Along with the release of a new single and music video, “Bottle By My Bed,” Sunny Sweeney is sharing her experiences with miscarriage and infertility.
Sunny recently told PEOPLE Country that the song, from her fourth studio album Trophy, was inspired by the journey she and her husband, Jeff Hellmer, have undertaken to become parents.
“I think everyone assumes that they will automatically achieve pregnancy as soon as they start trying,” the 40-year-old Texas singer-songwriter told PEOPLE. “But after a couple of years had passed and nothing was happening, we realized it was going to be more a struggle than we had anticipated. So….we decided to go explore infertility treatments.
“We spent so much money on what seemed like months and months of no return: shots, creams, hormones, medications, and finally [in vitro fertilization], which was brutal on both my body and my emotions,” she continues. “We had a total of 12 perfect embryos whenit was all said and done. We were so sure it was going to work this time. Then not a single embryo made it to the implantation stage. My heart was absolutely broken.”
Then – a ray of hope. “A couple of months later, I miraculously ended up pregnant, naturally,” Sunny reveals. “We were stunned. We had gotten a few months into it, and we got to see the heartbeat. This completely restored my outlook on the parent/child connection immediately.
“Everything was sailing along smoothly,” she recalls. “I embraced morning sickness. It amused me that things smelled gross. My body was changing, and I couldn’t ‘hide it’ much longer. I thought, ‘This is it – we are actually having a baby!’
“Then I went in for my regular checkup, and the heartbeat was gone. Gone. No explanation. Nothing. It took me a couple months to finally digest that I had miscarried.
“I spent quite a few weeks and months in a state of complete depression. I drank a lot of wine to drown the pain and spent countless nights sitting on my couch with the music up, staring into space, beating myself up about what I could have done differently.”
Fortunately, Sunny was surrounded by the love and support of her friends and family. “….My friends started coming out of the woodwork. So many people had been through this. It was comforting to know we were not alone.”
Despite the stress, the loss brought Sunny and Jeff closer together. “I have never seen him so upset about something. He knew how badly I wanted the baby, and it was devastating for him to see his wife go through that pain. But it was not just my baby – it was his too. He was vulnerable and helpless and experiencing a loss all his own.”
But Sunny and her husband aren’t ready to give up on being parents yet. “Mostly, we are considering adoption,” she says. “Nothing is out of the question, but it’s so hard to put it all out there again. I think we both believe in the back of our minds that if I was able to get pregnant before, then surely it can happen again. I somehow can’t give up hope, despite having every reason to do so.
“The truth is, we both want to raise a little person together, so it’s something we are both willing to make huge sacrifices for.”
Meanwhile, Sunny is channeling her emotions into her music. “I’ve had the title of the song [Bottle By My Bed] and the line ‘All my friends are raisin’ babies, I’m still raisin’ Cain’ for a couple years,” she shares. “I mentioned it to Lori McKenna, who is my hero in so many ways, but mostly because she is the mother to five amazing children. I knew she was the one to write it with. She understands what it’s like to have exactly what I want. She understands the love of a parent/child.”
But after it was written, the idea of performing it was still a challenge. “It was….a tough decision to sing this song live after we wrote it,” Sunny confesses. “I initially looked at it like a cathartic, ‘Okay, that felt good to get it off my chest’ song.
“The first night I sang it, a woman came up to me afterwards,” she remembers. “She was very pregnant and sobbing. She said, ‘I know you hate me right now because I’m pregnant. I have spent my last couple of years mad at everyone that was pregnant. I want you to know that we have tried for years and he’s finally going to be here next week. Please do not give up on this if it’s what you want.’
“It was almost like a sign that on the first night I sang it live, someone that had been ‘me’ in my situation was telling me to push forward with this. I have had some incredible reactions to this song.
“People want to talk about the subject. People need to talk about this. We need to commiserate and lift each other up, both men and women. If my song can aid in that process, I feel we have done our job as songwriters.”
Watch the video for “Bottle By My Bed” here.