Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Story

Ben and I met in February 2004 on Valentine's Day.  We were both single and volunteering to decorate a church for their Sweetheart Banquet they have to raise money for missions.  We were both in college at two different schools and we hit it off right away.  We had a few mutual friends and got connected online. We talked on instant messenger a few times and he came to visit me and I him.  We decided to start "courting" in March and the next day I left for mission trip to Texas.  When I got back to college, I took him home to meet the family.  On the way back to campus, I met his family.  We decided early on we didn't want to date if we weren't serious about it.  We courted for about 13 months and on April 3, 2005, he proposed!  We had a short engagement and were married December 31 of that year!

We didn't have a lot, but we were happy. 

Ben got a job back in my hometown and we ended up moving there right before our wedding.  I was still a full-time college student and I started subbing at the local schools.  We enjoyed doing stuff together and spending time with our family and friends.  We prayed that God would expand our family in His timing and in the way he wanted.  We both loved kids and had served with children in a mission capacity and talked about someday adopting.

After being married for around 9 months, we found out we were going to have a baby!  We were SO excited.  Many of our friends were already blessed with a little one and we both were just so excited to start adding to our family!

Ethan Uriah was born the end of May and weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds and 14.5 ounces.  The only issues during the whole pregnancy was him being breech and requiring a c-section!  He was SO beautiful!

In May of 2008 after only *six* years...I finally graduated with my Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) and our precious one year old was there to celebrate with us!

I began working as a school social worker and love being around kids and love the school I work for. Preschool through 12th grade all under one roof, around 900 kids.

In March of 2009, we were surprised to learn that our family would be expanding!  The same week my application to grad school was approved, we got a positive pregnancy test!  I attended orientation, but we decided it was best to put off grad school and focus on our family. 

Everything about this pregnancy was different than my first.  I never felt sick with Ethan, but I couldn't even drink water without feeling sick during this pregnancy.  Ethan was such a strong mover, but when I did feel this little one move, it was so gentle.  On July 9, we learned why it was so different...the baby was a GIRL!  We decided to name her Shyla, which means "Creative" and we were right on track for our Thanksgiving Due date.

On August 31, I was really concerned because I couldn't recall the last time I really felt her move.  Sometimes that was hard just because she moved so gently and not very often.  I called the Dr and we decided it would be good for me to go to L&D "just to be safe".

I will never forget this night and have written about it in detail already on this blog, but this was the first time I heard, "I'm sorry, but the ultrasound confirms..."  Our baby girl had died sometime in the days before.  We weren't really sure when, but she had been gone for a couple of days.  I was 28 weeks pregnant and I would deliver our daughter, our second child, by c-section on September 2, 2009.

After all the many tests, we learned that I am positive for Factor V Leiden and MTHFR c677t.  Blood clots had formed in the placenta and/or the cord that caused our daugter's death.

Of course, we were devastated.  Our Shyla Joy was gone.  We would not get to see our girl again until Heaven.

I was shocked by the lack of resources and support in our area, so after much research, we started a support group for parents who experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.  We started making care packages for parents who deliver their baby stillborn at our local hospital and we first delivered those on the day Shyla was scheduled to be born.  We also served as the ambassador family for the area March of Dimes March for Babies in 2010 to raise awareness and support for pregnancy and infant loss.

We talked with each other (a lot) about our family and our vision for the future.  Adoption once again entered our vocabulary and we agreed that we both felt God leading us in this direction someday.  But after talking with the high risk OB and seeing how the risks on myself and future children go up with age, we decided to try to expand our family biologically at that time.

In August 2010, we learned we were being blessed with our 3rd child.

August 31, 2010, one year to the day we learned of Shyla's death, we had our first ultrasound for our rainbow baby.  As soon as the ultrasound machine came on, I knew I didn't see a heartbeat. The doctor searched and searched, but all we could see was the gestational fetal heartbeat.  The Dr said he was sorry and they drew blood to check my hCG levels.  We waited a week and we prayed. 

We celebrated Shyla's life on her 1st birthday in Heaven while not knowing if we would ever meet the little one inside me.

We decided to call this baby Jakin which means "God Will Establish".  We knew God would establish this baby!  We went back a week later and heard the most beautiful noise ever!  A healthy heartbeat and a baby measuring 2 days ahead! 

I started my blood thinner injections and my bi-monthly visits to the Drs.  Everything seemed to be going great.  On November 11th at a regular OB visit, we learned that we were having a boy!  Unfortunately, we also learned his little heart was beating way too fast.  The regular OB called my high risk OB.  He asked that we come in the next morning.  So we did.  He diagnosed Jakin with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).  His heart was beating really fast (280 bpm) then it would stop for a second then restart at that super fast rate.  He started me on a blood pressure medicine to cross the placenta and sent me to a pediatric cardiologist the next week.

The pediatric cardiologist (PC) didn't think it was actually SVT, but more of an atrial issue.  She said that is generally easier to correct and pointed out that some of the fluid from the last week had already gone away and his heart was starting to correct itself (going from 123 to 280 and back).  He was still experiencing some tachycardias, but they were hopeful the addition of a Digoxin (a heart regulating medication) to my regiment would help correct this issue.

One week later, November 23, we went back to see the PC and have another heart ultrasound.  I was nervous all the way there that day, which was a two hour drive.  As soon as the image came up on the screen, I knew there was a problem. 

The extremely fast flickering was no longer visable.  They said the only heartbeat they could find was only 40 bpm and in not as many words said our little Jakin was dying before our eyes.  They cried with us and prayed with us and sent us across town to the high risk OB.  We were quickly ushered into another ultrasound room where the OB confirmed (I still can't believe I heard these words again) "the ultrasound confirms there is no longer a heartbeat". 

I was 18 weeks 5 days pregnant.  We saw our baby's heart stopping on that screen.  The OB said we were too far along for a D&C and not far enough for a repeat c-section, so he recommended being induced as soon as we were comfortable.  We decided to go back home, to our local Dr and the one that had delivered both Ethan and Shyla. 

November 24, 2010, the day before Thanksgiving,  Jakin Isaac was born.  After 7 hours of labor he quietly entered the world.  We spent time and took photos just like we did with Shyla and spent the evening holding him and memorizing his tiny little features. 

We began the journey of being a family missing another peice.  I feel at times that I have one foot in Heaven and one foot on earth. 

Although we have our "bad" days as well as our "good" we will never feel the same and we will never feel complete until we are all in Heaven together.

We know that we know that Beauty Will Rise!  We know that God will use this to turn hearts and minds to Him and that while two our babies lives were short, their legacy is wide.

After Jakin was healed and went home early, adoption once again entered our vocabulary.  Ben gave me three very sweet gifts for Christmas and we began the process of reviewing agencies and countries.

Our hearts kept leaning to the east and we started getting "God Winks" that led us to finding a peice of our heart in South Korea.

South Korea began making lots of changes to their adoption program.  Much longer wait times, much older children, higher fees, longer travel times, and even the possibility of the country closing to international adoptions has been rumored.  Two days after getting an email explaining this, we were contacted by a family member about a friend of hers who had decided to make an adoption plan.

Less than two months later, he was in our arms.

But, at 6 days old, his biological mother decided to parent and we handed him back to her on March 15.

We currently have no idea what God has in store for us.  We are just trying to wade through this grief again.


Anonymous said...

You are a strong woman with a beautiful soul. As an Angel Mommy myself with a rainbow baby I send you lots of love and hope on your journey.

Monica said...

O Mattie, I am so sorry for your losses. What a rollercoaster ride with Jakin's heart not beating at first and then beating but beating to fast the next week and then stopped beating. It's all so sad and my heart goes out to you.

Hannah Rose said...

I just came across your blog...I was drawn to it because of the title "Beauty Will Rise." On my blog, I also have that same S.C.C. song quoted in my header. I am so sorry about the two losses you've experienced. What a beautiful family you have! I know how it feels to have one foot on earth and one foot in heaven. You're strength is a witness to Christ's unending faithfulness. I look forward to following your story and seeing where the Lord will lead your family next! Blessings, Hannah Rose

Rachel said...

You are such a strong woman. I have been so blessed by what I have read so far in your blog. I am new grieving for a baby. Our daughter died just three weeks ago, I was only 23 weeks along. Thank you for sharing about your losses and your journey.

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing your story and so sorry for both your losses. I have been an Angel for almost 2 moths now.
Good luck on your adoption journey

Phillip and Kirsten said...

I just came across your blog on the Faithful Bloggers site. We lost our little angel at 26 weeks gestation. I've recently started a blog- "

Thank you for sharing your story. We have been blessed to know that we are not alone, and seeing other blogs and stories is so incredibly important. I appreciate you sharing. God bless you!

Tiffany said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Our first baby is waiting for us in heaven, too, and tears sprang to my eyes when I read you words, "I feel at times that I have one foot in Heaven and one foot on earth" because I know exactly what you mean.

Blessings to you and your family, both the ones here on earth and with Jesus.

Kara said...

Came over to find your story...their story...makes the longer for Heaven so much deeper...doesn't it?
My heart aches for yours, for the tears you've wept. I'm so sorry...
But one day we'll rejoice together...forever with our little ones. This blog, your pain, and your heart for adoption knits my heart to yours. Thank you for sharing all this...

Bumber's Bumblings said...

Thank you for sharing your story. My best friend's baby was diagnosed with anencephally when she was about 18 weeks along. She carried her to full term and she lived for 11 hours. What a horrible painful process it was, but their faith was the only thing that got them through.. I'd love to share your blog with her.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful, heartbreaking and glorious! I am so sorry for your loss but grateful for your hope. I like how you put your thoughts/feelings on heaven, "I have one foot here and one foot in heaven." That is such a beautiful way to put it. I have just been saying that heaven is so real to me now. I too have lost two babies. On June 30, 2011, I said hello and then goodbye to my identical twin girls. It is so hard. But I have hope all because of the promise of the cross.

Jeremy and Megan said...

I am so sorry for your losses! I am a new follower of yours and am just backtracking now. You are such a strong woman and thank you for sharing your story!

Sarah said...

I came across your blog via other babyloss blogs. I am so sorry that you have experienced so many losses, on so many different levels. I am heartbroken for you. You will be in my prayers.

Michelle Hanway said...

oh Mattie. I am just reading your story for the first time. I am so heartbroken for you & your family the various losses you've had to endure - more than anyone should for sure!

Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your missing piece falls into place soon.

Kelly JS said...

I am in awe of your story. Amazing photos. I am sorry for your loss. You found me through 5 Minute Friday today and I am so happy you did. I'm encouraged by your story. Praying for you now.

Anonymous said...

I saw your wonderful news about Hope on "Lost and Found". After reading your whole story it is so, so sweet to hear about Hope. I can realte with your heartache as your story is similar to ours. After we adopted our hearts began to heal from our losses. This is just the beginning for your beautiful family!