On the morning of March 8, 2017, I took a pregnancy test and nearly screamed… I was pregnant. I wanted to shout from the rooftops and dance in the streets. I couldn’t believe it. Pregnant after a long wait. Pregnant after doctors said it couldn’t happen. I immediately downloaded a pregnancy app, and learned that our precious miracle was the size of a poppy seed. So, we celebrated Poppy. That afternoon I went to have my blood tested to confirm our pregnancy and check my hormone levels.
We had to wait until the next day to get the results. So, on March 9, I learned my HCG level confirmed pregnancy, however my progesterone level was low. Progesterone is a hormone that every woman’s body creates during her monthly cycle. During pregnancy, progesterone helps support and sustain a growing baby. Many doctors believe that low progesterone can contribute to miscarriage.
As I have shared before, I have a hormonal disease called Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS). Due to my struggle with PCOS, my body has a hard time maintaining progesterone. I wasn’t surprised to find my progesterone level was low, but I was a little nervous because I know that progesterone is very important in pregnancy. So, that afternoon I went to my doctor’s office, got a progesterone injection and was given progesterone to take at home daily.
Late that night, I started spotting. Dan and I laid in bed and cried. I knew there was no reason to go to the ER because I was so early, and nothing could be done. We prayed hard that night for our little Poppy. Saying pregnancy after loss is hard is an understatement. A positive pregnancy test brought back a lot of memories from our first pregnancy, and a lot of fears. After the spotting started my mind spun out of control. It felt to like what we had been through before.
That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue and commanded that all the people in the land bow to worship it. If someone refused to worship the false idol, they would be thrown into a burning furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. King Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t believe it, and demanded that they bow before the idol. The three boys looked the King straight in the face and said “Throw us in the fire, because our God will save us. BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, we will continue to worship Him because He is good.” (my paraphrase)
On the morning of March 10, my spotting had stopped. I called my OBGYN and after describing what happened, she felt that what I had described as spotting, was most likely just a side effect of my progesterone I was taking at home. She felt it was nothing to be concerned about, however to be safe, she wanted me to come in for another progesterone injection. That afternoon, after the injection, we traveled to Omaha. While in the car, we called and told my parents we were pregnant. When we arrived in Omaha, we told Dan’s family. Such precious memories.
On March 13, I went back to my OBGYN for another HCG and progesterone check. The next day we learned that my HCG level was climbing exactly like it should, however my progesterone level still wasn’t quite where is should be. That night, I started progesterone injections at home on top of the progesterone I was already taking. I had to do the injections every 4 days. Progesterone injections are NOT fun. They hurt and can leave you sore for days, but I didn’t care. It seemed like a small price to pay to keep our baby safe. Around that same time, a sweet friend texted me and asked me how our “Lil Bit” was doing. The name stuck, and we started calling our precious baby Lil Bit.
On March 16, I had more blood work done to check my HCG and progesterone. The next day everything came back perfect. I was told to continue taking the two forms of progesterone and to come back in a few days for more testing. I was so thankful all was well.
On March 20, I felt so confident as I walked into get my blood drawn. I knew that everything would be fine. I felt so much peace. However, the next day we learned that my progesterone levels had dropped significantly. I was crushed. My OB suggested that I start taking the injections every other day and come back in a few days for more testing. That night, I opened my journal, and Hebrews 10:23 was printed at the bottom of the page: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” It felt like just the confirmation I needed. Hold tight, God is for us. As we went to bed, Dan and I laid hands on my stomach and prayed that God would protect Lil Bit.
Shortly after getting pregnant, we learned my OB did not do deliveries and she did not have hospital rights (she is a more natural OB that specializes in hormonal health). So, we would need to find an OB to “co-care” with my OB for prenatal care and delivery. Until we made a decision, all of our ultrasounds would be done at a testing facility. I felt I had plenty of time to find a OB to co-care with my current OB, so while it was on my mind, it wasn’t my top priority.
On March 27, we had more blood work and our first ultrasound at the testing facility. I was just over 6 weeks. We knew we were early, but because of my history of ectopic pregnancy, it was important to get in early and check everything out. I expected to see Lil Bit and to hear his heartbeat (or at least see his heartbeat). Instead, I got a terrible ultrasound tech that wouldn’t even show us the ultrasound screen and made us feel very uncomfortable. I walked out crying, with 100 questions.
Dan reminded me we had no reason to be fearful. We didn’t really know anything. Maybe Lil Bit just didn’t want to cooperate? Or maybe the testing facility wasn’t allowed to show us anything? That night I wrote this in my journal: “Yet again I’m reminded that life won’t always go as I planned it… and that’s ok. Yet again, I’m being led to a place where my faith is without borders and it hurts. So tonight, as scary as it is… I choose to trust that my baby is in God’s hands. No matter what tomorrow holds, my worry won’t change it. I choose faith even though fear would be easier…and trust that no matter what God is good.”
On March 28, my blood work from the previous day came back perfect. My progesterone levels were perfect, and my HCG level had risen just as it should. We breathed a sigh of relief. The ultrasound report wasn’t back to my OB yet, but we felt that we had nothing to fear because the blood work looked so perfect.
On March 29, my OB called me with the ultrasound report. Lil Bit measured exactly as he should, however they had not found a heartbeat. I also had a sub-chronic hemorrhage. My doctor felt it was possible that because we were so early, the sub-chronic hemorrhage was making it difficult to see the heartbeat. She also felt it was possible that we had started to miscarry. She was optimistic because my blood work looked good, but she told me to call all my prayer warriors and prepare for the worst. We had more blood work done and scheduled a follow up ultrasound.
So, we called prayer warriors and clung to the positives. Lil Bit was measuring exactly as he should, my blood work looked great and even though I had a sub-chronic hemorrhage, I had no symptoms that typically come along with those. Again, that night, Dan, and I laid hands on my stomach and prayed God would protect our Lil Bit.
On March 30, the results of my blood work came back. My HCG level did rise, but not as much as my doctor would have liked. My progesterone level was down a bit… but it had been such a moving target no one seemed concerned.
On April 2, I went up for prayer during church for Lil Bit. I didn’t share much of our story, just that I was pregnant after a long wait and there were some complications. The couple prayed that God would save our baby’s life. They prayed our baby’s life would be so touched by God that no one could deny His hand. I will never forget that prayer, because God answered it in a big way.
On April 5, we had our second ultrasound. I walked in with so much belief. I know that we serve a big God that can do anything. I believed that we would hear a healthy heart and see a healthy baby. However, we left again with no answers.
On April 6, my doctor received the full ultrasound report. Although there was still no heartbeat, Lil Bit had grown and was still measuring appropriately. Also, there was no signs of the sub chronic hemorrhage. So, I had more blood drawn and scheduled another ultrasound. That night we celebrated the things God had done, and prayed that at our next appointment, we would hear the heartbeat.
On April 7, we drove to South Dakota for a weekend away. While on our way we got an e-mail from my OB stating that my progesterone levels had increased, but that my HCG level had dropped a bit. My OB explained that we could be miscarrying, and told me to take it easy. So that’s what we did. We enjoyed our weekend away, and did our best to choose faith over fear. We looked at cribs, dreamt about a nursery and prayed that no matter what happened, God would use Lil Bit’s life in a way that would glorify Him.
On April 11, we had our third ultrasound. Our tech was amazing. We didn’t get any answers, but we felt cared for.
On April 13, the Thursday before Easter, my doctor called to confirm Lil Bit had stepped into heaven. She was so kind and cried with me on the phone. She took her time, encouraged my heart, and told me what I could expect next.
That afternoon, Dan’s parents arrived from Nebraska. They had planned to come spend Easter weekend with us long before we knew we were pregnant. God knew I was going to need someone to hold my heart that weekend. As I look back over my journey with delayed fertility, I can’t help but think of all the times that someone was there at just the right time. Those types of things do not happen by chance.
On Easter I shared our loss on social media. I wrote:
This Easter is a little different in the Forster house. A little over a month ago, Dan and I learned that we were pregnant! We were shocked and elated! This past week, we learned that our “Lil Bit” has stepped into heaven. We are heartbroken, and don’t understand what God is doing….but…we aren’t hopeless. Lil Bit’s little life was nothing short of a miracle. Several doctors told us we would never conceive naturally… but God had other plans. In the short time I have carried Lil Bit, I have seen God answer countless prayers. Even in loss, God continues to hold our hearts.
As I prepare to go to church to celebrate Easter this morning… I can’t help but think of how dark Friday and Saturday leading up to the resurrection was. So much heartbreak… but God had other plans.
Today, my broken heart can rejoice because my Jesus rose again, and I know joy WILL come in the morning. Because my Jesus rose again, I know Lil Bit is running the streets of gold today with his sibling… no pain, no fear, no sadness. Because my Jesus rose again, I know that I get to carry my babies again someday! Because my Jesus rose again, I know this story isn’t over. Finally, because my Jesus rose again, I know Dan and I will be ok. God is so very good, even when we don’t understand. We know He will use this story to glorify Him!
On April 18, I still hadn’t had any symptoms of miscarriage. So, I called my OBGYN and requested another ultrasound. That night Dan and I laid hands on my stomach and prayed that God would do a miracle. I just knew God was going to do something amazing.
On April 19, we had our fourth ultrasound. We left without answers, but continued to pray and believe that God would do a miracle.
Late in the afternoon on Thursday, April 20, my OB called and confirmed that not only was Lil Bit gone, but after viewing the ultrasound results, she felt it was best for me to have a D&C as soon as possible. She reminded me that she did not have hospital rights and asked me if there was an OB that I would prefer to do the surgery.
If you have read my story, you know that in 2015 I saw an OB, (I will call him Dr. S) that did a small procedure to remove a growth in my uterus. He was a kind man, so I mentioned him. My OB told me she would call Dr. S and see if he could work me into his schedule. She mentioned that because it was late on a Thursday, it was very likely that I wouldn’t hear back from her until the following day.
20 minutes later my OB called. Not only did Dr. S remember me, but he could fit me in for surgery on Monday! It had been over 2 years since I had seen Dr. S, and he remembered me? Even though God didn’t answer our prayers the way I wanted, I felt His hand in the details.
On April 25, Dan and I met with Dr. S at 12:20, where he gave me an exam and then said over and over again that he was sorry, and that this loss was not our fault. He recommended another ultrasound for one final look just to confirm the loss before the D&C. He told us that after the ultrasound, we should head downstairs to the surgery center and get checked in.
I will be honest, as I laid down for one final ultrasound I still believed that we could walk out of that room with a miracle. I still believed that God could move mountains and that we would see Lil Bit growing strong with a healthy heart beat. I knew God could do it. One word, and Lil Bit would have a strong healthy heart beat. I prayed big emergency prayers as I laid on the ultrasound table. However, the ultrasound confirmed again Lil Bit was gone.
I was barely able to hold it together as we walked out of the doctor’s office. I started crying as soon as we hit the doors. I sobbed huge ugly tears in the elevator. This was NOT the way this story was supposed to end. We had so many people praying, begging God, for Lil Bit’s life, but God didn’t move the way we asked. I was not ok with this. I wanted to take Dan’s hand and run out of the hospital and not deal with what was really happening.
As we stepped off the elevator, Dr. S happened to be walking by. He immediately hugged me and apologized for what we were going through. He walked Dan and I to the surgery center and made sure we were checked in. He did not have to do that, but I am thankful he did. My mind was not there, and I am not sure I could have navigated the hospital well enough to figure out how to get to the surgery center. Later, we learned Dr. S had squeezed me in for my pre-op appointment over his lunch break, and then did my surgery after seeing patients all day, before going on vacation. Friends, that was God’s hand.
We checked into the surgery center without incident and got into a room quickly. Before I knew it, I had had blood taken and an IV started. Then we waited.
Around 6:00 everything kicked into gear. The anesthesiologist came in to go over paperwork and suddenly everything hit me. This was really happening. We had lost a baby, and I was about to have surgery to remove him from my body. As I struggled to hold myself together, another nurse came in and went over more paperwork. Some of the paperwork required us to make decisions parents should never have to make. I started crying again, and cried until I was rolled into surgery.
After my surgery, Dr. S found Dan in the waiting room and told him everything had went as planned. Dr. S reminded Dan again that this wasn’t our fault. He was compassionate in a way that he didn’t have to be, but in a way, that spoke to Dan’s heart which was so needed in the moment.
When I woke up in recovery, the nurse who was caring for me, grabbed my hand and told me that she had lost 4 babies. She held my hand and cried with me. Again, it is no coincidence that the nurse who cared for me when I was waking up from a D&C is a woman who has walked in my shoes and who could hold my hand and cry with me. God was in the details.
After a short time in recovery, I was able to go back to a room and be with Dan. We were finally able to go home around 9:00.
Over the course of a week or so, my body recovered. However, I feel like my heart is still recovering.
I carried Lil Bit for 10 weeks and 5 days. It was one of the craziest roller coaster rides I have ever been on. It felt like we could barely keep up with the changing news. Some days we were high on good news and other days the bad news threatened to sink us. During that time, we prayed big prayers and believed that mountains would be moved. Sadly, our prayers weren’t answered the way we wanted, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t answered!
God was in every detail, taking care of us and providing for us. Lil Bit’s life defied medical odds. First and foremost, we got pregnant naturally. Something doctors told us would never happen. Lil Bit kept growing, a sub chronic hemorrhage healed, and the exact people we needed were placed in our lives at the exact time we needed them. Those are not things that happen by chance.
I have always loved saying “But if not, He is still good”, but it feels different now. I can relate so much to what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to the king in Daniel 3:18. Dan and I have begged God to change our situations, and then seen Him be good to us even when our situations didn’t change. We have been thrown into the fire, and come out alive on the other side.
Even though this story didn’t end the way we wanted it to, we know that a mighty powerful God touched our Lil Bit’s life. A God who is good.
We believe God’s promise still stands. We will have children in our home. We believe God will do it again… soon!
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