Dear Baby Skye,
If I knew 10 weeks and 2 days ago that today would be the day we would part ways, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Baby Skye, to be honest, the deepest fear I have ever carried is the one that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. I think it goes way back to when I found out I was adopted and I searched for identity in any possible way. Even though adoption is so big on both your fathers heart and mine, we still desired to create something magical together. You.
I couldn’t believe it when I took that test the morning of February 18th. Two strong lines in less than 15 seconds. I was absolutely stunned. It was Election Day in Uganda and there was this fear looming in the air but suddenly, the sky’s opened up and brightness shined into our lives. Your father was teaching your sister how to play rock, paper, scissors over breakfast. I hid the test in the back of my pants and sat down with them, my heart beating while thinking of clever ways to share the news. All of sudden he turned to me and said “wanna play?”. I knew this was it. We actually played this childhood game at our wedding ceremony to decide who would say our vows first, so it was quite sentimental. Rock, paper, scissors…show! He cried. Ohhhhh, how he cried. Skye, I have never seen him so instantaneously happy in his life. We hugged forever…maybe you felt it? Although you were the size of a poppy seed then so probably not. He was so happy to learn about you.
Me on the other hand…I felt so many things. Shock mainly. We just decided to start trying and already we were pregnant. I felt relieved that it didn’t take that long. Of course I was incredibly happy not only at the thought of our growing family but now I could kick that lifelong fear to the curb. I could officially get pregnant.
Then I felt this sadness. Sadness for the people we know who can’t. Sadness for our loved ones who have been trying forever…really fighting is a better word. Friends who have been fighting for their family. My heart has broken time after time hearing of their struggles and now here we are, pregnant right away. I was happy but so confused on how this all worked.
Then, I felt fear. Fear because I remembered the other times my heart has broken for our loved ones. The times that we got that phone call or text that they no longer were pregnant as they unfortunately miscarried. This was all too common for me to grasp and it seemed like so many people we knew in 2014/2015 all experienced miscarriages back to back. The truth hit me…miscarriage is a possibility because nothing in life is guaranteed. Anxiety and worries consumed me. I googled everything because I didn’t want to do anything wrong that could hurt you. I wanted to give you all the loving and care I possibly could as you grew in my womb. I thought filling my brain with other people’s experiences seemed like a good idea. Actually, it was the worst. Pregnancy boards really felt more like miscarriage boards and again, my heart broke into more pieces. I couldn’t get over how common miscarriage is…1 in 4 women. Four weeks, nine weeks, sixteen weeks, twenty-two weeks, one time, two times, three times. Despite this common tragedy amongst a sea of strangers, I saw strength more than loss. These women have endured so much whether it was infertility, pregnancy loss and even healthy pregnancies. I know those websites weren’t the best for my mind but goodness, I got to know the heart of a woman in a way I have never known. I felt strengthened through everyone else’s vulnerability.
I decided to surrender it all to God. I was tired of feeling fear more than joy. As I was praying one day, the lyric “He gives and takes away” came into my heart and it’s played through every day for the last month. Skye, I have learned to count every day together with you as a blessing. 6 weeks and 6 days, 7 weeks and 4 days, 8 weeks and 5 days, 10 weeks and 2 days. That gratitude has spilled over to your sister as well. Every day I thank God for one more day with you two blessings. You are surely His, not mine.
During the last 6 weeks, your father spoiled the heck out of us girls. My main symptom was serious fatigue and every day at 2pm it hit hard! He made sure two fans were blowing on me as I rested and worked from bed most days here in Africa. He handled everything with taking your sister to school, making food for us, paying bills and helping with homework. The little things were so hard for me and he never once made me feel guilty for resting and growing your sweet life.
Your sister, well she was so excited to finally have someone to play with. So many of our friends around us are pregnant and she got used to the idea that babies grow in bellies and then come out into the world to play. She couldn’t wait for her “baby brudder” to arrive. She would pet my tummy, talk about how she was going to show you her imaginary “pink house” and she even spilled the beans to a couple of people. Needless to say, she couldn’t wait to meet you.
There were many things you didn’t enjoy me eating. Avocados, bananas and chicken were just a few. And all of a sudden I was craving food from my childhood…Chex Mex, Nutty Bars, Taco Bell. Thankfully they don’t sell those things here in Africa and I made do with olives and lots of fruit!
When I would share the news that I was pregnant with others, they were so excited but there was something in me that held back. It didn’t feel real yet. I just felt like I was sick more than pregnant as I couldn’t see you, feel you or hear you. Our 10 week appointment was the day that I had been waiting for because I knew then that I would finally hear your heartbeat.
The day after Easter we met with a midwife in Kampala and she instructed us through everything we could expect. I already knew all of these things because like I said, Google taught me so much in those early weeks. When it was time for the ultra sound, my heart started beating fast. This was the moment I had been waiting for. I invited God to hold onto my fear because I didn’t want it looming in that room with us.
He peeked into my body through his ultrasound device and showed me my surrounding organs. Then he placed it over my womb. The machine was outdated but I could make out your tiny body. There was a white dot on your chest and I excitedly asked if that was your heart. I looked up at the technician and could see that something wasn’t right. Everything else was a blur. The technician left. I had tears streaming down my face and I asked your father if he had any idea what just happened.
The report said that you were a missed abortion. I had no idea what that even meant but all I knew was there wasn’t a heartbeat. The midwife suggested we wait a week before making a decision on how to move forward…just in case. She also said now that my mind is aware of the situation, my body might begin the miscarriage process on its own. I was still in shock.
The long car ride home was filled with different thoughts consuming my brain. I hung onto the midwifes hopeful words…”let’s wait a week, just in case”. That ‘just in case’ showed me hope. I mean, the ultrasound machine WAS pretty old, the technician didn’t have the BEST bedside manner and we are in Uganda after all…lets just hold on to hope for a second opinion.
Your father was sitting in the front seat and put on Bethel’s Without Words album. There is a song that goes into “It is Well” towards the end and he lost it. That song is so special to us but especially your father. In the window reflection, I watched him try to keep it together but the shaking seat told me that he was caving in. I could hear his muffled cry and wrapped my arms around him from behind. I had to be strong for him like he has been strong for me.
The next morning waking up felt like a dream but all of a sudden I realized I didn’t feel pregnant at all. My bloating was gone, my chest wasn’t sore and something in my heart just told me that I wasn’t anymore. Seeing as we were going to get an ultrasound for a second opinion that day, I focused on the hope. MAYBE these symptoms were fading because I was nearing the 2nd trimester. MAYBE we could hear a heartbeat.
My friend Taylor rushed over to be with me. She listened to me recount the experience from the day before and then asked if she could pray. She prayed for answers, whether it was a heartbeat or bleeding to begin. I told her I didn’t think I could wait weeks to know especially if you passed away already. Thirty minutes later I began to miscarry.
When I saw what my body had begun my heart of course sank but I was also amazed at how quickly God answered our prayers! Of course this is the more devastating option but goodness…we had an answer. To be honest, I think I knew this was the case all morning but now I was certain it was reality. While this could seem like a painful realization…I knew where you were and that made me so happy.
At midnight I woke up with tight, painful, rhythmic cramps that would last about a minute and then let up before they started again. I quickly realized these were contractions and I was technically in labor except there was no baby that would come out of this. Through these painful contractions that lasted for the next 16 hours I envisioned you in the arms of Jesus. You are smiling, He is smiling…you both look so happy to finally be together. This vision showed me that you were where you were meant to be. Oh Skye, I cannot wait to join you two. I cannot wait to hug you and finally hold you in my arms.
It’s been a week of rest and time spent with loved ones. I must tell you Skye, we are all so loved. The last thing we have felt in this experience is lonely. All of your Aunties, Uncles, Grandma and Grandpa have reached out to remind all of us that we are so loved and prayed for. And those prayers, I know you can hear them and we can certainly feel them. All around us is joy, hope and a strengthening of faith. In the moments filled with sadness, anger and sorrow…we focus on those prayers. We focus on the light. We focus on our loving Father.
My regrets are that I wish I celebrated every single day with you instead of holding onto fear. While I let go of that anxiety early on, I couldn’t shake the truth of what could possibly happen. I think I disconnected from it all and oddly enough, now I feel closer to you than ever. Should there be another baby brother or sister down the line, I promise to celebrate their life from day one…no matter what the outcome may be.
Alas, our time together physically is coming to an end but you will always be in my heart. You will be remembered throughout all of our lives and celebrated every single day. Like I said before, if I knew 10 weeks and 2 days ago that this would be the day we would part ways, I would do it all over again. You certainly have changed me in ways I never thought and I know your life was definitely not wasted.