My fiancé and I had been trying for a while to conceive our first baby when finally I told my OB/GYN. I was diagnosed with PCOS previously and with that came infertility that I was not aware of. I was put on the medication Clomid to help get me to ovulate. I became pregnant immediately; it seemed like my body needed a boost.

Unfortunately, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, a few days later, I would wake up to a pool of blood.

I had read that bleeding in early pregnancy was normal, so I ignored it since it was the day after Christmas, and we had family events to go to. I sensed that something wasn’t right and my doctor’s office wasn’t open, so I paid to talk to a doctor online who advised me to go to the ER. So we went. My fiancé wasn’t allowed with me since it was COVID times, so I had to do this alone.

They ran tests and did an ultrasound, and about six hours later, I was given the news that I was having a miscarriage at four weeks.

I was in tears and it didn’t seem real, why did this happen to us? I went for a consult a couple of weeks later and my doctor gave me the go-ahead to try again on my next cycle. So we did. Again, I got pregnant immediately again, and I didn’t know how to feel. I was pregnant longer than I was the first time; I made it to five weeks. It was going well until I had this dark discharge. My doctor was monitoring my HCG Beta levels and told me to wait until I was scheduled to come have my blood test done. Something made me take a pregnancy test on my birthday, and it came back negative. I fought off tears all day, and it was hard. The bloodwork also came back extremely low, so again another miscarriage.

Again, my doctor gave me the go-ahead to try again on the next cycle, so we did. It failed. I didn’t ovulate. We tried five more times before she scheduled me for an HSG to check if my tubes were open. They were. She finally referred me to an infertility specialist who really got the ball going. I was put on two medications to help me ovulate, a bunch of vitamins and a trigger shot to make me ovulate.

With the help of intrauterine insemination (IUI) I got pregnant with my son.

I was nervous the entire time I was pregnant with him, waiting for something bad to happen. Thankfully, at the specialist, I had more appointments. I had a lot of bloodwork done and ultrasounds to monitor the baby, and they all looked great. I was finally given the approval to go back to my OB, where everything was going great until I hit 30 weeks and went into preterm labor, which the reason is still unknown to this day.

Baby in the NICU - A Rainbow Baby Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Stephanie Womer

My son spent 48 days in the NICU learning to breathe and growing.

Stephanie Womer and her family - A Rainbow Baby Story: Coping with a NICU Stay

Author’s Personal Collection/Stephanie Womer

Baby in the NICU - A Rainbow Baby Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Stephanie Womer

He is now one and is thriving!

Little boy - A Rainbow Baby Story: Coping with a NICU Stay

Author’s Personal Collection/Stephanie Womer

While I was pregnant with him, I struggled greatly with the grieving process and anxiety. I started going to therapy, and I am still in it to this day, working on coping with anxiety and teaching myself to be positive.

Little boy - A Rainbow Baby Story: Coping with a NICU Stay

Author’s Personal Collection/Stephanie Womer

It was a long seven months, of worrying and stressing and waiting for bad news, along with dealing with unexplained infertility and having a preemie and the whole NICU process. It takes a toll on a person, and while you’re caring for your living baby, you’re also wondering what your angel babies would have been like–their gender, their names, their personalities, and who they would have looked liked. It makes you wonder, and to this day, I still think about them both.

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