This is a guest post by a Stay Strong Mom follower.
By Kelly Tarkenton
Trigger Warning: This post contains sensitive information about pregnancy loss.
My name is Kelly Tarkenton. I am wife to Stephen and mama to Trey (3) and Trent (2). I am a teacher turned stay-at-home mom when my husband joined the Marine Corps. We are pretty much the typical military family that moves a lot and we are far away from family. That being said being away from family when you deal with love and loss can be extremely hard at times. I am going to give you some insight into my experience with the “2 Ls” as I call it. Some good parts and some not so good, but that is life!
I’ve experienced a lot of the “2 Ls” this passed year. To me, the “2Ls”that go hand in hand are Love and Loss. Usually when you experience a loss there is an outpouring of love from friends, family, and your community. That loss tends to be hard because you loved that person or thing that you no longer have.
In 2017, I lost my mom on April 30th to a 4 year journey with breast cancer. Then, on July 10th I lost my grandmother. That means my dad lost his wife and mom in a short period of time. Needless to say that was a lot of loss in short amount of time for our family. At that time though we also experienced a lot of love. My moms viewing and funeral had SO many flowers because people who loved her sent them in abundance. She also had more people just at her viewings then most people have at their weddings all because so many people loved her. We weren’t the only ones who suffered that loss. We spent those days with people who loved her and go to express our love for her! We had people loving on or family by bringing meals, sending gift cards, and other various acts of kindness. At my grandmothers funeral it was the same. Everyone shared stories from her life and we celebrated those closest to her that loved her. As you can see love and loss goes hand in hand.
In late December, I had a dream where my mom came to me and told me I was going to have a little girl named Kady Grace. This was not the girl name I picked out at all! This was only the second time my mom had come to me in a dream. I didn’t think too much of it at the time. One of the last conversations I had with my mom was about having more kids. I said I was done at 2 and she told me I wasn’t. She told me she just knew I wasn’t done yet and to keep my options open. I just agreed with her at the time, but I truly thought I was “two and through” as they say. So the dream make me take pause, but not enough to think too much about it.
We found in January we were expecting and we were excited to grow our family. A week after finding out my worst nightmare came true. I started to bleed and called the doctor. They told me to take easy and if it got worse to go to the ER. That night I went to the ER by myself because my husband had to stay home with my boys. After an ultrasound and speaking with the doctor he told me it was a “threatened abortion” (Y’all I HATE those words! Like abortion? What?! I’m not trying to abort this baby). I was sent home with instructions to rest and let nature take its course and call my doctor on Monday. The nurse told me she was sorry and it was most likely a chromosomal abnormality that took care of itself. I went home and over the weekend nature took its course like they said. Monday finally came and I called the doctor and they seemed pretty nonchalant about it. I went in for blood work and they told me I’d hear probably on Tuesday even though I begged them to call me that day. I heard from the doctor the next day and she said my numbers had all dropped and the same thing the nurse said that it was probably an abnormality and we could try again when we were ready.
That was it. That’s all she said. I was so annoyed that it was so nonchalant, but then I realized to them it is an everyday thing. These doctors and nurses deal with this on a daily basis. We didn’t talk much about it and only told our few family and friends who knew about it. We experienced some love and kind words. My closest Marine wife friend brought me wine and ice cream and we got our nails done. After that we just kind of acted like nothing happened. We just left it up to God and his plan for us and moved on.
In April, we found out we were expecting again right before our Disney trip. We told our closest family and friends and even took announcement pictures at Disney World. When I had my first ultrasound appointment my husband was supposed to watch the boys, but had to go to base so I took them with me. It was finally our turn to go back and we got settled into the ultrasound room. I was just hoping it wasn’t twins.
When the tech got started I knew something wasn’t right. I mean I’ve had plenty of these with the boys so I knew what to look for. I really knew it was bad when she went to record a heartbeat and there was nothing. She went to go get the doctor and I could feel myself fighting back tears, but kept looking at my boys trying not to cry. The doctor came in and said I measured at 7 weeks 6 days, but I was 8 weeks 4 days and there was no heartbeat.
The doctor was explaining the options were pretty much take pain killers and handle this at home or come in for surgery (D&C) and have it done at the hospital. I was trying to listen to her, process everything, and maintain the boys who were beyond ready to go. I decided to have the D&C done the following Monday, which meant I had to wait the whole weekend. Thankfully the nurse was caring and took me out the back door so I didn’t have to walk through the waiting room and see all those moms looking at their ultrasound pics. I got to my car, loaded up my boys, and lost it. I called my best friend Caroline, my husband who I couldn’t get a hold of, and my dad- all explaining the loss.
As I was driving home crying, promising a little boy a Happy Meal, I just couldn’t help but feel angry, hateful, and doubting my relationship with God. I’ve been doing what I needed to do. I’ve been working out, eating right, going to church, and even serving in kid’s church. Why me?! Then I realized how lucky and blessed I was to have 2 sweet boys in my backseat. Two healthy sweet boys that were all mine. I’m blessed to have them.
My closest friends came over that Monday with their little girl to have a playdate with our boys and watch them while my husband took me to the hospital. I left for a trip back to my home state shortly there after. When I got back to my current home in Florida I just felt refreshed.
Two weeks after my follow up, so 4 weeks after surgery total I was telling Stephen I think my period should be here by now, but its not. Neither of us thought much of it because of surgery they said it could take 4-6 weeks. That Wednesday I decided to take a test thinking it was going to be negative and to my surprise it wasn’t! I didn’t know if I should be excited or scared to death. I called the doctor as soon as they opened and told them that I had a positive test. They didn’t really believe me either and thought it was still left over hormones from the surgery, but the doctor sent me in for bloodwork right away that day. The numbers were low, but indicated a new pregnancy! The nurse said I was barely pregnant. I had to go back 48 hours later for more bloodwork to see if the numbers were increasing like a normal pregnancy. The numbers were in fact climbing and the nurses and doctor were just as shocked as we were and scheduled me to come in 2 weeks later for a dating scan.
I went in 2 weeks later for the dating scan and I was so nervous, Once the ultrasound tech found the heartbeat I was able to breath! When she told me the due date though I just started to cry. She asked if I was okay and I explained to her why the due date was so important. The due date was March 1, and March 1st was my mom and grandmother’s birthday. They shared the same birthday and for my baby to possibly share the same birthday just meant so much to me. That dream I had months ago came flooding back to me: My mom told me I would have a girl named Kady (my mother and grandmother’s last name) Grace (which was originally supposed to be my name).
I went back to the office 3 weeks later and had another ultrasound done and the baby was perfect! Strong heartbeat and perfect! She approved me for the genetic testing because of my prior miscarriages and my mom having cancer. This testing would allow me to find out if this baby was a boy or girl and if any genetic issues were present.
The nurse called to tell me the results were in and asked if I wanted to know gender. She immediately said, “You are having a girl!” I just busted out crying. I was so excited! I took the boys to target to buy them big brother shirts and to buy her a pink tutu outfit that said little sister to tell their dad later that night.
The whole day I just thought how blessed I was. We had gone through so much loss as a family and now this abundance feeling of love to have a baby girl due on my mom’s birthday was amazing! We held the news in as long as we could then we shared with friends and family who had been following our story the whole time. The outpouring of love we received was amazing.
This baby girl is truly my rainbow baby in more ways than one. I am sitting here writing this at 17 weeks and just incredibly blessed. There is a rainbow at the end of every storm and this is our rainbow. This whole journey has not been easy, but it has been a learning experience. Without the love from my family, friends, husband, and my relationship with God I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.
To read more stories from moms just like you, check out our The Stay Strong Mom series.