Close to My Heart

Every year on Mother’s Day and on each of my children’s birthday I am reminded of how blessed I am to have my 2 beautiful healthy children. Today I want to talk about something that is very close to my heart. My hope is that you will learn a little more about me and that I can be an encouragement to other women who are going thru something similar that I went thru.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. When I was a young girl, teenager, early 20’s; when someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life I always answered “to get married and have children”. I dreamed of how many children I would have, what their names would be and how much I couldn’t wait to be a Mom.

When the time finally came for us to start trying to get pregnant I couldn’t have been more excited. John and I had been married for a couple years, we were so in love and wanted to start a family. Everything felt right in the world.

It took us almost 6 months to get pregnant, which felt like an eternity. Every month I wasn’t pregnant was a big disappointment. It was such an emotional rollercoaster every month. Finally after 6 months of trying we were finally pregnant! I was so happy!!! Although my morning sickness was out of control, I couldn’t stop smiling because I was pregnant!

I loved going to my doctor appointments and seeing my baby on the ultrasound and listening to his heartbeat. It was magical! There is nothing like it. I loved seeing his growth each time I went it. I couldn’t have been more happy and full of joy. I had everything I ever wanted.

When I was 14 weeks pregnant I woke up in the middle of the night to the most extreme cramps I had ever felt. They came in waves and it was so painful. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew it wasn’t right. A few hours later I lost the baby. I went to the hospital later that day. The doctors still don’t know what went wrong.

I can’t even explain the pain and grief that I felt. I lost my baby, my child that I never got to hold and meet. The next few months were a blur of crying, sleeping, eating and tv watching. I gained 20 pounds in a couple of months from my depression. I could barely find the strength to get out of bed.

After a couple months I wanted to start trying again. My heart ached for a baby. Having a family is the only thing I wanted. I knew I couldn’t stay depressed forever. I had to get back up and fight for what I want.

After only 3 months of trying we were pregnant. I was so happy, but also so nervous. I was so afraid something would go wrong. I wanted to celebrate but I didn’t know if I should. I had weekly doctor appointments just so I could make sure everything was going right.

At 10 weeks pregnant, I woke up feeling weird; something was just off. Later that night I miscarried another baby. I stayed at home as long as I could. I lost too much blood and passed out on my bathroom floor. John had to call 911 and the ambulance had to come to my home and take me to the ER.

At this point I was almost numb from the pain. My heart was completely broken. I didn’t understand why this was happening? I’m young and healthy, what’s going on? I questioned myself, my husband, the doctors, God. At times I blamed myself for things that I may have done wrong to harm the pregnancies. I worried that my husband would leave me because this was all to much (even though he never acted that way ever!). I felt so lonely and alone, like no one knew what I was going thru. I felt helpless and hopeless, there was nothing I could do to fix this. The light inside my eyes was gone.

About 2 months later I was pregnant again, we weren’t even trying. I was in complete shock. I don’t know how far along I was because I never got my period since the last miscarriage. Before I was able to go to the doctor we lost that pregnancy too. I have now had 3 miscarriages in less than 1 year. It was time to get some help. I decided to switch doctors and see a specialist.

I met with a specialist at Evanston Hospital. He encouraged me that everything will be ok and that I will have a baby. I went thru many tests to see what was going on. Everything came back normal. I didn’t know whether to be happy about that or not. Of course I want my body to be normal and healthy. But if everything is normal then why is this happening? The doctors suggested I go on progesterone supplements for the first 4 months of my pregnancy and they would watch me carefully.

Many months after all the tests and meetings with the doctors I felt ready to try again. I was scared as can be! But I also trusted my new group of doctors. And I knew the only way to have a baby was to keep trying.

rachel barkules pregnant

We got pregnant our first month of trying. The first trimester was filled with non stop nausea, exhaustion and throwing up all the time. I was constantly nervous and aware of every little thing happening in my body. I wanted to jump for joy and celebrate being pregnant, but I was constantly holding my breath for something to go wrong. Every week that went by of my pregnancy was a milestone for me.

In September 2008 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl! It took me 17 hours of labor, 90 minutes of pushing and she cracked my tail bone on the way out; but she was mine! We named her Sofia Grace. Sofia means wisdom and is a greek name (my husband is half greek) and Grace because it was by the grace of God that I was able to have this beautiful baby.

holding Sofia

I couldn’t have been happier. I finally had a baby to love! I was able to be a full time stay at home mom. I really don’t know what I did that first year. I didn’t really accomplish anything else besides spending every minute with this perfect baby; holding her, playing with her and listening to her laugh.

holding and kissing sofia

Sofia 2009

When Sofia was about 18 months old I got the urge for baby #2. I was so nervous at the idea of doing this again. I was worried something would go wrong and I would have to hold myself together to take care of Sofia. I wouldn’t be able to unravel or get extremely depressed. But I wanted another baby! Even if something is scary, you can’t get what you want in life unless you try. So I held my breath and we began trying for another baby.

We tried for several months and nothing. I started to think maybe it wasn’t the right time and we should wait a little longer. So we stopped trying and I instantly got pregnant. Again, my first trimester was the absolute worst. But everything after that was smooth sailing. It was a great pregnancy, he was 9 days early, short labor and delivery. He couldn’t have come into the world more easy. I had a sweet baby boy that we named Caleb John.

my family

Holding him in my arms for the fist time I was so overwhelmed with joy. I remember bursting into tears I was so happy.  My heart was so full of love it felt like my chest wasn’t big enough to hold it. My life and my family were complete and I was the happiest woman on earth.

I am so blessed to have 2 beautiful and healthy children.  Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for Sofia and Caleb.  I am so lucky to be their Mom.

my little family

barkules family

my kids

I learned many things from this experience. 1. You have to fight for what you really want. The greatest things in life do not come easy. 2. Be sensitive and compassionate to people, you never know who is fighting the biggest battle of their life. 3. Life is so precious and should not be taken for granted, make sure to smile and laugh each day. 4. And for anyone who gets pregnant and doesn’t want to keep their baby, please highly consider adoption. There are thousands of couples out there crying themselves to sleep because they want a baby to love. It will be the most selfless thing you will ever do.

To every woman who is going thru something similar, I know your pain. It can be a difficult and lonely road. But you are not alone, thousands of women have experienced similar situations and understand how you feel. And it sucks! It sucks big time!! There is nothing easy about it. It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be depressed; you lost a child. No one can tell you how to grieve.

As I wrote this today I had tears streaming down my face as I relived these moments. I still remember my due dates and the names we had picked out. I can encourage you that the pain lessens as the years go by. You will never forget, but you will find peace.

Every woman’s journey to having a baby is different. No matter what yours is, you will some day have a baby to hold in your arms and call yours.

28 thoughts on “Close to My Heart

  1. So glad you shared this! I had a miscarriage between my oldest and youngest child. On occasion my heart still aches for that baby. You could help so many by sharing your story. What a lovely mommy you are to all of your babies!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story of heartache, strength and hope! Your story will be encouraging for many! Enjoy that beautiful family:)

  3. I can’t relate to ur story, but its beautiful thank you for sharing. I was crying, I would love to be a stay at home mom one day! what a blessing

  4. I cried reading this. I’ve had 6 miscarriages total and I have 2 healthy, beautiful children. The most pain I have ever felt from a miscarriage was my very first and it’s all emotional pain. She made it all the way to the second trimester before she passed. My body wouldn’t pass her though and I had to go in for surgery though I wanted so badly for my body to hold on and give her life… I’ll never forget her name or how much love we have for her. Time does lessen the pain… All of my babies are beautiful, even the ones I can’t see..

  5. I cried reading all of this. I haven’t ever had a miscarriage and I only have one child but I know many moms who have. My mother had multiple ones before she had me. It takes one tough woman to go through what you ladies went through. Thank you so much for sharing this! I know it’s going to help so many women who have a similar story.

  6. You are a brave soul for sharing this, you should be so proud. Maybe one day your kids will read this knowing how strong and amazing their momma is! My sister also had a hard time getting pregnant, out of eleven pregnancies she carried two to term and had my amazing niece and nephew. Woman are so amazingly strong, I hope you all know that! Lots of love….P.S. Your family/children are so beautiful!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve had two miscarriages and always find it encouraging to hear of others who have had similar experiences and went on to have beautiful children!

  8. Thank you for sharing I only have a girl and no miscarriages but you story is amazing and the journey you had to go thru this story will help any woman who needs hope.

  9. Thank you for sharing. I had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with my now 6 year old girl. Then I had my own Sofia Grace (it’s a great name :) ) 4 years ago. I miscarried once again and then became pregnant with my son who was born last month. Miscarriage is such a difficult thing to get through. You are right though, the pain eases some but you never forget. Prayers sent to all of our angel babies.

  10. This is a lovely post. I have 2 beautiful girls who were conceive without any issues. I got pregnant wiht the first on the second try and the second was an unintentional pregnancy even though we always planned on having more and were delighted when it happened. In the 3 and a half years that I have been a mother, 4 of my close friends have struggled to have a baby. All 4 now either have their babies or are pregnant and due this year. Because most of my friends were having a hard time, it made me appreciate my body and what God gave me even more. At times I felt guilty, especially about my unintentional pregnancy. I just remember the sadness I felt the first month I was not pregnant with my first. I only had to go through that once, I couldnt imagine having to do it over and over again, month after month. Even harder would be loosing a baby. To all the struggling mommas I hope that soon you will have your baby.

  11. It’s funny because I’m still very young, but being a mother and having a family is my goal in life. And I am so scared that I won’t be able to have babies & that’s my biggest fear and sometimes I wish I could start now to take my curiosity away, even though I am not ready to have a baby right now.

    I Can’t wait to be a mother, and hope to God I can be a great one one day! Thank you for your story, you will open the eyes of a lot of people ❤️

  12. I am so glad you posted this. My husband and I are going on almost 6 years of trying with no luck. I think women are afraid to speak out about it because you feel so alone and don’t think anyone else is going through the same thing. Thank you for sharing your story. It lets us know that we are not alone and its OK to keep fighting for something, especially when its the one thing you have wanted for so long <3

  13. Thank you for sharing your story! I lost a baby at 9 weeks…I wish more people would talk openly about miscarriage….the secrecy makes it shameful and no woman should be shamed for it! Thank you again!

  14. I am so sorry for your loss. I never experienced anything like this but have friends who did and know how traumatic it is for them. It was so brave of you to share your experience and definitely can help enlighten people about it and also makes me stop and take a moment to reflect on how grateful I am to have my two beautiful boys as well! Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. This make me likes you even more ,I lost my second baby at 14 weeks It was really hard I was depressed as well after that we were trying for almost 2 years with not luck and in the moment I gave up the magic happened and I was pregnant with my second baby boy all can I said it the waiting was worth it I love him so much . Is something you’ll never forget my voice wobbles every time I’m talking about it .

  16. On March 16, 2015, i lost my 3rd baby. I still haven’t recovered from the pain of losing them to miscarriage. It is the most pain I’ve ever felt in life. I cannot wait for the day God blesses me with a beautiful baby boy/girl or both. My faith is in Jesus, and I know He has my back. Until then, i will keep my 3 angels close to my heart. Your story is beautiful and courageous and encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  17. You’re so brave, Rachel. Thanks for sharing this piece of your life. You are such a bright light in the world. I always look forward to seeing your Instagram posts and now, reading your blogs. Happy Friday!! <3

  18. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for 2 years now so I know the pain of wanting a baby and to be a mother more than anything else in the world. The sadness I feel every month when I’m reminded I’m not pregnant only gets worse. I can’t imagine the excitement of finally being pregnant only to have it taken away from you. Although 2 years of trying with no success is so difficult, losing a baby is something I wish no woman ever had to endure. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad that you have 2 beautiful children to cherish every single day. I can only hope that I’m this lucky one day.

  19. Such a motivational post ! Congrats! I am 18 years old and my mother had the same problem, she tried so hard to have me and I am here now. She also lost some babies, but she never stopped hoping. I am a little bit afraid of having this problem too. I don’t wanna be a mother soon, because of course I have a life in front of me and I am a teenager, but when I will be a mother in the future I hope I will be as courage and strong as you’

  20. This was beautifully written. You are so brave to share your story. It is true, we all have a battle we’re fighting and we never know what anyone else is going through so we should always be kind. My biggest want in life is to have a family of my own, and even though we aren’t trying right now this is my biggest fear. I think it’s a lot of women’s fears. You have a success story that is so inspiring and encouraging to those who are walking the same road you walked. It’s awesome to know that through all your heartache you are still courageous enough to tell your story and help women relate. Without having kids, you’ve still inspired me and gave me a positive outlook for when we’re ready to try. For that, I thank you.

  21. Such a beautiful story of Gods grace. Miscarriage is definitely one of the hardest things my husband and I have gone through. It’s a lonely grief and something I wish no woman had to endure. After 21 months, lots of prayer, and the help of clomid we are currently 17 wks pregnant with our first. :) thank you for sharing about this part of your life. Your family is beautiful and God is truly good all the time!!

  22. This is a good reminder to be thankful for God’s gifts even when they consume our life (and our sleep)! So grateful to the Lord for my children and yours. Blessings!

  23. I loved reading your story! Even when you know deep down you’re not alone in the struggle, when you’re going through it you feel like you’re by yourself! My husband and I tried for almost 10 years to have a baby naturally, with medicine, IUI and finally 7 rounds of IVF! Each time i had the excitement and hope that it would work and when it failed i would get depressed and shut down. The last IVF worked but after 6 weeks i had a miscarriage. It put a strain on our marriage financially and emotionally! I finally gave up and told my husband that I’m not doing it again and told him if he wanted to leave me i wouldn’t argue or hold him back. We went on vacation together right after the miscarriage to clear our minds, came home fasted the whole month of Ramadan and no had no period! I assumed it was from the miscarriage. My mother in law begged me for weeks to take a pregnancy test. Finally i did, first thing on a Friday morning! After 3 minutes i looked down and thought i was imagining things. I woke my husband up to check it and we couldn’t believe it, we were pregnant! We were excited and scared the entire pregnancy. My husband was doing all the housework for me wouldn’t let me touch or lift anything. Labor was easy breezy at first then after 12 hours i wasn’t dilating and his heart rate was dropping they had to rush me for a c-section! Thank god my baby was ok he was prefect, I on the other hand found out i had a 6lb tumor on my ovaries that the doctor removed! I was on edge waiting for the results and thankfully they came back non cancerous! Now 2 years later i still can’t believe he’s mine! We’re trying again and hopeful that it won’t be as difficult or stressful!

  24. I stumbled upon this while looking through looks on your Instagram & am glad I did. I have two beautiful girls one 7 and one 4. I lost a baby at 12 weeks and 3 days 11 weeks ago now. Reading this has comforted me. I’ve been following your sister Jaclyn for 18 months and am glad I started reading your blog and following your Instagram.

  25. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. The four lessons you learned from the experience are so beautiful and meaningful.

  26. This touches me in a place so deep that there couldn’t be light for miles and miles. It crushes my heart to hear the pain you endured but it fills me with happy tears to hear that your beautiful little babies have such a strong mother. I have a story too.. My daughter Milla Layne. My husband and I tried and instantly became pregnant. It was perfect, too perfect. I was automatically set up with a specialist for high risk mommies due to a pattern of prematurity and miscarriage in my family. For the first 3 months everything was perfect aside from the nausea that hit me every night at 9 pm. I grew big FAST. I was showing and feeling movement a hair past 2nonths.. Or so I thought. It carried on until 23 weeks when I began spotting. I was very upfront with my doctors with my fears and let them know every little thing that happened.. And called constantly. I wanted to protect her and even though she was inside me I still felt helpless to how things would or could go. anyway.. Each appointment she grew bigger and stronger and there were no concerns ever shared with me. As I was saying.. I started spotting (a week after my last ultrasound) and immediately went in to be checked. It happened so fast, they put me on monitors and left me in there for two hours and came back and said there’s nothing to worry about but please come with us you’re getting a different room. Keep in mind in 23 weeks pregnant. They brought in several doctors and assistants and pulled out the largest needle I had ever seen and told me to hold still. They pierced into my belly and I immediately contracted. (Later to find the tightening and movement I had been feeling off and on for weeks were slow contractions). They told me I needed to be admitted and I spent the next month in a hospital bed being poked and prodded crying and praying to God to please save my sweet little girl and keep her in a little longer. They told me I’d have to stay until she was born. That’s 17 weeks in the hospital, but I was willing to do anything I had to and I did.. Only at 26 weeks I woke up with a horrible stomach ache.. Used the bathroom and passed out and they rushed to my room and into a delivery room where I couldn’t stay conscious .. They had to take me into the or and put me to sleep and pull her out. Her leg had dropped down and she was coming out is what happened. I had an emergency c section and she was out. Rushed to the nicu and hooked up to everything under the sun where she stayed in an isomers for the next two months fighting for life and breath. She was only 2 lb at birth and lost more after but when all was said and done she was able to come home on oxygen and with home nursing care. She’s almost 4 as we speak and looking at her you’d never know the fight and strength it took her little body to get here. I thank God every day for her and for being able to feel connected to other mothers who have had trouble. I’m sharing this in the hopes that someone may read and relate and know that no matter what you go through .. Somewhere.. Some time.. Hope will come. I turned my life back to God recently again and if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be in the happy successful place I am. Life is hard work and God is great.. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. You shared a piece of you openly so here’s a piece of me.

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