Sunday, October 17, 2010

Luke, Nathan, and Our Losses

Anyone who knows me knows that I have always wanted to be a mommy. I love children so much. Growing up I always loved playing mommy. I loved holding other people's babies and when I got old enough, I babysat all the time. I couldn't wait to grow up, get married, and have babies. Lee and I were blessed with Luke in January 2006. I wanted another baby when Luke got close to the age of 2. Lee and I discussed it and decided to wait a little longer since we had Luke so young (22 and 24).

In November of 2009 I found out that I was pregnant. I was ecstatic to say the least. Well on Thanksgiving morning I woke up and had some bleeding. Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that bleeding is usually not a good thing. Of course it was a holiday and the doctor couldn't see me until Monday morning. He said even if he did see me that if I was going to miscarry he couldn't do anything to prevent it. He also said I couldn't do anything to make it better or worse.

Over the course of the weekend, I passed two separate sets of gray matter. It was devestating to literally see my hopes of a baby (or babies) disappear. I was heartbroken. I went through a couple of months of all emotions - anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment. Then one Sunday morning in December, I was convicted about how I had been feeling and decided to lay it as well as my hopes of having more children at the altar. I prayed that God would do whatever His will was in my life and even if I never had more children that I would be content.

Well in February of 2010 I found out that I was pregnant again. I was over the moon excited. Since I had the miscarriage at 6 weeks, the doctor brought me in for bloodwork. My beta levels were high and tripled in 48 hours (doubling is the norm). I wondered if I was going to have twins since I thought I may have lost twins and my betas were so high and tripling, but figured I was probably just overthinking things.

At my 8 week appointment on March 25th, I got my first ultrasound. After what happened the last time I prayed that I would see a healthy baby. We did!!! She measured the baby and (s)he measured right at the due date. We saw the heartbeat and listened to it (one of the most amazing things in the world). The heartbeat was strong. Tears had already filled my eyes and my heart was full.

Then the technician said, "Here's something you probably didn't expect." I said, "Twins?!?!" She said, "YES!" I said, "Are you serious?!" She said, "YES!" Then we checked to make sure it wasn't just an empty sac. It's crazy how quickly Lee and I both thought, "Please let it be another healthy baby." Sure enough we saw another blob. She measured it and it measured around the same as the first. Then we saw another strong heartbeat. This time laughter filled the room.

Everything looked great. We got the whole run-down on twins (more check-ups, more ultrasounds, what else to expect). The due date was the same (November 5th) but they said we would try to make it to 38 weeks. To say we were thrilled would be an understatement.

I grew very quickly and felt movement very early on. It was so exciting feeling the babies grow and move in my belly. We went for more check-ups and ultrasounds. Things looked perfect each time.

On June 4th, we went for the big ultrasound where we would find out the genders. I had a strong feeling at least one would be a girl. First we saw Nathan and we were thrilled. Then we saw our precious baby girl. We were so excited to have a little girl. We decided to name her Alexis Faith because it means “defender” and “faith”. We thought it was the perfect combination for our sweet girl.

I kept growing and growing and feeling so much movement. It was so awesome growing the two babies. Everytime we went for check-ups and ultrasounds everything was perfect.

As we got into the home stretch I started having contractions but nothing was happening so I figured I would probably make it to the 38 week scheduled c-section. Well we went in for our 35 week ultrasound and we expected to hear, "Everything looks great. You are probably going to go pretty far."

The technician checked Nathan first and he was perfect, measuring ahead and had a strong heartbeat. Then she measured Alexis and she seemed to be measuring smaller and she didn't find the heartbeat. I wondered about it, but she just sent us to a room to wait for the doctor. As we waited I had this overwhelming feeling that something wasn't right as we have always seen and heard a heartbeat. I immediately prayed that whatever news we heard, God would be there to comfort us. I really just thought that maybe she wasn't growing as good and that we might have to have them early since we had discussed possible things that can warrant earlier delivery. When the doctor came in, she said, "I have some bad news." Immediately my heart sank. She said, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat and has passed away." At first they said it was Nathan, but I knew Baby B was Alexis. We were in limbo for a minute, but we found out it was definitely Alexis.

I immediately cried uncontrollably. I was completely overwhelmed with grief. I have to say that in the 9 years I have known Lee, I have maybe seen him shed a few tears a handful of times. To say he was overcome with grief is an understatement. We discussed going ahead and delivering Nathan. I will say that even though I was overwhelmed and my heart ached, I knew that God had His hands on Nathan and that everything would be great with him. Lee and I called our family and wept in the room until we could compose ourselves to leave and head home to get our stuff so we could head to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and they monitored Nathan and he was doing great - great heartbeat, very active. They scheduled my c-section for roughly 5:00pm since I had something to eat at 9:00am. The c-section went beautifully. I kept focusing on Scriptures that were encouraging. It took a while since I have had a c-section before and had a good amount of scar tissue, but at 5:45pm I heard the greatest sound in the world, Nathan crying. Immediately came the tears. At that point I was still hoping and praying that maybe the tech was wrong and I would hear my precious Alexis cry. Needless to say, I didn't. The nurse came and told me that Alexis was beautiful and looked just like Nathan. Lee brought Nathan over to me and I got to love and kiss on him. He is so beautiful and I believe he looks just like Daddy's baby pictures. I opted not to see Alexis as I knew that would be too much to handle while still finishing up my c-section.

We got everything finished up and I went to my room under the impression that Nathan would be in the NICU until 10:00pm (4 hours for observation). Well, he was doing so great that he came out in about an hour. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to hold and kiss him. Lee and I had some time with him and then Luke came in and then family came in in groups. It was amazing having this precious heathy baby boy and enjoying him with our family.

Lee and I wanted to see Alexis and hold her and let our family have some time with her before we sent her to the morgue, but she didn't look good and it was too much for me to take, so I only saw her for a quick second and they went ahead and took her. I want to remember her from the sweet ultrasound pictures and active kicks in my belly for the past 35 weeks. They did give us a box with her footprints and some of her special items (blanket, hat, bracelets). I know we will cherish it forever.

Being in the hospital kept us in a little bubble. I didn't look forward to leaving because I knew that would mean we were going home with only one of our precious babies. I know it doesn't make sense, but I thought it would be harder at home than in the hospital. On Tuesday, October 5th, we were cleared to go home. When we got to the car seeing Alexis' empty carseat and the double stroller was almost unbearable.

When we got home it felt so weird to just be bringing home one baby. I had envisioned what it would be like to bring them both home so many times in my mind. The hardest part was going to their nursery that we had worked so hard on and seeing her precious baby girl crib stuff and her name on the wall. Opening the drawers and closet was heartbreaking as I saw all of her burp clothes, blankets, bibs, and clothes. The hardest thing was their coordinating stuff. I had envisioned them wearing their coordinating outfits so many times. I cried everytime I went in.

We had a funeral service for Alexis on Friday, October 8th. It was beautiful but heartbreaking. I cried uncontrollably the entire time. It was almost too much to take. I was thankful I had Lee, Luke, Nathan, and my mom to hold onto during the service. So many wonderful friends and family attended and had such kind words for us. That made it more bearable. Our pastor did a great job and he shared some great letters that my mom, my mother-in-law, and I wrote. Lee's cousin sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and a sweet girl from church sang "I Will Carry You." It was just perfect.

It's been so hard and I can't really completely explain all that I am going through, but I am hoping that this blog will be a great way to express it. I am not sure how often I will write here, but I will write as the need arises.

I am calling the blog "I Will Carry You" because of the song by Selah the perfectly describes a mother's loss of a baby. I will write the lyrics here as well as put the song in a playlist so you can hear it. I'll warn you now, that you will need tissues. It's a sad song even if you haven't gone through the loss of a child.


  1. Oh Ashley. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your faith in God is inspiring. I continue to pray for His comfort for you.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I look at the date that Ann wrote on here. That is Kember's birthday. What a great day that was. I wish you and your family the best.