Few people have had to go through what Whitney Billings has. To lose a baby via miscarriage is a truly heartbreaking thing, but to lose seven? I can’t even imagine the pain.
I’ve got friends who have miscarried before, so I know just how much of a devastating impact it can have on someone’s life.
When Whitney Billings and her husband Justin celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary, they decided it was time to expand their little family. They had two children already – one 4-year-old girl and one 2-year-old boy – so Whitney would have been forgiven for thinking a third would be a relatively straight forward affair.
The mom, from California, experienced her first miscarriage around the same time she had her IUD removed.
Little did she know it was the first of many. Whitney would go on to have seven “angel babies” in total.
The news often came for Whitney between five and eight weeks. She explained on her blog, Billings Clan: “I felt empty inside. I remember reaching out to some girlfriends. To my surprise, their reaction wasn’t what I was hoping for. I left feeling more empty and unsupported.”
The horrible trend continued, even as Whitney tried to hide her pain by hosting baby showers for her sister, who was pregnant with twins, and close friends who were also expecting.
“Even though I post a lot of pictures, I also don’t share a lot about myself, personal struggles, or anytime I have lost and grieved a baby,” she wrote. “I’m more the type to suffer in silence. Somehow it made me feel more normal. Or maybe I was just burying all the pain, hoping it would go away.”
Making matters worse, Whitney works a professional photographer, meaning she often worked in newborn and maternity sessions straight after miscarrying her own babies.
“I was bottling up the deepest depression inside. Holding it all in just to keep my professional status. Unfortunately, [it] didn’t matter what I did,” she said.
Perhaps the most difficult thing to deal with, however, was the lack of information. Despite repeated doctors’ appointments and blood tests that came back without issue, Billings suffered six miscarriages within the same year.
“Some reason people liked to remind us what we already had, when they would find out about us losing a baby. ‘Oh well you already have a boy and a girl, so you will be ok,’” she said.
“These comments were hurtful to us, and so many more comments that were made that aren’t even worth mentioning.”
Then, one day, Whitney fell pregnant again. Her bump began to grow and her baby seemed to be doing perfectly fine. No sooner had she felt the first kick than did she bring her mom and then-three-year-old to a sonogram because she was allowing herself to get excited.
Only for the technician to utter a heartbreaking sentence: “There’s no baby in there. I’m not getting anything and definitely no heartbeat.”
“I lay there frozen,” Whitney recalls. “My body didn’t move and all I heard was my little 3-year-old saying, ‘Where’s the baby mama?’ I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe this!” she wrote. “All I remember saying is, ‘No, I felt the baby kick’ and she replies with, ‘No you didn’t that’s impossible. There’s no baby there…’ I just picked up my stuff and left. Straight walked out. AND YES I did feel that baby move! Who was she to tell my body what I did or didn’t!?”
Whitney and Justin’s 10-year anniversary came around and they were still working to expand their family. After seven miscarriages, they decided to go down a different route: fostering.
To celebrate their milestone, Whitney knew she wanted one thing more than any other: photos. She wanted to honor every single angel baby she’d lost along the way.
“I’m grateful for every single contraction I felt, the pain my body had to endure, the blood that left my body, and the emptiness I felt because it reminds me that our baby was real. I carried that sweet baby, and I knew him. I felt him kick, I talked to him, his siblings talked to him and every single day that I was pregnant and nauseous was all worth it.”
Whitney’s close friend, Emily Grace, is a professional photographer too, and was able to capture a series of photos that pay homage to Whitney, Justin, and the seven babies she lost.
“I want people to know that being a mom of angel babies means my babies DID EXIST and they are real!” Whitney said, as per CafeMom.
“People have said, ‘Oh well you were only pregnant for six weeks, so it’s not really like a loss.’ THIS IS WRONG. No matter how far along you are, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 27 weeks, that’s a little person you created living in your body. THEY ARE REAL!”
Whitney, you sure are one brave woman! I don’t know how you managed to keep going after everything you’ve been through.
We’re sending our well wishes to the Billings family.
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