Tag: pregnancy

Embrace the Now

Grief and Infant LossSara's Space

Matt & I were married in February 2010. Before we got married, we devised a great plan for our lives; we were going to travel and have fun as a newly married couple for about 5 years and then have babies. Remember what Matt said before…. “we plan, God laughs“?? Yeah, that applies here. In July 2010, we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting. This was NOT in the plan. In fact, my first words when seeing a positive pregnancy test were “oh, crap!” But that shock and extreme terror quickly turned into excitement, although I will admit I was still quite terrified by the thought of having a baby. We immediately told our families and made an announcement on Facebook for all the world to know. We were going to be parents. Despite how scary that was, it was miraculous and wonderful at the same time. Our excitement lasted for approximately 17 days. I began bleeding and cramping. We rushed to the ER on base, and ended up leaving hours later with hope. I had a subchorionic hematoma, but we saw the baby. It was still too early to see a heartbeat, but my bleeding had already stopped. As the weeks rolled on, our hope and excitement grew. My FIL even ordered a crib to be delivered to the house. Sadly, just a month later the bleeding began again, but this time it did not stop like the first time. It was confirmed that we’d lost our sweet baby. We never found out the gender of this baby, but after weeks of mourning our little one, we decided to give our baby a name. We chose Azaliah for our little love.

For several months after we lost Azaliah, I went into a deep depression. I was obsessed with having a baby. Something I hadn’t desired to happen for years to come, suddenly became my only desire. Month after month went by, each marked with a negative pregnancy test (or 5-6 negative tests…). I became angry and bitter. And also scared that I would never be able to be a mother and that because of something surely wrong with me…..Matt would never be a father. I feared that our hopes and dreams for a family full of babies would never be fulfilled.

If you’ve read any of our other posts up to now, you obviously know that that was not the end of our story for babies. But for the next 10 months, I walked around thinking that it was just going to be Matt & me for the rest of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I would have been perfectly happy with just him for the rest of my life, but I didn’t want to let him down. I wanted to see him with our babies. I wanted to make him a daddy.

Our second pregnancy, I was a mess. I worked in an oncology office at the time and literally would draw my own blood to be sent off for hCG and progesterone levels because I simply could not relax and believe this baby would end up healthy and whole and in my arms.

Despite several complications in that pregnancy, Mason Paul did end up healthy and whole and in our arms. To be honest, I had a really difficult time bonding with him after he was born. I loved him beyond measure, but I still had a wall up that I’d built from the moment I saw a two lines on that pregnancy test. I had not let myself get excited about his sweet little life. And then I had pretty bad pre-eclampsia and had to be induced at 37 weeks, was on IV magnesium for 3 days (1 before his birth and 2 after) and he got stuck and had to be vacuum extracted to get out! It was a pretty traumatic birthing experience altogether, so that made the disconnect even worse. I hated myself for ever struggling with this connection that every other mother out there seemed to have the instant they laid eyes on their baby. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t tear that wall down?! We had longed and prayed for this little miracle and yet I couldn’t connect the way I desperately wanted to. Ultimately these feelings just continued to make the whole thing worse! It was a vicious cycle.

I wish I could tell you that I sought help with these feelings or that something happened and things quickly and instantly got better, but that wouldn’t be true. I kept my feelings and my depression hidden because I was so ashamed for ever having felt them. But something positive did eventually come from this experience. I realized what I had done to myself by building that wall of disconnect out of fear of losing this baby too and I promised myself I’d never let that happen again.

Cherish the time you have while you have it.

This goes for everyone, not just babies during pregnancy. Don’t live your life in fear of loss. Imagine all the joyful moments you will be missing out on if you let fear control you in this way. I will never get those moments back from Masons pregnancy or early infancy and I truly wish that I knew then what I know now….

And I am so thankful that I learned this lesson so that now I can look back on our time we had with Luke and cherish those memories of his sweet kicks and hiccups and watching him interact with Asher on the ultrasound screen. If I’d been living in fear of losing him…..I would have nothing but sorrow to look back on.

Be Still


We have made several posts so far that talk about or relating to the tragic birth experience with our twins. Today I want to turn to another unique and eventful birth. As with every birth, the Lord worked in a great and powerful way in our family. Truly, the arrival of every one of our four children was a unique and eventful experience, but this particular one is both a great memory and a great lesson. Those who know us personally have heard elements of this story before, and a version of the account given below was posted to the website of our previous church in San Antonio.

On a Wednesday morning, my wife woke me up at 4:20 AM with the words that every expectant father both fears and rejoices in: “My water broke!” Now, this was a bit early, as she was a few days shy of being full term (only 36.5 weeks) and we had already been sent home from the hospital a couple days prior with a false alarm. She yelled this delightfully frightening phrase while in the shower trying to ease her back pain and woke me out of a dead sleep. I had heard repeatedly that labor can go on for hours after the water breaks, but we lived about 45 minutes from the hospital, so I did my best Superman impression and got changed lightning fast. I helped her out of the shower after a contraction and she went to sit on the toilet.

At 4:22 I called our friend down the street to come watch our then-19-month-old son while we went to the hospital. Sara called me in and said to forget trying to get there on our own; she felt the baby would be there soon and said to call EMS unless I wanted to deliver our son in the car on the way there. I walked back into the bedroom to continue dressing and simultaneously call 911.  She then yelled at me again saying that we weren’t going to make until they arrived. This boy was coming NOW!

At this point, my calm and collected demeanor vanished like darkness after turning on a light and I instantly became the sitcom dad frantically running back and forth trying to call 911. Unfortunately, the operator could not understand my hysterical “THE BABY IS COMING!!!” Another contraction came and his head was now crowning. Now I’m really panicked…I threw the phone (forgot to hang up of course) and went into full panic mode. I just wasn’t prepared for this! I never expected anything like this to happen us! Truth be told, my panic was more about having to deliver the baby myself and messing up in a big way. Our first baby got stuck AND had the cord wrapped around his neck. What was I going to do if that happened again?!?

In another instant, it sank in that I was going to have to do this; there was just no way around it. I mentally zoned in (still terrified of course) and helped her to the floor and leaned her back. We were going to deliver this baby right there on our bathroom floor. A contraction came and his head popped out; all I could see below that was umbilical cord. As I said, our first baby had the cord wrapped around his neck and that was quite an ordeal at the hospital so I was panicking just a little bit more now. I was able to simply push it aside and off his shoulder. Whew! Two extremely short contractions later I was holding my son, Jonah, and the majority of the panic and anxiety was gone. Just eight short minutes after waking, we had gone through what felt like an entire day’s trial. My wife then picked up the phone and very calmly explained what had just happened to the 911 operator (who had apparently been listening to the whole thing) while I checked Jonah out and wrapped him up for Momma. The EMS got there about 20 minutes later and we went to the hospital to get everything checked out.

Almost four years later, Jonah is just fine. He is an incredibly sweet, and of course rambunctious, little boy that loves without reservation. There were no complications or serious ailments whatsoever. Of the million things that could have gone wrong with such a set of circumstances, not one of them did. God truly showed Himself and kept them both safe while guiding me to do what I needed to. Psalm 46 in particular came to mind after all the chaos had dissipated:

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

God reminded me in this moment that there was no reason to panic in the first place. There was no reason to fear at all because He was still in control. We had been praying to have a safe, healthy, and normal pregnancy this time. I believe God answered that prayer, but not in the way we expected. He was telling us that it doesn’t matter how the pregnancy goes or ends; He’s still in control and holds us in His hands. “Calm down. I’ve got you my child,” He says. God will certainly not give you more than He will enable you to handle. You may not (or probably won’t) be able to handle life’s challenges on your own, but He will give you what you need to get through the trial. I had no false impressions on my lack of training and ability to deliver a baby (not to mention my weak stomach for blood and bodily fluids) and that’s why I went into panic mode. However, when you realize that God the Almighty who created heaven and earth, who moves seas and mountains by His Word, and loves you so much He died for you, is standing next to you; there’s no reason to fear at all. The greatest assurance we can have on this earth is knowing that those who love and trust the Lord can depend on His provision and that regardless of the outcome, He is in control and works all things for our benefit (Rom 8:28).

Thinking back to this day, I have come to believe that God’s closeness and watch care were instrumental in the way we handled ourselves in the OR when Luke and Asher were born. I was able to pray and sing in the midst of devastation, because I knew God was there taking care of everything. As I sit here and write this, it has become so clear why Jonah and Asher share such a special connection. When a challenge or trial bulldozes its way into your life and you have the urge to panic, I hope you’ll take the time to be still and recognize that God is right there with you.

Superstitions and Cheesecake

Grief and Infant Loss

March 25, 2016 I had a “feeling”. I told Matt and he immediately said no way, but I just knew. So after we tucked our older kiddos into bed for the evening, I went down the street to Target and bought a test. And ice cream. Because either way, I needed comforting. 😉

I got home and Matt really wanted me to wait until morning to test, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to know right. that. moment. Just as soon as I sat that test down, the positive line showed up. We were pregnant. Again. But we had already decided that we were done having babies. I have so many complications during each pregnancy, and our youngest baby of 3 was only 11 months old at this time; and the oldest had JUST turned 4. We were done. But God….He always has bigger plans for us than we do. Ok, so another biological baby wasn’t in our plans for our family, but we had planned for more kids by way of adoption, so all in all, not a big deal to be adding another this way too. Not our original plan, but one we would happily adjust to.

Leading up to my appointment on April 11th, we had so many things pointing our minds towards twins. 1) We aren’t superstitious by any means whatsoever, but the week before our first ultrasound, I cracked open a twin yolk egg; something I’d never done before. I jokingly googled “twin yolk egg” and discovered that it meant either I was pregnant with twins or I would be eating an extra yolk-y omelette for breakfast that day. We laughed it off and decided that of course it was the breakfast part of that discovery.

2) Our oldest, who had just turned 4 at the time, insisted that there were 2 babies in my belly when we told them that we were having another baby. 3) My SIL has dreams. She accurately dreamt of the gender of each of our babies and actually told me we were pregnant each time before we even knew. This time around, she had a dream we were pregnant the week before we found out and at the end of her dream, there were two babies. 4) Some random older man at a grocery store saw me out with our 3 kids and started making small talk with me about them and then smiled and said “soon you’ll have your own basketball team” and winked at me. I replied “oh no! Even if we have another, that’s only 4 and a basketball team is minimum of 5”. He smiled and said “I know and you’ll see”. There were other “signs” as well, but these are the ones that really stand out. When we got to our first dr’s appointment and only saw 1 baby on the ultrasound, I was a mixture of relieved and truly disappointed.

(I even asked the NP that did the ultrasound what that extra circle was in the upper left of that dark area.
She assured me it was only the yolk sac for the baby.)

I had secretly been prepping myself to find twins that day. Matt & I had even joked that if we were having twins, we would go eat at Cheesecake Factory because twins required something really good. Instead, we had Indian food. Also really good, but not cheesecake and we had been working out and eating healthy, so cheesecake was much more of a treat than Indian at that time. 😉

Fast forward to May 13. We went in for our 12 week scan. I was actually only about 11.5 weeks at this time, but close enough for the nuchal thickness measurement. We got settled into the ultrasound room and got started and my hubby, the jokester says “there’s the first baby” when the sonographer put the wand on my belly. She moved it around a little and said “and there’s the second!” Ummm…..WHAT?! HE. WAS. JOKING! And she wasn’t! We really were in fact, having TWINS! Identical twins as we later found out that day! Poor lady had to stop the ultrasound for a good 7 minutes because we were just laughing and laughing. My belly was shaking too much from the laughter to continue. She did say that it totally made her day though. =) I should have insisted we go for cheesecake after this scan, but instead we went to Sonic and got milkshakes. haha

This was the only picture we were able to get of them “together” that day. Just their sweet little heads. <3 My FIL was in town on a visit and had kept the other 3 kids for us so when we got home that day, we were able to tell him in person that we were adding grandchildren 4 & 5 to the family rather than just #4. We had actually just told him the day before that we were pregnant! 

How I wish we could go back to that day….

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