So this isn’t what I would’ve ever planned to post after taking over a year off from blogging but as I’ve learned many times over, plans aren’t promises.
I know this post may qualify as oversharing but when you experience a life-threatening event that results in a devastating loss you feel a burden to speak up so others walking that journey know they are never alone.
On October 23rd I found out I was pregnant with number two. It wasn’t a total surprise yet I was dealing with a range of emotions. I did not feel “over” our challenges with Mae’s first year. I did not feel strong enough to go another year (or more) without sleeping. I was terrified of postpartum depression finding its way back into my life and all of these concerns left me feeling numb. I can see clearly now it was fear.
Dave and I discussed it and as the weeks passed I began to release my fears and put my complete faith and trust in God’s perfect timing. We shared the news with family members and began to get excited. I was already nagging Dave to get the baby gear out of the attic and making a list of names. I had no morning sickness this time and had been staying active so I was looking forward to a more energetic pregnancy. We had also timed it perfectly with wedding season so I could easily take four months off.
On November 23, nine weeks into my pregnancy, I started to bleed. I called our midwife who suggested I go in for an ultrasound since I had not yet had one. So I called Dave and together we went in. I was wearing this. The ultrasound tech’s stoic expression and complete silence confirmed my fears. I asked if she was able to share her findings and she quietly said “there’s nothing there”. Empty.
When we discussed the results with the midwife she assumed that I had miscarried very early without noticing and that the bleeding was simply a period. To be safe, she ordered a blood test to make sure my pregnancy hormone levels were decreasing. They were not. She gave it two more days and tested again. At this point she did express concern over the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy but said it was rare, and especially this far along. I began to get concerned because I had a wedding the next day and I knew from a friend’s experience that ectopic pregnancies were dangerous. When we received the results the levels had gone down so we took that as a green light to proceed with business as usual.
God’s hand of protection was so miraculously on me that weekend yet I still felt like I was in a bit of a twilight zone. I was confused about what had happened, was happening, or would be. A stranger stopped me at church and asked if I was pregnant. I didn’t know how to answer her.
Monday morning, November 30th, I was supposed to drive to Miami for a meeting and a shoot but thankfully they were cancelled. Mae went to the sitter and I began my day with a phone call with a friend. As we were talking I started to feel extremely hot, nauseous and dizzy. There was intense internal pressure in my abdomen and I knew something was wrong. I could not get in touch with my family but I did speak to my midwife who ordered me to go to the ER immediately. By the grace of God, I was able to reach my dear friend who had experienced this same exact thing three years ago. She was at my house within ten minutes rushing me to the hospital. I was wearing this.
Over the next few hours, both of my parents, my mother-in-law and my husband arrived at the hospital. Amidst the flurry of activity and fearful faces of my family members, I was given the sweetest sense of peace. The pain had intensified significantly due to the internal bleeding but I distinctly remember lying still for the internal ultrasound and praying, “Lord, I don’t know what’s going to happen or why but you do and I am assured that is the absolute best for me”. I was never alone.
They diagnosed me with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and began prepping me for emergency surgery. They took me down the same hallway through which we brought Mae home. The sky was the same shade of blue. I smiled at the thought that both of my babies went home through the same hallway. Never alone.
Those moments before surgery were so precious to me. The nurses gave my family a few moments to pray and the words shared during that time will stay in my heart forever. The sense of God’s peace was so present, I never felt alone.
After surgery, I woke up to my mom and dad praying over me and Dave right next to them. My mom left to stay the night with Mae and Dave and I were left to stay in the hospital overnight. Once he was sleeping, I began doing research and realized for the first time how close to death I was, how many miracles had transpired to keep me alive, and that the likelihood of future pregnancies had been impacted. It was a lot to take in, but the peace of God never left my side.
In the weeks that followed, my village wrapped their loving arms around me in ways I would have never expected. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life. I felt as if this experience gave me the chance to trust again. It was incredibly painful but somehow, for it, I was incredibly grateful.
So I dried all of the flowers we received and asked my dear friend Kat if she would photograph our little ceremony to say goodbye to our baby and thank God for the life we shared. These images are so rich with meaning as they share my journey of being emptied but never alone.