I wish I could say I was excited about this baby right away but it took me a minute. This was our first surprise. Out of the blue, unexpected, unplanned. My first thoughts were all about the reasons it wasn’t going to work. I already have a baby! A higher needs baby who needs me. I still haven’t slept through a night since his birth. The new baby would be due three weeks after Allen starts PA school. Three weeks after we move into a new house in a new city. I would know no one and be too far away for family to help. I would be 7-8 months pregnant for Clayton’s palate surgery. This is a big one with lots of recovery and therapy attached. Yikes.

But all it took was a text to my midwife, Stephanie and her enthusiastic response to snap me out of it. She didn’t care that we just had a baby or that we couldn’t afford another one or that there were a variety of other complicated factors in our lives. She was excited for a new person to be coming to our family. Just like that my switch flipped. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, I make beautiful kids and if Heavenly Father had enough faith in me to send me another of His precious angels I could have faith in Him and His timing- Why not?

10 weeks pregnant

10 weeks pregnant

So we started to plan. We did blood work and my always low progesterone was normal. No pills for me! That was a huge blessing. Things were good for about a week until one day in the middle of the day I started to bleed. Alot. For about 20 minutes I wondered if I was going to survive the episode but I knew my baby surely couldn’t. I continued bleeding, manageably, for the rest of the day and spent that and the next day in bed. My dear midwife held out hope. She’s seen a miracle or two and didn’t count our baby out just yet. I rested, cried and tested for a few days to see if my hormone levels were decreasing before I finally went for an ultrasound.

The first thing the tech saw was alot of blood. She wasn’t hopeful. I was with her. A minute later she gasped. “There’s a baby in there!” And a second later, “And it has a heartbeat!” That’s when I knew this kid was a fighter. If I wasn’t feeling grateful for this miracle of a pregnancy before, I definitely was after that experience.

We were cautiously excited. It was so fun to watch my belly grow so fast and so early! Apparently that’s what happens when you’re pregnant with your fifth baby right after you have your fourth. We took lots of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed it which I will always be grateful for.

I’ve never felt so great during a pregnancy. Not perfect, but for me, great! Again, we heard that beautiful heartbeat at our 12 week appointment and we began filling some friends and family in on the good news now that we knew that our baby was healthy and things were progressing well.

The next few weeks even the fatigue and little bit of nausea I was feeling eased up. I started rounding up some maternity clothes since cramming into my bigger pre-pregnancy clothes wasn’t working any more. And we set a date at 15 weeks to take our excited, anxious kids to find out whether we would be welcoming a boy or a girl to the family.

12 weeks pregnant, holding 12 week fetus model from my midwife

12 weeks pregnant, holding a 12 week fetus model from my midwife

About a week before the ultrasound, I started having some cramping and spotting. Not new for me this pregnancy but still upsetting because I had really started to think that I had healed and didn’t need to worry or “take it (so) easy” anymore. One night last week I had pains through the night that kept me up and gave me nightmares but then things died down for a bit though I kept lightly spotting. New Years Eve was hard. It was my son’s birthday and a big party day for my family. We played all day and night but I was hurting and spotting more. Later that night I curled up on my parents’ couch under a blanket in pain. Early the next morning (the day before the scheduled gender scan) I woke up in the early morning to bleeding. Not much, but not good. Between that and the cramping and aching in my low back my hopes weren’t high. I laid in bed not sleeping and making myself not call my midwife yet through the early morning hours of New Year’s Day until I eventually fell back asleep about when everyone was waking up.

I woke up in more pain, the bleeding continued and I had Allen call Stephanie. I so didn’t want to talk. We set up an appointment to check baby’s heartbeat. I could have waited until our ultrasound the next day but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of potentially traumatizing my kids for life if there was bad news.

Stephanie met us at her office on New Year’s Day just like any passionate birth professional who’s long since given up trying to celebrate holidays like a normal person would. This is why we love her. She searched and searched and searched but there was no heartbeat to be found. I was not surprised and I’m in awe at myself looking back and how calm I was. I didn’t freak out at all or get emotional. Something inside me knew not to expect anything. Still not ready to give up, Stephanie offered to go with me to the hospital for an ultrasound so that Allen could go home and be with the kids. Again, this is why we love her!

Last pictures- 14 weeks, 4 days

Last pictures- 14 weeks, 4 days

Off we went in the midwife-mobile to the Gateway hospital E.R. where we hung out, entertaining each other in the waiting room for over two hours. I was uncomfortable and hungry by this point but Stephanie kept a smile on my face. Allen finally rejoined us (thank you Cherise for taking my kids!) and we hung out a bit longer until it became clear that we would never get in.

So, we disturbed yet another family on their holiday and went over to Sunny Hyatt’s house for a quick peek. I’m so glad we did. I’m so grateful that it was in a peaceful, quiet, intimate environment that I got to see my baby. Again, I didn’t expect a heartbeat. I didn’t expect movement but seeing my little baby still was harder than I ever could have imagined. I’ve seen several babies on ultrasound now. They move, they breath, their little hearts beat in their chests. They kick and spin and are never still enough for the techs to get their measurements. They look alive. My baby didn’t. It’s chest was still. It’s arms were curled in together. It’s legs didn’t kick or flail. It broke my heart.

Our baby stopped growing a couple of weeks ago. At about 13 weeks. We had some options. We could wait it out and deliver at home, take a medication to help speed things along or schedule a D&C. We decided to wait it out.

The next couple of days were painful. Cramping and bleeding steadily increased and finally, last night on the 3rd of January I delivered our little one. It was a boy! He was 3 1/4 inches long from crown to rump and he was just perfect. Perfect little fingers and toes. Just still.

Last pictures- 14 weeks, 4 days

Last pictures- 14 weeks, 4 days

Then the bleeding picked up. And up and up until I knew it was time to go in to the hospital. They were fantastic and did everything they could to help me avoid surgery but finally I had just lost too much blood and things were getting a little scary. Right at midnight I went in for surgery. I woke up hooked up to a bag of blood. By morning I’d gone through another. But after the surgery, the transfusion and some more fluids I was feeling much more myself.

I have been incredibly blessed by visits from friends who love me, dinners delivered to my doorstep, treats, hugs and more messages than I can even respond to. I am so grateful to have so many amazing people in my life. I am so grateful to have four beautiful little boys to come home and cuddle with. I’m so grateful for an amazing husband who took care of me, my kids, the house and even threw a birthday party himself while I was in the hospital. I’m grateful for my parents giving up so much time to be with me and take care of my family. And I’m grateful for the amazing hospital staff who gave me the VIP treatment my whole stay and helped me skip the four hour wait in the lobby. Things could not have possibly gone better and I don’t know what I ever did to deserve so much good in my life.  Thank you!

We’re very sad not to get to meet this little person right now. I’m sure there will be hard days and I’m not looking forward to the kid’s due date but we have peace about it. I’m excited to get back to running. That’s been on hold with all my complications this past few months. I get to enjoy baby that I have without worrying about him becoming a big brother so soon. We can focus all our attention on him this April when it comes time for his palate surgery. But more than anything I have faith in Heavenly Father and his plan for our family. I trust him and know that he wants me to be happy and that he will make our family whole. I am so grateful for that knowledge and for my loving Savior who has been with me every step of the way. He has been true to His words:

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
& 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.