It’s easy to be a happy person and give praise to God when things are going great in your life. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Nordstrom is having 40% off of EVERYTHING!! Things fall perfectly into place for you- “Thank you God for such a beautiful, easy time. Whoo hoo! My. Life. Is. AWESOMEEEE!!”
Then… the clouds start to slowly roll in. It gets a little bit colder and darker. People run away and scatter to take cover. Your storm arrives. There you are smack dab in the middle of a terrible storm getting soaking wet. Things that always came easy to you are a little bit harder in the rain. It takes so much effort to just smile..to be happy…to laugh. To be the amazing mom you were just a few days earlier. The anxiety and not knowing when or if the sun will ever come out is enough to send you into a dark place of despair. It’s in these times we have to make a choice. We can allow ourselves to be swept away by the strong winds or we can anchor ourselves and learn to dance in the rain…Keeping in mind that storms never last forever.
We were sent home from the ER on a Saturday night. By Wednesday we still had no signs that we had lost our little peanut. We went to our follow-up appointment unsure of what to expect. We had been praying that our little one was hanging on, but we also knew that His plans may not always align with ours. By the end of the visit we had discovered that I had a very large fibroid preventing my cervix from closing around our 8 week-old fighter. We were told we needed to have it removed that day or we would lose the baby. They also told us that even with the surgery we would have a 50/50 chance of the baby making it. We decided to go ahead with the procedure. I was horrified but knew it was the right thing to do. Due to the fact we wanted to have the least amount of interference to the pregnancy, rather than being “put under,” we had to use only local anesthesia. Translation: I would have to be awake for the procedure and I would possibly feel some “discomfort.” At the time, I wasn’t worried about myself. When we had found out that our little angel had stayed with us this whole time, I knew this was a very special baby. Without getting into too many details, the surgery was awful, but went amazing. They were confident it was a success, but we wouldn’t know for sure until my follow up ultrasound 4 days later.
I didn’t realize in all the chaos of the situation, that it wasn’t just “any” Wednesday, but it was in fact “Ash Wednesday.” A day that would always have tremendous sentimental meaning for us. It was the day that our sweet little baby was saved. We decided if we were going to have a girl, her name would be Ashlynn Grace.
The whole pregnancy was a challenge in every sense of the word. I had to fight for my joy. I had to fight for my health. I had to fight for my mental well-being. For the first time in my entire life, I found myself in a really dark place. A place that literally had me on my knees begging God to help me. I was so sick that I couldn’t even take care of my son. What kind of parent was I that I couldn’t even take care of my son!? I began to question my abilities as a mother. As a wife. As a friend. I felt so alone and isolated, even though I wasn’t.
There were days when all I could do was get up to go to the bathroom. I was literally trapped in a cage of physical illness and it was debilitating. I was hospitalized twice for extreme morning sickness (hyperemesis) and I had tried a number of anti-nausea medications just to be able to function. As time went on and the weeks went by I began to feel better. I was able to leave the house here and there, mostly for church and doctor appointments, but still it was progress! To make things just a little bit harder I was also placed on modified bed rest for the last half of my pregnancy.
It was so hard with a toddler but we made it work. I had made up my mind to enjoy what I could of this gift of pregnancy. We took things day by day. We prayed and looked for the sliver lining in every cloud that hung over us. We knew God was with us and that He would help us endure no matter what may come our way.
At 29 weeks I began to have inconsistent contractions. Strong enough to send us to the ER. I was sent home after they calmed down, only to return a few days later.
As a mommy you begin to learn the movement patterns of your little one. I knew she was always very active around 5:30 am. I knew this because she would wake me up- almost like clock work every day! It was something I began to look forward to. On this particular day I slept until 7. I woke up thinking “Hmm, that’s weird. I don’t feel her.” I tried all the tricks, juice, cold water, laying on my side… and nothing. I went into work that day thinking. “Maybe she was just tired?” As the day went on, 11:30 am rolls around and still nothing. At this point I began to panic. My boss told me to go straight to the ER. So I called my doctor and in I went. Again. I almost felt silly, but I really felt like something wasn’t right. They hooked me up to the monitor right away. We watched the ultra sound monitor for what seemed like hours with just a few movements here and there. I remember it like it was yesterday. I play it over and over in my head. I will never forget what it was like to see my motionless baby on the screen. How my heart dropped when I saw the faces of the doctors coming in the room. They began to take precautions for an early arrival. Rounds of steroids for her lungs. Magnesium for her brain development. I eventually was sent home and told to take it easy after hours of observation. Our goal, obviously, was to keep her in as long as we possibly could, but God had much different plans for us yet again. At 31 weeks my water broke, and in the hospital I stayed until we met our sweet baby girl a week later.