Our Judah Story-Part 2

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From the beginning of my pregnancy I was really sick. But I didn’t care. I knew the joy that it would create, the joy that would follow. I knew how “worth it” all the sickness would be. I had been sick with my first and knew it was normal. People would ask how I was feeling and my answer was always the same, “SO sick! Even more sick than I was with Lane. But it’s ok. It’s going to be worth it.” Over and over and over again, I said those words, I heard myself say those words. At some point, I started to get abnormally sick. I remember looking at myself in the mirror every morning and thinking, “Gosh, I look like death.” I was so pale, and my eyes looked sickly. I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but something about me looked “deathlike.” I honestly don’t think I have ever looked worse than I did  during those months that I was pregnant with Judah. However, make up is a beautiful, wonderful thing that covers a multitude of flaws, so most people never actually saw how awful and sick I looked.

One day, when I was probably 13 weeks or so along,  I was going about my day teaching my theatre class. Our insurance had still not been approved, so I hadn’t had the chance to see the doctor yet. I started to notice a familiar pain in my feet. During my pregnancy with Lane, my feet swelled up like balloons. They hurt so bad that entire summer. It was a pain I knew well. I looked closely at my feet, pushed on them, poked them a little bit. Sure enough, they were a teeny bit swollen. It concerned me some, I knew it was too early to be swelling, but even so I tried to brush it off as normal. I asked my mom (who is a nurse) if she thought they seemed swollen to her too. She agreed; it wasn’t just in my head. She told me to bring it up when I did see the doctor. She knew it was a red flag, and tried to convince me it was a big deal without actually scaring me.

The next few weeks happened so quickly and it all seems like a blur. My timeline is probably off, but know everything else that I am about to tell you happened between 13ish-18ish weeks of my pregnancy.

It wasn’t too long after my feet started to swell that our insurance was approved (praise Jesus!). I can’t remember if I saw the doctor or not before I started to get crazy sick. I think it was near the end of my 13th week, and I started to get this weird pain in my upper stomach. It wasn’t constant. I felt it every other step. I was at the mall with one of my good friends, and I just kept telling her that my stomach hurt in a weird kind of way. Every other step. The next day, the pain was worse. It still wasn’t constant, but if I was walking, it was every step. Finally, on day three, it was pretty bad. My mom, Lane, and I went to a local park to play and I couldn’t even focus I was in so much pain. And I had lost my appetite entirely. Mom took me to one of my favorite restaurants downtown in hopes that I would be able to eat something. I took a few bites. I went home and tried to get some rest. That night we were attending a surprise party for a dear friend of ours. His wife had planned the whole thing weeks in advance and we were so excited to go. We went, and I had to leave early because the pain had grown so much. I groaned and cried the whole way home. As soon as we got home, Blake helped me into bed and I called the on-call doctor (of course it was a weekend). I had an appointment the following Thursday morning and I had been hoping that I could hold out until then to figure out what was going on.

By the time the on-call doctor had called back, I could barely even speak, the pain was so intense. She told me the problems I was describing to her were not because I was pregnant. It was impossible that I was experiencing any of those symptoms from my pregnancy because I simply was not far enough along. I was told to maybe go to the urgent care or the ER. I was basically disregarded. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in an uncomfortable chair, writhing and screaming in pain for hours in a crowded room with a bunch of sick people. I have no idea why she gave me that response. When I was 14 weeks pregnant with Lane, I had some serious pain in my lower stomach, and  when I called the on-call doctor to see what was going on, she was afraid it was appendicitis, and told me to come in right away. Turns out it was scar tissue tearing, and I was just fine. But the point is, she told me to come in and see her even though it was not a “pregnancy related problem.”

We decided to stay at home and try to ride it out until Monday morning when my doctor would be in. My mom came over that night with her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff so she could monitor me. My blood pressure was high. The pain was bad. I was miserable. I don’t really remember that weekend.

That Monday was my birthday. I woke up feeling like death itself. My husband was running a job at the mall at that time, just around the corner from us, so Lane and I went to see him, and a few of the guys he worked with. Blake bought me some chick-fil-a and a smoothie (two of my favorite things), hoping I would eat or drink. I couldn’t do either. All three of them told me I looked terrible. I was anxious to go to my appointment so they could tell me what was going on. I kissed Blake goodbye and went to drop Lane off with my mom, who was teaching some classes that day. After I dropped her off, I drove the long drive to my doctor’s office.

When I arrived and told them what had happened over the weekend they asked why I didn’t call. When I told them I did, they asked why I didn’t come in. They were also confused when I told them why I hadn’t come in. They took my blood pressure-which was still way too high. My hormone levels were out the roof, and my doctor told me they thought I might have pregnancy induced hyperthyroidism. I certainly had all the signs.  My doctor told me he wanted to see me again the next day. I told him I had an appointment that Thursday and he said Thursday wasn’t soon enough. Then he sent me downstairs for some testing. I can honestly say it was the worst birthday I have ever had.

Our Judah Story-Part 1

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I have been seriously struggling with when to share our story. The timing never seems quite right. There’s always been something holding me back a little bit. I’m not quite sure what, just something. But lately, it’s been weighing so heavily on my heart to share. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my emotions/hormones are running really high right now from the past couple of months we’ve had. Maybe it’s the hand of the Lord pushing me forward to do it. I am honestly not sure. But I feel it. It’s time, and I need to share.

I’ve never had any problems answering questions or talking to people about what happened. But there’s something about writing it down, announcing it to the world. This weight that I feel on a daily basis-even on the good days, even on the best days. It’s an odd subject to just bring up. Yet so many women struggle with miscarriage, infertility, stillborn, and sick babies. I’m not sure why we don’t talk about it more. Shame? Embarrassment? It hurts too much? You don’t want to bring people down? I think it’s a combination of all of these, and more. But I ache to change that. For me, it helps to talk about it. It helps knowing that I’m not alone. Our situations and circumstances may look different, but at the end of the day, we’re all mommas missing our babies. Instead of stuffing it down inside and letting the hurt sit, let’s get it out. Let’s share and hug and cry and heal. Let’s pray and lift one another up and bring each other cookies or dinner or Starbucks or a babysitter on the rough days. And let’s laugh together, really hard, on the good days. Because I don’t know about you. But I simply cannot do this on my own. I need all you other mommas out there. I. Need. You. And you need me too. Think about it. Admit it. Own it. Now, let’s move forward together. I’ll take the first step.

This is our Judah story.

It was 5 years ago. I remember it so well. My younger brother and I were 13 months apart. It was annoying for a couple of years there, but then it was good. We were more than just brother and sister, we were friends. We hung out with all the same people, enjoyed doing the same things, we made each other laugh. And while we did have the occasional fight (what siblings don’t?), they were rare. I wanted so badly to have a similar age difference for my first two babies. I wanted to give them that gift. And that’s what we tried for. The second month of trying, we got the positive pregnancy test we had been hoping for. I took the test right before church, and I remember being so excited that I was going to have an October baby (which was another thing I had been praying for). We were both on worship team that day, so we had to be there early. I was beaming from ear to ear. I had to have been glowing. Everything I had hoped for was happening.

However, as time went on, I knew something was wrong. I had this gut wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was not going to have that baby. I knew we were going to lose him. Of course that’s a crazy, depressing thing to feel, so I didn’t tell a soul, hoping that my feelings were rooted in fear. The past few months we had been hearing so many stories about miscarriage, I tried to convince myself I was just letting everybody else’s stories get to me. But deep down, I knew the truth. I even almost admitted it once. My mom and I were sitting on our living room floor with my oldest, Lane, who was probably about 5-6 months old at the time. Mom was talking about how much joy babies bring and how she couldn’t even imagine how amazing  it was going to feel when the next baby arrived. I almost blurted out, “If this baby even comes.” However, knowing that statement would (understandably) leave my mom feeling gravely concerned, I kept my mouth closed.

During the first weeks of my pregnancy I had only gone in for my 8 week ultrasound. My husband worked at a good, but small company which did not provide insurance. We had applied for insurance, but had to wait for it to come through before we could see the doctor. Week after week we would drive past the doctor’s office, and I would start to panic, aching to hear baby’s heartbeat because I knew something was dreadfully wrong. And while I knew something was terribly wrong with my baby, I had no idea how bad my situation actually was.