My husband, Willie, and I have been waiting and preparing to hold our baby in our arms for 7 years. We have a history of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies resulting in the loss of both fallopian tubes, elevated antiphospholipid antibodies, and pericentric inversion of chromosome 9. The inversion is known to cause miscarriages. Willie and I have experienced six losses, one of which was a twin pregnancy.
So, when we found out we were pregnant, naturally, in April of this year, we were overjoyed. We were so happy, excited, and immediately started planning. God had heard and answered our long-awaited prayers. Due to my medical history, we were monitored weekly and the pregnancy seemed to be moving in the right direction. Sine the pandemic was in full swing, my husband could not be with me during those appointments. On May 19th, I was given devastating news at 8 weeks 4 days pregnant. “I’m so sorry sweetie, there’s no heartbeat.” I went numb. I could not believe what I was hearing. After a couple days of processing, I was scheduled for a D&C for the day after Memorial Day. One of the hardest things, I had to endure, was going through a D&C and saying goodbye to our baby without my husband present due to the surgery center’s policy during this pandemic.
We grieved and lamented and grieved some more. I was in a dark place, and I didn’t want to be around anyone. I needed time, understanding, and answers to my questions that only God could give me. I was able to express every emotion I was feeling to God, honestly. Raw emotions. Even during our suffering and pain, God never left us. He was right there every step of the way, collecting our tears, healing our wounds, doing a work in and through us. I was reminded of Jeremiah 29 for which it says that when I call on him and pray to him, He will listen to me.
Fast forward to July, something happened that has never happened to us. On July 22nd, we found out we were pregnant AGAIN. We could not believe when we saw two, very distinctive pink lines on a pregnancy test. I was seen by my RE who performed blood work and an ultrasound that morning. We saw a gestational sac, and the beginning of a yolk sac. Everyone in their office was super excited for us. The morning of the next day, I experienced severe abdominal pain that progressively worsened by the minute. By 9:30am, my husband dropped me off at home from work. I told him I would be okay and told him to go back to work. After calling every doctor I knew, my RE’s nurse got in contact with me. She advised me to head to the ED and have them to perform a scan to see what was going on.
By this time, it was around 11am. I was in so much pain that I could not walk upright. I drove myself to the ED, and along the way, I prayed and prayed. I did not fear, but I knew I needed help ASAP. I did not know what was going on, but the pain was unbearable, excruciating. After 10 minutes of arriving to the ED and being persistent with the front desk person that I needed to be seen that very minute, I was so close to fainting. My blood pressure was extremely low, 70/40. My mom arrived first and then Willie soon after. Seeing them brought so much more comfort. After a painful transvaginal and abdominal ultrasound, they found internal bleeding and rushed me into emergency surgery to determine the source of the bleeding and provided a blood transfusion. Upon waking in recovery, I was told that if I had not arrived at the hospital when I did, I would not have made it. I would have died at home from internal bleeding. I lost 1.5 liters of blood. When I asked my husband what happened in surgery, he hesitantly informed me that they had to take my only tube, my left tube, due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The surgeon could not stop the bleeding. I did not feel sad.
I woke up with indescribable joy. I was and am happy to be alive, and I told my husband that the surgery saved my life. GOD SAVED MY LIFE. God is bigger than tubes!
I know with all my heart that God has a plan and a purpose for allowing all of this. I know He prepared us for this season, this wilderness. I had to be broken to get to my breakthrough. I am so excited to see what that is and how He will use this for His glory. My outlook and perspective on life are so different now.
I still grieve. I still have moments where I cry and long for our children and our unborn children. While the physical experience of pregnancy loss happened a couple of months ago, my body still psychologically responds to gestation, grief and mourning. Complete healing from pregnancy loss will not happen in 6 weeks or 6 months. It is a process, sometimes grueling and ugly. You cope. You hold onto hope. Relentless hope. You get stronger. You get better. We will continue to believe to conceive and have healthy children. Now, our only way to conceive is through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Unfortunately, our insurance provider does NOT provide infertility coverage. All of these procedures will be out of pocket.
Pregnancy loss and fertility challenges are not talked about enough. Thank you for allowing me to share because we are truly blessed. The joy I have on the inside is indescribable. Thank you to my best friend and loving husband for always being there for me in every way I need. I could not do this without you, Willie. I love you so much. We express such gratitude to God, the physicians who handled my care, especially Dr. Amelia Bailey and the Fertility Associates of Memphis Team, our Life Church of Memphis family, our parents, and close friends. You have walked this journey with us. We are tremendously blessed to have a community where we can share our Baby Leonard Journey. I choose to change my perspective on loss to a sacrifice to God and His kingdom. Willie and I ARE parents to 6 babies in heaven. We have endured suffering but will continue to have relentless hope. We will grow through what we go through. We will not give up on our family. We are so excited to see what God has planned for us. He is working in our favor, and he is restoring the years.
Sonia and Willie Leonard
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