For as long as I can remember I have always wanted three kids. I come from a family of three kids, as does my husband. But my husband has been in more of the mindset of, “Do you remember how the kids behaved today?? Do you REALLY want to add another one to the mix?” And I’ll be honest, after those days I thought, “yeah… we are done.”
Even my oldest made a comment to her Nana, when asked if Mama should have another baby, that Mama would go crazy if we had another! (I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff!)
This summer after my many subtle hints (read: not so subtle), my husband finally agreed that he wanted to add another rugrat to the mix.
-Backtracking just a bit-
With my oldest, it took over two years to get pregnant. In the process, we actually discovered I had endometriosis and a week after the diagnosis I had surgery and about three months later I was pregnant! Praise the Lord!
Our first blessing, Genesis Faith Photo Credit: A Click Photography
It really is amazing to me how many women struggle with infertility. I have photographed more than my fair share of women who struggled to get pregnant and sadly, each year it feels like this number continues to grow. I hold a special place in my heart for those that struggled, and are still struggling to conceive.
When we decided we were ready to have another, it took a year to get pregnant with Olivia. Aside from the morning sickness, the pregnancy was smooth sailing until after our 20 week ultrasound. About a week after, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office saying that there was something wrong with Olivia’s heart. She had what they call an Ecogenic Intracardiac Focus (EIF). We were told very little from the nurse at that point other than we needed another ultrasound.
The fear that envelops you after a call like that… it’s consuming.
At this point we still did not have a name for Olivia. But two weeks later, on our way to our appointment we finally figured out her name:
That middle name held so much importance to us at that moment…
At the ultrasound we got a closer look at Olivia’s heart. We also found out that an EIF could be an indicator of down syndrome.
You can see the four chambers of her heart in this photo and the white spot is the EIF
Once we had our ultrasound, the Dr. felt that everything was fine but if we wanted to do the quad screening, we needed to get it done ASAP. My husband and I immediately agreed that we would not partake in this testing. Even if our baby was born with any sort of birth defect, we would never abort the baby so it really was unnecessary testing.
Even though we were released from maternal fetal medicine, there is still that voice in the back of our heads saying, “what if….” In some ways, those next few weeks flew by… in others, time went so slow.
When Olivia arrived on Oct 29, 2014, we were INCREDIBLY thankful that she was perfect and healthy! She was an answer to prayer!
Photo Credit: A Click Photography
So back to the beginning of this post… my husband was finally on board with having another and a month later, we were PREGNANT! We were both shocked because we had a difficult time getting pregnant with our two previous cuties! My husband thought he had finally perfected the process and was disappointed that he got it correct so quickly!
Now, something you need to know about my husband, he can’t keep a secret to save his life. In fact, with our first, he told about everyone in our church but ended it with saying, “but don’t tell anyone yet. You’re the only one who knows!” No joke, about the whole church knew but no one said anything… So, in true fashion with this third pregnancy he began to tell everyone.
Now, anyone who has ever been pregnant knows this… they (I don’t know who “they” are, but they) say you shouldn’t start sharing this news until you hit the second trimester. You are more likely to miscarry in the first trimester and if you lose the baby, you’re going to have to tell everyone about it. I was so mad at my husband because we didn’t have a clue how far along we were and he was pretty much shouting it from the rooftops.
In the afternoon of August 12th (right before we left on vacation) I had my first prenatal appointment. I’d been down this road before so my husband stayed behind since he was working. Immediately after going back the nurse let me know that their was blood in my urine. She also said they might not want to do an ultrasound because they weren’t sure how far along I was and there might not be a heartbeat simply because I’m not far enough along. Normally they would do blood tests to check out the HCG levels but I was heading out on vacation that evening so that would be pointless because I couldn’t return for more blood work in two days. After the Dr. came back they decided they’d go ahead and do an ultrasound to check for an ectopic pregnancy (which can be life threatening). The Dr. made me aware that we were NOT checking for a heart beat and we were NOT checking to measure how far along I was. IF we were able to get either of those, that would just be icing on the cake.
The nurse sat me in a row of chairs to wait for the ultrasound tech. This row of chairs brought me to tears because this is where my husband and I sat when we waited for the results of our 20 week ultrasound with Olivia. At that point we didn’t know anything was wrong but the tech came back and said she needed to check a few more things. But again, we did not have a clue that they saw anything wrong with Olivia’s heart.
I went back and forth in my head while I waited. I bled with both of my previous pregnancies and everything was fine, so this would be fine. But the fear kept trickling in….
Finally the tech took me back and not only did she locate the baby in the correct place (not an ectopic pregnancy), she got the heartbeat and the baby was measuring 6 weeks 4 days!
I followed back up with the Dr. prior to leaving. She let me know that the baby looked good and the heart beat was within the normal limits.
I hate that word. I’ve already been on a roller coaster of emotions yet here is another one where the world seems to plummet from beneath me. She went on to say that the sac was implanted lower than usual in the uterus. She said, “Does this mean that you are at any higher risk of miscarrying than normal? No.” But because we were leaving on vacation that evening she did let me know a few things to do should I miscarry while on vacation.
I had been keeping my husband informed of what was going on throughout the appointment but on the way home I called him to fill in the gaps. I gotta tell you, when I got home, I literally felt like I had run a race. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. But I held on to the fact that we had a precious, healthy baby growing inside me.
Fast forward about 15 hours, I woke up at about 5 in the morning drenched in blood. We had lost our baby. There really are no words to describe the loss you feel in a moment like that. It is absolutely gut-wrenching.
Prior to this, couples would share their stories of infertility and loss. And I was genuine when I said how sorry I was and how I can’t even imagine going through what they went through.
People, I’m here to tell you… It is unimaginable. And while my husband was devastated, there is something about a woman losing life inside of them. You already have that connection with your precious baby and in a moment, that little one is gone.
One thing I’ve discovered through all of this that I hadn’t really given a second thought to before, it is SO important to share these things with others. Regardless of what society says about not sharing about your pregnancy in the first trimester, heaven forbid something happen to your child, it is vital that you have friends and family who know what you are going through. People who can lend an ear, offer a shoulder to cry on, bring a meal, and lift you up in prayer. And you never know when someone else is walking the same road as you. I am so thankful that my husband had been sharing that we were pregnant with others because we had people surrounding us during one of our most difficult journeys.
In the midst of grieving the loss of our little one (although, do you ever stop grieving??) I met up with a client for coffee. I had noticed a tattoo on her wrist prior to my miscarriage but at this meeting I felt led to ask her about it. She shared with me that she had miscarried and she got the tattoo “in remembrance” (not that you ever need reminding of a loss like this) of her little ones she miscarried. At that moment I broke down because I had been talking to my husband about getting one in the exact same spot. She wrapped her arms around me. And in that moment, I felt as though we were bonded… we were both a part of a club we didn’t want to be a part of, yet we were. And we both understood the loss of the other. I’ll always remember that moment.
My tattoo in remembrance of our little love.
Photo credit: A Click Photography
Since my husband and I have gotten the go ahead to try again, we have yet to be blessed with another one. I’m trying to be okay with that, but I’ll admit, every month that goes by, it’s painful. Patience has never been my strong suit.
In writing this, I was reminded of a devotional by Joyce Myers that I posted on my facebook page back in 2012:
There is a little phrase in the Bible that I get excited about every time I come across it. It is just two little words, but it is found throughout the Bible and is probably one of the most powerful two-word phrases in it. It is simply this: But God . . .
As we go through the Bible, we constantly read disastrous reports of the terrible things the devil had planned for God’s people. Then we come to this little phrase, But God . . ., and the next thing we read about is a victory. In the above scripture, the fact is mentioned that we are all sinners, a condition that deserves punishment and death. The phrase But God . . . interrupts the process. God’s love is brought into the situation and changes everything.
While we were sinners, Christ died for us, and by doing so, proved His love for us. He proved that His love interrupts the devastation of sin. When God called me into the ministry, people told me, “Joyce, a group of us have been talking, and we feel that there is no way you are ever going to be able to do what you say God has told you that you are going to do. We don’t feel your personality is suitable for such a job.” I still remember how awful I felt when they said those things to me.
I was hurt and discouraged . . . but God had called me, and He qualified me. What others thought was not even usable, God saw value in. He helped me, and He will do the same thing for you.
From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2007 by Joyce Meyer
I am choosing to turn the “But” that the doctor told me back in August into “But God”. I’m choosing to be grateful for our two beautiful children and our third that is in Heaven. I’m choosing JOY.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18
“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, I highly recommend this book by Kathe Wunnenberg called “Grieving the Child I Never Knew.”