It all started with one little test.

Two pink lines appeared, and told me what I should have known after 2 weeks of unexplained nausea.

We were pregnant.

Unplanned. Unprepared. Unsure.

Pregnant.

Little Madelyn came into our life with a roar. For 36 weeks, I struggled with morning — I mean, all-day — sickness. At 8 weeks, I hemorrhaged, and we were told we had a 50/50 chance of miscarrying.

She hung on.

At 28 weeks, stress sent me into threatened pre-term labor. I spent two weeks on bed rest and on what I thought was the worst medicine ever. At 32 weeks, we did it all again.

At 36 weeks, I went into L&D with the worst pain I had ever experienced, steady contractions, and dry-heaving. I was told I was dehydrated and was sent home.

3 days later, I was back and was in worse shape. We found out that I had developed HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia. They gave me pitocin and an epidural, but my body was digressing more quickly than my labor was progressing. Little Maddy’s heart rate dropped for 8 minutes. After that, I was sent straight in for a C-section.

Maddy was born healthy and beautiful. My body recovered. But emotionally, I ended up with symptoms of PTSD and postpartum depression. Life with baby Maddy was hard. Good. But hard.

When Maddy was a year, I thought I was pregnant. I was a week and a half late, and had all the symptoms. But I was afraid of taking a test because I was not yet ready to go through a traumatic pregnancy again. By the time I got up the guts to test, the bleeding had started. It lasted for 9 days.

I was convinced I was miscarrying, but medically, there was nothing to do. I was sad for several days, but since nothing had been confirmed, I moved on.

Ryan and I had decided to give up on having another child biologically. We pursued foster to adopt when Maddy was 2. We got licensed, and the waiting began.

And that’s when we got another positive test. We were expecting yet again.

 

 

 Little Olivia was a joyful surprise, and we were so thankful to be pregnant with her. But our pregnancy did not last long enough. Precious baby had attached to my tubes, causing it to rupture when she got too big. I was rushed into emergency surgery.

Her life had ended. And my new life as a bereaved mom began.

After what felt like forever, we conceived again — only to lose little Caleb at 8 weeks.

I know, you can barely see the positive.

3 months later, we got the call we were waiting for! A healthy, newborn was needing a home and would likely be available for adoption! Were we interested? HECK, YES!

We got the house ready, newborn clothes washed, and diaper bag packed. Everything was ready. We were just waiting on the call to go pick her up from the hospital.

Instead, we got the call we were dreading. The social worker had chosen another family.

We still had Maddy in our arms. But my heart felt empty.

I entered a deep depression. In 1 year, I had lost 2 children, my grandma, and had a hoped-for but failed foster placement. I was heart-broken.

Only a few weeks later, we were asked to babysit a foster baby. I was over-the-moon to have a little baby to hold, feed, clothe and tote around. The first night I rocked her to sleep, she just felt like mine. And I was hers.

Our first of many rocking-to-sleep sessions. My arms and heart were full.

 

Several more times we babysat for this family — until we were let in on a little secret. Leyla would be up for adoption. Were we interested?

My dream of adoption now has a name, her own little personality, and the most kissable cheeks you’ve ever seen. And she is now ours forever!

A few months after Leyla moved in, we found we were pregnant yet again. I must admit, I had my hopes up. My hCG looked great, and I was sick. Surely my other losses were just bad luck!

Instead, this pregnancy also ended much too soon at 5 weeks. We named that little one Elliott.

We are now in the process of testing to see what has caused my recurrent losses and HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia. We’ve been diagnosed with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss and secondary infertility.

Just one month prior to our adoption of Leyla, we discovered we were pregnant again. Sadly, we miscarried Sophie Grace at 5 weeks.

As we take a break from grief, loss and trying to conceive, I’m learning to give everything to God. Learning through grief. Learning how to hold my loss in one hand, and my living children in the other. Learning to let go and hold on.

About 6 months after our last loss, we received a call for a placement of a 5-month-old boy who needed a foster home. After less than a day to decide, our family welcomed Baby Z into our home indefinitely. At this point, we expect Z to return home sometime this December. Until then, we love him and hold on this this precious little boy as though he were ours. We are so blessed to have every day with this little man!

Welcome to my journey.

— Rachel

Here is my interview on our adoption with Leyla and our pregnancy losses: