Anniversaries of major life events have always been important to me. I really like numbers and math, and dates become ingrained in my mind pretty easily (this was truer before I was a mother – if you are a new friend, I probably couldn’t remember your birthday if you paid me). This week marked a significant anniversary for our family – one that is painful and tragic, but also full of hope and glimpses of God’s abundant goodness. It’s a pretty personal and emotional story, and one I felt a little conflicted about sharing publicly. But, it’s one that I have come to find that I share with many others, so it is in the hope that my story may connect with someone that I share it here.
*Warning* This post goes into detail about pregnancy loss.
Last Februrary, I found out very unexpectedly that I was pregnant. My husband and I were thinking about trying for number two, and we made an attempt over the holidays. It was obvious that it was unsuccessful after 3 negative pregnancy tests and *finally* a period that was a little late. We decided that the timing wasn’t quite right anyway and moved our plans back a few months. I thought it would be best to track my cycle with ovulation tests and an app for a couple months so I would be fully prepared when we were ready.
On that morning a year ago, I took a pregnancy test on a whim. I had a bunch of them in the cabinet, so when my ovulation app randomly suggested that I take one a week before Aunt Flo was due, I thought, “Why not??” I had NO reason to think I was pregnant. My husband and I had been traveling separately for most of the month, so chances of it happening were pretty slim. But the two DARK pink lines on the test said otherwise. I had never seen a pregnancy test turn so positive so fast. Google searches and frantic calls to my mom made me sure I must have so much hCG so early because I was having twins… or more.
My husband was out of town again, so I quickly put together a cute video to announce the news to him. We were both excited, but surprised and a little unsure about what it would mean for our family (especially once we talked about the possibility of multiples!!). Two days later, I woke up in extreme pain with some spotting. My cramping was so bad, walking fast enough to catch 18-month-old L running through the house left me in tears. JP was going to be gone for several more days, and I decided that I probably needed help to keep up with L, so I called my mother-in-law to come up from Atlanta for a few days.
My midwife told me to come in for an ultrasound to see if everything was ok, but she was doubtful that she would find anything because it was so early. I took L to a friend’s house thinking that I would only be gone an hour or two, but jokingly telling her that I might need her to stay longer. The ultrasound revealed what they thought was a miscarriage, and lots of cysts on my ovaries and fluid in my abdomen. They told me I needed to go in to have surgery that day.
I had been texting my friends and family from the office all day, so my phone was very close to dying. I drove to the hospital and used the last of my battery to make arrangements for my daughter and quickly tell my husband what was happening. As I was being prepped for surgery, one of the many nurses and doctors in my room asked who would be bringing me home. I burst into tears – my phone was dead, my husband was at least half a day away, my in-laws were an hour in to their six-hour drive to our house, and I had no way to get a hold of anyone.
I had texted my women’s Bible study group earlier that day, and one of the women, Sarah, was a nurse who worked in the surgery recovery room at the hospital. Sarah just happened to be working that day, and when I texted, she said she’d come check on me sometime before or after my surgery. While I was sitting in that room, panicked about what I was going to do, she showed up. She waited and prayed with me, checked on me during surgery, sat with me in recovery, and drove me home.
The first words I heard when I woke up were, “They were able to save your tube.” I was confused, “What tube??” My nurse explained that I had an ectopic pregnancy. I found out the details of my loss in a rushed, fragmented, post-surgical haze. We had gotten pregnant when we tried to in December, and what I thought was my period was either not enough hormones or implantation bleeding. I had been seven weeks pregnant. The baby had no heartbeat and was no longer living. If I had not had surgery that day, my fallopian tube would have ruptured, and I would have had major internal bleeding.
That day last February was among the worst in my life. We lost a precious life way too soon. I spent the day scared and confused, never knowing what was going to come next. But, I also saw the faithfulness of God in every step. There are so many ‘what ifs’ from that day. What if I hadn’t taken that pregnancy test? What if I had waited to go to the doctor? What if Sarah hadn’t been at the hospital? What if the tube had ruptured while I was alone with my one-year-old daughter?
I wanted to share this post to reflect on that day. In my next post, I’d like to share more about what happened later – the emotional roller coaster I experienced, how God kept providing and meeting our needs, and my experience with pregnancy after loss.