...my precious son, who lights up our life, has been our beacon of hope...

I learned of this documentary at a very crucial time for me this week, after learning on Monday that I had a missed miscarriage and would have to induce miscarriage to pass my third baby, and second lost baby. Pregnancy loss is such a widespread experience and yet, I get uncomfortable responses from some people as I have tried to share my story. I have family members who haven't even reached out to offer their condolences or support. Why? Why is this treated any differently than any other loss? Why is their a veil of mystery and shame around this grief? I became pregnant for the first time in August of 2013. My husband and I were elated! Our first baby, such a welcome blessing. I had a t-shirt made for him that said "New Dad, Rookie Dept 2014" and I gave it to him along with the positive test. He was in shock but so excited. Our excitement quickly turned to fear as the day after I got a positive test, I started spotting.

I went to my doctor who nicely told me that it was either going to be a viable pregnancy or could possible be a chemical pregnancy. I hated that term. I saw two pink lines; I had conceived a child. There was nothing chemical about it. I went for HCG testing and was away for the weekend on a trip out of state. I was unable to repeat the test until about 4 days later. During that span I had continued to spot but I was hopeful that I would get positive results. On a Thursday, I was at the mall and was looking at maternity clothes, so excited about the idea of needing them eventually. I started having some cramping and just told myself it was normal. But as the afternoon progressed, it became worse. By 4pm I was in pain and received a call from the doctor that my HCG level had dropped. A few hours later, the bleeding started. I was shattered. I felt like my entire world was coming down around me.

My doctor told me that we needed to wait 3 months to try again. I was stunned...how can they in one breath call my pregnancy "chemical" and in the next tell me I needed to wait 3 months to conceive? I did my own research and trusted that my body would get pregnant again if it was ready. And I never got a period...I became pregnant with my son immediately after my miscarriage. His pregnancy was scary, as I had some bleeding due to a subchorionic hematoma. It was like a bad dream, and I thought for sure I would end up losing him too. But he was born at 9 pounds 10oz and absolute perfection. The day after his first birthday, I learned that I was pregnant again. My husband and I had decided to try that month but after multiple negative tests and what I thought was my period starting, I assumed we had not gotten so lucky. But when that period was light I decided to take one more test and there it was, two pink lines. I called my midwives and asked for HCG testing because I was once again, feeling very anxious. They complied and my first level came back as 82. That number seemed so low to me but I tried to remain hopeful. After my second HCG draw, we found that my numbers had tripled in 48 hours. Relief started to sink in...that is until the spotting started. I tried to stay calm, as I bled for 16 weeks with my son and all turned out well.

I went for an ultrasound when I should have been 6 and a half weeks and the ultrasound showed me to be 5 weeks and only showed an empty sac. I was told that it was either a blighted ovum or I was just too early to see anything. For 9 days, I waited to learn what the fate of this pregnancy would be. I went back at 6w2d and there it was, a beautiful flicker. 109 BPM which we were told was the low end of normal. I tried not to let that worry me, as I had always heard once you see a heartbeat, your chances are very good for a healthy baby. I continued to have spotting and occasional gushes of red blood, which I just assumed was probably cause by another SCH. Great, I'm a lucky one to get to bleed while pregnant. Just less than 2 weeks later though, I noticed my morning sickness started to let up a bit. I tried to tell myself it was normal but that "low end of normal" heart beat was in the back of my mind. And I had stopped bleeding for almost 2 weeks and then it started up again. I decided to call and ask for another ultrasound for reassurance.

My midwives, who are amazing, agreed and got me in at noon that following monday. My husband had to work so my best friend attended the ultrasound with me. The tech started scanning my abdomen and we saw the baby but I didn't see that flicker that I had immediately seen the last time. I told myself that she just needed to get a different angle, that I would see it any second now. After about a minute, I told her I couldn't see the heartbeat and asked her if she could. She was quiet for a second and then said "no I don't see it either Melaney. I am so sorry". She told me I was only measuring about 7 weeks when I should be 9. Our precious baby left us just a few days after seeing that beautiful heartbeat. I was in shock. I couldn't believe it...not again. I was told my options and chose to take misoprostol at home to avoid a d&c. That first night I went home and drank a lot. I needed to numb myself. The next day I decided it was time to get it over with. I was terrified. Terrified of the pain, terrified of seeing my baby leave my body, terrified of it all. The medicine was not fun but not as painful as expected. I took my last dose last night and slept through it all. And today, I got a tattoo for my angel and my husband, son and I said our goodbyes with a balloon release not far from where we said goodbye to our first. We will pick up the pieces and move forward. We have an amazing support network and that has made this so much easier. But more than anything, my precious son, who lights up our life, has been our beacon of hope. The silence needs to stop. The shame needs to stop. I want to be a part of anything that will help to tear that veil down. Our babies should not be a dirty secret, kept hidden away because it makes other people uncomfortable. They should be honored, loved and remembered. And I know mine will be ️

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