The Still Mama Tribe
Ivy Mae - Morgan Merkel
I officially found out I was pregnant with Ivy the day after Christmas Day 2017. However, I knew I was pregnant way before I got the positive test. I had the nausea, the exhaustion, and was super irritable (sorry John haha). I had been hoping to get a strong positive test on Christmas morning and surprise John then, but baby girl decided she wanted to make me wait a little longer. The moment I finally saw those perfect two dark lines, I instantly started sobbing. So much heartache and loss had lead up to this moment of immense joy. I immediately sent a photo of the test to my best friend because I still had like 12 hours until I would see John after work, and I couldn't keep it to myself. I set up a cute little announcement and waited for John to come home. John and I obviously were obviously over the moon. I was so excited to see that pure joy on his face when he read the sign, He kept saying " Are you serious?!"... Sweet man, so much love for his little one. I know that some people would not have announced their pregnancy earlier than 12 weeks, and I totally understand that. But this is not our first pregnancy loss... so we personally felt like no matter how much time we had with our little Rainbow Baby ( term used for a baby conceived after loss) that we wanted that to be celebrated. I would announce early again, if we are given that opportunity. The time we had with Ivy was pure joy and I am thankful that she knew only love. People asked how we knew it was a girl, since we hadn't had a gender ultrasound yet... I had so many dreams of her being a girl, while I was pregnant. I don't know if this was God's way of bringing me comfort, but being able to name her was an honor. I chose the name Ivy after the Kari Jobe song "The Garden". My favorite part in the song goes like this:
"And for this moment, You planned ahead That I would see, Your faithfulness in all of the green I can see the ivy, growing through the wall 'Cause You will stop at nothing to heal my broken soul"
I love this analogy of God's faithfulness being like spring, you can always count on spring to come again, and you can always count on God's faithfulness to you. I also love that anytime I see ivy growing or signs of spring coming, that I can be reminded of our sweet Ivy Mae. It reminds me of the goodness of God, even through all of this.
This next part is hard for me to share, it is raw and it is painful but it is our story. I woke up on Sunday morning and I was feeling so good. My little baby bump and I headed off to church, because John was already there playing on the worship team. That Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday... and I took the cutest bump photo with my sweet girl on that morning.
Later that day, I fell extremely hard on some ice in our driveway. I felt okay but I was pretty sore. I know now that the fall is not what caused us to lose Ivy but until we learned the cause, I was full of guilt. Around 11:00 pm that night, I knew in my heart that something was wrong. I went to my doctor on Monday and they told me just to wait, but don't lose hope yet. I am pretty sure they knew the outcome that was before me, but I appreciate them giving me a little bit longer to hope. John stayed home with me on Tuesday, at that point all of my hope was gone. I was in extreme pain and had a lot of blood loss. I went to my doctor in the late afternoon on Tuesday, and I could hardly walk. In the past I was able to miscarry at home, but this time I knew that something wasn't right. I adore my doctor. She is compassionate and yet straight forward at the same time. In this instance especially, I needed that. They did an unmediated D&C in the office. Typically they would do this at a hospital and put you under. I am sorry for those of you who don't like TMI stories, so I won't go into the full detail but let me just say that this was hell on earth. I have never experienced that amount of physical and emotional pain all at once. I don't think that I could go through that again. After the procedure was over and I had rested some, I actually felt a lot better physically shockingly. Emotionally though I was a total wreck, and I think rightfully so. The week following I went back in for numerous tests and checkups. We then learned that John and I have incompatible blood types... for all of my friends who are trying to conceive, PLEASE get your blood types checked or advocate for yourself to have your doctor do that. Until I switched to my current doctor, no other OBGYN had done this... this is so preventable and you want to get the Rhogam shot, before you have antibodies in your system. ( if you want to talk more about this, feel free to message me! It is all sort of confusing).
I am beyond thankful for the time we had loving Ivy Mae here on earth, and I am still honored that God chose me to carry her and continue loving her even with her gone. I long to see her face in heaven, but until then I rest in the fact that she is with her Creator and her King.
We waited a few months & then started the IUI process… after tests, drugs, ultrasounds, hormone shots & two failed IUI’s… we finally were successful with IUI #3. We are so blessed to be pregnant with our son, but nothing fully takes the pain of pregnancy loss away. Memories of Ivy still linger in my daily thoughts & deep grief hits me when I’m not fully expecting it. But it does get a tiny bit easier over time. If you are struggling with the grief of loss, take time to grieve. Take time to cry & scream… but try not to get stuck in that dark place. Search for reminders of your baby in your day. For myself, every time I see ivy, i think of my sweet girl. It has been really helpful for me to find her in our daily life...I have an ivy plant in our house, that I’m able to look at everyday. If you are in the unfortunate club of Pregnancy & Infant Loss, I am grieving with you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you are not alone & know that you are loved. If you want to read more about my story or things that have helped me through this journey, feel free to find my blog Mourning & Dancing. You are not alone.
Morgan can be found over on Instagram @mo.merkel As well as on her Blog https://mourning-and-dancing.blogspot.com