Brian and I were excited to start our family, when we became pregnant right away we were so happy.  We shared the news with the grandparents to be, this baby would be the first grandchild on both sides so they were all excited.  The first 20 weeks of my pregnancy flew by and I felt great the whole time.  We had our 20 week ultrasound and everything looked perfect, no concerns at all!  We decided to wait to find out the sex until baby was born, what a fun surprise that would be!

On August 31st, 2015 I was traveling to Dubuque for work with one of my co-workers.  While we were there, I started not feeling the best and had a small amount of spotting.  It wasn’t anything too concerning to me at the time, but I decided I would go in to get checked out when we got back to Cedar Rapids just to be sure.  During that one hour drive back to CR, things went from something might not be right to something is definitely wrong.  I started having severe pains that had me curled into a ball, and I just knew this wasn’t going to be good.

When we got back to Cedar Rapids, my co-worker dropped me off at Labor & Delivery where Brian was meeting me.  Everything happened so fast after we got there.  They took me to a room and hooked me up to the monitors.  We heard the baby’s heartbeat and it was strong, which gave me a little bit of hope.  It wasn’t long after that the nurse ran to grab the doctor.  He came in and went to check me right away to see what was going on and my water broke immediately. I remember a moment of silence in the room and then chaos as they took us to a larger room.  Only being 22 weeks along, we all knew this wasn’t good.   So many people came in and out of that room and talked to us, it all became a blur until baby decided it was time to arrive.

At 6:36pm on August 31st, 2015, our son, Ethan Carter McAfee quickly entered the world.  He had passed away during birth, so we never had a chance to see that first breath or hear that first cry.  The silence was overwhelming.  But we were able to hold and love on our sweet boy the whole night, he was absolutely perfect.  Both sets of grandparents were able to come down to meet Ethan and say hello and good-bye to their first grandchild.  We were able to get pictures taken that we will treasure forever thanks to the Sammy Project at St. Luke’s.  This year marks 5 years since we were able to hold our sweet boy.

We were lucky to be able to get pregnant again after we were given the go ahead, and our rainbow, Addison, was born in December of 2016.  After Addison turned one, we decided we were ready to add to our family again.  We suffered two miscarriages over the course of a year before we became pregnant with our second rainbow, Olivia, who was born in January of 2020.

I found No Foot Too Small in August of 2018.  I had been following them on Facebook for a while before I decided to take the plunge to go to a Mom’s Group.  For anyone that knows me, going to a place I’ve never been to meet with a group of people that I don’t know, is beyond out of my comfort zone.  But taking that leap and going to the Mom’s Group was one of the best things I had done for myself since the loss of Ethan.  Telling his story to a group of women who understand was incredibly healing for me.  I have met many strong and amazing women through this group and will forever be grateful to every one of them.

Kelli & Brian McAfee