Every time Stephanie Rodriguez and her husband, JC, lay eyes on their 6-month-old daughter, Vida Rose, they can’t help but call her their miracle rainbow baby. The couple never imagined having another child would be a struggle filled with lots of heartache. After two miscarriages and a chemical pregnancy,* Stephanie wasn’t sure if a viable pregnancy was even possible for her.
“When I had my son, he was a total surprise,” said Stephanie. “I didn’t have any complications carrying him to term. Then, when he turned 4, my husband and I wanted to have a second baby so our son could have a sibling. It took me nine months to get pregnant. At our baby’s 24-week anatomy scan, I found out our daughter, Ruby Rose, had passed at 18 weeks. It was when COVID first started. My appointments were spaced out because my doctor reduced our visits during COVID. When I heard the words, ‘There is no heartbeat,’ I never thought that this would happen to me. Because literally, no one in my family that I know of – my mother, grandma, my aunts, the women in my family – had a miscarriage. I hadn’t felt the baby move because I was overweight. I thought maybe I’m just too big to feel her move. The loss was so painful for me.”
After her miscarriage, Stephanie began seeing Dr. Emma Rodriguez, a high-risk maternal fetal medicine physician at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and Dr. Mary Stokes, an OB-GYN with CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic. Because she had a prior history of miscarriage, Stephanie had preconception counseling with Drs. Rodriguez and Stokes to plan for a future pregnancy. Struggling with the devastating loss of her daughter, Stephanie wanted to get pregnant right away because she felt a nagging feeling inside of her – she had a baby one day and the next day it was taken away from her. In July 2020, Stephanie was pregnant again.
“I was happy to be pregnant, but I was nervous at the same time,” said Stephanie. “I didn’t want this pregnancy to be like the last one. So, my husband and I were cautiously optimistic. When I came in for a six-week ultrasound, my doctor saw a fetal pole (first visible sign of a developing embryo) but there wasn’t a heartbeat. We went week by week to see – maybe the baby is too small. Every week when we went in for an ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. When I was nine weeks along, I had a D&C.** A few months later, I had a chemical pregnancy in February 2021. As much as I wanted another baby, I cried because I just felt like a failure over and over again.”
Then, in April 2021, Stephanie found out she was pregnant with Vida Rose. But this time, she didn’t tell her husband the baby news just yet. She waited until she had her blood drawn at her OB-GYN’s office to confirm the faint pink lines she saw on her pregnancy test were indeed true.
“When the time came for me to share the baby news with my husband, I wanted to make it extra special for him,” said Stephanie. “I had a box that I made, and I ordered a onesie with a rainbow on it. I bought some little baby shoes and put them in the box along with the positive pregnancy test. When he opened the box, he was happy because he knew how sad I was with our losses. My mom was thrilled to hear the news. The rest of our family was hoping for the best for us.”
Due to her history of recurrent pregnancy loss and testing indicating she was at increased risk for clotting, Dr. Rodriguez prescribed Lovenox, a blood thinning medication which was taken throughout her pregnancy. When Stephanie was six weeks pregnant, she had her first ultrasound. Baby Vida Rose’s measurements were spot on. As her first and second trimesters passed by, everything was going smoothly. Stephanie and her baby were doing well.
“Every time I went in for an ultrasound, I could see my baby’s heartbeat,” said Stephanie. “When I could see her on the doppler at home and see her heartbeat, it made me feel less nervous. I’d check on her heartbeat often. Is she still alive? Is there a heartbeat? I kept thinking those things throughout my pregnancy. I could not stand to go through the loss of another baby. I wasn’t able to relax until Vida Rose was in my arms. As the days got closer to my induction, I started getting more nervous. I was like, I am going to have two babies now, a 4-year-old and now a newborn.”
On January 3, 2022, when Stephanie was 39 weeks along, she and her husband, JC, welcomed their daughter, Vida Rose, at The Children’s Hospital. She weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Stephanie was excited to finally see her baby’s face because every time she had a 3-D ultrasound, Vida would always hide her face. She thought maybe her daughter wanted her debut to be a big surprise.
“When the nurses put Vida in my arms for the first time, it was just like we were meant for each other,” said Stephanie. “Vida is my miracle baby for sure. She is now a happy, healthy 6-month-old who loves to eat. She doesn’t want me to put her down. She’s like a little koala holding on to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. While this was a difficult journey, I had a wonderful support system that helped me through it. My husband was definitely my rock, and my entire family was supportive. I am also thankful to Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Stokes for being with me on this journey. They were rooting for me and were always there to answer my questions and concerns. They both knew my history so they did everything they could to ensure a successful pregnancy.”
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has an entire team of maternal fetal medicine specialists caring for women experiencing high-risk pregnancies. For more information about the Centers for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, visit our website:
*A chemical pregnancy is an early miscarriage that happens in the first five weeks of pregnancy.
**D&C stands for dilation and curettage, a procedure in which a doctor uses a spoon-shaped instrument to scrape the lining of the uterus to remove tissue.