My Journey to Hope.
I met my husband in college and we took our time getting to know each other. After dating for 5 years, we knew we were ready to start a family… so we bought a house and got married! Growing up, you think that it must be easy to get pregnant and have children. You are never taught that it can be difficult, or emotional.
After a few years of trying the “old fashioned” way, we decided it was time to see a doctor. This is never an easy step for couples, wondering if there is something wrong…. and which partner needs to be checked out. More often than not, the doctors don’t have any insight on why it is difficult for some of us.
So, we began the long road of fertility treatments. I have since been poked by about 500 needles, taken a dozen different fertility drugs, made it to over 100 doctor appointments and experienced more medical procedures than some have in a lifetime. Yet, I would do it all again…. and most likely will have to!
Disappointment is a word I became very familiar with… but, discouraged I never was.
There is a deep rooted strength in women. I often surprised myself with courage. I marched into the unknown with all of my hopes and dreams clutched tightly in my heart. And, finally… it worked! After 6 years of unsuccessful fertility treatments and an early miscarriage… we were pregnant!!!
The beginning of this pregnancy was a little rocky… many times we thought we had lost our baby, but that little heartbeat was determined to keep beating strong! We made it through that 1st trimester and sighed with relief as the rest of our pregnancy was relatively easy and enjoyable!
It’s a Boy!
When we fond out that we were expecting a boy, we were over the moon with love and excitement! My husband started dreaming up the adventures he would have with our boys! (We have an adopted little boy, who is now 3 years old!) It really made my heart melt to hear him talk about how they would go fishing and build tree forts… I was so proud of this pregnancy and was so happy… nothing could take away this bliss.
Counting down the last weeks or days of pregnancy is a wonderful feeling. You start to envision what this little miracle will look like, feel like, even smell like… It’s a very happy time. Until, it isn’t.
The last weeks of my pregnancy felt off. I had never been pregnant before and didn’t really know what to expect. But, there were things that had changed. I went in about 2 weeks before my due date… baby wasn’t moving much. So, I left work early and went straight to the clinic. After a quick sugary snack, baby was kicking and moving like normal and a short 20 minutes on the heart monitor showed a happy baby. So, we continued packing our hospital bags and prepping for his arrival. Just a week shy of my due date, I really thought I was going to go into labor. It was getting difficult to walk, or sit, or stand, or anything really! But, nothing really happened… so I continued on.
My due date came and went.
A trip to the doctor’s office to see how baby was doing and even though I was concerned that the baby had “floated” back up after feeling like I was going to go into labor, nothing seemed to alarm my doctor. Even noting how his movements had changed from normal kicks and stretches to a more “frantic” burst of kicks and punches didn’t give my doctor a cause for concern. Her advice was to go on a long walk and come back next week.
The last day of my pregnancy.
We went in to get a biophysical profile ultrasound done, to check on the baby. I had never had one of these done before and didn’t really know what to expect. The ultrasound technician asked me if I had felt him move at all that day, which I was sure I had… just not as much as normal. But, I wasn’t alarmed. She then continued by “buzzing” my belly to try an wake the baby. She did this about 6 times and nothing seemed to stir him. She also made the comment that we were waiting to see his practice breathing. After an hour of this, she didn’t seem alarmed… so we weren’t. We met with the doctor briefly to schedule induction.
That night, we came home.
While we were sitting around the dinner table, I started to feel sick. Nothing terrible, just nauseous and tired… so, I went to bed. The next day, I didn’t feel my baby move. I grabbed my heart doppler and tried to find his heartbeat. I had always been able to find it before and loved to listen to the rhythm. But, this time I couldn’t find it. I called my husband and went into the clinic. We were just there 24 hours ago, so everything had to be ok, right?
The doctor we saw, was not my regular doctor.
Explaining that we were just there, the doctor tried to find the baby’s heartbeat. He sent us in for an ultrasound as he was also having trouble. My heart started beating fast and my face got hot.
Our worst fears confirmed.
The poor technician that was in that room as we found out our baby’s heartbeat had stopped… she was in tears before she was even able to say that we had lost our miracle. My initial reaction was denial. I begged the doctor to get him out and revive him. I pleaded… there had to be something they could do!? We panicked and called our parents to rush to the hospital, asked the neighbors to pick up our son… we battled with the reality of what was going on.
A quiet room.
They put us in a waiting room and shut the door. We were left there with all of our hopes and dreams shattered.
Then, a nurse from labor and delivery came in to see us. She was the only person there that acknowledged what had just happened to us. She told me to go home, take a minute… there is nothing that they can do to bring him back. She advised me to walk into my newly prepped nursery and pick out something special for him to wear. Bring a special blanket or a stuffed animal to share with him. We would then come back in the morning to deliver him.
This whole experience of delivery was worse than I could’ve imagined. We arrived at 5:30am and prepped for a c-section. I opted for one, as I really had nothing left to try and deliver through induction. I was absolutely terrified. Shaking so much that 2 nurses had to try and hold me still to receive the spinal block. The doctor that did my delivery couldn’t have been any less understanding. She giggled during the surgery because she bumped someone’s hand, no one in that room showed us any sort of compassion. We were grieving and in total shock. They acted like it was routine. When our little boy was delivered they announced in a cheery voices, “Oh, what a big boy!” I thought I had to be dreaming… how can they act like nothing is wrong?
No one prepared me for how he would look. His color was purple and blue and his skin was torn in places.I won’t share anything more than that, but it was something I will never be able to forget. Holding him for the first time was eerie. I was afraid. Yet, he was my son and I loved him more than anything.
An hour after my surgery, my family and my pastor were in my recovery room. Everyone was in distress, trying to cope with what was going on… then it got worse. I started to hemorrhage, badly. I sort of blacked out, but remember telling the doctor that I felt hot and couldn’t hear her talking… Then the pain began. Nurses were scrambling around me pressing down on my new incision trying to stop the bleeding, IVs and injections were going in my arms and legs. My husband was sitting beside me… wondering what was happening while the doctor was telling him I may have to have emergency surgery. Amongst all this chaos, I remember seeing my baby boy… laying still and motionless at the foot of my bed.
When things calmed down, the room around me got quite and for the first time, I was able to snuggle my baby boy. I wanted to see him… all of him. So, I undid his diaper and looked at his cute little baby bottom. I studied him, every hair on his head, each finger and toe… I never want to forget him.
Leaving empty handed.
Leaving our baby at the hospital was extremely difficult. Your mind understands what is going on, but your heart and your body can’t comprehend it. But, I will never forget the nurse who took our son into her arms as we left. She cuddled him and loved on him like any other baby. That is the image I carry with me from the day we left him. I’m grateful for her. Anyone with that kind of compassion to take care of people who have experienced such a loss…
You never really move past an experience like this, it takes it’s toll on you as a person, as a mother, as a wife…
But, like I said before… I never got discouraged. My heart was broken and my soul felt shattered… but I was reminded of how the girl who gave us our adopted son must have felt like. I can now relate to her in a way I couldn’t before. She watched us leave the hospital with her baby, she trusted us to take him with us.
That boy we got to take home with us 3 years ago became my strength. He needed me to be his mommy… and I will never let him down.
After my body healed from all of this, we knew we knew we wanted to try for another baby. Knowing that it could all happen to us again, we dug down deep for the courage to try again. I started all of the IVF shots and medication, preparing for another attempt to get pregnant… and with our 1st round we were expecting. Nervous as I could ever be, each day got me closer to my due date. This time we were expecting a little girl.
Knowing that we couldn’t risk getting that close to my due date, we scheduled a C-section at 37 weeks… but she showed up 2 days before that! Thankful for a new team of doctors, we caught what could have been an indicator of distress and delivered our little girl at 36 weeks and 5 days. She was perfect. A healthy 7.1 lbs and 20 inches long.
Hope Cynthia Joy.
I had the name Hope picked out about 5 years before her arrival. I just didn’t know how much meaning her name would carry with it. She is a miracle, she is worth the wait, she is everything to us. Oddly, there are days that are harder than I expected. I miss my son…. I think of him often as I share these new baby experiences with Hope. But, I carry him with me.