An Introduction

My name is Carmen. I live in Ontario, Canada, with my three beautiful babies, husband, and some other critters. I am also a nurse, a yoga instructor, a farmer, and a writer, as to be a writer is to write, and that is something that has helped me the most on my journey. I can’t thank you enough for letting me share my love of writing and this baby that means so much to be with all of you. It’s a real gift and honor to me to get to document and showcase this pregnancy journey in a way that gives back to the community that has helped and continues to help me so much!

Carmen Grover with her family - Carmen's Bump Day Blog, Week 10: Journaling My 11th Pregnancy

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

I have been pregnant 11 times & am currently 10 weeks pregnant!

In my journey to have my family, I, like many women who find themselves here, unfortunately, experienced pregnancy loss seven times and in different ways. Throughout our journey, I always felt very isolated and alone in my grief. It is my passion, born from all of my babies, to try to help other women and their partners feel less alone with their overwhelming feelings of loss and grief by sharing our journey. It’s how I honor them and their stories. Our babies were here and mattered, and in being able to speak their names together, I do believe it’s how we begin to heal together.

For me personally, there was loss before I had children, and there was also loss after having children. Our first babe and loss was the missed miscarriage of Amity in January 2016. Our following losses include Will at 10 weeks gestation in May 2016, Kaia Belle on Jan 2, 2017 at 24 weeks gestation due to a termination for medical reasons (TFMR), a chemical pregnancy in Feb 2017, a miscarriage at 7 weeks gestation in August 2019, Jude Simba Joy on August 2, 2020, at 20 weeks gestation due to TFMR, and our most recent loss Zach due to another miscarriage at 8 weeks gestation in January 2023.

I found PALS from my local counselor in 2017. I’m an active pregnancy loss advocate in my town and run a local support group. I’m also a spokesperson in the Creating Memories at End of Life Workshops for LHSC and nationally and for the Ontario Palliative Care Association Provincial conference.

With all of these pregnancy losses, I experienced more than just the physical loss of having a baby.

It was the loss of a happy pregnant experience and birth story. It was the loss of having the family I envisioned and the expectations of what my future might look like. This is where I hope to capture all my truest feels of what pregnancy after loss looks and how it can be absolutely not as we thought it would be but still filled with beautiful moments.

I’m currently so exhausted, yet grateful for that exhaustion. I find I get a lot of cramping, and the normal fears set in, and then I remember my uterus has done this 11 times; the cramping is likely just my uterus growing. This is pregnancy after loss….

I am filled with such appreciation for my body and constant fear, and am constantly reminded how two things can be true at the same time. I am so grateful and so fearful, and that’s OK. Regardless of my emotions, I feel supported here, and that is the greatest thing I could ask for right now, so thank you! Collectively our love for our babies and empathy of each other and tears and me-tos can bring healing no matter where we are on our journeys to building our families.

Today I’m 10 weeks. It is August 2nd, which marks the three-year anniversary of our son Jude.

I feel like it’s so long and so short. I see the pollination fluffs and sunflowers and think of him. I think of how, in those short and long three years, I’ve had a traumatic birth resulting in our rainbow daughter Ayda, another loss with Zach, and how I am currently pregnant. So much can change in three years and yet nothing all at once.

I am still missing my son Jude just the same. Our loss with Zach made me want what we lost! I couldn’t drop it or let it go. It’s hard to explain, and I am so lucky we found ourselves pregnant again almost 6 months later.

Our story never ends.

From never thinking we would have living babies to be here and so grateful but not to displace all my losses as they continue to play a role, as I have lost at 6-7, 10, 12, 21 & 24 weeks before it feels like I’m never done worrying. And as I make it to 10 weeks today I worry about making it to each next week, remembering all the weeks I’ve lost at. With every pregnancy, I enter uncharted territory as, unfortunately when we know loss, we know nothing is forever, and that changes us…it becomes all we know… we hold our breaths the entire time….one day at a time.

We are changed in many ways good, bad, scary, and blessed…I’m excited to document all these sweet and sour feelings that are so real in pregnancy after loss!

10-Week Update

There’s so much to unpack. I can’t bring myself to post a bump picture, though I encourage everyone to please share. I really do recognize and am so sensitive to how hard it can be to see this at times.

Though I speak from such a cautiously optimistic place, I am currently pregnant and so fortunate to be.

I get to be that one who right now has what I wanted. Everyone has a story to get to where they are, but it doesn’t stop me from being hopeful yet so grateful and extra sensitive.

Week 10 - size of a strawberry:

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

I hold this strawberry 🍓 and think about how at this point, all major organs are developed, and babe is even developing taste. But, then I think, how can this stage end? I think about how this is what I lost at 10 weeks before. It means something more somehow….this strawberry 🍓 and all that it holds.

I naturally worry that at our next appointment, there is a chance they go to look, and this can all be taken away. It’s hard to appreciate what is sometimes because it can feel like the more I know the more I’m aware of what I have lost or could be losing.

Today, I am pregnant with a fully functioning strawberry 🍓.

Carmen's 10-week bump - the size of a strawberry

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

I am really taking this pregnancy in fully, and since sharing so early, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for so long. I realize how I’ve normally sped through this stage as I was always in denial mode. Now I’m feeling everything more, every pregnancy symptom for which I’m so grateful.

I want to celebrate the fact that I took the step of getting myself a doula, even this early. I’ve never had a doula before, let alone booked anything this early in a pregnancy. I am really trying to trust this baby will come, though it can be painful if I let myself think what I could lose and not wanting to get my hopes up…I really am trying to…I even bought myself a book on the first 40 days of eating for nourishment.

I’m trying to really come back to myself…to loving myself and trusting.

I’m always healing, and I’m proud to take care of me and this baby the best way I can, one day at a time. Following along on this baby’s and my development…not fast-forwarding….with faith.

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