Lauren Robinson is a mama to four sweet babies, two here on earth and two in heaven. She and her husband, Keenan, had their first daughter, Kaidence. When they were pregnant with their second baby, they went in for their 12-week appointment and there was no heartbeat. Lauren knew something was wrong because she had stopped thinking about a future with the baby. But, it was very traumatic. Even though she “knew,” she was not expecting it. In an interview with Kacie Barnes, she said, “This doesn’t happen. This only happens in the movies. This doesn’t happen to people I know. I had no reference for this loss.”

Ten months later, she and her husband were pregnant again.

At their 12-week appointment, they saw the baby’s heartbeat and everything was perfect. She had a textbook pregnancy. The baby’s anatomy was perfect, and she had no complications.

At 40 weeks, 2 days, Lauren woke up in the morning and realized that the baby wasn’t moving. She told her husband, and he reassured her that the baby was probably getting ready for labor. Lauren took a nap, sure that she was going into labor. But, when she woke up, there was still no movement. She knew something was wrong and told her husband that they needed to go to triage. At the same time, she was telling herself that nothing was wrong. She didn’t know anything could be wrong. She was past 12 weeks, and the baby’s anatomy was perfect. Nothing could be wrong.

But, after multiple nurses, dopplers, and an ultrasound, the doctor said four words that would change her life forever, “There is no heartbeat.”

Lauren was devastated. “Babies aren’t supposed to die.”

After an induction and 30 hours of labor, she gave birth to her daughter, Haven Reign Robinson, on February 24, 2019.

Lauren and Baby Haven - Managing PTSD during Pregnancy After Loss in a Pandemic

Lauren wrote, “When I lost Haven, every single thing came to a screeching halt in my life, yet life was still going for everybody else. Flowers were still blooming, people were celebrating anniversaries, pregnancy announcements were still coming up on my feed. All while I was still bleeding, crying over my empty belly with engorged breasts full of milk with no baby to feed and nurture. My own body went on with life not even realizing the baby I had carried inside of it had died. It was still functioning as if it had a baby to take care of, what a blow.”

A month after Haven’s first birthday, Lauren shared that she was pregnant again.

The pandemic had just hit, and that changed everything for the remainder of her pregnancy. She told us, “Let me first say, being pregnant again after a loss is isolating enough in itself, now let’s throw in a pandemic and we truly have a hot mess going on. It was so isolating. I hated going into my ultrasounds by myself. Didn’t they care that I have PTSD and would uncontrollably shake and cry during my scans? For me, ultrasounds aren’t a happy exciting thing. They mean I will see a lifeless baby on the other end. I needed my husband more than ever and to me it felt cruel that they wouldn’t make exceptions.”

During her pregnancy, Lauren found support from Pregnancy After Loss Support. She shared, “PALS has helped me through my pregnancy after loss because of all the stories shared by other mamas. They have helped me feel less alone and validated all the pain and emotions I was dealing with. I am so grateful for their organization!”

Lauren Robinson and Luna - Managing PTSD during Pregnancy After Loss in a Pandemic

In May, Lauren, Keenan, and big sister Kaidence welcomed their rainbow baby, Luna Haven Robinson.

Lauren tells us, “She is named after her big sister who went to Heaven and picked her out for us. Luna is such a calm baby which always blows my mind because I was most certainly not calm when I was pregnant with her. She is so precious to me and I still look at her and think ‘Wow, she is really here!’ She is the chunkiest thing ever and I literally cannot get enough of her! She is such a joy to our family and has brought so much life back to our lives!”

Robinson Family - Managing PTSD during pregnancy after loss in a pandemic

 

As the pandemic continues and the holidays arrive, Lauren is thinking about her daughter, Haven.

Haven would be 1 year and 10 months old this holiday season. Lauren imagines her running around with her sisters, playing dress-up, visiting her grandparents, and soaking up all the joy this season brings. Lauren told us, “Holidays are forever tainted for me after the loss of my daughter. Grief always shares space with joy. I can be so so happy giggling with 5-year-old, Kaidence and holding my rainbow baby, Luna, yet actively feeling sad about Haven not being here.”

During the holidays, the family remembers Haven by talking about her often with their families and having a stocking with her name on it. But, none of that fills the deep hole of her absence.

Sisters - Managing PTSD during Pregnancy After Loss in a Pandemic

Lauren wants you to know a few things about expecting during the pandemic.

Lauren wants to tell other mamas pregnant after loss during the pandemic, “Give yourself grace upon grace! You are already dealing with so much and doing it during a pandemic is just mind-blowing to me. If you can’t do it all, don’t. If you need a break, take one. If all you can do is one thing today, that is enough. Give yourself permission to not be okay and reach out to others or pray when you need someone to carry the burden for you!”

Lauren Robinson and Luna - Managing PTSD during Pregnancy After Loss in a Pandemic

And, she wants those who love someone who is pregnant after loss in a pandemic to know, “I wish people knew that I was happy to be pregnant but also very overwhelmed. My emotions were all over the place and I was always sharing space with grief and joy, anxiety and peace. I was mourning the loss of Haven while being pregnant with Luna. Everything was always so conflicting and I wish people knew the amount of pressure I was truly under every moment of the day. Unless you’ve walked this road, you have no idea how hard it is.”

Thank you so much to Lauren for sharing her story with us as part of our #WhatWouldIGive Holiday Campaign.

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Help PALS continue to support mamas who are pregnant after loss during the pandemic by giving to our What Would I Give Holiday Fundraising Campaign. Set up a recurrent monthly donation of $9 (for the nine months of pregnancy after loss), or make a one-time donation of $40 (for the 40 weeks of pregnancy after loss). Donate now.

Are you pregnant after loss during the pandemic and need extra support or resources? Join one of our Facebook peer-to-peer support groups and see these articles:

Are you parenting after loss during the pandemic and need extra support or resources? Join our Parenting after Loss Facebook peer-to-peer support group and see these articles:

Are you supporting a loved one who is pregnant or parenting after loss during the pandemic? Here are some ways you can help:

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