I was so naive. I knew the stat, that one in four women experience miscarriage or infant loss, but it wasn’t going to happen to me. I knew October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, it didn’t really hit home for me. It was sad, but not personal. I was so fortunate in that my first two pregnancies were wonderfully easy. We needed some help getting pregnant the second time, but as far as infertility stories go, we were pretty lucky. It only took two rounds of IUI to have success! I had some complications towards the end of both of my first two pregnancies and the result each time was delivering via c-section at 37 weeks instead of going full term.
When I got pregnant for the 3rd time, it was shortly after a close family member experienced a miscarriage. I waited until I reached the “safe” second-trimester milestone before I announced it to the world. At that point, I figured that I was in the clear.
We went for the 20-week scan. We brought our sons with us to find out if they were getting a brother or a sister. That’s what anatomy scans are for. The big reveal. It never crossed my mind something bad could come of it.
And then it happened.
Almost instantly, we found out something was wrong. My amniotic fluid was way too low and the doctor couldn’t see any kidneys. And just like that, the end of my naive child-bearing days were over.
We met with a specialist that day. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face as he told us our baby was “incompatible with life”. For some reason, the baby’s kidneys never developed and therefore he wasn’t producing enough amniotic fluid to prepare his lungs to breathe. The official diagnosis was Potter’s Syndrome (also known as Potter’s Sequence). The baby would die before he was born or shortly after. I was going to have weekly ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s growth.
At 28 weeks and a few days, I started contracting. After an agonizing two days, it was time to deliver our son into the world. My husband left to go to the store to get him an outfit. He came back with that and a stuffed giraffe.
We were told the baby had a less than 1% chance to leave the OR alive. When he was born, he tried to breathe. We named him Bennett Matthew. He went to the NICU and I went to recovery for the longest hour of my life.
Bennett was alive for nearly five hours. We were able to bathe him, sing to him, and hold him. He was in my husband’s arms when he passed away.
I was pregnant for the fourth time about eighteen months after Bennett was born. This pregnancy came after months of trying and three rounds of IUI. We were hoping for a happy ending. We were hoping for our rainbow. Instead, it was another loss. I had a miscarriage a few weeks later. Physically, I was fine but I was in emotional agony all over again. It seemed impossible that this could happen to me more than once.
I am the one in four.
This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2023.