December 23rd, 2014. Still haven't started. Stephen was on a day trip to Dallas for work, and I had a few errands to run. Since I would be at Target anyway, I decided to get a test and just stop my mind from racing.
In about 3 seconds, the second line started forming. This particular set of tests also gives you a digital one in the box. "Pregnant" shown on the screen after the obligatory 2 minute wait. Holy. Cow. THREE KIDS. I was a mix of emotions, but I'm pretty sure the first thing I did was laugh. And then I freaked out.
I quickly got a little note together for Stephen with the pregnancy tests all lined up on the counter for his return home. He walked in, laughed and hugged his crying wife. I was excited, scared, confused, elated...every emotion in one. Stephen couldn't stop saying how exciting and awesome this was. I was trying to get to that point, but honestly I was just so nervous. Can't pinpoint why, I just was.
Since we would be going on a ski trip with my entire family in two days, we decided to tell my family and his right away. First, though, was telling Knox. We were in the car, leaving the Christmas Eve service at church, and we told him there was a baby in mommy's belly. Fearing he would be upset at another little one to steal his toys, I waited in anticipation for his reaction. Surprisingly, he smiled so big and let out a little giggle. "Is it a girl or a boy?" was his first response. "I hope it's a boy. We already have a little girl." We asked him what we should name the baby, since we didn't know the gender yet. "Baby D." And that was that. Baby D.
Our families were both shocked and excited. Before leaving for our trip to Colorado, I called my OB and set my appointment date. January 12th. Exactly one month from Blakely's first birthday.
We enjoyed our trip to Breckenridge, and excitedly discussed plans for our future family of 5. Two in cribs. I would need a double stroller. Would we move Knox to the guest room so he could have his own bathroom? What would we do about our car?
January 12th came quicker than I thought it would. With a quick sonogram, we could see our little Baby D and a healthy heartbeat. Whew. Answer to prayer.
Now it was getting real. That sweet baby was slated to arrive on 8/28/15, give or take a few days. "Can I handle an August due date in Texas? Will I suffocate in this heat? I need a lot more sundresses!" All of these thoughts and more flooded my mind, but we were having a third. After praying so hard for two, this seemed unreal. Unfathomable. God is so good.
I was a little more loose-lipped this time around. It was my third pregnancy and I'd never had any complications with my other two, so why not? Neighbors were shocked and excited, friends from near and far were offering their support and encouragement. This is happening. Baby D will be here before we know it!
January 29th, 2015 - 9 weeks/6 days. I had been cramping pretty badly, and just had an uneasy feeling. I called my OB's office, and they told me to come in just to ease my mind. Stephen had some work obligations, so the kids and I went alone. The nurse started by using the doppler to find the heartbeat. She reassured me that it typically takes a while to find the heartbeat at this gestation, so I shouldn't be alarmed. 8-10 excruciating minutes later, she decided to get another nurse. The second nurse came in and did a quick once-over, and decided we should just move to the sonogram room. Blakely was screaming, Knox was holding his ears, and I was doing all I could do provide as many yogurt melts and movies on my phone as I could muster, all the while my heart was racing out of my chest. "This is it. Baby D didn't make it." I couldn't help but think negative thoughts.
The sonographer called me back and started the sonogram. After a few seconds, she said "there's the baby's heartbeat." I melted. I cried while she told me how the baby looked. "Perfect. Size looks good. Right on track." Then a lot of clicks and silence. I tried to calm down, but knew something wasn't right. I looked over right as she was measuring the heartbeat one last time. 215 bpm. The normal scale is 120-180. My heart almost leapt out of my chest. "215?!?" I asked her. She agreed it was really high and told me she needed to speak to a doctor.
I got dressed and waited for her to return. The doctors had all left for the day, but the on-call OB instructed me to hydrate as much as I could and return first thing the next morning for a repeat sono. I asked as many questions as I could, but left more confused then at peace. Would I lose this baby? What does a high heart rate mean? I headed home and proceeded to drink a gallon and a half of water.
January 30th, 2015. I arrived at 8am, Stephen in tow, to my sonogram. Within a few seconds there was Baby D, perfect on the screen. Her heart rate (we decided early on it was a girl based on the drama she was giving us!) was 179bpm. The sonographer advised us that we were free to go. "You don't need to consult with an OB because the baby is perfectly healthy." 10 weeks and perfect. Can't beat that!
I have to say that it was a relief. For some reason I kept waiting on the other shoe to drop, and to hear her say the baby was perfect at 10 weeks was a game changer. I was slowly wrapping my head around having a third, and was getting excited thinking about another nursery and a new big-boy room for Knox.
Friday, February 6th, 2015. My sister, sister-in-law, HS friend and I were excitedly waiting on the speakers to start for the IF: Gathering in Austin. We were eating a snack, looking through the itinerary and anxious to see how God would move over the course of the weekend. We worshiped, singing our hearts out to the Father. I prayed over and over that he would give me a spirit of humility. Take away my need for control and forever strip me of my fear. Around my neck hung a key inscribed "Fearless." I haven't felt that raw and in His presence ever before in my life.
There was a quick break, and since I had been chugging water I figured I'd better take advantage and go. And there it was. A little drop of blood. Instantly my heart sank and fear enveloped me. Not 10 minutes earlier I was begging the Lord to take away my fear, yet here I was...alone in a bathroom stall. Paralyzed. Terrified. Desperate.
I left the restroom and immediately saw a family friend. She, my sister and I prayed. We begged the Lord to intercede and allow Baby D to flourish in my womb. It honestly was an out-of-body experience. Why me? Why was this happening?
I called Stephen at our next break, voice shaking and fear overwhelming me. "This could be totally normal. Don't go there yet. She's probably just digging in. Take it easy. I love you." I felt more calm after talking to him, and tried my best to carry on with the conference. The bleeding wasn't getting any worse, barely spotting, but the cramping was getting more noticeable.
The conference ended for the night, and I honestly just wanted to get home to Stephen. We both prayed and agreed that I would stay home the following day. Nothing I could really do, but taking it easy and hydrating seemed better than walking around downtown before, during and after the conference. I laid around the majority of the day, and did my best to relax and not "go there."
The symptoms stayed the same all day Saturday, however I had a nagging feeling I should call the doctor. The on-call physician listened to my description and symptoms and assured me that at the present time, all seemed in the "normal" category. "Since you just had a sonogram at 10 weeks and everything was normal, the chances of everything still being normal are really high." She told me to finish out the weekend on bedrest and come in on Monday to get checked out.
Sunday morning rolls around and the symptoms are still the same. I'm feeling better and started to feel a little optimistic. Stephen was doing some things around the house and I was helping with the kids when I could. It was leftover night and the Grammy's were starting. So were the cramps. They continued to get worse and worse throughout the night, and by the time we were tucking in the for the night I was a ball of tears. I just knew it couldn't be normal to feel this way. We prayed again for a good outcome, and did our best to get a good night's sleep in anticipation for our appointment on Monday.
February 9th, 2015 - 11 weeks/3 days. I woke up to the sunrise out of my window, and for a few seconds forgot that anything was any different. And then my brain registered the cramping. I got up and went to the restroom, and noticed the signs of an impending miscarriage. The doctor's office didn't open until 8am, so we did our best to stumble our way through the morning while waiting. The kids were still asleep, so Stephen took Finn for a walk. I did the only thing I could think to do, and called my dad to pray. While he was praying, I felt a shift in my body. It's hard to explain, but I just knew Baby D had left my body and gone to heaven.
Stephen returned from his walk and hopped in the shower. I couldn't move, afraid of what would happen. I finally got the courage to get up and go to the bathroom, and it was then my fears were realized. We lost the baby. Stephen jumped out of the shower to comfort me. We prayed, crying out to God. We were upset, angry, sad, confused. All of the emotions.
At 8am I called the doctor. After answering what felt like a million questions, we were told to come in at 9:50. Stephen took Knox to school, my mom came over to watch Blakely and we headed up to the office. After a sonogram confirmed our loss, the doctor explained that most of the time this happens because our body identifies a genetic abnormality. Not much of a consolation, but at least I knew there wasn't anything I could have done. We headed home, numb and without our sweet Baby D.
All day the emotions came over me like waves. Some gentle and some knocked me to the ground. My biggest fear was telling Knox. Throughout our almost 12 week pregnancy, he would often tell us how excited he was to meet Baby D. He REALLY wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl. His teachers told us of his excitement for the baby. I just didn't think I could break his heart while mine was still in pieces.
When he returned home from school, we sat him down on the kitchen counter and broke the news. He, too, looked numb. I asked him how he felt, and he said he was sad. He obviously needed time to digest, so we didn't push. Later in the day, I walked into his room and sat down. I asked him if he had any questions, and he quickly asked "Will Baby D have a birthday in heaven?" Taken aback by the question, I paused. When I knew the tears were pushed back, I answered.
Me: "Yes, babe. I believe she will. I think she'll get bigger and we'll recognize her when we get to Heaven."
Knox, sad: "But I want to see her get bigger."
Me: "I know, buddy. When we get old and die, we'll go to Heaven and she'll be there waiting for us. Until then, she's going to be your guardian angel, watching out for you and Blakely while you grow up!"
Knox: "But I don't want to die."
I laughed, and hugged him tighter than I ever have.
Just three days later we celebrated Blakely's first birthday. While the timing of our loss couldn't have been prevented, it helped that I had something to keep my mind off of it. I fell face first in party planning and decorating, praying through my tears and sadness. She and her brother are our pride and joy, and they were the perfect medicine in our despair. I honestly clung to them the whole week. Maybe in hindsight it was a little much, but they are healing my heart.
As of yesterday, it's been a week since Baby D met Jesus. A week full of laughter, tears, thanksgiving and pain. In some ways I feel like I was in quicksand, doing everything I could to escape. In others, it was a beautiful reminder of how quickly life changes and how He places people and events in your life for a reason. Friends and family flooded our house with food, flowers, cards, and hugs. Shoulders to cry on and a listening ear. I felt so loved and taken care of.
It's hard. It sucks. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But it's our story. One that God knew of before sweet Baby D was even conceived. He's stretching me. Molding me. Carrying us. He is STILL so GOOD!
I truly believe she's our angel now.
Nestled right there between our two babies, protecting them fiercely.
Baby D, we can't wait to see you in Heaven. We love you.