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In honor of National Rainbow Baby Day on August 22, one mom shares her story of loss and hope during pregnancy after loss.
The quotes, stories, and experiences included here are those of the individuals and are not representative of Owlet's views or claims about our product. Individuals were not paid and did not submit their information as part of any paid promotion by Owlet.
By: Malerie Wilmes
“Your job must be so fun!” “You’re lucky you get to look at babies all day!”
Patients tell me all the time they are jealous of my job. Yes, as an ultrasound tech, I get to look at babies all day, and yes, it is the best job in the entire world. But it comes with good days and bad. Even though most days are so fulfilling, others are heartbreaking. I never thought my darkest day as an ultrasound technologist would involve me as the patient.
June 12, 2021, I married my best friend in the world. He has been my rock for almost 13 years now. We had been talking about conceiving our first child for a long time, and we were so excited when that positive test showed up. As an ultrasound tech, I was already trying to look for my little baby at 5 weeks of gestation. I cannot describe the feeling I experienced as I looked at my baby on the screen. My whole career I looked at other peoples’ babies, and it was finally my baby on the monitor.
On April 9, 2022, I came to work just like any other day. My pregnancy was going so well, and we had just submitted my blood test to find out the gender of our baby. We had a short break between patients, so I decided to peek at my 10-and-a-half-week-old baby. As I put the ultrasound probe on my belly, my whole world crumbled. The little heartbeat that I had seen many times before was no longer there. My heart raced, as I tried several times to look back at the baby to see if what I was seeing was correct. After a couple minutes I finally stopped, shaking uncontrollably, realizing my worst fear as an ultrasound tech was happening to me.
The next day, I came to the ER because of terrible pain and bleeding associated with the miscarriage. After getting my pain under control, we were able to go home that night, without a baby in my uterus or in my arms. I have never felt so empty and heartbroken in my entire life. I felt as if I failed, or that I could have done something to cause this. I could not find an explanation as to what happened to my baby, and I knew I never would. A week later, our genetic testing came back normal, and we found out we had lost a baby boy.
The month following my miscarriage, I was depressed. While dealing with the grieving process, I then had to return to work and put on a happy face for our patients who were still pregnant with living babies. All I could do was think about my baby boy and how much I wished I were still pregnant. The positive aspect of this loss was that I could now relate to my patients who would go through a miscarriage as I did. I knew that I could offer words of advice and comfort when a mom was in her lowest place.
Without the support of my husband, family, friends, and coworkers, I am not sure how I would have coped with this loss. Support is so crucial with miscarriage and pregnancy loss, and I was blessed with so much of it. Positive thoughts, prayer, and self-love were also so important in the grieving process for me. I turned to God more than I ever have and found comfort in knowing my baby was loved and in heaven. I knew that one day, I would meet my rainbow baby no matter how long I had to wait.
After a couple months of recovery, a chemical pregnancy, and a lot of prayers, we were finally expecting our rainbow baby boy to be due in April of 2023. The best word I can use to describe our feelings was overwhelmed. First and foremost, we were overwhelmed with joy and excitement. Our hopes were at an all-time high to welcome this baby safely. However, with pregnancy after miscarriage, comes anxiety and worry. I was not a stranger to anxiety but being pregnant and worrying about our baby was on another level of anxiety. But with every passing day, the worry lessened as we made it past the first trimester. Feeling those little kicks and punches from my baby boy made all our struggle and worry worthwhile. The second trimester flew by, and the anxiety returned in the late third trimester as we inched closer to baby boy’s arrival. At 38 weeks and 5 days, I woke up in a panic as I noticed I was bleeding in the middle of the night. We came to the hospital to find out I was in early labor; however, my blood pressure was a little high. We were induced due to my blood pressures, and after about 14 hours of labor, our little boy’s heart rate was decelerating with my contractions. We tried several tactics to see if we could get baby’s heart rate to return to normal, however we decided to proceed with a cesarean section after I had not made much progress with labor.
10:57 pm on April 10, 2023, our rainbow baby made his arrival.
Liam James Wilmes
6lb 9 oz, 19.5 inches long.
I held my breath as I waited for his cry to start as I lay on the operating table. Once I heard his cry, my happy tears could not stop. A couple minutes later, his crying stopped. I could feel the tension in the room rise as the nurses attended to Liam. Before I even got to hold our little rainbow, he was taken to the NICU for lowered oxygen saturation levels and labored breathing. It broke my heart having to wait to see him, but once we could, we went to the NICU to meet our son. I replay holding him for the first time repeatedly in my head, so I will never forget all the emotions I went through in that moment. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, and I was so lucky to be his mama. Upon holding him, we noticed that Liam was born with a large “angel’s kiss” birthmark over his eye, and I knew immediately exactly where it came from. With several monitoring devices and a CPAP attached to him, we held our baby and prayed. After a couple of days in the NICU, Liam was doing much better, and we were able to take off the monitors and take our rainbow home.
April 10, 2022 I was recovering from a hospital stay after complications from a miscarriage. Exactly a year later on April 10, 2023 we welcomed our rainbow. Even though my husband and I went through heartbreak with our loss, we were finally able to experience great joy and happiness welcoming Liam home. I do often think of our first pregnancy and how much I wish I could have met him. I know that he is watching over his little brother from heaven until we get to meet him. Suffering from miscarriage or loss was one of the darkest times in my life, but there is always a rainbow after the storm.