Maya Vander is ready to share her story after suffering a tragic loss.
"What was a regular weekly checkup turned into a nightmare that I never imagine will happen to me," Maya wrote in an Instagram post at the time. "Given I share my pregnancies in the show I knew I'll have to post about this and avoid the 'when is your due date' question. You will always be in our heart baby Mason."
Now, in an exclusive interview with E! News, the realtor--who shares son Aiden, 2, and daughter Elle, 19 months, with her husband David Miller--is opening up about the devastating experience and how she's taking things "one day at a time."
According to Maya, the loss came after the rest of her family had contracted COVID-19. She explained, "I never got COVID, but because my husband was still testing positive, he wasn't allowed to be in the delivery room with me so I had to basically be by myself."
She recalled, "I didn't have time to think why my husband is not here with me."
Read on for more of E! News' interview with Maya.
E! News: Can you tell me why you felt like you wanted to talk about this experience?
Maya Vander: It's something that obviously I didn't plan. I share my pregnancy in the show. It was almost a joke that I'm always pregnant in the show. Season five, which will come out in a couple of months, we filmed when I was very much pregnant. So, I knew at some point, I have to obviously share because I can't hide the fact that I didn't have a baby. When I had this experience, I realized that I'm not the only woman who had this experience. When I Googled, I read a bunch of stories about other women who went through same situation that I'm in right now. For me personally, it helps me with other women who experienced what I have and who intimately understand the pain--the painful situation--because no one prepares for something like that.
E!: I can't even imagine. What happened when you went to the doctor and then thereafter?
MV: Prior to my regular weekly checkup, I felt less movements and I went to a private ultrasound just to make sure there are heartbeats--and everything was fine. Then, a few days later, I went to my regular gyno appointment and they couldn't find the heartbeat. I did an ultrasound and they confirmed, unfortunately, that the baby died. It was just a matter of like, "I'm 38 weeks. I need to have a delivery. I need to go to the hospital and deliver the baby." I just went to the hospital and I went to a delivery, and unfortunately the outcome was not what I was anticipating.
E!: Do you want to talk a bit more about that?
MV: We didn't know what to do first. I'm like, I don't even want to see the baby and get attached but then I'm like, you know what? It is my baby. It is my son. We don't know what happened. We sent the body to an autopsy and hopefully we will have some answers. That can take 30 to 45 days, unfortunately. Meantime, we decided to do a burial to give him the respect that he deserves and a place for us to go and grieve. It's a very tough process to look at your baby basically dead. I don't wish it on anyone.
I didn't have the chance to connect to him as much but it just kills me that he didn't get the love that I could've possibly given him, because I was ready. I was so ready for a third kid. And it's just not fair to him. I just don't know what happened, so that's the closure that I still don't have. Maybe with the autopsy we'll get the closure, but as of now everything is a big question mark.
E!: Have you had the funeral yet?
MV: It's tomorrow. We went yesterday to the funeral home. Basically you have the baby in a casket. It's very heavy. We wanted to see him again to say goodbye. It's very hard mentally to do it but we did it, me and my husband. And tomorrow we'll do the burial. I'm sure it's going to be a very tough day for us. I do want to be done with it already, so I can kind of let go, in a way. One day at a time.
E!: How did you talk to your kids about this?
MV: My daughter doesn't understand because she's like one-and-a-half. My son, he doesn't fully understand. But when he sees my husband and I, when we cry, he tells us, "Don't be sad, mommy" and it breaks my heart even more. He didn't ask me, "Where is the baby?" because I don't think he understands. I think once they do understand, I would always tell them they had a brother. They will know the story.
E!: What kind of resources have you found in terms of a support system?
MV: I wish I could just be a strong person and just brush everything off, but it's just not the case. People know my pregnancy because of the show, so a lot of women reach out to me. They send me emails. They share their stories. It helps me to read--and especially a lot of them did have a successful delivery and a baby after. That's something that I would really like to have: I really would like to have another baby and have a nice sweet experience at the end.
E!: How have your castmates been there to support you?
MV: They always check on me. They text me. They do what they can do to support. I think they were all shocked and very, very sad for me, and they've been just very supportive. Very, very sweet. All of them.
E!: What is something you want to share with others?
MV: I just wanted to say that I'm very thankful to all our friends and support system. We've been getting a lot of love and it is just nice to know that people care and they try to be strong for us. I appreciate all the help. To all the women out there that experience the same thing, it's not their fault and just to be strong.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)