Mid-January, I asked Josh to pick up a pregnancy test. We both knew the result would be positive. We have always been blessed to conceive quickly. First try, every time. We knew this time wouldn't be any different. I took the test and hopped in the shower to pass the time. Josh snuck a peek before I could dry off, and the smile on his face told me what I would find.
We were thrilled! Instantly, life was changed. Normal bedtime conversation that night was traded for baby girl names and how we would reveal the pregnancy to our boys and our families. I became a constant daydreamer. I bought supplies to begin a pregnancy journal. I started three secret boards on pinterest: The Next 9 Months, Pink, and Blue. I began planning our pregnancy announcement.
About a week later, I experienced some spotting. I had spotting once with my third pregnancy, and it was very minor compared to what I was seeing. I made an appointment but had to wait all weekend. My daydreaming turned to worrying. Afraid that my job (teaching dance) may be playing a role in the bleeding, I launched into online research. Nothing I read seemed to calm my fears entirely, although I did learn that dancing could not be affecting the pregnancy.
On Sunday, I asked my husband and father to give me a priesthood blessing. You can read more about these blessings here. Josh and I sat the boys down and told them our good news, then also told them that Mommy wasn't feeling very well and that she needed a blessing. The blessing was sweet. I was touched and comforted by the Spirit. I knew that no matter what happened, my Heavenly Father loved me and had a plan for me. The rest of the night was spent cuddling. The boys kept rubbing my tummy and asking if it was a girl. They were so excited.
My symptoms declined through Thursday, but then on Friday my spotting changed. I had begun teaching my Friday afternoon classes. I ran to the restroom between classes and there was bright red bleeding. My heart started pounding. This was not a good sign. Not really knowing what to do, I went back to class. Surrounded by delightful, rambunctious and beautiful three year old girls, we practiced our plies and chasses. However, a horrible feeling overcame me. I could feel hot tears building up. Not wanting to upset my students, and not wanting to seem unprofessional to their parents, I finished class and returned to the restroom. More bright red blood. I went to a fellow teacher and asked her to combine our next classes for warm-up. I needed to call my doctor.
I couldn't reach my doctor, but talked to an advice nurse. She was not the warm and comforting person I needed at that moment. She basically told me that my symptoms were not severe enough to be a miscarriage or anything else that demanded medical attention. And that I needed to calm down. Now, I'm not a hysterical person. I'm certain the worry in my voice came across loud and clear. But, she said I was poisoning my body with this worry and making things worse. Seriously? I'm sitting here wondering if I have lost the life growing inside of me and you want to place the blame on me, at this moment? A good nurse would have done what she could to calm me down, not frighten me.
My symptoms did not change throughout the day Saturday. After finishing my classes and private lessons, I rushed home to email my doctor. I wasn't about to talk to another advice nurse. That night, my symptoms were much worse. The blood clots frightened me. At this point, I knew. I couldn't say it out loud yet, but I knew.
Sunday came. We went to church. I was distracted. My heart was heavy. That afternoon, we kept our appointment to take our announcement photos. I allowed myself to forget my worries and pretend that everything was just fine. In the back of my mind I was thinking, there are still a lot of photos that we are taking that I could use for other projects. The boys are having fun - let them.
Here is the official announcement:
Cute, right? We were going to surprise our families first, then announce it to the world on Valentine's Day - today.
However, Monday morning came, and along with it, an email from my doctor. When I read, "I think you may have lost the pregnancy," I fell apart. I already knew it was true, but seeing the possibility in black and white was still somehow a big blow.
My doctor couldn't see me right away, but made arrangements to have me seen by a colleague. When I arrived, I sat in the waiting room with several other women. A few were obviously pregnant. One was complaining about her discomforts and I thought to myself, "At least you have a life inside of you. I wouldn't complain. If I still had my baby, I wouldn't complain." I am sorry now for being so judgmental. I was barely holding it together when they called my name.
I related all of the events of the past week to the nurse. She was being so kind. I really needed kindness and compassion at that moment. The doctor came in and he, too, was very kind and compassionate. He asked if anyone was with me and I said no. I had told my husband to stay at work. He wasn't going to make it in time, anyway, so I told him I would call with the news. The doctor left to get the nurse, and while I waited, I prayed. I didn't pray for the baby's life. I didn't pray for a miracle. I just prayed to not feel alone. I knew that I could handle the truth of the situation as long as I didn't feel alone. I needed my Father in Heaven and He was with me.
When he returned, I could tell that the doctor was not hopeful. He performed an ultrasound. As soon as I could see my uterus on the screen, any tiny little hope that I still had vanished. There was nothing there. He had to look and look to find the pregnancy, and when he zoomed in on the little dark spot, there was nothing inside. No heart chamber beating happily. No heart beat. Nothing. My heart sank. I tried not to cry. I don't know why, I guess I was trying to be brave. He had another colleague come in to verify. She confirmed that I had lost the pregnancy.
I cried then. They gave me a moment. I dried my eyes, took a deep breath, and said, "What happens now?" The doctor gently went through all of my options with me. I told him I would discuss it with my husband and get back to him. As I left the office, I felt different. I felt hollow, empty. I immediately called Josh and he left work. I drove to my parents' house to pick up Jaxon and told them. They held me, reminded me that it wasn't my fault, that God has a plan. I went home and waited for Josh. I made arrangements for all of my responsibilities over the next several days to be taken care of. I waited for the doctor to return my call about scheduling the procedure. It was all surreal.
My sister arrived with flowers. She is expecting, and our due dates were just one day apart. We were looking forward to being pregnant together, to racing to the finish line, to seeing our mom go crazy making two baby quilts at the same time. I was very grateful for her visit. I got a text from another sister. To know that she and her new husband were praying for me was very comforting. Then the boys got home.
They were devastated. They were confused and very upset. I regretted ever telling them that I was expecting. Now, I realize, that this has been a blessing in disguise. The talks we've been able to have since then have been beautiful teaching moments. I hated to see them hurt, but I feel like we are a stronger family having gone through this together. We asked my dad to come over and give the boys and myself another blessing. I again felt peace and my Father in Heaven's love.
I was visited again by another sister. Josh shared the news with his parents. We scheduled the procedure for the next morning. All went well and I have been healing very well.
It has only been a week and a half, but it seems like it has been months. Life didn't stop, and I allowed myself to be swallowed up in the normalcy of day to day living. I allow myself private moments to think, to grieve. Every once in awhile, though, I am caught off guard. Earlier this week I opened my planner and noticed an entry that said, "Appt. 11:45 a.m." It took me a moment, but I realized that it was an appointment with my ob/gyn. I stared at that square on the calendar for what seemed like an hour. I cried at what could have been. A week after my procedure, my son had an eye appointment. The office is across the hallway from the place I had my procedure done. I knew this ahead of time, but as I walked down the hallway my feet became heavy and I couldn't breathe. We couldn't get into the optometrist's office quickly enough.
I keep wondering if I should be more upset, less upset, upset in a different way. What is the appropriate response to this? I have decided that I will react how I need to. I will allow myself to cry when I need to cry. I will allow myself to laugh if I want to. I will continue to find strength in my family, my marriage, and my testimony. I will look forward to the future with hope - hope that we will conceive again, hope for a healthy pregnancy and child. I will count my blessings and love the family I do have with all of my heart.
I couldn't think of a better way for myself to celebrate Valentine's Day than to share this story today. I don't normally share things of such a personal nature so publicly, but I have felt strongly for several days that this needed to be posted here on my blog. We celebrate love on Valentine's Day, and even though this chapter of my life contains heartache and sadness, it's still a story of love. I am grateful for this experience. I can be more loving toward others who have been or will find themselves in similar circumstances because I've been there. I am more mindful that my family loves me and that I love them. I am more acutely aware of the love God has for me. I have felt it. I have witnessed it at work in my life. As time goes on, I am sure I will still have moments of sadness. That's okay. I know other trials will come, but I also know that this one has made me stronger in ways that will help me deal with future challenges. I understand that my circumstances were nothing compared to the trial and heartache of many other women, and for them I have nothing but respect, love and compassion. Many friends in the past days have shared their stories, and as I debated sharing mine online, I realized that hearing their stories strengthened me. I am not alone. There is a shared heartache and strength out there, one that can lift us up. I hope that by sharing my story, someone feels less alone. Someone feels lifted up, at least a little bit.
I hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day. As you celebrate with your families, children, significant others, etc., take a moment to think of someone who might be going through a difficult trial. Make sure they know you love them, too.