Before I had my second child, my son, my husband and I tried to get pregnant for years. Not only did I try, but I suffered through two miscarriages, too. I was incredibly frustrated, heartbroken, and embarrassed. What was so wrong with me I couldn't manage to conceive another child? As I straddled the line between fertility drugs and acceptance and gratitude for the child I managed to have, I had decisions to make. If you're in the same situation, know that it's not your fault if your rainbow baby isn't here yet. There are so many factors, in that are completely out of your control, which is something I only learned after I delivered my baby boy.
Immediately after my son was born, and as the doctor's worked to stop the hemorrhage that happened due to a snapped umbilical cord, I was informed of how amazing it was my son and I made it through the pregnancy without fatal consequences. I hadn't known at the time, but the leaking amniotic fluid and dire pelvic and belly pains were signs of that impending cord snap. If I'd not been induced, I could've bled out, alone in my home. There'd have been no rainbow baby, and no mother to my (at the time) 5-year-old daughter.
Before this pregnancy even happened — one labeled a threatened abortion once discovered — it was medically clear I'd have difficulty carrying a fetus to term. While my uterus has always been tilted, and I'd suffered painful ovarian cysts, I don't know what changed so drastically from my daughter's birth years prior, to the difficulties that led to two miscarriages and this (apparent) dangerous pregnancy thereafter. All that time in between my daughter's birth and that of my rainbow baby, I wanted answers. In time, I've found what I need to know to move on from the lingering curiosities and pain. However, none of it takes away from what I went through to (finally) have my rainbow baby.
If you find yourself having a difficult time conceiving and bringing a pregnancy to term, and you're asking yourself that horrible question, "Is this my fault?" here are a few reasons why it absolutely isn't:
Because There Could Be An Underlying Medical Issue That's Outside Your Control
Whether or not you've already had a child, if you miscarry then fail to successfully conceive again, there may be something happening in your body beyond your control. Hormones, age, how the uterus lining attaches, egg count, sperm count, fallopian tube damage, infection, and countless other things are at play in creating a human being. In my case, I experienced what's known as "secondary infertility," in which the Mayo Clinic describes as "the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby."
No matter how long you've been hoping for your rainbow baby, it's not your fault if your body chooses not to cooperate. If you've been through all the hardship of a pregnancy loss, and a concrete reason why isn't uncovered, just know the same happened to me (secondary infertility) and eventually, I became pregnant with my healthy baby boy. Knowing this didn't take the pain away, but it did provide the peace I needed.
Because You Don't Deserve To Live In Fear
It's not your fault you've suffered loss. Do you hear me? It's. Not. Your. Fault. However, having been there myself, it's easy to blame yourself and hold onto guilt forever. I still think of my losses and wonder what I could've done to prevent them, and I probably always will. Fear has a way of holding us back from things, even if it's for the best.
As someone who lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I spent a lot of time letting the fear win. I doing so, I realized maybe pregnancy with my rainbow baby because I was too focused on the "what if." What if I never get pregnant again? What if lose every baby? These questions did nothing but hold me back from the hope I needed to get through (even for the sake of my sanity).
Because Fertility Is More Complicated Than Sex
My first pregnancy wasn't planned. Because it seemed so easy to conceive, my husband and I never thought about things getting complicated. We never thought about aging, or possible sperm count factors, because we thought we would just have sex and it would automatically happen.
Fertility consists of so many different factors that go beyond having sex, though. Everything has to line up and attach just so. Still, I couldn't let go of wondering it wasn't happening for me again when it had before. Bodies change and, well, they'll sometimes do whatever they want. Spending time blaming yourself changes nothing. Not the science, not the miracle. Not you.
Because You Might Be Lacking The Support You Need
I was lucky enough to have an OB/GYN doctor who was thorough and dedicated to finding the right treatments. He's preventative and consistent, and remained a source of comfort after my miscarriages. Not long before I became pregnant with my son, my doctor and I were scheduled to discuss fertility drugs. Having someone as proactive as me helped me focus on the positive. I could create a game plan instead of wallowing on things that weren't happening, and the result was a pregnancy that happened when I least expected it.
While it may not be your doctor's fault you've not had this baby, it's important you understand it's not yours, either. Having a supportive doctor is one of the best things you can do for your reproductive health — baby, or not.
Because You Haven't Done Anything Wrong
Unexplained fertility or infertility is a common diagnosis amongst hopeful parents-to-be. Having no known cause to prove something is wrong and can be fixed is the most frustrating thing I've experienced. However, at the end of the day, there's nothing I could've done, that I wasn't already doing, to change the outcome. They couldn't say what was wrong, which proved I wasn't the one doing anything wrong. Sometimes, things just are the way they are without any logical explanation.
You may not have control over whether or not you'll conceive again, but you can control how you'll react to it. In the meantime, the next time there's a rainbow in the sky after a hard rain, that's just me, letting you know you're not alone. You're not alone.