Our story. There’s good, there’s bad and there’s ugly. But here it is.
For a long time I didn’t’ really feel like I had much of a story to tell. I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in your typical all American home. One brother, one sister, two parents who were once high school sweet hearts and now married for almost 30 years. I was brought up in the church and raised in a Christian home. Taught to love the Lord and to love the people around me. I used to hear testimonies that people would share about their obstacles and struggles and how it made them a better person and how they grew in their relationship with the Lord. I used to envy those testimonies because I felt like I didn’t have one that was strong enough to impact other people. It wasn't until recently that I discovered first hand that some of the most impactuful testimonies come from the circustances that hurt the most.
Now before I begin let me preface my journey with my deep-rooted desire to be a mother. Before I knew I wanted to be married or plan a big wedding of my own my dream was to be a mother and to raise a large family. From a very young age I would play imaginary games that would entail this large family and my role as a mom. I knew I wanted to leave a lasting impression on the lives of children and I was and still am confident that God gave me the desire to be a mom to many. Some women dream of being a lawyer or a dentist, a chiropractor or a veterinarian. My dream job at the end of my rainbow has always been to be a stay at home mom and I knew that it would take someone so special to make this dream whole. So while I waited I babysat often, took nannying jobs, got my degree in early childhood education and filled substitute teaching rolls.
Que the husband. In May of 2012 I met Jimmy for the first time. A handsome, geniune man after the Lord's own heart. He was funny, loyal, loving and so devoted. This man pursued my heart and fought for our relationship. I felI head over heals, madly in love and I knew that some day I wanted this man who was one of a kind to be the father of my children. In January of 2014 when I was 22 years old we were married. I was finishing my last semester of college while Jimmy had just begun his first year of Graduate school in Spokane with the end goal of becoming a Physical Therapist. One of Jimmy’s requests that we had agreed upon was that we would wait to begin our family until he got closer to graduation. His desire was for us to be financially stable enough off of just his pay check so that I could be a stay at home mom. After much prayers discussion and compromise we decided that in the Spring of his senior year we would begin this process. Now you guys, I have loved and cherished every minute of being married to my man. Like every couple we have had our own disagreements and or moments but being married to him has been my favorite adventure. With that being said, for me to tell you all that the waiting game during those first two and a half years of marriage was easy I would be lying. Although I am so grateful for a husband who loves me and supports my dreams. There were many times (Jimmy can attest) that I would find myself face down in tears before the Lord begging for patience in this process until the timing was right.
Now here's a little disclaimer. I know what some of you are probably thinking. “Why are you wanting to rush life? You’re so young. You have plenty of time to start a family still. Give yourself at least a few more years to be married before you rush into children.” While I respect and hear you. This story is mine, these desires are my own, this journey is real and my words are honest. It's not easy to be vulnerable people who may or may not understand or agree with your words but I would ask if you're reading this that you would respect this space and our vulnerability.
March 2016, the time had finally come. Jimmy is now 26 and im just shy of turning 25. The first month that we began to try for our little one came and went with lots of money spent on negative pregnancy test and no success. The second month we were convinced I was going to be out of the State for a dear friend’s wedding so we had actually completely counted that month out. Well naturally the time you don’t think it’s going to happen, it does! I can still vividly remember the day I got my very first positive test. April 17,2016. That morning we were sitting in church and I remember leaning over to Jimmy and telling him “I feel like I am going to start my period today. I can just tell.” I was so disappointed that another month had gone by that I had him take me to Red Robins to gorge on bottomless French fries. That afternoon Jimmy was in the basement running on the treadmill and for some reason I felt drawn to take another pregnancy test. I had taken so many before hoping for positives but getting negatives that I was expecting the same result. I waited the actual time limit because I had a tendency to prolong looking and then end up with evaporation lines that gave you false positives. I remember looking down at the test and seeing a VERY faint pink line. My whole body began to shake as I walked out to show Jimmy the test. He and I both weren’t completely convinced so I called his older sister down who was a couple months pregnant at the time and she told me she saw a line as well. I took 2 more tests that night both of which the second line popped up within the time limit. Both faint lines but both there. The next morning I was so excited I just couldn’t sleep so I drove over to walmart, bought a digital test and another first response. I went into the Walmart bathroom took both tests and immediately “pregnant” popped up on that tiny screen. I raced home to confirm it with Jimmy and there we were. As he held me in his arms I looked down at the test and I wept. My biggest dream, my deepest desire had finally come true.
Immedietly we began planning. I started making signs for weekly documenting pictures, I downloaded baby tracking apps, I made sure I was excercising, I started eating all the best foods and I began picking out baby clothes for our announcement to everyone. We were pregnant and our baby would be born December 28, 2016. Right? When you get 20 positive pregnancy tests and the doctor confirms your pregnancy that means on your due date you bring home a baby doesn’t it? At least that’s what I always believed. And for one full week of our pregnancy, one blissful, unaltered week I continued to believe in that picture. Just as vividly as I remember the day I found out I was pregnant, I remember the day that marked the end of our pregnancy. I began spotting, very lightly at first a pale brown. Nothing crazy, nothing extreme but it didn’t seem normal to me. For the next few days I kept a watch on it. I wasn’t in pain and it wasn’t a lot but it wasn’t stopping either. All the while everyone around me was telling me it would be ok, that was common during pregnancy and the baby would be fine. I also remember during this time trying to believe and hope in what everyone was telling me but feeling like something just wasn’t right. A week after the spotting began I was at work at the coffee shop when I went to the bathroom and for the first time in this pregnancy there was red blood. I called my boss hysterically who released me to go to the ER where I met my parents and Jimmy. We were only a little over 5 weeks at the time so it was too early for the doctors to see anything. They took my HCG levels told me to come back in 48 hours and sent me on my way. Those next 48 hours I spent crying and praying. Confused and terrified of what the possibilities where I wept for this child. There was no way that after all of this time and all of this waiting God would take this baby from us. I remember kneeling before the Lord in the shower the night before we were supposed to go back to the ER and begging the Lord to spare the life of this little life. The next morning Jimmy and I woke up and went back in to the ER. We waited a couple hours while they took my HCG levels once more. For those few hours I felt like I couldn’t breath. With so much anticipation we waited. The fait of our future family and what that would look like was all riding on the results of this test. After what felt like an eternity, the doctor came back in with news that was music to our ears. My levels had doubled exactly the way they were supposed to. The doctor told us he couldn’t’ have hoped for anything better. So much relief I felt from hearing those words. The doctor called us back for an ultra sound and with happy hearts we obliged. It was during the ultrasound that Jimmy and I both could tell that something wasn’t right. We weren’t sure what but we both got the same feeling that something was off. When the doctor came back in to see us he informed us that he didn’t have good news. They had ruled out an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby is healthy but it’s outside of the womb) but that we should prepare ourselves to miscarry because that is what was going to happen. My thoughts “You have got to be kidding.” We left that ER room with heavy hearts and our heads hanging. Little did we know this would just be the beginning.
That entire week I took off from work waiting in anticipation for our sweet baby to pass through. Wondering when it would happen and what it would feel like. The end of another week came and Jimmy had to leave the state. I remember the day after he left Alaska was the day that I had the least amount of spotting. I knew I had not miscarried yet and for a split second I felt a glimmer of hope that maybe the doctor had been wrong and the baby was just fine after all. The one thing that was out of a place was a VERY slight pinch on my right side. I texted my original OB expecting her to tell me that the fact that the bleeding had subsided was a great sign and that everything was going to be ok. But instead her only words were “you need to go back to the ER. I’m worried it might be ectopic.” Ectopic? No, that couldn’t be right. Just last week the doctor told us he had ruled out ectopic. I called Jimmy and told him for the second weekend in a row I was heading into the ER for a possible ectopic and his response was the same as mine. It couldn’t be ectopic they told us it wouldn’t be; they weren’t even concerned about that a week ago. Well it would only take me 3 more hours and 2 ultrasounds to find out that we had previously been misinformed and that it was indeed an ectopic pregnancy.
Previous to that day I didn’t even know ectopic pregnancies were a thing. I had heard a lot about miscarriages and how common those were but ectopic was such a foreign word to me. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I felt starring at that dark screen in the ultrasound room when the tech pointed for the first time to our little baby. “This is where your baby is, and this is where that baby is supposed to be.” I laid there for a minute focused in on that little figure and as the realization sunk in that our baby couldn’t stay there I lost it. After a few minutes the ultrasound tech had to ask me to look away from the screen so that he could continue his exam, all the while my broken heart felt like it was outside of my chest. When they brought me back into the room they explained to me the dangers of an ectopic pregnancy if left untreated. A baby can only grow so big in a little fallopian tube before it would rupture and I could potentially lose my life. Methotrexate (low dose of chemotherapy) was the route they recommended we take in order to terminate the pregnancy. They were confident it would work for us, after all it works in almost 90% of ectopic pregnancies. So after a phone call with Jimmy I looked at the doctor knowing full well our baby at the time was growing perfect and healthy just in the wrong place and I gave her permission to move forward. Out of my own mouth. The mouth of a mother (be it only 7 weeks that the baby was at the time) came the permission to terminate our baby. No matter how many times I repeat that scenario in my mind it never gets better and it never feels validated whether that baby in the wrong place or not. Mothers are meant to love and protect their babies, not dispose of them. And no matter how many times people tell me I didn’t have a choice in the matter it doesn’t take away the sting I feel or the helplessness to protect my own child. For the record I should also state that we are very pro-life which made this decision even more unbearable. They administered the medication and in that moment as my husband was out of the State I knew this is where our baby would end. All the plans we had already started making all the dreams I had already connected this baby with would all disappear with this one little step.
To add a little icing on the cake this all happened the weekend of Mother’s Day. I am so grateful for all of the wonderful mother’s out there but to be honest. On this mothers day while my husband was still in another state I felt a lot of bitterness towards the new mom’s and the pregnant mothers with healthy beautiful babies. Not because they did anything wrong but because we had just lost what they still had. With something so fresh and real for me there was no easy way to see all of that. A day later Jimmy finally came home and as I took another week off from work I went in for two separate appointments to take my HCG levels and make sure they were dropping so that the doctors could tell the pregnancy was ending. Throughout each appointment and blood draw I felt painfully reminded of the fact that we were loosing our baby. I know it might sound morbid, but I was so looking forward to my numbers dropping so that it could all be over. This slow painful reminder of what we could no longer have. I just wanted it to end so that we could grieve and move forward. We would soon find out that that was still too much to ask for.
At the end of my week after taking the first dose of Methotrexate we received a very concerned phone call from my OB. My numbers had not dropped at all, they were actually still increasing and now the situation had become very dangerous for my own safety and well being. She told us to immediately go back to the ER for evaluation. Mind you this would be our 3rd straight weekend spent in the emergency room for this pregnancy. After 6 hours when the ultrasound tech arrived, I asked him if he could show us the baby. He asked us if we were sure that we wanted to and I told him if this would be the last chance we ever got to see our baby then we wanted to see them one more time. So in that room Jimmy (who was seeing our little one for the first time) and I both watched that dark ultrasound screen as our little baby appeared. Their tiny little head and their precious little body right in front of our eyes. So helpless to change anything about our circumstances. The doctor came in and informed us that the babies heart beat had stopped due to the first methotrexate injection. We were 8 weeks pregnant. At this point we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The baby was still growing which meant that there was very high chance of rupture where emergency surgery would be necessary. But there was still a chance if we did another round of methotrexate that could work and we could salvage both of my fallopian tubes. So we decided to go with the methotrexate AGAIN, the lesser of two evils as our doctor put it and recommended it.
Per doctors orders I was not allowed to be by myself between our ER visit on Saturday and our follow up appointment on Monday. We had to stay with my parents who live closer to the Hospital as a result of this ticking time bomb that was inside of me. So let’s recollect our timeline here friends. I’m sitting here at my parents home being monitored by my family. Our baby is still inside of me but no longer has a heart beat, I currently have two rounds of methotrexate in my system and I’m basically waiting to see if my baby will rupture my fallopian tube and cause me to bleed out or it wont. Sounds like a walk in the park right? Wrong. I was up most of that night with severe cramping but nothing the doctors weren’t expecting as a result of the methotrexate working. The next morning Jimmy was running errands while my mom and I went out for coffee and errands of our own. Physically I didn’t feel any different, the cramps from the night before had subsided with a high dose of ibuprofen and rest. Our assumption was that my body was responding to this second dose until about 2pm Sunday May 15, 2016.
I was sitting on the porch with my mom when all of a sudden I felt a stabbing unfamiliar pain in my lower abdomen. I got up to walk into the house so that I could lay down but nothing seemed to relieve the pain. I called my doctor who told me she thought it sounded more like a blood clot of sorts but to monitor it just in case. The just in case part came sooner than I expected. The physical pain I felt from there on out was horrific. The worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. So deep, so cutting so mind boggling I can’t really put it into words. Once the dizziness set in we collectively decided it was time to head into the emergency room. We didn’t know for sure at the time if it had ruptured but we all thought it was better to be safe than sorry. It’s funny how there are little things we take for granted. Like the bumps we go over when you’re driving down the road, on a normal day I wouldn’t even notice we were going over bumps while we were driving. On this day those little monsters we’re unbearable!
We finally arrived at the ER Sunday evening around 6pm. Dizzy and In Pain Jimmy wheeled me into check in. One thing I do remember is that out of all 3 of our weeks in the ER this was the quickest they have ever moved for us. All we had to say was “ectopic” and “rupture” and everyone was moving in hyperspeed. I vividly remember the ultra sound when I knew for sure it had ruptured. The moment the tech moved over my right side I felt excruciating pain radiate through my abdomen which had never happened to me before. He then looked at me and confirmed my fears. Everything after that was a complete blurr. Within minutes they had me hooked up to IV’s and preparing me for surgery. Friends were beginning to show up in our room and I remember looking over at Jimmy with tears in his eyes as we were both in shock and horror. Both terrified of what was to come. The Chaplin came in to pray with us, a man was asking us about a living will and through the tears and the pain I looked up at my Doctor and asked “am I going to die tonight?”.
We exchanged last minute hugs, kisses and terrified prayers before they wheeled me back to surgery. 2 hours later, 1 less fallopian tube, 1/3 of my blood lost, a blood transfusion and 3 scars I was wheeled up to recovery where I would stay for the next 2 days. Today I am just about 2 months post surgery and everything that followed not just that traumatic day but the entire traumatic process is yet to be written. I will soon be posting about the physical recovery process after surgery, my emotions I’ve wrestled with from the beginning of this process, my angry moments with God, Our grieving process, my dark days, my good days, tools that have helped me find light, trying to conceive after childloss etc. If you have any questions or you just need someone to listen PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK! But that's all for now friends.