Mom shares story of lost pregnancies
After two uneventful pregnancies, we were excited to announce my third pregnancy in 2015. My children, Theo and Quentin, were 5 and 3 years old, so it felt like the "right" time to grow our family.
Everything changed unexpectedly when, at my 20-week ultrasound, we learned our daughter was growth-restricted. I had an amniocentesis done immediately to look for a cause, but everything came back normal.
I was scheduled for a follow-up appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine and in between had a prenatal visit with my OB-GYN. At that routine appointment, I learned my baby girl had no heartbeat.
I was beyond devastated. Since the appointment was "routine," my husband was not with me. I had to call him and tell him to meet me at Edward Hospital, where labor would be induced.
More than 26 hours later, our daughter, Nelle Claudia Dej Yang, was born to our tears. It was Sept. 4, 2015, -- Labor Day Weekend. I remember thinking how ironic it was that I had to endure labor on Labor Day weekend. And I was not taking my baby home.
With all testing showing no cause, we were told the growth restriction was likely a fluke. As painful as losing our daughter was, we decided to try again, and I became pregnant shortly after.
Family and friends were thrilled when I announced my "rainbow" pregnancy -- a pregnancy after loss. Every appointment terrified me, and at my routine appointment at 16 weeks, I was insistent on an ultrasound, even though a Doppler check of the heartbeat should have sufficed.
My doctor asked whether I had any reason to be concerned: I told him no, I would just feel more comfortable with an ultrasound. Shocked doesn't even begin to describe the next few minutes when I found out my baby had no heartbeat.
Only five-and-a-half short months later, I was reliving my nightmare. I was admitted to Edward Hospital, again, and labor was induced, again. Our second daughter, Iris Madeline Hnub Yang, was born Feb. 13, 2016. Again, I went through a battery of tests to determine the cause. Again, nothing definitive was found.
There were times I thought, "Only a completely unjust universe would force me to go through this pain twice." It was a loss of everything I knew, everything I had dreamed of for the future.
I had to wrangle my own grieving, while simultaneously, constantly responding to the outside world. There were insensitive comments, confused reactions and deafening silence.
It was nearly a year after losing Nelle that I attended my first SHARE meeting at Edward Hospital, a support group for parents dealing with miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. My voice was shrill as I tried to describe losing two babies in such a short time period.
I left the meeting feeling heavy and tired, and was not sure I would go back. I was in individual therapy and decided that the one-on-one interaction was better for me.
After consults and recommendations from Maternal Fetal Medicine, I became pregnant again in December, 2016. I began to attend Sharing HOPE, a group for parents who want to become pregnant or are currently pregnant.
In this group, I could be open about my constant fear. I often felt like the downer in the room; the reminder that sometimes "rainbow" pregnancies end tragically as well.
HOPE stands for "Having Optimistic Pregnancy Expectations," and though I rarely felt optimistic, I still needed to lean on that group -- my tribe of women who could understand what I was going through. They were with me through those monthly meetings as I inched ever closer to my due date.
Our third child, our third daughter, Autumn Nadine Taws Yang, was born Aug. 8. I won't shy away from saying that pregnancy after loss was incredibly hard, but I was wrapped in support from family and friends, including those I met through SHARE and Sharing HOPE. They were gently encouraging us as we passed each milestone.
SHARE will continue to allow us to honor our daughters Nelle and Iris.