Baby Leo entered the world on February 1st, 2024, but his story began three years before. Back when I didn’t know what a missed miscarriage was. Back when I never imagined having a baby would require me to go under anesthesia five times or have my husband poke my stomach with hormone injections night after night.

In 2021, when I got my first positive pregnancy test, I knew my life would be forever changed, but I wasn’t prepared for the ways it would be turned upside-down. It’s hard to describe the pain of going to an ultrasound appointment hoping to leave with pictures and instead scheduling a D&C. Or the grief of when the strong heartbeat you once heard is replaced with absolute silence, and the tech speaks words that will play on repeat in your mind for days to come. And then to live out that nightmare two more times in the same year.

But don’t worry; this story has a happy ending, and I hope yours will as well.

Pregnancy After Recurrent Loss: Leo the Lion

Author’s Personal Collection/Nicole Mickol

After the trauma, therapy, fertility tests, recurrent miscarriages, medication, insomnia, failed IVF cycle, and beginning the adoption process, two pink lines appeared on a pregnancy test on our ten-year wedding anniversary. “Cautiously optimistic” is a term we used to get through each day of the first trimester, living one appointment to the next.

Nicole's pregnancy announcement with Leo - Pregnancy After Recurrent Loss: Leo the Lion

Author’s Personal Collection/Nicole Mickol

When we got the phone call that our baby boy’s chromosomes were normal, the joy overcame so much of the disappointment we had become accustomed to.

Nicole at her baby shower - Pregnancy After Recurrent Loss: Leo the Lion

Author’s Personal Collection/Nicole Mickol

Each passing week was more hopeful than the last.

Of course, my rainbow baby wanted to give me one last scare when my water broke (at school!) at 33 weeks and 6 days gestation. But it was all part of our journey to meeting Leo which has given us so much appreciation for what we finally have.

Nicole holding baby Leo - Pregnancy After Recurrent Loss: Leo the Lion

Author’s Personal Collection/Nicole Mickol

Holding him, loving him, and hearing his little baby squeaks fuses the pieces of my broken heart back together.

Baby Leo - Pregnancy After Recurrent Loss: Leo the Lion

Author’s Personal Collection/Nicole Mickol

Leo is here, going strong in the NICU, and has already taught us so much. We can overcome things we once thought were impossible, and I already know he’s a fighter, just like his mama.

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