The day after Thanksgiving, Gina Carlson announced that she and her husband, Capitals defenseman John Carlson, are expecting their second son in spring 2018. Baby Carlson will join brother Lucca, who has become a star of Caps social media circles for being all-around adorable.
In a series of Instagram posts over the weekend, Gina shared more about the Carlson family’s journey and the painful losses they’ve experienced along the way.
Thank you everyone for the well wishes on our baby boy 💙. I’ve gone back & forth whether to share our story about this journey. Positive stories kept me going & this subject is so rarely talked about. When Lucca was 4 months, we decided we wanted another one.. A few months later we were pregnant but quickly found out something wasn’t right. On Lucca’s 1st birthday, I spent the day in the ER removing a ruptured ectopic pregnancy & my tube. I remember being thankful Lucca was healthy & home having fun with his grammie & anxiously wanting to get home & watch Lucca do his cake. I felt lucky to be able to get pregnant so easily & felt god wasn’t ready for us to add to our family. 9 months later we were pregnant & found out we were miscarrying again. Two months later, we were pregnant for a third time. John was on his way home so I got Lucca dressed up in a hockey shirt that said “big brother,” & he wanted to put his skates on too. Daddy got home & we surprised him with the news. Baby was due right around Christmas. I was so excited & remember thinking about Lucca & baby in matching Christmas PJs, I started dreaming up our family of 4. My first appointment was here. The sonogram woman looked puzzled. I knew. My heart sank.( John was in playoffs so I was alone at my appointment.) My doctor tried to stay positive & tell me sometimes it’s just too early & we needed to wait 14 days to confirm. Everything inside of me knew it was over.. I didn’t tell anyone besides John for days bc I was so crushed. There’s no worse feeling than being pregnant, feeling pregnant, being sick & knowing there’s no baby you will meet one day. 14 days later DR confirmed the baby had stopped growing. Thankfully my husband had the day off & took me for my surgery. Remembering back on these hospital days, my husband always kept me laughing & smiling. A few weeks later we found out our 3rd loss was a girl. Knowing the gender hurt way more than anything else. John told me over & over again, god wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. We decided we’d try IVF & genetic testing with the embryos.The month we were suppose to start, my heart wasn’t in it. I couldn’t do it.
Gina later added this comment:
As much as I felt I couldn’t handle one more loss, I also knew I could. I never lost sight of the little miracle in Lucca that god gave me & I had faith he would do it again. 2 weeks after we were suppose to start IVF, we found out we were pregnant again. I wouldn’t trade any of these 2 years because then I wouldn’t have this angel boy inside of me. I know so many woman struggle for years and years of infertility and recurring miscarriages. It makes pregnancy scary & is so physically & emotionally draining. When I was pregnant with Lucca I never thought once about how lucky I was to carry my own child. I am so thankful & hope this gives someone some hope & faith in his or her own journey. I also want to say I believe IVF is a GREAT thing & many many woman need it to have a baby. I chose to wait because I just wasn’t ready & thankfully it worked out for me. I appreciate you guys reading, I really went & forth whether to share but ultimately I felt if I could be of hope to any of you, then I’d rather be honest & open💙
Gina shared that she and John have been trying to have another child for nearly two years, but have been afflicted with medical challenges that many women face but few talk openly about. Prior to her current pregnancy, Gina endured two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy – a dangerous issue when a fertilized egg implants in a fallopian tube rather than the uterus.
Though miscarriage is fairly common, with an estimated 10 to 25 percent of confirmed pregnancies ending in miscarriage, it is not something that is often spoken about. Women are usually encouraged to keep the news of their pregnancy relatively quiet during their first semester, when risk of miscarriage is highest. Although it is completely valid for a woman to keep the experience of a miscarriage private, the culture of privacy with regards to early pregnancy makes it seem as though women are not supposed to talk about their pregnancy loss. The topic becomes taboo, and women are left to grieve their losses alone or with the support of only a few trusted confidants.
In her posts Gina acknowledged debating whether to share her story, but said she decided to share it in the hope that it “gives someone some hope & faith in his or her own journey.” In choosing to share her story, she makes the decision to reject the stigma of shame, guilt, and isolation that women sometimes face after miscarriage. Her decision allows her to find support from other women who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy, and will hopefully remind women in similar situations that there is no reason to feel shame over a tragedy that is outside of one’s control.
Her story is also a reminder that the hockey players and families that we love to root for are real people too, who experience the same kinds of ups and downs we all go through. Kudos to Gina for sharing her personal story in an effort to give hope and encouragement to others who have suffered similar loss and pain.
Headline photos: @gnacarlson