I still remember the dates of both of my miscarriages. The first was on February 26, 2021, one month shy of my son’s first birthday. When I think back to that time, I feel an immense sense of guilt. I was going through the daily motions with my son, my family, and my job, but I was not really there. My second miscarriage was on June 4, 2021. The second time around wasn’t any easier, and I was flooded with thoughts of what I did wrong. Did I work out too hard? Is my body failing me? Do I not deserve another child?

Innocence and excitement in pregnancy are lost after miscarriage.

When I was pregnant with my son, I was naïve about all that could go wrong. I remember thinking that if I made it to the second trimester, all would be fine, and it was. I was blind to what all of the genetic testing, ultrasounds, and endless bloodwork could reveal. Loss was truly not even on my mind as an option. All I felt was excitement to meet him and to add a sweet baby to our family.

I found out I was pregnant with our rainbow baby on October 5, 2021.

My excitement was shielded by anxiety and worries of miscarriage. I felt robbed of everything I had in my pregnancy with my son. I had my doctor check my HCG levels and progesterone over and over. I checked for the lab results constantly. I begged the doctor for early ultrasounds and asked to be seen more often. Luckily, my doctor was amazing and understanding. She did anything she could to help ease my anxiety. Still a bit naïve in my thinking, I just thought, if we made it to the second trimester, everything would be okay. We made it to the second trimester and proudly announced our pregnancy to some family members and friends. We finally felt like we were getting our second baby.

Days after we announced our pregnancy, we got our NIPT results back. I had just finished teaching a class, and I excitedly opened the results to see if we were having a boy or a girl. I was naïve as to what the NIPT test could actually reveal. I opened the result and immediately saw the flags. Our baby girl was high risk for Trisomy 13 and 22q11.2 deletion. I walked straight out of work without telling anyone and broke down in my car. I called my husband and then my doctor, who told us she was 98% sure that our rainbow baby would not make it to birth. If she did make it, she wouldn’t live for very long after and would have many complications. My husband and I cried and grieved, however, we still held on to hope.

After receiving this news, I completely shut down.

I stopped telling people I was pregnant. I couldn’t find a way to tell people who already knew we were pregnant that our baby wasn’t going to make it. I wore baggy clothes at work so that students and staff outside of my department could not tell that I was pregnant. I asked my immediate colleagues not to talk about it in fear that I would completely break down at work. Again, I found myself just going through the motions with my son, my family, and my job, but I have never had a more difficult time in my life.

Soon after receiving our NIPT results, we met with a geneticist at maternal fetal medicine. After looking at our test results, glancing over our ultrasounds, and gathering information, she let us know that she thought that there was only a 25% chance that our baby had Trisomy 13. An amniocentesis was recommended, but we had to wait until sixteen weeks to get it done. A long seven weeks after receiving our NIPT results, the geneticist called with our amniocentesis results. Our baby girl did not have Trisomy 13 or 22q11.2 deletion! I can’t really come up with words to describe how we felt receiving that news. I would use “relief” to describe how we felt, but there is never a feeling of full relief in pregnancy after loss. We were thankful, ecstatic, hopeful, excited, and eternally grateful. All of these words are understatements to how we actually felt.

Rainbow baby - Loss of Innocence in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Jessica Mirkovich; Photo Credit: Marissa Nuzzo Photography

Our beautiful and perfect rainbow baby girl was born completely healthy on June 13, 2022. She is our miracle.

Rainbow baby - Loss of Innocence in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Jessica Mirkovich; Photo Credit: Marissa Nuzzo Photography

I am still struggling with anxiety from my pregnancy with my sweet baby girl and our prior losses. I do not think I have actually admitted that until writing this article. People think once you have another baby or once the baby is here, you can completely let go of the trauma of the past. Time definitely makes it easier, but I do not think anyone ever gets over it completely. I still am not sure how I made it through that time. I look back, and it feels like a nightmare that I was actually living in real time. I am eternally grateful for our family, friends, and colleagues who came together to support us during that difficult time. These people will always have a special place in our hearts.

Jessica Mirkovich's rainbow baby on her first birthday - Loss of Innocence in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Jessica Mirkovich; Photo Credit: Marissa Nuzzo Photography

Our miracle baby just turned one, and every day I think about how lucky I am to have her.

Siblings - Loss of Innocence in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Jessica Mirkovich; Photo Credit: Marissa Nuzzo Photography

We could not imagine our life without her. She has made the perfect addition to our family. She is very happy, silly, and bright. She loves to dance and laugh. She is everything we hoped and dreamt about. We hope that her future will bring her nothing but health, happiness, love, and memories. Hope is a very powerful thing. I am so happy that we didn’t give up hope that she would make her way to us one day.

Family - Loss of Innocence in Pregnancy After Loss

Author’s Personal Collection/Jessica Mirkovich; Photo Credit: Marissa Nuzzo Photography

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