Erica Foshe-Everett (33) and Dawson (2)
Des Moines, IA
Erica shares -
“My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. It was one of the most difficult times of my life, if not the most. We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks to determine whether we were pregnant with multiples because my HCG levels were sky rocketing. That ultrasound ended in the tech and doctor not being able to see anything and they determined it must be too early, that I was wrong about my last missed period. I knew I wasn’t, and I instantly experienced a sense of doom, that something wasn’t right.
We were told to wait two weeks and have another ultrasound. That day came and our ultrasound tech called in sick and they had no back up so they cancelled our appointment, full of hormones I made a scene and demanded that they find another place for us to have it done because I just had to have an answer. We went to that appointment where this tech informed us that our baby was measuring 6 weeks and 2 days, but the yolk sac was measuring much bigger and by my calculations I should have been around 9 weeks. It had a heartbeat of 99, which she said was lower than it should be. She hadn't seen an ultrasound like that before, consulted the radiologist and he was unsure what this meant. Later that day, our doctor called us and gave us the official news: she wasn’t sure what it meant but that the risk of miscarriage was much higher now.
The next day, I began to bleed and I knew what was happening. It was devastating but I kept hoping. A week later it was confirmed my numbers were falling. My doctor prescribed a pill to speed things up and checked my levels until she deemed them low enough that I was "almost done". But I wasn't. From March 28th until the beginning of August, I intermittently bled and cramped. I thought I had finally had my period and we were finally cleared to try again. I waited and took the test and it was positive. But I soon began bleeding again and after blood work and an ultrasound, it was determined that I had not fully passed my baby. I was scheduled for a D&C right away and after a month of waiting for my period to come back, it finally did and we were cleared to try once again. We got pregnant with my son right away and now we have our rainbow baby! We decided our first baby would be called Avery.
I think I am more confident in my body than I ever have been at any point in my life now. I loved carrying my son, the swelling and my belly never bothered me. The weight gain didn’t bother me. I was excited that I was going to be a mother and was so relieved to know my body could nurture a healthy baby.
I was simultaneously ecstatic to be a mother and couldn't believe he was mine, and so anxious and fearful I made a terrible mistake, or rather God made a terrible mistake in allowing me to be my sons mother. I suffered with bad postpartum depression and anxiety which I was already at risk of because I have dealt with it my entire life. I think it was made worse because of the fact my son would not latch, and was a "lazy sucker". My milk supply never really came in as a result and pumping didn’t seem to stimulate it enough to produce. I felt so much guilt over not nursing him, I had finally stopped pumping about a month after he was born because my already meager supply dwindled. The day my son was able to drink a full bottle and put on the weight he'd lost after coming home though, I knew I made the right choice. And my husband was happy to be able to help feed him too.
It's okay if parenthood is not what you planned. It's okay if you don’t breastfeed or you do. If you cloth diaper or use disposable. Not matter how your baby came to you, by adoption or vaginal birth, cesarean, induced or not, it all okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone that has a child for the first time, is just learning. Just do the best you can, and if somedays you don’t do as well as others, that's okay too. Just try to make sure your child always hears I love you, and I want you in my life.
The 4th Trimester Bodies project book is one of the books I got to help my through my postpartum months and from the time I opened it, I knew I wanted to share my story too.”