The phenomenal Adrienne Covey, mother to Liam (3), a baby miscarried at 8 weeks, Nora (stillborn at 22 weeks), Nolan (miscarried at 13 weeks) and West (miscarried at 13 weeks).
Adrienne and her husband met when they were in high school and have been together ever since. When she was 25 and finishing up grad school, she found herself pregnant for the first time ever, quite unexpectedly. Her pregnancy progressed quite well and though they discovered a fibroid during her 20 week anatomy scan, it was monitored closely and didn't affect Liam or her pregnancy at all. Adrienne says that she had, in her mind a "natural" labor and delivery but when her water broke the day before her due date she went to the hospital and was induced. The pitocin caused very painful contractions which led to an epidural and, nearly 48 hours later, when she was finally complete and ready to push, she found herself unable due to exhaustion. Liam was born with vacuum assistance and because her water had been broke for more than 24 hours, they whisked him away to NICU before she ever had a chance to see him. Adrienne was able to bond with Liam and have a wonderful nursing relationship, but the baby blues set in hard. Her experience being so different from her expectations caused a disconnect and a bit of sadness.
When Liam was about 18 months old, Adrienne and her husband felt a strong pull to have another child and give Liam a sibling. She was able to conceive rather quickly but soon learned it was a chemical pregnancy. Her next conception had them thrilled but at 8 weeks she began to miscarry. Adrienne and her husband were quite upset but as they talked to friends and family were told time and again that these happen, it's quite normal and they should just try again. They were soon able to settle into that and conceived their daughter Nora.
Nora's pregnancy went well and Adrienne fondly remembers how active and fierce she was. She felt her move far sooner than she ever had Liam and enjoyed getting to know her through her movements. Her second trimester screen came back with a possibility for Spina Bifida so they had an ultrasound the following day. Nora looked good but was only measuring 18 weeks and they learned she may only have a two vessel cord. The doctor said, they'd just keep a close watch as she may be somewhat growth restricted and sent them home. That was the last day that Adrienne felt Nora move and though she knew something was off, spent the next two weeks trying to deny what her heart was telling her. She reasoned with herself that they had just seen her heart beating, they had reassurance. She bought a fetal doppler to check in but didn't really know how to use it. She listened, heard her own heartbeat and felt okay. At her next ultrasound, at 22 weeks, they learned what she had already feared - Nora had passed two weeks prior. Adrienne was induced and gave birth to her daughter the following evening. She felt ashamed she hadn't spoken up out of fear and she was scared to see her daughter so she never saw or held her. The hospital did provide them with pictures to view when they were ready.
Adrienne felt anxious and scared but after Nora was gone the desire for a new child was even stronger than it had been before and so they quickly conceived again. She learned that she had a clotting disorder and had started injections of blood thinners and baby aspirin and hoped they could avoid any complications being under the care they had now come by. She had learned to use her doppler by now so also had the reassurance of checking heart tones herself. Adrienne carried Nolan until 13 weeks, they had an ultrasound and he was alive, but very still. She continued to check for his heart beat daily and four days later couldn't find one. His loss was confirmed and Adrienne had to have a D&C. She was terrified by all that was happening. After regretting not seeing her daughter she wanted nothing more than to see this baby but knew she couldn't because of the procedure.
After this loss it was suggested that perhaps she should have her uterine fibroid removed and see another specialist. In hindsight, she says, perhaps they should have listened or waited but it seemed as if she was just unlucky, as if these were just flukes that couldn't happen again. Her most recent pregnancy, however, progressed almost identically to the last. She checked heart tones herself after conception, an ultrasound at 13 weeks revealed a heartbeat but very still baby, and at home after she was soon unable to find a heartbeat. Another D&C followed West's loss.
Adrienne has struggled since with the expanse between grief and grateful. Being able to mother her son and appreciate his existence and honor the babies that she doesn't get to hold. In the time of just three years she has felt the transformative entrance to motherhood coupled with the shame and stigma that comes from the death of children and simultaneously found communities in which she feels safe to share.
Adrienne has just had her uterine fibroid removed and came to shoot with us following an appointment with a reproductive immunologist who hopes to be able to provided them with answers and work in tandem with her team to achieve the successful pregnancy and living baby that they desire so strongly. The shift from giving their son a sibling to simply wanting this other person in their family to exist has been an interesting one to navigate. They are hopeful that this will be their break and they are looking forward to possibility.