I have thought about writing this for a while, but as I sit down to do it there just doesn't seem to be any words. When I wrote my year-end review post I mentioned that the husband and I were ending the year in a bit of a rough patch but didn't elaborate much further than that. I got several e-mails and sweet comments and they really meant so very much. I knew that some of you had experienced the same thing we were experiencing but couldn't bring myself to talk about it. Some things you just can't mentally prepare yourself for until it happens. And when it does, you try your best to process it, pick up the pieces and move forward. My husband and I can move forward because we have a great faith that underlies everything else, we trust and cling to the Lord and that truly is the only thing that makes life--and everything that brings-- okay.
A few days before Christmas I drove up to Michigan-- I had made an appointment with my rheumatologist and husband couldn't get out of work so I decided to make the trip solo. I needed to have blood work done to see how "active" the lupus was in my body and also, I wanted to talk to my doctor about the possibility of starting to try to get pregnant. Back when I was diagnosed, one of the first things my doctor in Denver told me was that it was fairly difficult to get (and stay) pregnant with lupus. Lupus views the embryo as an "invader" in the body and attacks it and tried to get rid of it. When a lupus patient is symptom free for a while, and blood work shows the lupus is "quiet" in the body, it is the perfect time to try to conceive and I really wanted to discuss all of this, including what a high risk pregnancy would entail with the extremely talented doctors at University of Michigan.
The day before my appointment, on a whim, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I saw a barely visible, faint second line and internally freaked out. I raced to the store and bought several more tests and they all came back with a faint line. My appointment was the next day, and I swear I spent half the day waiting for the official blood work to come back confirming it--- and confirm, it did. I was beyond excited. I cried tears of pure happiness and probably looked like a crazy person. I knew I wanted to tell my husband in person and he wouldn't be flying in until Christmas Eve. While at UofM I bought a baby shirt and socks and wrapped them up. On Christmas Eve I told my husband and I will never forget his reaction. It was perfect and wonderful and a moment I will always, always treasure. Although it was soon, we decided to share the news with our families on Christmas Day and we were all so excited and so happy and the possibility of the future--more moments that I will keep with me, always. As the days passed it became more and more real and we got more and more excited.
The morning came for us to drive back down to South Carolina, and I woke up not feeling very good. We loaded the car, got Bella ready to go and I ran to take one more bathroom break before we hit the road. I saw a small spot of blood right away. Alone in the bathroom I started to cry-- I had read that sometimes this is normal, but I think we know things sometimes subconsciously and I knew that this was not a good sign. I told my husband and his parents and we weren't sure wether we should stay or go... we decided to get on the road because a lot of the time it is normal and can signal implantation and we didn't want to jump to a negative conclusion.
The next few hours were nothing short of hellish. Somewhere in Ohio it got so bad that we headed to the ER. All I could do was cry, and at triage Jonathan had to sign me in and tell the nurses what was going on because I couldn't speak. It's funny how quickly I had attached myself to the idea of being pregnant. And how I knew what was happening even before a doctor confirmed it. I won't go into the details of being in the hospital--- but I would not wish that experience on anyone. On top of the pain, you get poked and prodded at and stared at when the staff isn't sure what to say. What hurts my heart the most about that memory is my strong, sweet husband. He was completely helpless in the situation and just as devastated as I was, but the entire time he remained positive and strong and just held me while I cried. The doctor came into the room after a few hours and gave a kind of shrug and told us we might have had a miscarriage and my hcg levels were below 5 meaning there was no active pregnancy.
I had already known that since I had woken up, but hearing it, and being handed papers saying it made it even worse. We silently left the hospital and got back in the car to complete twelve more hours of driving to get home. As you can imagine the drive was terrible. I just wanted to curl up in a bed somewhere and go to sleep and not think about it, but we had to get home and we couldn't stop.
In the week following I went through a slew of emotions. I remember feeling embarrassed that we had told our families, I felt like I had let everyone down and it was somehow my fault. I felt mad at myself, like my body had betrayed me, and I ached for my husband who had gotten so excited. In the end, we had to keep reminding ourselves that God was in control of our lives and had a plan for everything. We knew that something wasn't right with the baby that was forming and it was better for it to happen sooner rather than later. I know many of you have experienced that type of loss further down the road and I can't even imagine going through that after hearing a heartbeat and seeing an ultrasound.
We clung to each other and to our faith and resolved ourselves to try again, and trust God. And we did.
And in January the same thing happened. And honestly, I got mad. I couldn't understand why this was happening. And my lupus started to flare a little bit. We just were so disappointed. But during the time between finding out I was pregnant and then not pregnant, we had checked on our insurance and discovered we do NOT have maternity insurance like we thought. Basically, if I was pregnant right now, we would be paying for everything out of pocket (and high risk pregnancies have several more doctors appointments and testing done), so I can't even fathom the debt we would be going into right now. We honestly were not prepared on every front, and as painful as these experiences have been, it has also been a blessing in disguise.
For one, we know that we desire to start a family very soon. We now know that its not going to be as easy as we thought, and because of my lupus I am going to have to be extremely careful. And we will also have insurance.... kind of a big deal. We have decided to wait a while and enjoy our time traveling and just having "us" to worry about. We know that God is going to bless us in whatever way He chooses and we trust that, and we find peace in that. And honestly, we are in a very good place right now. We will soon be looking to settle down permanently in Michigan and pursue starting a family and in the meantime, we are loving the time we have just as husband and wife. We know that chilren change everything and this is a precious time we shouldn't take for granted or rush through. So we are soaking up the sun in California, and may try to head to Texas before calling this travel thing quits.
I know that so many of you have gone through something like this, or similar to it-- and the more I share it with people privately I am realizing that this is such a common thing. I wanted to write about this because I want us to all find strength amongst ourselves and know that nothing is wrong with us or our bodies. And more than anything, God is in control and His plan is perfect. Our faith in Christ anchors us and truly is the only reason we can get through life and be so positive and hopeful. I have been extremely thankful for this blogging world and the friends I have found and made within it... I truly feel like you all have been a direct blessing from God and I treasure you all more than you know.
Today, on Valentine's Day and in the midst of some of the trouble we have experienced in the past few months, I would like to take the time to thank my husband above anyone else. I can say he is wonderful and amazing but it will never do justice to his character. He is truly a man of the Lord, strong and unwavering. Faithful and loyal. I would never choose to navigate this life with anyone else but him. I am a richly blessed woman to have him in my life and my life is made whole because I have him by my side. He impresses me every single day-- I am so thankful God created marriage and love, and I am thankful He chose my Jonathan for me.
Over & Out,