‘There’s NO WAY I’m pregnant!’ In my mind, having a baby would save my marriage and fix EVERYTHING. I silently made an appointment with my OBGYN.’

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“When my daughter was nearing the age of 3, I found out I was pregnant again. My husband and I were both excited and immediately told our friends and family. This was going to be great for us. Our little girl was finally going to be a big sister!

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

Three days after our first ultrasound, at just 8 weeks pregnant, I mysteriously began to bleed. At first, it was only spotting. But a few ours later I found myself curled up on the bathroom floor, crying in pain. Later in the night, I passed a huge blood clot. The minute I saw it, I knew it was my baby.

We made an emergency appointment with my OB first thing the next morning and, sure enough, my hormone levels were dropping. I had my first miscarriage. The doctor assured me I did nothing wrong. ‘Many times, this early in the pregnancy, women will miscarry,’ I was told. I left the office in excruciating pain, both mentally and physically.

Like most women, I went back to my everyday life. Two months later, I had that familiar nauseous feeling again. I began feeling overly emotional and sensitive to smells. My instincts brought me to the pregnancy test aisle at the store. I took it first thing the next morning. Like I had expected, it was positive.

The tears of joy were immediate. This was my second chance at giving my daughter a sibling. I was so excited I woke my husband and showed him. He was just as thrilled at the news. When I went in for an ultrasound the following week, sure enough, it was there. A tiny little bean on the screen. ‘You’re three weeks along,’ my OB said. So, we scheduled an appointment for another scan 8 weeks later.

The next week or two went smoothly, aside from the morning sickness. Once again, we informed our family and friends that we were expecting. Then, at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday, I felt the world come crashing down once again. I awoke to severe cramps, assuming it was gas or indigestion. When I stood up to go to the bathroom, I felt a warm gush of liquid run down my legs.

I hurried to the bathroom, scared of what I would find and turned the light on. There it was… the dreaded blood. I started to cry and yelled for my husband. As soon as he entered the bathroom, he knew what I knew… this baby was gone.

This time, the OB scheduled me an appointment a few days later. My hormone levels at this point were practically non-existent. In just 6 months, I had miscarried twice. That same week, one of my greatest friends gave birth to a healthy baby girl. So, there I was, standing in a hospital, holding this beautiful little life form, mourning the loss of my own.

The next couple of weeks were a haze. As I went through the motions of my daily life, I struggled with the question of WHY it happened again. What had I done wrong? On the surface, life went back to normal. My rambunctious 3-year-old girl was keeping me busy during the day, but I would cry myself to sleep every night thinking about my two miscarriages and what it meant for my future.

The guilt began to settle in. I come from a big family. The oldest of four girls, I couldn’t help but wonder if my baby would have to go through life all one. What if my little girl couldn’t have a sibling? Soon after, I started noticing changes in my body including unexplained joint swelling and pain. I went to multiple doctors and specialists again and again. Six months into this process, I started feeling tired, nauseous, and sensitive to smells… so I took another pregnancy test. Positive.

This time, I kept it quiet. I only told my husband and my mom. I didn’t want to risk telling everyone again and losing another baby. I wanted to wait until I made it out of the first trimester. We waited until the 6-week mark to call the OB for an ultrasound. Again, I was faced with the image of a little bean. We were pregnant again!

Two weeks later, I started cramping. I immediately panicked. ‘This can’t be happening again,’ I said to myself. I went to the OB that same day and he took some blood. He told me to come back in three days to test again and make sure my hormones were still increasing. But I didn’t make it. Less than 24 hours later, I passed the baby.

The pain was so intense, all I could do was lie down on the floor and cry. I stayed there for hours. Still, I had so many questions. Why did this keep happening to me? What was I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve this? The thoughts kept racing through my mind.

In the next few weeks, I had numerous appointments related to the joint pain and was diagnosed with Lupus. At this point, I felt like everything was falling apart. Not only did I have 3 miscarriages in less than a year’s time, but now I had an incurable immune disease that would eventually kill me, leaving my beautiful daughter without a mom.

I honestly have no idea how I got through the next few weeks… but I did. Luckily, I had my mom, close friends, sisters, and grandmother around to remind me how strong I am.

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

Eventually, I was told the initial diagnosis was incorrect. Instead, I had a rare form of Psoriatic Arthritis with Fibromyalgic tendencies, which is commonly misdiagnosed for young individuals.

By the time it was discovered, the flare ups were HORRIBLE. At times, I was barely able to walk on my own. Once I got my medicines all figured out, I got back to my normal life. By now, my daughter was almost 5 years old. Just before her 5th birthday party, that feeling set in again.

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

I was pregnant and I knew it. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I was equally happy and scared. I didn’t tell anyone this time. I silently made an appointment with my OB. ‘You’re six weeks in,’ he told me. Still, I told no one. I was horrified.

I stopped taking the medication for my arthritis and began my prenatal vitamins. I was determined to do EVERYTHING right this time. But, less than 2 weeks later, I woke up in the middle of the night sitting in a wet puddle on the bed. I knew immediately what happened. Before the light was even on, I was sobbing. There it was, the pool of blood, proof of miscarriage number 4. My poor husband had no idea I was even pregnant this time. He was so confused by this scene in the middle of the night.

I became distant and moody. I distanced myself from friends and family. I didn’t take interest in anything anymore. Why? I couldn’t escape the three-letter word. My marriage started falling apart. My husband began drinking excessively and becoming increasingly violent. I was depressed and sad and started to hate my life and the hand I had been dealt. It was like this for about 6 months. I was trying desperately to save my marriage and keep my family together.

Then, it happened again. Nausea. Vomiting. Sensitivity to smells. I took the test and I was pregnant again. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted so badly for this to happen. In my mind, having a baby would save my marriage and fix EVERYTHING. So, I went through the motions again. I stopped taking medicine for the arthritis, took prenatals, limited stress, took it easy.

I told only my husband. I thought it would make him happy and stop the drinking. But it only lasted 3 weeks. This time, the pain was so intense. There was no doubt in my mind what was happening. I passed the baby. All alone in the bathroom at work, I felt my life was over. I was a failure. I couldn’t make my marriage work. I couldn’t carry a baby. It was MY fault my daughter wouldn’t get to experience siblings. It was MY fault 5 innocent babies wouldn’t get to take their first breath.

The trauma from these miscarriages stayed with me for years. I did EVERYTHING I could think of to NOT get pregnant again. ‘Tie my tubes or just take everything out,’ I told my OB. The next few years were really rocky. I couldn’t keep a relationship. Whenever they wanted kids, I would always sabotage things. There was NO WAY I was going to risk another miscarriage. I couldn’t handle it again. Not emotionally or physically. During this time, my now ex-husband ended up with another woman and had 2 other kids.

My daughter finally had the siblings she always wanted, but they lived over a thousand miles away with an absentee father. So, it was just the two of us. My little Bug and I. This was where I thought my story would end. On the surface, I was finally okay with that. But, deep down inside, I still had a void.

I watched my friends have babies and got to see my sisters have kids. I acted like I was fine, but I knew in my heart my life would not feel complete without bearing another child. Over the years, I found out my immune system was the reason behind my miscarriages. It really was MY body that did this.

Fast forward to Easter of 2017. I got back in touch with a guy from my teenage years. I saw him for the first time in almost 17 years. By early May, we were dating. In July, we moved in together. That month, my Psoriatic Arthritis cost me a total hip replacement. ‘Technically, you can carry a child now,’ my surgeon said. Those few words opened up the old wounds I had been hiding from myself and my boyfriend.

He already had 5 kids of his own, ranging from ages 3 to 19. We had a couple of hard conversations about the possibility of having another child together and decided that IF it happened, then it happened. If not, then we were both okay with it.

In February of 2018, we moved into a house together with a big backyard, pool, and trampoline. We had a wonderful summer with family, friends, and our kiddos. Then, in August of 2018, I got REALLY sick.  I thought it was due to a change in my autoimmune inhibitors. I went to my Rheumatologist and she insisted I do a pregnancy test before she switched the medicine. ‘There’s NO WAY I’m pregnant,’ I said, laughing.

A few hours later, my doctor called with news. ‘You’re pregnant!’ I cried and cried, and cried again. My boyfriend was excited, but I was TERRIFIED. How was I going to handle another miscarriage? My daughter was turning 13 in less than 2 weeks. Was this crazy? Was I crazy? My boyfriend and I waited to tell everyone until after our 8-week ultrasound. Then, we only told our mothers.

When the second trimester hit, we told the rest of our families. This pregnancy wasn’t easy by any means. I ended up in the hospital due to dehydration at about 22 weeks. Then, at my 32-week ultrasound, we were told there was a problem. It felt like all my worst fears were coming true. ‘Your baby boy isn’t growing anymore.’ He was the size of a 30-week fetus. So, we started monitoring him with weekly growth ultrasounds, non-stress tests, and a doppler of my placenta. At 34 weeks, he still wasn’t growing.

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

My OB made the decision to do an emergency C-Section at 35 weeks. I vomited through most of my surgery. There was vomit in my hair, all over surgical table, and my poor boyfriend. I remember thinking to myself, ‘You’ve made it this far. Don’t vomit and die now!’ I prayed that God would at least let me see his little face before I went.

On March 6th, 2019, my beautiful baby boy was born. Chase weighed about 5 pounds and 8 ounces and was almost immediately transferred to the NICU. They let me see his little face and full head of hair. We kissed him and held him before they took him away.

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander
Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander
Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

He is now 16 days old and taking most of his feedings by bottle, the rest by feeding tube. His weight is now 6 pounds and 2 ounces. He is a little fighter. His nickname is ‘Tiny Tank’.

These last 16 days have been some of the scariest, most emotional days of my life. I spend at least 10-12 hours a day in the NICU with my little rainbow baby. I cherish every snuggle and little coo he makes. And I thank God every day and night for letting me have him. He is my miracle!

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

He makes the last 11 years completely worth it. All of the pain, emotional and physical, disappeared the minute he looked up at me for the first time. It has taken me 11 years to come to terms with the fact that miscarriages happen and it is NOT my fault. There is always a reason things happen. Good or bad, you can’t let them define you. Keep your faith, and it will all work out in the end.”

Courtesy of Tiffany Alexander

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tiffany Alexander of Machesny Park, Illinois. Do you have a similar experience? Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from strong women battling infertility:

‘Mom kept saying, ‘He’s gone. We lost him.’ When I lost my two babies, I could see my children sitting on my dad’s lap, tears of joy streaming down his face. I closed my eyes. My dad was a grandpa.’

‘It was midnight and everyone was asleep. I texted my friend, ‘Come quick! I need you. Lots of blood.’ I prayed she’d wake to the sound of her phone.’

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