Motherhood Project Story – Lexi: A Journey of Love, Loss, and New Beginnings


When I was growing up, I never imagined my dream wedding, or dream spouse like I felt most others did. The only thing I was certain of, was that I wanted to have kids.

Starting in high school, any time I would hear a name I liked, I would write it down on my ongoing ‘possible baby names’ list! By the time I was ready to start having kids, the list had over 40 names. Shortly after we got married we started trying to conceive. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome so that could lessen our chances of getting pregnant, and we wanted to have a baby sooner rather than later. We were amazed that after a very short period of time, we became pregnant! But before we even had time to let the news sink in, I had a miscarriage. We were about 6 weeks along, and that baby would have been due Aug 2021.

After the bleeding stopped and we spoke with my doctor, he gave us the go-ahead to keep trying if we’d like to. I think we just couldn’t process what had happened because it was so quick, and immediately I was pregnant again. This baby was due in late September 2021 on my favorite great-grandpa’s birthday! My great grandpa had passed away from covid within the last year so it was really meaningful to have them share that date. I suffered some pretty intense morning sickness, and major anxiety during the first trimester. We didn’t share the news with anyone until we made it to 13 weeks, because we felt more “safe” then. Our family and friends were so excited, this was going to be the first grandchild for both of our parents! We decided we should buy a house instead of continuing to rent, and closed in early May. I can say this was one of the happiest periods in my life!

While we were in the process of moving, late one night after we had fallen asleep I woke up to pee (not abnormal for a pregnant woman, am I right?). My back was hurting (again, typical) so I stood in the bathroom deciding if I should try to lay back down. Then I sneezed, and my water broke. I immediately tried not to panic because I was only 22 weeks pregnant but had no idea what this meant. We drove to the hospital at 3:30 am and hoped to be home later. When we got admitted they told us that I would be on bed rest until the baby was born. We hoped that would be in 14 weeks, but if it was any sooner than 2 weeks our baby wouldn’t make it. About 48 hours later on May 18th at 6:42 am our sweet baby Mac was born too early and little to survive.

Somehow via a weakened cervix, I got an infection that caused my early labor, medically called: IC induced PPROM. Mac was born alive and kicking, but his lungs weren’t strong enough. We got to hold him and he died about 2 hours later in his daddy’s arms. I struggled on how to even wrap my head around this for months. No one told me this was a possibility. To have a miscarriage and then also have your rainbow baby die in front of you. I thought rainbows are supposed to come home!

Mac has fully transformed me. He lives on when I talk about him or speak his name. So many people go through miscarriage and infant loss, but we are historically taught to get over it quietly. That leads to feeling shame, shame we couldn’t carry a baby, shame it happened to us, shame we couldn’t stop it. But there is nothing to be ashamed of. Mac is my beautiful firstborn son and nothing will change that! He helped me really understand what I can provide to others, what I need in life, and how to keep healthy boundaries for my family. I think about Mac every single moment of every day. He and my grief will always be with me.

Within the constant grief took me a very long time to feel joy without guilt. But then one day my therapist pointed out that it was mom-guilt. Even though I didn’t have a living child, I was still a mom, and you still have all the love, emotion, passion, feeling, desire for that child, but nowhere to aim it. And some days I still feel a bit lost because of it. Medically we had to wait a few months for me to recover as I went through a normal postpartum (milk coming in with no baby might be the second hardest thing ever).

Once we were medically cleared, we decided to keep trying for a child. This time not to replace the one we lost, but more to give us a sense of purpose again. We had bought and curated a home that now was very empty, it was all I could think about. After a few months, we were lucky to be pregnant again, but this time with a lot less immediate joy. This baby’s due date was 2 days after Mac’s 1st birthday! I was beyond sick and officially was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum after being briefly hospitalized on our WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Can’t make this up folks. I had to go on leave from work because of how sick I was, and ghosted all of my friends. This might have been the lowest I had felt since Mac died. My mind constantly compared everything I was feeling physically in pregnancy to how I felt with Mac.

Due to my weakened cervix, at 14 weeks I had to have a cerclage placed. This is a stitch to close the cervix and ensure the weight of a growing baby doesn’t open it too early. The next 5.5 months are a blur for me because every single day my anxiety grew. I had an at-home doppler I used multiple times a week until I could feel the baby moving. I was fortunate enough to have bi-weekly checkups until 32 weeks and then additional scans from then, but they didn’t remove the anxiety. It was back once I stepped out of the office. I had a hard time connecting with this second rainbow baby; “what if he dies too” replayed in my head. As the baby grew, I could tell personality differences between the boys, just by their movement!

Mac was slower and longer movements, whereas this new baby was having a rave dance party 24/7. The dance party did help my anxiety because there almost wasn’t a time he wasn’t moving (that remains true now that he is 1 lol!). I begged my doctor to allow me to be induced in April so that the boys would have separate birthday months and because the timing matched up, we were set for April 29th at 7:30 pm!

That last week my anxiety grew and I was a rage monster! To make it worse, when we showed up to the hospital they were behind and my induction started 16 hours late. I was convinced the baby was going to die while we waited, pregnancy after loss anxiety is like nothing I’ve ever felt. The labor was not intense but very slow and I wanted this baby out in APRIL. Finally, at 11:57 pm my doctor walked into the room to have me push, I shouted “You’ve got 3 minutes!!” Within 3 minutes and 1 second Reece was born! At the stroke of midnight, May 1, 2022, our brave and sweet double rainbow Reece Wilder was born alive and healthy.

I didn’t know how to react, I only knew what it felt like to have the baby die, not live. I think I was in shock for at least a month that he actually lived. Where Mac transformed me and helped me grow to who I need to be, Reece has given me life again. Anyone who meets Reece walks away with a smile. He’s attentive, engaged, fun, goofy, and so loving. He’s everything we needed!

Living with this family of 4 but party of 3 really has its complexities, but I love it now. I would definitely much rather have both of my boys here, together, growing up with each other. But logically for me, its hard to stay in that grief because Reece would not be here if Mac had survived. Mac was due Sept 2021 and Reece was May 2022. Those dates are too close together to have two babies. So I have the additional struggle of wishing for a completely different timeline in which somehow my two boys could have been alive at once. And every single milestone or thing that Reece does, I have “What/when would have Mac done this?” ringing in my head. Mac was more calm in the womb, so would he be more cuddly and relaxed? So many questions I’ll just never get answers to. It feels unnatural not knowing things about your own son…. never knowing his eye color always really bothers me.

I see myself as a ‘ride or die’ mom. I’m kind of dead inside but nothing will get between me and my sons! I’m not afraid to go all out for the ones I love. And I will make sure that nothing gets between Reece and anything he wants in life. He gets the benefit of my double love since Mac isn’t here to get his full share. And I will make sure no other loss mom who sees me or my family feels ashamed! Our stories are powerful, our love for our angels and living babies is powerful. I love the power of a mom.

To read more about the Motherhood Project and discover inspiring stories like Lexi, click here. Together, we can find strength in solidarity and support each other through the highs and lows of motherhood.

If you’re interested in capturing your own motherhood journey through a personalized photo session, consider scheduling a session with me. I would love to document the love, resilience, and beauty of your motherhood experience. Every moment deserves to be cherished, celebrated and remembered for a lifetime.

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