It was September 11, 2017. We'd been trying for baby number two for 18 months and based on a hunch I decided to run to Target after Kya's nap and grab a box of pregnancy tests before Daniel returned from work. Because of our history with infertility, my real reason for taking pregnancy tests is usually to get the thought out of my head, not because I truly believe I'm pregnant. That's exactly what I was doing that afternoon. I ran home and quickly took a test. To my GREAT surprise, two pink lines showed up so fast! TOTAL SHOCK. Our dream of a second baby had come true! And based on my calculations (and later the doctor's calculations) the due date was the exact same day as Kya's due date - three years later - May 26! I could not believe it. Daniel was returning home from work about an hour later and I knew we'd have to rush off to a friend's house, but I just had to tell him right away. In a very nonchalant way, I handed him the positive test in the car as we were backing out of the driveway and about knocked his socks off! There were a lot of smiles and hugs and then we scooted off to our dinner engagement. To keep from letting on about our news we tried to wipe the giddy smiles off our faces. Pretty sure that was impossible. We were on cloud nine to say the least.
September was one of the busiest months of our lives. I was incredibly slammed with my photography business - shooting session after session, including my first wedding. We then traveled to South Carolina for my sister's wedding, and Daniel landed a new job! Finding out I was pregnant in the middle of that month was just crazy! Those first weeks flew by. Nausea started to creep up between weeks five and six while I was in SC. It continued to get worse as the weeks went on and came in waves - every day was different. I felt sick and had a weak (and very weird) appetite. I mostly wanted fruit and carbs and I definitely couldn't drink coffee! I was mostly just exhausted and napped almost every single day from five weeks on.
I struggled with a lot of fear during this pregnancy. Last time around I didn't. I was somehow just confident everything would be fine with Kya. This time was different. I had no reason to believe anything was wrong, but the fear of loss loomed large in my mind and heart the entire time. I specifically feared a missed miscarriage - when there are no signs anything is wrong until the first ultrasound. I had read that this type of miscarriage only happens in 1% of pregnancies and tried to find comfort in that statistic but ultimately I was still so scared that it would happen to me.
This past Tuesday, October 24, we went into the doctor for our first ultrasound at 10 weeks along. I was sitting on the examination table while my husband and daughter sat in a chair by the window looking out over the Salt Lake valley. I was shaking so badly and so nervous about the ultrasound, but for no real reason! Everything seemed to be going fine. I had nausea and a growing belly and very much felt pregnant. It was our first time meeting my OBGYN and we were so impressed with her from the first moment she walked into the room. She had a very calming demeanor and put me at ease right away. She talked to us for a while, but I just couldn't wait to get that baby on the screen so my heart could be reassured that everything was fine. The time finally came to get that wand on my belly and take a peak at our miracle baby.
Having had prior experience with pregnancy, I knew what an ultrasound should look like. From the moment my uterus lit up on the screen I knew something was wrong. All we were seeing was an empty gestational sac. I tried to believe maybe the angle was wrong or maybe if she used the transvaginal wand, we'd be seeing something different. But no. We couldn't see anything but an empty sac and some pooling blood inside my uterus. I was immediately in such shock and disbelief. The experience was so jarring and surreal. All I could do was sit there with my mouth open and tears streaming down my face. Where was my baby? My daughter and husband were standing off to the side as this was going on. Kya saw me crying and immediately reached out to give me a huge hug, along with my husband. The reassurance of their love meant the world to me at that moment. It was like getting a hug from Jesus Himself.
We went on to have my blood taken to further confirm what was seen. My results came back with high HCG levels, which prompted my doctor to request a more extensive ultrasound the following day at an imaging center. I had to go to that appointment by myself. I didn't expect to see anything different, but still had a very small glimmer of hope that something would have changed and this nightmare could be erased. The tech that performed my second ultrasound used a more high-tech machine and could see a lot more than we could see on my doctor's in-office machine. She ended up finding a very small, six-week fetus without a heartbeat. That was hard to see. It wasn't very discernible but I knew I was looking at my baby. My doctor had determined it was a blighted ovum the day before, but now I knew a baby had grown inside of me for few weeks before passing away.
Even though my baby passed at six weeks, my body continued to maintain the pregnancy. My hormone levels continued to rise, the gestational sac kept growing (which gave me a quickly growing belly that I was so proud of), and I still felt sick and exhausted. Because my body had hung onto the pregnancy from six weeks to ten weeks and wasn't showing signs of letting go, we decided it would be best for me to have surgery to remove everything. I was assured by research and by family and friends' experiences that a D&C was the way to go. Waiting around to miscarry a baby on your own and going through all that intense cramping and bleeding alone at home was something I couldn't bear to handle. The choice was an easy one for us. Even though it was a huge financial blow, it was worth every penny to get me physically and emotionally on my way to healing.
I went in for surgery yesterday morning (October 26) at 6:00AM. My husband and daughter attended with me and patiently waited during surgery and recovery. We were only at the hospital for about five hours. We spent the rest of the day laying low, resting, and continuing to grieve. But honestly, it was a far better day than what I had expected. I've had virtually no cramping or bleeding post surgery and have physically felt great. My pregnancy symptoms have wained as the hormone levels are dropping. But my emotions are very unpredictable. I do really well some of the time and totally break down at other times. I'm sure that's the nature of the beast and there will be ups and downs all along the way.
I hesitated to share our story right away on social media because it is such a private matter. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to immediately share. Between Facebook and Instagram, I have about 2,000 connections with people, many of whom share my beliefs and could bring us to the throne of grace. I first shared the beginnings of our story on Instagram stories and then the morning of surgery asked for prayer on Facebook. I'm SO GLAD I did. While miscarriage is certainly a touchy and very emotional circumstance, I couldn't get over the gold mine of prayers that were waiting for me if I just simply shared a piece of what was going on. People can be quite cynical about social media at times (and for some good reasons), but I was reminded this week what a huge blessing those platforms are to me. I've literally had hundreds of comments and messages pouring in over the last three days - promises of prayers, personal stories of miscarriage and hope, and well wishes as we begin the healing process and continue to try to grow our family. THANK YOU to every single person who reached out!
My husband and daughter have exhibited such gentle care for me this week. My 2.5-year old has been tender and perceptive well beyond her years. She has reassured me with hugs and kisses as she wiped my tears with a wad of toilet paper she grabbed from her bathroom. She spoke with childlike faith - "Mommy, don't cry. We'll just pray and Jesus will give us another baby!" She brought me her two very favorite stuffed animals to hold as I rested on the couch. She randomly broke into an out-loud prayer for another baby as I rocked her. She has been so sensitive. I keep telling people she has been like a "little Jesus" to me - such a bright light during this dark week. My husband, Daniel has so tenderly cared for me. He has met my needs, taken off two full days of work (during his first week at his new job), has offered lingering hugs, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on.
I'm only at the beginning of the grieving process and I'm unsure of how it will progress. All I know is that God's grace has been abundant. Jesus has never felt closer. I'm confident in His sovereign hand, His tender care, and His never-ending love for me. The first time my baby ever opened his or her eyes, Jesus' face was the first thing they saw. There is sweet comfort in knowing that He loves my baby more than I ever could and that little one is in His arms forever. And as my arms are empty, He is holding me.