Kacie’s Story: Pregnancy after Loss
Around Valentine’s Day 2016 we found out we were expecting our second baby
We were nervous because our son, Enzo, would only be two years old when the baby was due, but we were excited to welcome another little one into our home. On April 6, at our first heartbeat check at 11 weeks, our midwife was unable to find the heartbeat. We immediately did an ultrasound and found that our baby had no heartbeat and had stopped growing around nine weeks gestation. This has been the most difficult thing that I’ve dealt with personally — emotionally and physically — up to this point in my life. It took me some time to talk about it out loud, mostly out of fear and not wanting to let myself feel sad. Miscarriage and pregnancy loss seems to be a taboo subject. It can be difficult for others to relate and understand the pain that you can feel even when losing a baby whom you’ve never seen or held.
I wanted to share our story so that other moms and families dealing with this type of loss know that they are not alone. I did feel alone in the beginning, but as I opened up to others, I learned that there are many women in my life who have had a similar experience. There is no comparing one loss experience to another, but it is helpful to talk with others and share your pain. I worried that sharing my story would make it seem as though I’m looking for attention or sympathy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I fought writing this, but I really felt God pushing me to be open and honest about what happened.
After losing this baby, my husband and I made, what I thought was a tough decision to wait to get pregnant again. Fast forward to July 5th, and I’m staring down at a positive pregnancy test. Obviously God had different plans for us. I felt a rush of mixed emotions from joy to fear to sadness. I didn’t feel ready, physically or emotionally, to start down this road again with another pregnancy. My first trimester visit was right about nine weeks. I didn’t expect to be able to hear the heartbeat that soon, but low and behold, we found the heartbeat right away. It was reassuring, however I struggled (and still do) with doubts about whether or not this pregnancy is going to make it full-term. I’m now 22 weeks along and everything has been going well.
I feel at times that my miscarriage was a dream, that it didn’t really happen. It feels so far off in the distance, yet like it happened just yesterday. The feelings of grief from that loss are still there, and the baby I carry now cannot replace the baby we lost, though I do look at this baby as our rainbow after the storm. Instead of worrying about this pregnancy, I’m trying to focus on the fact that this baby is here, I get to be his/her mom for as long as God allows, and I need to enjoy the moments I have being pregnant. Of course, I want this baby to be born alive and healthy, but that is not guaranteed. I have to hope and believe that God is good and has an amazing plan for our family regardless of my pregnancy’s outcome.
Below is a letter that I wrote to our baby shortly after I had the miscarriage. It helped me release a lot of the thoughts I was experiencing and really helped to start the healing process. I’ve caught myself, many times, wondering if I’m not feeling sad enough, if I’m feeling too sad, or if I should have or should be grieving in a different way, especially now that I’m pregnant and planning for this baby’s arrival. Our baby had a significant impact on our lives, and even though I only got to be his or her mom for 11 weeks, our family has been changed. If it weren’t for this baby and the loss, we would not have pursued our foster-to-adopt license in the way we did and would not have started fostering a newborn baby in August. It’s going to be hard for me at times when I think of what our life would be with the baby we lost, but knowing that God has a plan and purpose through all of this has been tremendously helpful.
“Our Dear Second Baby –
Your daddy and I love you so much. I’ll be the first to admit that when I found out you would be joining our family; I was a little nervous. It was going to change our lives and make things crazier than they already are, but we were also excited about what was to come. You were to be in our arms October 24, 2016, about one month after your big brother, Enzo, turned two. I was almost more anxious to find out how he would react to a baby than about having you. As you would’ve found out, he is a little bit of a mama’s boy. We had started planning your room and first visits with family. We had some names picked out and were planning to wait to find out if you were a boy or girl on the joyous day of your birth. Though now we won’t know until we meet you in heaven.
We didn’t tell most people, but we were planning to have your birth at home. It just seemed like the natural choice. My wonderful midwife, GB, would have there that day and taken such great care of you. I prayed for you every single day. I asked God to keep you healthy and I prayed that one day you would be saved through a relationship with His son, Jesus. I know that Jesus has been holding you in His arms since you’ve arrived in heaven which is a huge comfort to me now.
Your daddy and I were looking forward to hearing your heartbeat on April 6, 2016. It had been about two months since I found out I was pregnant with you and we just couldn’t wait another minute. I was 11 weeks pregnant and right before the appointment I saw blood and had a sense that something just wasn’t right. I prayed and cried the entire 30 minutes in crazy Austin traffic to GB’s house. She immediately checked for the heart beat and couldn’t find it. We rushed to another doctor’s office to get an ultrasound to see you for the first and last time. The ultrasound showed that you had no heartbeat and you had stopped growing about two weeks before. The image of seeing you on that screen and the nurse telling me the news will stick with me for the rest of my life. It all felt so surreal and everything was spinning out of control. My plans for our family disappeared before my eyes and I couldn’t help but wonder why.
Less than two days later you were no longer in my womb and we had to officially say goodbye. That was the hardest day of my life physically and emotionally up to this point. But right before I lost you, God had given me these words from Romans 8:18 – “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” This verse now hangs in our home. It’s hard to imagine that anything can be bigger than the hurt I feel right now, but I know in my soul that God’s glory can be revealed through your loss. I’m already seeing it happen and can feel God using this to make me more like Jesus.
We have a strong support system of friends, family and fellow believers that have been here for us. I know we are going to be okay in time. But there will always be a hole in our family for where you belong. We all can’t wait for the day that we can be together as one complete family. In the meantime, your daddy and I will continue to pray for God’s peace and guidance as we move forward without you. It was a joy and a blessing to be your mom for those 11 weeks. As hard as all of this has been, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love you,
Kacie Pattavina lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two-year-old son and their two pups with another child on the way. Kacie currently serves as Marketing Director on the Board of Directors for the Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas (PPHA), whose mission is to promote awareness, provide education and increase the resources necessary for the prevention and treatment of peripartum mood disorders. After experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety with her first son, she joined PPHA to provide help for moms suffering from postpartum mood disorders.
To learn more about Kacie or the services available at Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas:
Marketing Director, Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas (PPHA)
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