In today's #IAmWhole post, Alayna graciously and powerfully shares her story of hope and purpose as she walks through the pain of recurring miscarriage. We see incredible strength in the vulnerability of Alayna, and we are confident that you will be both moved and encouraged by her transparency. Alayna is a fellow professional photographer and provided this stunning photo for her post!
From the moment that our relationship started, we were certain of two things.
First of which was that we were in love, secondly that we wanted to start a family. Austin wanted four kids, I was okay with two. We both had just assumed that this wouldn't be an issue and planned our future accordingly. He was going to be our breadwinner and caring father, and I was going to be a stay at home mother.
We got married in May, and in June of that year had the joy of seeing that blue “plus sign” on a pregnancy test.
We were waiting until 8 weeks to go to the doctors (being college students and poor) but at 7 weeks we lost our first. We were devastated, in mourning, but trying to stay positive about our future. We experienced our second loss in November of that year.
After speaking with health care professionals we were told “this happens more often than you would think. You are young and still have a lot of time.”
August of 2013 (the following year) we discovered that we were expecting a third time and immediately went to the doctors, who ran all sorts of blood tests, hormone checks and ultrasounds which assured us that everything was great. We got to see our baby on the ultrasound at 8 weeks, 5 days. What a beautiful heartbeat! 152 beats per minute. We were hesitant, but also overjoyed that our plans and dreams were finally coming together. We were able to share our excitement with friends and family, and start to plan for the future that we had wanted.
It was the day before Thanksgiving when we lost Anna-Sophia.
She had passed at 12 weeks and two days. The doctors informed us that is was due to a chromosomal defect that caused a fluid sac on her neck, and had cut off oxygen to her brain. There was nothing that we could have done
differently to prevent this. I remember seeing that ultrasound, except this time there was silence. I kept thinking that if I stared at that screen long enough that maybe I would see her moving again. I remember trying to muster up the words to tell our family but the words got lost in tears.
After that it became an obsession.
We must be doing something wrong! There must be something that we aren't seeing that is preventing us from carrying full term! I cut out coffee, I cut out peanuts, I tracked my ovulation and internal temperatures 24/7. I was convinced that I would accidentally do something wrong and that would be what caused us to miscarry. In the next year and a half we had three more losses. That is about the time I hit rock bottom.
I had put on weight, I was greatly depressed. Our marriage was a mess. I was just really, really angry at the world. I was angry at God. I looked around and saw all of these people that had no issue having children. People that didn't even want to get pregnant were able to without issues, yet we wanted a child more than anything in the world and weren't able to! I felt alone, and more than anything I just felt lost. I had put my whole identity in the fact that I was going to be a mother, and without that I was nothing. It was then that we decided that we couldn't live this way. We had to change something or we were going to self implode.
It took a long time for us to find peace.
It didn't happen overnight, rather it was a slow process that took a lot of effort on both of our ends. At first it was a struggle, but it got easier as time went on. We each had to find new identities, and set new goals that didn't revolve around children. We sat down and looked at the positives of not having children and decided that we were going to take full advantage of that. We had to learn how to date each other again, to enjoy being intimate without the focus being our future children. I found a great peace, and joy in my work. Austin took a leap of faith with me and I quit my job to start up my own business. I was able to dive head-first into that. Austin was able to focus on his education. We travel. We are learning how to farm and how to garden. We are pursuing hobbies that we have always wanted to learn. We spoil our dogs like you wouldn't believe.
Most importantly, we have learned that we can be a complete family unit just the two of us, and in that we have found joy, and peace.
I do not pretend to have all of the answers, nor do I know what the future holds for us. I am definitely not saying that there is not still hurt. I love my babies, and I think of them every day (and I probably always will) but with time comes healing. With healing comes peace, and in that we can be made whole again.
If this post was encouraging to you, if you would like to speak an encouraging word to Alayna, or if you would just like to connect, please do not hesitate to contact us!