Monday, January 11, 2010

First Doctor's Appointment Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my first ultrasound. I'm headed to Balboa Navel Hospital in the morning to meet my doctor and enroll in the high-risk prenatal group.

Balboa Navel Hospital is where my girls were born and where my Ellie died. Aubrey was transferred from there to Rady Children's Hospital and passed away there.

I have been back to Balboa a few times since my girls died and each time has been hard. I believe that my girls got the best care possible in that hospital so I don't have any resentment or fear toward the place or the doctors there, but being there always brings back tons of difficult memories.

My worst nightmare became reality there.

The morning my girls were born I stood at the reception desk 24 weeks pregnant and said, desperately hoping I was wrong,"I think I'm in labor." After failed and frantic attempts to stop my labor I was in emergency surgery and my girls came into the world, perfect and tiny...and way too soon.

I forced myself to get out of bed so that I could see my girls before the day ended. I was so afraid they would die in the night before I had a chance to see them. From my wheelchair I met my girls for the first time. I felt so helpless seeing them connected to all those tubes and monitors behind the incubator glass. And they were SO TINY. I was truly amazed and terrified at how unimaginably small they were. To this day I am still taken aback when I see pictures of them.

I remember the NICU had a very distinct odor. That sterile sent reminds me of all my hours there holding the tiny fingers of my very sick girls. I remember all the meetings with specialist and experts hypothesizing about just how sick my girls would be if they somehow survived.

From the moment Aubrey and Ellie were born until their deaths, we only got good news once...the doctors were able to resuscitate them at birth. When I woke up from surgery my girls were alive. It was an answer to prayer. I begged God to let them be alive when I woke up and they were. Sometimes I feel like that was the only prayer God heard because from that moment on, however, things unraveled. But I know that is not true. God heard every single one of my prayers.

There is a tiny room in that hospital where I held my little Ellie while she took her last breaths and left us for heaven. And a very long hallway from that room back to the NICU where my husband walked her back to her bed after she passed with me crying on his arm.

It was the last place our girls were together alive.

I don't think I will ever be able to visit Balboa and not feel sad. My whole life changed in that place. I cannot be there without being reminded of the scariest and saddest days of my life.

Tomorrow will start a new chapter there. I will walk through the doors with a new pregnancy and a new hope that this time things can and will go much better.

Truthfully I am beside myself waiting for my first ultrasound. I am dying to know how many babies are in my belly. I have had a secret hope since my girls passed away that God would bless me with twins again, ones I could keep this time. And tomorrow I will find out if my prayers have been answered. Not that I will disappointed if there is only one, I will be thankful for what God has decided. I was telling my belly in the shower yesterday not to worry, that however many babies are in there are wholly loved and fully wanted.

But I have to be honest and admit I will feel a twinge of sadness if there is not two in there as my heart has not let go of the joy I anticipated experiencing the uniqueness of twins. I still long for that very deeply and have prayed earnestly for my heart's desire. Tomorrow I will know if my prayers were answered in this pregnancy, and although I am a little nervous, I can barely stand the suspense.

Tomorrow I will post any ultrasound pictures I get and fill you in on any important information. In the meantime I would appreciate it if you would keep my baby and I in your prayers as I face the emotional challenges of returning to Balboa. It is an understatement to say that this pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

I would also appreciate it if you would hope for me when I am too afraid to hope for myself.

I am so afraid to be hurt again that at times I find myself rationalizing hope away. Don't pray for twins Rachel, a healthy baby is the only important thing. Don't ask to feel well during your pregnancy, your only request should be to go full term. Don't get specific with your prayers, don't expose the deepest desires of your heart, just pray for God's will and be ready to accept it whatever it is, even if it hurts. Don't get your hopes up, be realistic, or you are likely to be disappointed again. All these are the words fear and doubt whisper into my ear. And I'll admit, they are pretty convincing sometimes. I get so afraid to hope, I mean really hope, for anything anymore, that sometimes I hope for nothing just to avoid disappointment.

But deep down inside I know that is no way to live. And Christ came to give hope, not take it away. It is ok to hope with all my heart. It is. Hope takes faith and faith pleases God. And it isn't about hope and faith as a means to get what I want like throwing coins into a wishing well, but hope and faith as a way of obeying and pleasing God. Hope IN as opposed to hope FOR. Hope builds our relationship with Christ. Hope is intimate. Hope is the result of, not the requirement for, trust.

But when I struggle can I ask that you would stand in the gap for me and be hopeful for me? I could use the encouragement these days as I face the challenges ahead.

Leave a comment if you will stand with me. I would be delighted to hear from you and value any advice you can offer.


  1. When I was pregnant with Lydia and there were complications with her ultrasounds, I heard something in a sermon from our pastor's wife that was intensely helpful to me.

    She said that simply speaking the name of Jesus brings you immediately into His presence. To speak His name is to draw close to Him instantly. When I would lay on the table and they would tell me things that were wrong with Lydia, I would close my eyes and say His name over and over, asking Him to be present in the room with me. And every time, He was.

    So tomorrow, when you walk into the hospital, say His name, over and over, to bring Him with you, to remind you that He's there. I'll pray that when you do, the peace of God which transcends understanding will fill your heart and mind.

    It's a simple thing, I know. But it works.

  2. Rachel! I am proud to stand with you in prayer as you go tomorrow and every following visit! May the Lord bless you with His perfect peace! Blessings to you! -Amy Stark

  3. I am here standing and hoping with you, Rachel. I understand you wanting twins again. I was so excited to be pregnant with Emma and Chase. It was a miracle to have twins. I would be thrilled to have twins in the future, but what I really want is for Emma and Chase to have a healthy, full-term brother or sister. Can't wait to see pictures tomorrow! xo

  4. I am also standing with you and hoping with you. I really hope everything goes well tomorrow. I have said since losing Eli and Jett that i never want to get pregnant again but if for some reason i changed my mind, i would want twins again. I loved being pregnant with twins, it was hard but i know how special twins are.
    I will be looking forward to seeing the pictures tomorrow. Xxx

  5. I think of you often and hate the heartache you and your family went through. I am sure everything will turn out the way you want it to tomorrow! I am not one to pray but I will be thinking of you and your precious new little one or ones! Love you cuz :)

  6. I am praying for you and hoping with you. I relate to so much of what you are saying! I have an ultrasound tomorrow too, and am excited and anxious at the same time. I hope God gives you great peace and hope, and that you have wonderful news at your appointment tomorrow!

  7. We will continue to be praying for you and your babies, Rachel. Miss you, can't wait to hear the news!
    love, Camille

  8. I will be praying for you Rachel! My hubby said it well long ago, regarding the future of our relationship, and I have reminded myself of these words often:
    "I am hopeful for things, but my hope is not in them."
    So I stand in hope with you, with eyes of faith, and hope resting securely in the One who is worthy. Praise you Jesus.

  9. Rachel--I am here hoping and praying for you. I know your appointment will go well and I know you will be excited with however many babies you have in there. You will be the most appreciative pregnant mom and you will live in every moment. I know good things are ahead for you and will cheer you on the whole way. Good luck girl....this is your 10k point tomorrow on this marathon you are running. Actually, it will make a marathon seem easy!

  10. Rachel I am walking this with you... we can hold hands and we WILL get through this! I am hoping for great news tomorrow, for a strong heart beat from one or two babies. Remeber to take this preganncy one day at a time and try to enjoy every minute of it. That is what I am trying to do...its the only way I am not having anexity attacks, although I do have nightmares freqnently :( Thinking of you and your baby. ((hugs))


  11. Rachel, I am walking this path with you and vow to be hopeful with you. The bible tells us that anyone with breath has hope. After loosing my son a little over 4 months ago, and 9 wks pregnant now, I understand your hesitation and fear. Let's pray together for hope, peace, faith - knowing that God is in complete control. I look forward to seeing how your appointment goes tomorrow.

  12. I am hopeful for you Rachel and I know you will remain strong and be happy with whatever you are given. I will say though, that I too was hoping for twins with this new pregnancy and even though I am well into my 2nd trimester, everytime I go in for an u/s I wonder where the other baby is. It breaks my heart, but I know another set of twins will never replace the ones I lost. I will be thinking of you tomorrow! xx

  13. I'll be thinking about you and praying for you tomorrow.


  14. Rachel, I know that voice that sounds like the voice of reason, but it is really the voice of fear and doubt. It gets me too sometimes. I am hoping for you, and I was actually thinking about you today. I know that going back for the first time in this new pregnancy is going to be tough, but I know you don't go alone. He is right there. And when you hear that heartbeat (or two!) it will all be worth it. Every ounce of fear, and anticipation and suspense. Oh, I am so excited for you and I cannot wait to read about what awaits you. I am SOOO hoping they find two babies tomorrow. So yes, i will hope for you when you feel hopeless. It's a long road, and don't be afraid to hope. I feel like a hypocrite even saying that because I find myself listening to my fears and doubts and not letting myself anticipate a real happy ending.

    Just know I am hoping right there with you!!!


  15. You may have had your appt already and if so I hope it went well and that everything looked good. I hope that you got to see 2 babies in there!

  16. I just stumbled upon your blog and I believe it wasn't by accident. Our stories are very similar. We lost our daughter after being born at 24 weeks and she lived for 7 days. My pregnancy was normal, but I was later diagnosed with incompetent cervix. We have since had a healthy little boy who's now 2 years old and we're expecting our next baby in June. I completely understand your fears and would love to support you throughout your pregnancy. Just take it one day, one hour and sometimes one minute at a time.

  17. I just started reading your blog tonight, and already I can relate. I lost 2 boys (9 months apart), both because of IC. When I was pregnant a third time, a tiny part of me was really, really hoping for another boy. I think it was to fulfill my dreams of having a son I could keep. But I had the same experience--when I found out it was a girl, I wept . . .not from sadness, from joy. I let go of the unfulfilled dreams, held tight to the love and memories of my boys, and welcomed my new daughter into my heart. She is now 9 months old and the most beautiful, amazing gift. I see her brothers in her every day, and I am so thankful she is here. Sending prayer your way. ♥


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