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Tuesday, January 8, 2013


We were so excited.  Two years we had been waiting, trying, hoping for this baby to come.  We tried everything, and yet nothing seemed to be happening.  I even tried changing our diet, cutting out both gluten and sugar for over 8 months.  Then, suddenly, out of the blue, I was late.  And sore in tell-tale spots.  And exhausted beyond belief.  Could it be?  I took one pregnancy test right after I was late, and it came out negative.  Or maybe I just didn't wait long enough.  I looked in the garbage later and it had two lines, but I had read that you can't trust a test once it has dried.  But I waited.  And hoped.  We said we'd wait until the weekend was over, just to be sure.  Monday morning, I peed on a stick, and the minus sign slowly, faintly turned into a plus.  It had happened.  I was pregnant.

I was overjoyed!  Quickly, we scrambled to let the appropriate people know before officially putting it on Facebook.  We even wrapped up the pregnancy test as a Christmas present to my parents as our way of announcing it to them (Harmony had already let them know that "Mommy has a secret in her tummy!").  Then, once my parents knew, we put our announcement picture on Facebook.  We got 74 likes and 34 comments congratulating us.

The rest of our Christmas season was great.  All of the stories of Mary being with child resonated even more than usual.  I was tired, but happy.  The girls went around pretending that they had a baby in their tummy, as well.  We were all happy and content.  God had given us the name River two years ago when we were in England, promising us that we were going to have a baby.  Three different people actually had the same prophecy over this little one, based on the name.  Three people who had not talked to each other.  The one that I have in written form is this:  "Rivers are fast, swift, and crazy powerful.  Get caught by the current of a river and you most certainly will lose control of yourself.  Rivers can also be crazy gentle and peaceful and then in a matter of moments be raging again."  Also there were words of rivers slowly eroding away hardness.  We knew that choosing a name early had significance.

In talking to Brian, he wanted us to find a doctor a bit closer to home instead of the 45 minute drive to Elkhorn that I had during my previous two pregnancies.  After asking around, I found one that was recommended by several friends and booked my appointment for just shy of my 8 week mark.  I was a little nervous going to a different doctor, but content to submit to my husband's wishes.  After answering a few preliminary questions about my previous pregnancies, she asked Brian to come in and did an early ultrasound.

This is where we got a first glimpse into my womb to see that there was definitely a baby growing in there.  It was a little weird, though.  The due dates were off.  She said, based on the size of the sac, my due date was August 26th.  According to the traditional method of measuring, it should have been August 9th, or even by my crazy cycle schedule the latest should have been August 15th.  Something was off.  But, she said that the cyst that produced the pregnancy hormones was a good size and there was a lot of white around the sac which meant that it was healthy.  She scheduled another appointment for January 14th so that we could get a more accurate due date.
Brian had a wedding New Year's Eve, and I was going to find a family-friendly New Year's Eve party to go to, but then the girls ended up being sick so we stayed home.  That evening, while the girls were watching a movie, I went to the bathroom and saw a small sliver of red when I wiped.  Weird.  I had never spotted with any of the other pregnancies.  I calmly looked around to see the paper of do's and don'ts given to me by the doctor in the welcome packet.  Don't eat soft cheeses, drink alcohol, raw meat, etc.  I quickly scanned through the list and then turned it over.  At the very end, there was a note.  "If you experience any bleeding at all, give our office a call immediately."  Not knowing what else to do, I walked into my bedroom, hands shaking, and dialed the number.  

Of course, no one was there, and after a series of prompts, I was directed to the answering service, who ended up transferring me to the Birthing Inn at St. Catherine's.  The nurse I talked to said that there could be any number of reasons I could be spotting, including implantation bleeding or my body bleeding like I was on my period because it was just that time.  Again, the timing of those answers didn't make sense.  Implantation bleeding was 7-10 days after conception (way past overdue), and the other was off timing, as well.  She said that if I went to the ER, in the first trimester, there was nothing they could do if I was indeed miscarrying, and that it would be better to just go in and see my doctor.

Unfortunately, because I found out on New Year's Eve, the office was closed the next day and I had to wait until the 2nd of January to go in to see her.  By that point, the blood flow was a bit heavier, but she still wanted to run a couple tests.  They did a blood panel and sent me home, promising they would let me know something soon.  (I'm still waiting on that phone call.)  

The next day, I had an ultrasound in the hospital.  It was so much different than having that one in the doctor's office.  The technician was essentially silent as she moved the probe around, searching for life and taking loads of pictures.  In the end, I asked her if she knew anything, and she said that, without seeing the HCG results, she couldn't say anything conclusive, but that I was definitely measuring small.  

Since then, we have waited.  Waited for a phone call that never came.  The weekend came and went, and I slowly felt River flowing out of me.  The pregnancy symptoms have slowly stopped.  I'm less sore now.  I am regaining energy and I can see the little pregnancy bulge starting to go flat again.  (Probably the first time I have cried when seeing myself lose some around the middle.)

Because we still haven't gotten that phone call, we were waiting to say anything publicly.  We have told people in person or privately to let them know that I am currently losing the baby.  The thing about it is, I am so passionately pro-life that I believe that life begins at conception.  This baby, as long as he or she lived, was definitely a baby, a life.  River was a part of our family, and now she has died.  To me, the classic, "Let's wait to tell anyone until after the first trimester because what if we miscarry..." stance is off.  I want to celebrate life as soon as it happens for as long as it happens. In this time of loss and while I am in the midst of miscarrying, I need friends and family to be there for us.  I can't shrug it off like nothing has happened.  Life is ending, and it is hard. 

The thing is, though, more than anything, God is sovereign.  He knew before I was even formed in my mother's womb that I would carry River for as long as I have.  He has equipped me and the rest of our family with the strength needed to be able to handle all that comes our way.  We also know that another baby will come, not to replace this one that we lost, but to add to our family.  

At this point, we just ask that you keep our family in your prayers.  I've stopped crying at the drop of a hat now, and most of the time, I'm pretty good.  If you ask the girls, they will volunteer that River has died.  And that is the truth.  The truth also is, though, is that we will meet this little one in heaven.  At that point, we will know if River was a boy or a girl, what his or her personality will be, and the potential that River has to fulfill in heaven.