes us humans. Crying tears for you. I had a miscarriage early in a pregnancy around 9 weeks, and I am like you. I don’t connect with the baby until I see it and feel it. But, losing that baby at 9 weeks it surprised me how sad I was and how much I did care. I can’t even imagine the pain of going through that twice and in the second trimester. You are stronger then you realize, and your 3 babies are going to get you through this. With their laughter, hugs and tiny voices. Hugs to you and your family.

  7. Nicole McCaughan

    I am so very sorry. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I’ve gone thru one.
    I tend to go silent when things are heavy, I shut down. But I think I will take your lead next time and love harder and louder.
    Love and respect to you and your beautiful family and of course my prayers ❤️

  8. Becky Smith

    I love seeing your posts – fashion or family! They are always so bright and give me a good laugh. Sometimes things aren’t so bright and being transparent takes guts. I hope you find peace and the load lifted with time! I’ll be praying for you and the Gill crew ❤️

  9. Laura

    Thanks for sharing. Your pain and beautiful words will surely help someone… probably many… in their healing process. Many prayers.

  10. Julie

    Sending so many prayers and positive vibes your way. You and Chad have a beautiful family and I hope all the love and joy those kiddos exude will help heal the hole left without your babies.

  11. Cassandra Hines

    You’re truly an inspiration. This is going to sound like a total creeper moment but I love all your insta stories and all the adorable videos of your kids. I’m turning 29 in December and my husband just recently turned 30. We had a 5 year plan when we got married, that it would just be us for 5 years. That plan ended October 13th as we celebrated our 5th anniversary. Next thing is starting a family. It may be tough it may be easy for us, I don’t know yet. But what I do know and am thankful for is for people like you. That are raw. That are honest. And that share their lives with the world. You’re a great mom to those beautiful babies. I can tell just by following you on instagram. You and your family will get through this. Keep being you and spreading your light. Prayers and hugs. -Cassandra

  12. Esther

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart sank reading your post because although I just randomly found you on IG, I too know this pain of loosing babies and I am so sorry you are walking through this. I have 3 babies in my arms here on Earth, and 3 babies in Jesus’s arms in heaven, the last loss of which was so similar to what you just walked through. My oldest, a girl, (with 2 younger brothers) I was so sad to tell her that her baby sister that she had wanted so badly would not be coming home. And my boys had been so excited about having a little baby. I was devastated thinking about telling my kids. I am so sorry you will be doing the same. I blogged about my 2 2nd trimester losses and the grief that I walked through and We started loveisaac.com after the loss of our first 2nd trimester loss. This hasn’t been a journey I’d wish on anyone but God has carried me through and shown me that He is good and faithful and true even when my circumstances were not good. Sorry this is so long. Just wanted to let you know that a stranger in Indiana is praying for you tonight and in the days to come.

  13. Kait

    Lots of prayers for you and your family. Thank you for sharing. Your strength, openness, and bravery is inspiring. I wish I had more to offer. But as someone who has followed you on social media for a long time hear me when I say your kids are clearly crazy about you, so obviously you are doing something right! Definitely not failing as a mom. God bless you, your husband, and ALL of your littles!

    Isaiah 41:13

  14. Jenna

    I had a D&E at 22 weeks worst pain I ever felt. So sorry for your loss… I have often thought about writing a book on woman’s experience with loss, as it’s never ever talked about and everyone’s experience is unique
    Again sorry for your loss, take care of yourself during this time xo

  15. Mary

    Couldn’t be prouder of you!! I know this post will help many. It made me laugh and cry….mainly cry but your perspective, joy and faith carries the day….along with that sweet guy you married and your 3 adorables!! Always….lean into the love!! ❤️

  16. Becca

    Beautiful post. Women don’t share their struggles with miscarriages enough. Prayers for you and your tribe momma ❤️

  17. Tina Russell

    Kristen, First I am so very sorry for your loss, those words although sincere are so empty when heard. Thank you for sharing your heart. I felt like I was reading my very own story. I too, lost my child at almost 24 weeks, after going in to see the ultrasound, heard the same news as yourself. I carried her two weeks longer, through Mother’s Day May I add,before they took her. I know this will be a long healing process for you and yours, but it does come. Praying for you sweet girl, may God’s strength and comfort surround you. Know that you never know what God’s plan is for your future. I had two beautiful girls after that and adopted three more children. Two girls and a boy….. now seven grands. God has blessed me. Prayers and hugs, Tina

  18. Jenn.roberts14

    I’m a instagram follower but this is my first visit to your blog. I have a very similar story to yours as we lost our last baby at just shy of 16 weeks as well. We knew her gender due to the genetic blood work and at the previous appointment at 12 weeks she was perfect. One night just shy of 16 weeks I woke up in the middle of the night with bleeding and cramping, called my doctor and they told me they would see me in the morning since I wasn’t cramping a ton and there wasn’t much blood. One hour later I was in the fetal position in so much pain I didn’t know what to do. Then all of a sudden I felt like I had to go to the bathroom (TMI but my first baby came via c-section so I didn’t know what giving birth naturally felt like) and next thing I knew I was pushing out my baby. My husband called 911 and the paramedics came to pick me up to get me to a hospital. They were almost no help since they had never seen what I was going through before and all they really did was help me get on the gurney. At the hospital we would learn that she measured 14 weeks and there was no telling what had happened to cause her death. They ended up pumping me with Demerol to help deliver the placenta so I was in and out of consciousness for hours while I was asked all those same questions about what we would like to do with her remains. It still saddens me the route we chose because I feel like I didn’t make the decision in the best mindset and later on would have made the decision differently.
    All that to say, it’s hard and I know how you feel. I can’t wait to hold that sweet girl in heaven one day

  19. Vanessa

    I’m so sorry to hear the sad news. It doesn’t make it any easier no matter how many losses you’ve experienced. I wanted to share my story to hopefully give you some hope. I myself experienced 2 losses after having a perfectly normal first pregnancy and delivery via csection. I lost my 2nd baby at home with the same signs cramping and bleeding. I then got pregnant several months later with the same nervousness and anxiety having had the loss previously . I kept thinking I just have to make it to that first ultrasound appointment. I like you had a positive pregnancy test at the office and the all clear from the dr it was all ok. But then when I made it to the ultrasound the tech looked worried . That’s when the pit in my stomach started and I felt my heart sink. The doctor came in to confirm we had lost another baby. I think seeing the baby on the ultrasound makes it real and very hard to take that kind of news. I felt like after 2 miscarriages in a row we may never be able to carry a sibling for our first healthy baby. But somehow, only by the grace of God we just had a healthy beautiful baby girl. I only share my experience to hopefully give you some hope that you can have another healthy baby, don’t give up. We almost gave up trying but never would have this blessing we have now. Praying for peace and strength for you and your family.

  20. Yolanda McLean

    Thank you so much for sharing! I know the pain of this great loss. Three years ago October 23rd at age 46 I was pregnant for the first and only time. We received the best and worst news in one sentence – you are pregnant but we believe it’s ectopic. I had life-saving surgery but only my life could be saved – I am still devastated to this day and I believe that I always be.
    I know though that even in this loss that I am eternally grateful that God heard our prayers for a child and that although we have yet to meet our child – this child is still ours for eternity.
    Again, thank you for sharing. I read through tears and I will pray for you and your family as you work through this grief.

  21. Andrea Sprout

    This post spoke to my heart! I had an early miscarriage (6 weeks) back in February and just had a second miscarriage this month at 11 weeks. We have 4 healthy children and we also made the decision that our family is complete – we just can’t go through this again. It’s too emotional and takes the best of me away from the babies I have here on Earth that need me. It was one of the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but I am feeling a peace that I needed. I’ve just been hugging all my littles a bit tighter – and thriving on getting life back to normal! Sending you hugs and prayers.

  22. Sara

    My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for two years now -it’s been one heck of a road. Between ovulation strips and obgyn appointments – I feel like every day is an affirmation that my uterus is a war-zone.
    We did get lucky once, but I miscarried at 8 weeks. Granted, I know that was first-trimester, but it’s never easy.
    Thank you for sharing your story- I truly hate that you had to experience that loss and I pray for a calmness to wash over you in the upcoming days, but I appreciate you sharing because it makes me feel that others out there go through the same trials and tribulations that I do.

    Hug those babies extra tight tonight, you are still so so blessed to have those three angels. Lots of love sent your way.

  23. Beth S.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. I’ve had two close girlfriends suffer/experience (not sure what a good word to use is) a late term miscarriage. Know that you will smile again and laugh and truly mean it one day in due time. My daughter has some new health developments and we are actually in STL from KC for treatment at Children’s and Barnes. I’ve learned to let myself feel the emotions when they come and if that means being a crying sobbing puddle on the floor at the end of the day then so be it. It’s a process so show yourself some grace and know that even the darkest day will end and the sun will rise again. XOXO

  24. Leslie

    You are such a beautiful mama. You are beautiful in the physical sense but you embody motherhood in a way I always yearned to. Real. Fun. Adventurous. Nurturing. Loving. All in. I know it’s not all kittens and rainbows. Nothing is. But kids are such an incredible gift. I wanted to have children more than I have ever wanted anything. I never imagined a life absent of my own children. But at 35, I am not married and have had serious issues with fibroid tumors and endometriosis. I don’t think there’s much hope left for kids. And I can find peace in that because I have the most amazing little red headed mini me that is everything I could have wanted and more (niece). But I know the pain you’re going through and I just want you to know – you’re not alone. Please don’t try to find fault in yourself. There is no explanation. There is nothing good (or even true) in those thoughts that try to find fault in ourselves. It simply is what it is – life. Heartbreaking and mysterious but so imperfectly beautiful. Much love.

  25. Sara Springer

    No words, just prayers. I am so sorry for your losses. Your strength in sharing all of this is just inspiring. We all want to know we aren’t alone; especially in the tough stuff- thank you for your bravery. Continued prayers to you and your family.

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