My husband, Joshua, and I were very young and had dreams and expectations bigger than life when we got married. We moved to Los Angeles, California two weeks after tying the knot to begin our adventure together. We learned a lot about each other and ourselves during that time. But little did we know that was only scratching the surface of what was to come. We found out we were pregnant with our first child after a year of living there and decided it was best to move back home to be closer to family. With no complications, my son was born in 2010.
Nearly three years later we found out we were expecting again. I was so excited! I was more than ready to welcome another little one in hopes it was a girl to complete our family. It was close to Grandparent’s Day when I got the news so I came up with a plan to get our parents and grandparents together to surprise them. They all rejoiced with us.
It was about a month later one evening that I started bleeding. I had never experience that with my first child so I was really alarmed. I called the doctor first thing the next morning and got in to see her soon after. I was terrified. Shaking uncontrollably as the sonogram was being performed, I was told the devastating news that my baby had no heartbeat. I couldn’t keep it together. I don’t know why I didn’t have someone come with me, I was alone and it was the worst feeling I had ever experienced at that time of my life.
Because I didn’t want to go home to an empty house, I pulled myself together and went to work. I instantly regretted that decision as soon as I walked into the building. My boss was so gracious though. He and his wife went through a few miscarriages and he tried to comfort me as much as he could. The next few days were a blur of darkness. The day I delivered will be something I will never forget though. I was getting ready to pack up and go home for the day when I had some terrible cramps. I was doubled over and could hardly move. I got home as fast as I could so I could try to get comfortable and take some pain medication. It only got worse, and as I got home, I thought if I could go to the bathroom I would feel better. It was there I delivered my baby. It was there that my life was forever changed seeing that lifeless tiny body. At that time I didn’t know how to respond to my grief. I ended up hurting myself, and eventually my marriage, by bottling it in.
My arms still ached for another baby, and after a year we got news we were expecting again. This time I was more cautious with my excitement. In fact I was terrified the whole first trimester that I would miscarry again. I got an at-home doppler and checked for the heartbeat almost every night for months. It was the only way I could have some peace of mind. While that pregnancy wasn’t smooth, my daughter was born healthy in June of 2015.
During this time my husband and I were struggling more than ever, which ultimately lead to separation. What was the darkest time of my life though, became something only God could do. After a year of separation, God restored our hearts and our marriage and brought us back together.
I very quickly, and unexpectedly, found out I was pregnant again. I was very nervous about adding another baby so soon, but God had other plans. My pregnancy was a breeze despite my apprehensions until one day at 35 weeks everything changed. The morning of December 15, 2016 was a normal morning. I had a regular check up and was told that everything looked great. I decided to go do some Christmas shopping afterward. While I was walking around I started not to feel well. I had a tightening around my stomach and was feeling queasy. I went straight home to lie down. The feeling only got worse and I thought I must be in labor so I called my husband to come home and take me to the hospital. While I was waiting for him the pain and nausea became more severe. After a miserable ride to the hospital, I got checked in. Since I was pretty out of it due to medication and sickness, my husband will tell the rest of the story from that day.
“I sensed something was awry, but the doctors weren’t talking to us just yet. I knew they seemed concerned and were trying to figure out a problem. Finally, they told us they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. From what I remember next, at this point, they were concerned with getting the baby delivered to save Stephanie. I’m not sure when they told me, but they said it was a placenta abruption and my wife’s life was now in danger since she was losing a lot of blood internally. Ellowyn Grace Marie Singer was delivered stillborn at approximately 7:40 pm on December 15, 2016. She was 4lbs, 16oz, and 18 inches long and as beautiful as ever.
It was later discovered that Stephanie had suffered from HELLP Syndrome. She lost 2 liters of blood during delivery, which had a huge impact on her body. Her kidneys and liver were only operating at 25% according to the doctors. I know doctors are supposed to act calm and professional, but from what I gathered and sensed from my own perceptions was that my wife’s life was on the line, I think she had four or five IV’s going at one point. She had 3 blood transfusions, two platelet transfusions, and countless other liquids being pumped into her, basically helping her body jumpstart itself again. By the grace of God, Stephanie started to recover after that. We were able to dress Ellowyn up and have photos taken by our friend Tiffany from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for our memories. We said goodbye to our daughter one last time before they took her to the morgue. Stephanie stayed in the hospital for 8 more days to make sure she made a full recovery.” –Joshua
During our time at the hospital and in the following days, months, and even years, we were able to see so many blessings from what was such a tragic time. Our marriage became even stronger, family drew closer, and ultimately our relationship with God was refined and more authentic than ever before. Through this loss I have gained cherished friendships. Many of those friendships have been through Bridget’s Cradles. It has been such a joy and a big part of my healing process to be able to honor my babies in heaven by volunteering with Bridget’s Cradles.
We may not fully understand why this is our story, but it does not cause our faith in Jesus Christ to waver. He is the only reason we can have hope despite our losses. Our strength comes from Him and Him alone. We know that our precious babies are getting to experience Heaven with Him and that brings us great comfort. We will see them again.