May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017. This may seem like an average day to some, but to us.... this day would have possibly marked the day we would have welcomed our son into the world. Today would have been my due date.


Granted, we know that it's only a small percentage of parents that actually give birth on their actual due date, but to us, the significance of this day means the world to us. This is the last day of what would have been my pregnancy journey. So sitting here writing this and knowing that this journey is finally over in literal "pregnancy days" and the outcome isn't what we thought it would be... shatters our hearts.

Please forgive me if this post is all over the place, I'm trying my best to write from the heart.

Let's start at the beginning....
When PB and I met all those years ago, we thought it was all so easy. Go to school, graduate, find jobs, work, get married, live happily ever after. Easy, right? For a while it was. We met, fell in love, had an amazing Disney wedding, travelled, had another amazing Disney party, traveled more, and basically lived out our fairytale together. I'll admit it, life felt very blessed. Throughout all those wonderful years, the constant question we got from our family and friends was "so when are you having kids?!" It was a question we shrugged off, laughed at even, because we didn't feel that our lives were ready to add a little one yet. We loved how our lives were as a PB&J duo, that we needed a little more time before making it a trio.
A highlight of our PB&J duo-ness, our #PBJhappy5 anniversary party inside Disneyland. Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique

The moment that changed it all...
We were happy being at duo until a fateful Walt Disney World trip in November of 2015. While we were waiting to watch "Wishes", there was a beautiful family in front of us. We watched as a dad and daughter laughed and embraced during the fireworks show. That feeling of pure love... it was that moment we realized...we wanted that, too.
Literally wishing to go from a duo to a trio.

It's not as easy as it seems
After returning home from that Disney World trip, we decided to try for a family. What we soon found out is that getting pregnant isn't as easy as it seems. Like really, really not easy. A woman only has about 1-2 days out of a month where she can get pregnant and even if the timing is right, only a 30% chance of conceiving. I'm not a fertility expert, but from all the research I gathered from the months and months of consistently getting negative pregnancy tests, scientifically it's pretty difficult to get pregnant. So if you're one of those lucky mama's out there who got pregnant on the first try "without trying" congrats, you're really, really lucky!

May 2016, my untold story
Every month that I'd get a negative, my heart broke a little until that little "plus" sign showed up that one fateful day last May. If you're following along and you're wondering "WAIT, how did you get a positive last May and your due date was this May?" Well here's my untold story...

Baby PB&J #1
This story is hard to tell. It's one that only a handful of people know about. I was pregnant before our son. My first pregnancy happened last May, a few days before Mother's day, very close to today. I remember feeling so much joy and anticipation with this pregnancy. We were over the moon that 1) we were able to get pregnant and 2) we were going to be parents! Since we found out so close to Mother's Day, we planned out a special surprise for our mom's and my sister to reveal our pregnancy. There were a lot of tears and excitement. For a little while we thought that everything was aligned to be perfect. Then it happened. I miscarried. I lost our first baby at 6 weeks, 4 days. I went to bed one night blissfully happy, dreaming about nurseries and baby clothes and woke up the next morning to realize I was miscarrying. There were frantic calls to our doctor and by the time we were seen, our baby was gone.
Our first pregnancy reveal consisted of so much joy and happiness.

Miscarriage, the uncommon, common truth
I remember feeling so alone, so scared and like a failure with my early miscarriage. We then learned from our doctor that miscarriage is actually VERY COMMON. It can happen in 1 out of 4 pregnancies, or can affect 15-25% of pregnant couples. A majority of the time, there is no official cause of an early miscarriage, it can be chromosomal, it can be that the egg didn't implant the right way, the possibilities of things going wrong are endless early in a pregnancy. PB and I were SHOCKED, to say the least. We were stunned to find out that we fell into this catergory of couples who miscarried, but also to find out how extremely common early pregnancy loss can be. The doctor gave us tons of encouragement though, she said she had every reason to believe that we would go on to have a healthy and successful pregnancy in the future. So we left sad, but hopeful that the future would hold something brighter. I left now knowing that early miscarriage is a common truth. One that couples end up keeping a secret for many different reasons. I hated the fact that I was going through something so painful and couldn't grieve openly in the world. But I ended up keeping my mouth shut. I kept this pain in, I kept the story of my first pregnancy a secret, until now.

Then came our son
So we carried on, we continued our lives and went back to our daily routines. Then in September 2016 we thought we finally found our PB&J rainbow. We found out we were pregnant again! This time around, gone were the days of being blissfully unaware of a problem free pregnancy. We were more cautious in our joy, not wanting to jinx anything. So when we passed the "safe zone" or reaching the 2nd trimester mark (14 weeks) in our 2nd pregnancy, some of the fears eased off. We ended up heading to the happiest place on earth to do our baby reveal and finally started to get excited about our upcoming baby.

1 in 100
We had reached the halfway point in our pregnancy and at 20 weeks, we truly started to get excited as soon to be parents. At halfway through a pregnancy, we thought we were finally safe. Oh how we were wrong. We went in for our 20 week ultrasound. Usually, under normal circumstances, this is usually were the baby is fully looked at via ultrasound, the anatomy is checked making sure everything is where it needs to be etc. For us, the big anticipation was to find out the gender of our baby. I didn't notice anything amiss with our appointment, so when the perinatal doctor came in and was silent, we got a little nervous. Then came the worlds that shattered our world "There's something wrong with your son's heart. His heart looks abnormal". There was then a wave of panic as the nurse and doctor rushed to get me an emergency amnio, a flurry of phone calls to counselors and pediatric cardiologists. The next few weeks were a blur of meetings with medical professionals, endless testings, and meetings with pediatric cardiologists. We learned that our son had a congenital heart defect (CHD). We learned that CHD is the #1 birth defect in babies, affecting about 1 in 100 babies born. We learned that our son's heart was literally broken. His two main arteries were physically "switched" and that his pulmonary artery wasn't even formed. We learned of the holes in his heart and how rare his condition was that we couldn't get straight answers on what a quality of life would be like for him if he survived. All we heard was that if he survived that there was no cure for his condition. That his life would be a long series of surgeries and life in and out of a hospital. We kept hope though, hope for a miracle, hope for anything positive. Then we learned his heart stopped and we lost him.

#PBJSTRONG
Ever since those painful days in January, we've been on our healing path to find our happiness again. In a way, time has healed some pain. It's not as raw as it was before. I used to cry myself to sleep each night, usually waking to think everything was just one long nightmare. I'd physically pinch myself each morning, just to double check that I wasnt dreaming this all up. Then I'd realize the cold, hard truth that this was our reality. We were a PB&J duo again, failed at becoming parents twice and having to start back at square one. Although we've been able to find our smiles again, we know our lives will never be the same. There will always be a piece of our hearts missing. There is now a constant fear and anxiety for the "next time" a pregnancy may happen. Our world is now a little less bright due to our experiences.

Although there's been darkness, we promised ourselves to always have HOPE. We'll still have our bad days, that's for sure. But we'll get through it. With the help of our family, my amazing sister, our parents, our loved ones and through the amazing love and support from wonderful people I've been able to connect with on social media, we survived and will continue to survive the pain. The bittersweet beauty of this experience was coming to realize who really did catch us when we fell, hard. We found light in places we didn't think would be sources of light and realized who would always be by our sides. I know personally, this whole experience has taught me to be thankful for life. To not take anything for granted. To live as positively as possible. I'll fully admit to previously dwelling on petty, negative things, hey haven't we all? But our son's loss put everything into perspective. Life's too precious to be resentful or hateful. Life is meant to be cherished. I've learned that life can be unfair, but there's two options that we're given when that happens. Dwell on it and let the negativity consume you, or focus on the good life has to offer and maintain the thought of hope.

Hope, hearts and hopefully a rainbow on the horizon
As we stand today, we''ve been able to pick ourselves up from our pregnancy experiences and carry on with life. We'll continue on with our normal PB&J routines until we have the chance to find our PB&J rainbow again. We'll continue to find magic and love in each day. We'll continue to remember our son long after my due date since he forever will have a piece of our hearts. We will keep hope that the next chapter of what may lie ahead in our PB&J Adventure Book will hopefully get a happy ending, one full of love, hearts and a rainbow someday soon. 🌈

Thank you for reading along and for letting me share my story with you. I also want to thank everyone for the love, light and continued support you all share with us. I don't know where we'd be without your magic!






3 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story you are brave and courages 🖤 My love and prayers go to you! Don't loose Hope PB&J

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  2. Please don't lose hope, we are all here with you. Thank you for sharing your sweet story and bringing us all a little closer to you guys. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Jenn!

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  3. At risk of a long story, heres to making it short. My mom calls me a miracle baby. She had multiple miscarriages from multiple issues before i decided to bounce my way along. After me, my parents tried to give me a brother or sister and again, miscarriage after miscarriage. I ask her now about her experiences and she says, the road is long and arduous at times but the universe always finds a way, a way to surprise you. Keep faith and you'll be surprised; things will work out in whatever way they were meant to. Thank you for your honest inspiration and heart! Happy thoughts from your insta/web friend foreverbeyou aka Kimi <3

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