The beginning of our journey started in January of 2021. We were so excited to start trying for a baby. Little did we know where this would take us. Month after month, the only results we kept receiving were negatives. In December 2021, we were told we would need help getting pregnant. This gutted me. You never anticipate conceiving a child this way. I prayed and held onto faith that things would change. More months continued to go by until it was decided that we would start the process of artificial insemination.

In August of 2022, we went through our first IUI treatment, which failed. In September of 2022, we had our second IUI which was successful. We were absolutely over the moon! We surprised close family and friends with the news. After waiting the time we had, I was so excited, so I started to plan my gender reveal, and upcoming events. I even thrifted a crib!

I had no idea within the next couple of months, all of those dreams would be crushed.

On November 2nd, 2022, my husband and I went in for an ultrasound at 9 weeks at our OBGYN office. We previously had private ultrasounds and already heard that beautiful heart flicker and couldn’t wait to hear it again. As the ultrasound tech started to assess our baby, I saw her face and knew something was wrong. All we heard was silence. Nothing prepares you for the words, “Your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.” We were devastated, we were in despair, and I immediately asked God why.

I thought this day was hard enough, until November 10th, 2022, came along, and I gave birth to our angel, River. As I saw our sweet angel’s little eyes and organs, I made the decision to bury River. My husband, best friend, and I made a memorial outside of our home. The days to come were hard. My husband was worried about me, my friends had to drag me out of bed, and depression crept in and took hold of me. I wasn’t sure how I could ever survive this. Then God stepped in. We held a revival at our church. I prayed and wept with other believers, and I knew that I would be okay. In time I learned that time itself didn’t heal, but Jesus does.

We decided to start the IUI process again.

IUI one round two commenced on December 31st, 2022, and it failed. It felt like taking two steps back. I tried to hold onto hope that it had worked before, so maybe it would work again. We proceeded with IUI two round two on January 30th, 2023. 14 days later I came home from my nursing job, sat on the toilet and told God if it was his will, that I would be pregnant again. My heart filled with joy, love, and happiness as I saw two pink lines. As the happiness stilled, anxiety overwhelmed me. I told myself not to get excited and not to get my hopes up… so I didn’t.

Pregnant couple with their "River" teddy bear - Pregnancy After Lossis Hard and Scary, But Not Trying Again is Scarier

Author’s Personal Collection/Kalee Locke

I felt like I couldn’t surprise anyone, because I did last time and felt like an idiot. So I told my husband, my parents, his parents, and my best friend. The weeks that followed were so hard. No one warns you about how anxious you are in PAL. Every toilet paper wipe must be checked, every ultrasound feels like a panic attack waiting to happen, every lab value is analyzed, and every symptom is documented.

Ultrasound image - Pregnancy After Lossis Hard and Scary, But Not Trying Again is Scarier

Author’s Personal Collection/Kalee Locke

Loss took more from me than just my child. It took away my hope most days. It took away my excitement. It took away a part of me.

Pregnant couple at the beach - Pregnancy After Lossis Hard and Scary, But Not Trying Again is Scarier

Author’s Personal Collection/Kalee Locke

As I continued to carry on in my pregnancy, I felt guilt towards my angel. Every milestone reached was a blessing yet a reminder of what I missed out on with River. I also didn’t want to get too attached and be left disappointed all over again. Over time God proved me wrong again and again. I had to read daily affirmations and learn that being excited wasn’t a jinx. Telling others wasn’t bad luck. This wasn’t up to me and what mattered was celebrating what I had, while I had it. So my mindset changed, and I began to be happy, buy clothes, talk about my pregnancy, and rejoice in what blessings God had given me.

Pregnant woman at window - Pregnancy After Lossis Hard and Scary, But Not Trying Again is Scarier

Author’s Personal Collection/Kalee Locke

I’m almost 28 weeks now with my beautiful rainbow boy. I wish I could have River here too, but I find solace knowing my sweet angel is held in the most perfect arms to ever exist, I have peace in that. I have no doubts our rainbow was handpicked by God and River. Pregnancy after loss is hard and scary, but not trying again was scarier. I can’t wait to look into my baby’s eyes and tell him how hard we prayed and fought for him. Shepherd Holt Locke is our everything, our miracle, and our rainbow after a heavy storm.

*The author first shared her story on TikTok.

@kaleelocke We didnt want this to be a part of our story but it is and God has allowed us to speak to others who have experience this hardship as well. Infertility is hard. Loss is hard. Please dont ever feel alone in it💙🌈 #miscarriageawareness #miscarriagesurvivor #River #pregnancy #iuijourney #iuisuccessstory #infertility #infertilityjourney #pregnancyafterinfertility #pregnancyafterloss #rainbowbaby #boymom #baby #27weekspregnant #shepherd ♬ Gratitude – Brandon Lake

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