There should be two.
Trigger warning: Miscarriage, pregnancy loss, TTC
As a birth worker and health provider, I embrace the privilege of discussing taboo topics, offering solace to those who may feel isolated. Today, I share my first blog post, stepping away from the familiar realms of pediatric and maternal Occupational Therapy. Because you see, Occupational Therapy is a holistic profession - we delve into EVERYTHING and can specialize in ANYTHING. My focus is babies and mothers, an intimate engagement with your precious infant that extends to your entire family, and the beautiful dynamics of your life. So, differently, this post is profoundly relevant.
I sit here with one, one baby, who we adore more than anything else in the whole world, but there should have been two. Late last year, my husband and I joyfully decided to extend our family and give our firstborn, Scout, a sibling. Scout was heavy into babies late last year, so we thought now was the perfect time. My husband and I had such an "easy" time conceiving Scout. We had just moved to Santa Barbara the week prior, talked about it, and what do you know? I was ovulating that day, so my husband said, "It's baby time." We expected the same for our second, and it seemed to be so. I was confirmed pregnant in late November 2022 via an at-home pregnancy test; on December 2, 2022, we had our first family appointment with our lovely midwife, and on December 5, 2022, we confirmed via ultrasound we were six weeks pregnant. The elation soon turned into a bittersweet reality. The OBGYN's hesitancy spoke volumes. Congratulations, there's your baby. But, wait, silence, and then the heartbreaking truth: the pregnancy wasn't viable. Amidst this, we had a tragic loss: one of our dear friends, one of my husband's best friends in Santa Barbara, unexpectedly passed, leaving his wife and son, who was only one day older than our daughter. This was a heavy loss, and I felt much more sadness over losing our dear friend.
Following the heartbreaking revelation, a medication abortion became the path we reluctantly tread. Two rounds were necessary, each a painful reminder of what could have been. The first menstrual cycle after our loss marked a new beginning, and we eagerly embraced the possibility of trying again.
The true weight of our nonviable pregnancy hit later, unexpectedly. I met a pregnant mama, and she happened to be due on our due date, July 28, 2023. She was so beautiful, her perfectly round belly, and I remember thinking about what I would have looked like at x months pregnant. Tears fell, and at that moment, I decided to give space to the possibility of pregnancy again.
In July 2023, we went on an "ovulation vacation," as we jokingly called it amongst our friends. We traveled to a wine resort in Paso Robles on July 4 and had the best time with our gal. The anticipation of a positive pregnancy test was palpable, but it never came. Month after month, anxiety replaced anticipation as my menstrual cycle became a harbinger of disappointment.
I never fathomed the possibility of infertility, but here we are, potentially facing "second infertility." As my husband pointed out, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and a lot of pressure on him. I sought support from Jetta Harris at Santa Barbara Family Wellness for TTC guidance alongside Dr. Elizabeth Wisniewski of Wisniewski Chiropractic. It feels very empowering to take ownership of my body and have someone support it in a way that feels life-giving and with genuine care and grace. Jetta and Dr. E are gems of human beings, and I feel so fortunate to live in an area that prioritizes intuitive and gentle care with practitioners who know trauma-informed care. What a gift to have these women and all the other birth workers in my network.
Empowered and supported, I genuinely believe a viable pregnancy is in our future. Women are extraordinary, resilient, and powerful. I share my story to normalize the discourse on pregnancy loss, fertility challenges, and TTC. If you're navigating this path, know that you are not alone. Whether acquainted or not, I extend a virtual hand to hold yours and cheer you on.
As an Occupational therapist, a mother, and a woman, my platform is dedicated to supporting families through both the beautiful and challenging. Each journey is unique, but the common thread is the strength of human connection. I see you, I stand with you, and together, we navigate the intricate tapestry of life.