My Pregnancy after Miscarriage

pregnancy after miscarriage

This month I received a sobering reminder that it’d been one year since my miscarriage.

Usually my Facebook memories oscillate between semi-embarrassing college posts and photos of my two children. But when last year’s announcement that we had lost our baby at 12 weeks popped up, I sort of went numb.

I couldn’t bring myself to reread it, let alone the hundred plus comments that followed.

As I sat there not reading but no longer scrolling through my newsfeed, I thought about just how much can change in a year.

It took a year to get pregnant with my daughter, our first child.

I peed on so many sticks that year, praying for a plus sign, only to start my period an hour later. I remember how devastating it was each time to know that I would have to wait an entire month just to go through it all over again.

And then, twelve months after we first started trying and the day after a trip to my OBGYN to discuss our options, I got a plus sign.

My pregnancy wasn’t easy. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum a la Kate Middleton. I was hospitalized for dehydration and had to take anti-nausea medicine well into my third trimester just to keep some food and water down.

The labor and delivery wasn’t much prettier, but 23 hours later I was holding my beautiful little girl.

Unlike the year of infertility and excruciating pregnancy, my daughter’s first year of life flew by in an instant. And not long after she turned one, my husband and I were thrilled to find out we were pregnant again.

Sickness ensued.

This pregnancy seemed much harder, because it turns out that running after a one-year-old while trying to swallow your vomit is pretty gross. And yet, I cherished those nine months more than I had the first time, because, no longer a rookie parent, my heart ached in loving anticipation for this second blessing coming my way.

My son was born 4 days before my daughter’s second birthday.

So much can change in a year.

The summer after my son turned one we took a family trip. Somehow in a hotel room with two napping toddlers, my husband and I found a way to get frisky. A few weeks later that plus sign popped up once more – but this time it was met with surprise, and right on schedule a few weeks later, extreme morning sickness.

As much as this third baby was unexpected, I quickly became attached and enjoyed making plans for our party of five. Unable to hide my nausea, I let family, friends and work know about our growing family.

It was at my first doctor’s appointment at 12 weeks that we learned there was no longer a heartbeat.

Even with my husband by my side, I have never felt so alone.

For months after the miscarriage, I wouldn’t even talk about having another baby with my husband. The idea of putting my body through another pregnancy to end up without a baby again was too much to consider.

A family of four we were meant to be, I told myself. I would try to convince myself that I shouldn’t feel so devastated, because I was fortunate enough to have my two babies at home. I constantly reminded myself again how lucky I was.

The truth is, my pep-talks weren’t working, and the months that followed didn’t get any easier. And a friend and neighbor’s growing belly was a constant reminder of what I was no longer meant to have.

As my precious lost baby’s due date approached, my emotions were unpredictable and almost unbearable. The whole experience had been so personal, and while my husband offered boundless support, I continued to feel incredibly alone.

My kids celebrated their second and fourth birthdays just weeks after we were supposed to welcome baby number three. I thought I had gained closure after the due date had passed, until two months later we were shocked to learn we were pregnant again.

I should have been thrilled! Elated! Or, at the very least, I should have felt something, right?

Yet from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve felt completely detached.

I have no doubt that this has been my heart’s way of protecting itself. What if something goes wrong again? If I’m not emotionally attached surely it won’t hurt so badly.

Just like clockwork, I started throwing up at 6 weeks. Other than the fact that I struggled to keep food down all summer, I nearly forgot that another baby was coming.

At my first doctor’s appointment, it took the nurse forever to find a heartbeat and I didn’t even flinch.

How had I become so cold and shut off? Was I a bad mom? When was I actually going to care about this baby?

And then a few weeks ago I started feeling those familiar flutters. The flutters grew into movements. The movements grew into kicks and elbows that I can not only feel but witness as this baby grows inside of me.

My mind is beginning to ease. My heart is filling. And – thank goodness – my expanding stomach is no longer nauseated.

By the beginning of 2017 we will welcome a new baby into our family. Unlike with my first two, this time we decided not to find out the gender. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter. We are ready to become our party of five. And I can finally say I’m excited for all of the changes that will come with the new year.

“They inspire me to be my very best”

new mommy baby love show

Q&A with Kristal Ronnebaum

I’ve never been one to believe in soulmates. I believe that relationships take two people actively choosing to love one another, even on the bad days.

Yet when I met Kristal Ronnebaum for the first time I instantly knew that we were soul sisters. We caught up over lunch and by the end practically finished each other’s sentences between laughing and crying with one another while sharing our personal and professional highs and lows.

And, not unlike that initial lunch together, Kristal’s interview isn’t brief, but it is chock full of love and wisdom. My soul sister bares it all to you in this week’s Working Mom Wednesday.


Self-promo time. Tell me what you do.

I am the proud Sales and Marketing Manager for a Veterinary Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Lenexa and am also Kansas City’s Marketing Lead for Baby Love, KC’s Only Baby Fair. We will host twice this year on June 12 and November 13 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

What can mamas expect at Baby Love?

Baby Love, KC’s Only Baby Fair is a day of celebration, pampering and education for Kansas City’s new and expecting families. We feature this city’s finest resources in baby products, services and education all in one convenient place. The skills they will acquire are designed to give them a head start in their exciting new journey of parenthood. If you’re already a mommy, I’m very confident we’ve got plenty of new tips and tricks for you too!

Where did you come up with the idea?

As you know as a new mommy, there are plenty of late night/early morning moments with just you and your bundle of joy. It’s also a time of great self-reflection and a moment or two when you think to yourself, “Oh My God, What am I DOING?” It was one of those nights as I was nursing Connor and thought, “why in the world is there no event that gives us all the sweet loving we need as new parents, but also help for the things we never thought we needed to know?”

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened during a show?

I love that you asked this! At our very first event last August, one of our most exciting activities was a LIVE Gender Reveal for one lucky family on stage! The couple invited all of their family to be there and even perfect strangers at the show were on pins and needles to see if this baby was a BOY or GIRL! We scored this giant 36’ balloon filled with the corresponding pink or blue color of confetti and they would pop the balloon on stage at the end of the countdown for all to see. It was going to be EPIC! The night before the show, we took the balloon to a local {not to be mentioned} party store to fill it with helium and on the way back to the convention center it exploded. PINK confetti everywhere! Praise Carey Wickersham, our local Kansas City author of The Wonder Within You and her amazing husband for saving the day. They raced to a local home store, snagged a huge box, filled it with pink balloons tied to the inside, decorated the outside of the box with wrapping paper and created the most amazing solution for us. You can read all about it on her blog, but the moral of the story: EVERYTHING is figure-out-able!

 

baby love baby expo
Read on to find out how to enter to win!

How has your business changed since you first envisioned it?

How long do I have? 🙂 The beginning of this lightning moment started as a boutique-style event and was held at the Deer Creek Golf Club just 7 months after Connor was born. By our second year, we welcomed over 300 guests and 60 community partners to the Honey Dews Baby Expo.

Funny thing about life, it throws you curve balls and the true test of your character is how you handle them and respond when it does. We very surprisingly learned I got pregnant THE week of the Honey Dews Baby Expo in April 2014. {Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t get pregnant when you’re stressed! HA!}  Sadly we lost that baby in early June and I hit rock bottom. We had suffered two other losses, but this one was above all the most paralyzing. Moving forward, I knew things needed to look differently and as more and more of our proud supporters would ask me when the next event date was and tell me I should host twice a year, what once burst my heart wide open in the most glorious ways now caused me pangs of anxiety.

Then in October 2014, one of our sponsors called to say the girls of Baby Love, Omaha’s Only Baby Fair were planning to bring their event to Kansas City and that I should reach out to them. So Kristi Wilson {the Founder} and I had lunch. We cried through much of it as we realized we shared the exact same heart and vision only THIS chick was an overwhelming success in Omaha! Her events draw 3,000-5,000 guests each time she hosts. It was the perfect fit. I already knew what wonderful resources we had to offer here and had created fantastic relationships with our supporters and she had the business model to draw the masses. We knew we would be better together. Honey Dews Baby Expo joined the ranks of Baby Love, KC’s Only Baby Fair and well, the rest is history!

We launched our first event together in August 2015 and welcomed over 6,000 guests to the Overland Park Convention Center! And the cherry on top? I got pregnant again in September and Miss Jordyn just celebrated her First birthday on Tuesday, May 17!

Any advice for someone with an itch to pursue a passion project?

Many people live their entire lives not experiencing that Lightning Moment. If you are one of the lucky few that it strikes, please I’m begging you…don’t ignore it. It’s not your job to figure out how to do it but to simply begin. Trust me, what you original thought it would be will probably look quite different by the time it’s all said and done. Find yourself an accountabilibuddy. This “buddy” will hold you accountable for all you are capable of being. They know your dreams and your visions and keep you on track when the going gets tough. And finally, say it out loud and write it down. Your chances of it happening go up exponentially!

What is a typical day like for you?

Up at 6 a.m. and into the office by 8 am…okay maybe closer to 8:13 a.m. It amazes me that it really takes every second in between to get us out the door. That is really the only “typical” part of any day and I prefer it that way.

Sure I have my to-do lists {I should own stock in Post-It} but that’s what I love about what I do both full-time and for Baby Love. I save my lunch hours for meetings with Baby Love partners and hit the gym on the weekends and right after work 2-3 days a week before I pick up the children from school. Taking care of myself is non-negotiable on the list. I can feel myself slipping when I don’t and that isn’t fair to anyone. I’m pretty loyal to my facials, massages and pedicures too. When I feel great, I find myself a better wife, mother, friend and everything in between.

One of my favorite tips as a working mom is to come home after school and before we do anything else, sit down with them for 15 minutes and play whatever they want. It seems like such a small amount of time but it allows me to really be present with them and watch their little innocent souls get lost in creativity. Dinner, the dishes, laundry, etc. it can all wait!

What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?

I’m more mindful and present in everything I do with them and for them. I know they are watching my every move and they inspire me to be my very best. The nice part about life is that there’s always tomorrow. If we had a rough day, we get to go to bed and “try harder next time.”

Your babies didn’t come easily for you. What would you tell a friend struggling to start a family of her own?

First of all, there is nothing you can tell a friend that will make it better. Your only job is to SHOW UP. Coffee, Wine or just a good ole cry in the Target parking lot. Just listen and hug and listen some more. Please don’t keep it locked inside. I think it’s tragic that the struggle with loss like this is so taboo to talk about. Not that it makes me feel better to know so many others suffered too, but just that I’m not alone. Now I’m going to get really real. Hold on to your husband/partner tight. I mean REALLY tight. Tighter than you’ve ever held on to anything in your entire life. I remember so vividly the look of complete despair in his face not just when it happened but all the days {some better than others} leading up to getting pregnant again. I felt so helpless and I knew he was hurting too. He and I have always been able to “fix it” for each other. We never did find out what caused those miscarriages exactly. That’s the worst part. You want answers but sometimes there’s just nothing. I look at him now and think of all we have overcome to be here in this moment and am completely overwhelmed with love and admiration for this man. I’m sad it takes such challenges and despair to see it sometimes, but nevertheless I am beyond grateful.

What are the highs and lows of being a working mom?

The highs are this absolutely indescribable love that beams out of me every day. I still have to pinch myself that they are mine. It’s so fun to see a little bit of me and Joe and our personalities in both of them. They are absolutely hilarious! Connor says when I’m nursing Jordyn that she’s getting “skin milk.” They dance and they sing and they are pure joy. Oh sure we struggle big time some days but of course we do. That’s what makes it all real and helps us not to take anything for granted. The lows of being a mom will always be that little ping of mommy guilt that sneaks up on me sometimes especially when I just want to stay home and snuggle them all day long. But then I remember those skills and talents God gave just to me and I head back into the world to share them. Deep down I know the incredible skills my babies are acquiring in their school too and those are lessons that can only be taught in that environment. Joe and I want to be an example for our children that when you dig in deep and give the world all your hustle and grind, anything can be yours.

Finish this sentence. If I could go back and do it all again, I wish someone would have told me that…

I should stop building dams and throwing rocks into the river of life and forcing it to go the direction I choose. Stop worrying and have faith that the Universe has my back so long as I am true to myself. God made each of us with our own special set of skills and talents. I owe it to the world to show up and share them. Trust that the river will do its job and will take me exactly where I am meant to go. Often times it will take me to places more beautiful and rewarding that I could have ever imagined on my own.

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

To me, having it all takes a lifetime. That’s really what the journey is all about. I’ll always be looking for ways to be better and do more because that wheel never really stops spinning when you see the world like I do. The moment you are grateful for all that you have in your life, confirming that you have it all is really the most positive affirmation out there. So relatively speaking yes, I do have it all and am beyond grateful for all that is now and what will be in the future. I’m most importantly grateful for every step it took me to get here.


Don’t forget to enter to win two (2) tickets to Baby Love, KC’s Only Baby Fair on Sunday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Overland Park Convention Center. Simply leave a comment below or on Facebook or Instagram and share what makes you most excited about becoming a mommy OR if you are already a mommy, what gives you the greatest joy? Winner will be announced Friday, May 27.

Tickets are $8 in advance and $12 at the door. Once you are inside the event, ALL activities are FREE! Learn infant CPR, infant massage, how to create a safe nursery, childproof your home, install your car seat, and so much more! Join us in the Mommy Pampering Station for a free massage, too! Over $20,000 in prizes will be given away that day!

For all the juicy event details, please visit www.kcbabyfair.com. Additional questions? Kristal wants you to reach out to her directly via email. See you at the show, mamas!

My miscarriage story: I’ll always remember you

miscarriage due date

This Thursday is the due date of my miscarried baby.

When you’re pregnant, your growing belly is an obvious indicator for the people in your life to check up on you. How are you feeling? Getting any sleep? Are you ready?

But when you lose your baby, there’s no easy way for those closest to you to remember an important day is approaching.

For nearly a month now, I’ve felt nothing short of emotionally unstable. Even the quickest thought about my baby will leave me in tears.  I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve felt anxious and ready for the due date to come and go, hoping that with it some of my grief will also finally pass.

I remember taking the pregnancy test at my parent’s house. I was dropping off my kids so my husband and I could go on a quick weekend getaway. I was bouncing around the bathroom just feet away from my entire family trying to keep quiet while I waited.

I remember smiling after registering the pink plus sign, and then feeling so proud of myself for keeping it a secret from my family while I said my goodbyes before heading out to pick up my husband from work and hit the road.

I didn’t tell him the entire three hour drive. I thought about it a million times, but this was pretty big news and I honestly wasn’t sure how he was going to react. The last thing I wanted was for him to drive off the road. While we had been talking about baby number three for a little while, we were intending to wait until our other kids were a bit older.

I remember his reaction when I turned down a margarita {my favorite} when we went out to dinner later that evening. I told him to drink up, because he was set with a designated driver for another nine months. He laughed. He asked if I was kidding. Then he shuffled between excitement and panic throughout dinner before settling on genuine happiness. It didn’t take us long to start throwing out baby name ideas.

I remember the first time I woke up and ran to the toilet to vomit. Just like my two other pregnancies, morning sickness came early and aggressively. I quickly got back on my anti-nausea meds that I was all too used to and settled into a routine of puking and rallying to head to work or chase my kids.

I remember my neighbor coming over after work with her two kids so that our children could play together and she could supervise while I lay on the couch trying not to throw up on myself. I was so happy that I had someone I could count on when my husband wasn’t home.

I remember when I stopped being able to make food for my family because the odor was unbearable for my pregnant nose.

I remember thinking it was amazing that my husband had to take care of our kitties’ litter box. It was a small consolation prize for all of the vomiting I was doing.

I remember when I called to make my first doctor’s appointment and found out that they no longer accepted our insurance. I was incredibly frustrated. This was my third child. The last thing I wanted to do was start over with someone new. What choice did I have?

I remember the doctor’s appointment like it was yesterday. It was my first time at a new OBGYN. It was supposed to be a 12-week check up. I was feeling pukey, but fine. Within the first few minutes of meeting me, the doctor had to give me the worst news of my life. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I felt worse for her or me.

I remember thinking how crazy it was that my husband had made accommodations at work to be at that appointment with me. He went to maybe three other appointments between our daughter and son, and most likely just for the ultrasounds. But for some reason, he was with me to receive the devastating news. I remember being so thankful that I didn’t have to sit in the room by myself. Or drive home.

I remember struggling to decide if I wanted the baby to pass naturally or if I wanted to have the procedure done. How was I supposed to decide something like that? What way would you like to lose your baby? Quickly or slowly? Risky or messy? I remember thinking that it was the worst day of my life. I felt sorry for myself. I finally decided to have the procedure. I wasn’t going to begin any sort of healing process with the baby still inside of me. I couldn’t change what had happened. I wanted to move on. My husband called the doctor for me and scheduled an appointment for the following morning.

I remember my three-year-old cuddling with me in bed. She cried with me and asked if she could touch my tummy and say goodbye to the baby. She told the baby she loved him. I’ve never been so amazed by my daughter – her maturity and empathy – as I was that night.

I remember not sleeping. I was scared for the surgery. I was nervous about something going wrong and thought of my two beautiful, healthy children being without their mom.

I remember being surrounded by women. My doctor, the nurses, the anesthesiologist. All women. Several of them grabbed my hand as if it to say they’ve been there. It will be okay. It was overwhelming.

I remember giving my baby a gender and a name. I talked to my husband about it. We understood that we both needed to grieve in our own ways and that naming our baby was a connection that made the loss more difficult for him. It made it easier for me, more personal, so I keep it to myself. It’s just between me and my baby.

I remember going back to my parent’s house after the surgery so that I could rest. Like my pregnancy, my miscarriage became incredibly public. Not because of any decisions I felt liked I’d intentionally made, but when you’re as sick as I am during pregnancy it’s pretty hard to keep hidden for long. Just days before my doctor appointment, I finally put our pregnancy out there on social media, but it was hardly news to anyone at that point. I sat in the dark in the guest room of my parent’s house composing an email to my coworkers. I shared the email on my Facebook page. It wasn’t news I wanted to share for my own benefit. I was trying to prevent an awkward foot-in-mouth moment for everyone in my life.

I remember going outside to play with my kids that afternoon when I got home. Surprisingly, my nausea and exhaustion subsided immediately after the procedure. I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

In the days that followed, I received hundreds of private messages, phone calls, emails and text messages. Dozens of women reached out to offer sympathy or even share their own miscarriage stories with me. Some I knew about and others were complete surprises. It was strangely comforting to not feel so alone. As my mom said, “it’s a really big club, but one I’d hoped you would never have had to join.”

I remember secretly wishing that people would stop saying things like, “God has a plan for you” or “everything happens for a reason.” The truth is, while I’ve attempted to console friends with those same cliches, I just wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to be sad. And angry. And confused. I wanted someone to say, “this totally sucks.” I didn’t want any reasoning. An explanation wasn’t going to bring back my baby.

I remember thinking that life is uncertain. All of the plans we had made for the new baby over the months we knew about him shifted out of view. This lack of control gave me an inexplicable amount of courage; I quit my job the next week. {Something I had been thinking about for months but was too afraid to do until the timing was “right.”}

I remember the first time I brought up my miscarriage casually during a conversation with friends. I could see them growing uncomfortable, shifting eye contact or body language, not sure how to respond. But I still did it. It helped me to acknowledge what had happened.

I remember the first time I felt simultaneously happy and heartbroken. With each baby announcement or gender reveal photo that pops up on social media, my body aches a little bit and I wonder what if my baby’s story had played out like that. It’s strange when someone else’s joy can bring you joy and pain, but I’m getting used to feeling it.

I remember when I got to hold my neighbor’s new baby for the first time not even a month ago. We told each other we were expecting at the same time last summer. We were supposed to go through out pregnancies together, our babies’ births together and all of the milestones to follow. Except I won’t. Her son is healthy and beautiful and I am so happy for her. But it also reminds me that I am sad for me.

Throughout the last seven months, I’ve come full circle. I had stopped crying every day and now I cry every day again. In the months in between, there were even some days with the chaos of day to day life that I didn’t think about my miscarriage at all.

It really had gotten easier, but then my due date crept closer. The day that would remind me of the baby that I’d lost. The baby that I will always remember.