Thursday, December 8, 2016

Halloween 2016.

I knew the time would come, eventually. I knew the time when Ellisyn wanted to be a princess for Halloween would come, and I thought that I would be okay with it. I love the part of Ellisyn's personality that is obsessed with all things girly, especially princesses, but I didn't love the reasons she loved princesses. Ellisyn would tell me that she liked Cinderella because of her beautiful dress, Belle because of her pretty hair, and (I'm slightly worried to say...) Jasmine because she wears her shirt 'up'. Although these things are all true, I mean the princesses do have very attractive outward appearances, I wanted Ellisyn to know that there is more to being a beautiful female character. I began watching the movies and reading the books with Ellisyn and explaining that they all have positive inward and outward qualities, such as bravery, kindness, and intelligence. So, with the help of Aunt Jessica's awesome hand-me-down airplane, Ellisyn decided to be Amelia Earhart for Halloween this year!

The costume turned out perfect with the help of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and a few borrowed items from cousins and aunts. Ellisyn loved telling anybody and everybody that she was, "Amelia Earhart, the first girl to fly over the ocean!" I loved the costume as well. I loved that it was unique and creative. I also loved that it helped Ellisyn understand that you don't have to have a pretty dress or pretty hair to be influential, although those things are still really fun!

We had such a memorable October. We were able to use our Lagoon season passes one last time at Frightmares, paint pumpkins, attend parties, trick-or-treat, and eat lots of sugar! We are so blessed and even on silly holidays like Halloween remind us of how much we love being with family and friends.


Well, it happened. My sweet baby girl turned three. I love it and hate it all at the same time. I love that she is so smart and independent, but I hate that she is growing so fast! At three years old, Ellisyn loves talking, singing, and dancing. She requests macaroni and cheese almost every day. Grandma Michelle and Grandma Robbie are at the top of her list along side her cousins. She loves everything and anything princess and claims she is always surrounded by her princess imaginary friends. Ellisyn still has the sweestest personality. She is friendly, happy, sassy, sweet, and everything good in our lives. She radiates joy and fills our home and hearts with love and so much laughter.

Ellisyn had been looking forward to being 'free' for several months. She had a top notch birthday week filled with two birthday parties, favorite foods, friends, family, and presents. The first celebration was a prince and princess themed birthday party with a few of her friends. Ellisyn loved being the center of attention and having her friends come to our house. Each of them dressed up as their favorite prince or princess for the party and it was adorable. We played kiss the frog, hit a piƱata, decorated crowns/swords, ate cupcakes, and opened presents. Ellisyn is so lucky to have such good friends and cousins. 

The following day, we had family photos with the Sargent side before having another birthday celebration for Ellisyn with all of our family. Ellisyn absolutely LOVED having all of her favorite people in one place. We had princess cake, ice cream, and too many presents. She is so loved by so many.

On Ellisyn's actual birthday, she got to go to McDonald's for her favorite pancake breakfast. She spent the majority of her birthday playing with all of her new toys only interrupted to take a much needed nap after a week of endless fun. Red Robin was her choice for dinner, and she thoroughly enjoyed her Macaroni and Cheese and free ice cream sundae. We are so glad this blonde haired, blue eyed baby girl joined our family three years ago! We love her so much!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 15th.

October 15th has never been a significant date to me. I've never had any specific memories, birthdays, or anniversary attached to it. Well, I never had, until today. My social media has been flooded with stories, memorials, pictures, and information surrounding this very day in October. Today, October 15th, is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. I have had an internal battle for several months now whether I should share my story, but today seems like the perfect day to finally let the words of my pregnancy loss spill all over this blog. I'm not sure why I have felt so inspired to share my experience. Maybe I will help someone in a similar situation. Maybe for therapeutic reasons. Maybe just to commemorate October 15th. Or maybe, simply, to have this take its proper place in the written chronology of our family's life. Whatever the reason, I'm here to make a tiny splash in the never ending sea of pregnancy loss awareness.

It was an average sunny, summer Monday in June when I began to question if I could be pregnant. The question would creep to the front of my mind for only a split second before I would immediately shove to the back of mind and carry on with my usual routine. It was impossible that I could be pregnant. We were leaving on a cruise with my whole family in two weeks, we had season passes to Lagoon, we were going to Disneyland in the fall, and we hadn't plan to try for another baby for several more months. The idea of being pregnant was definitely not ideal, so I chose to ignore it, until I was at Wal*Mart that evening with Ellisyn. I passed the pregnancy tests on my way to get other items only to find myself back at that specific shelf to throw in a test or two for safe measure. Daniel was out on visits with the missionaries when I can home, so I decided to eat some dinner and debate whether I should confirm my suspicions.

Daniel eventually came home and excitedly convinced me to take the pregnancy test. I took the test and sat it on the counter. While I was washing my hands I could already tell that it was positive, and I immediately became overwhelmed with anxiety and excitement! I honestly couldn't believe it! Daniel was thrilled. He took pictures and videos as we began calculating the due date. It's amazing how two little pink lines can completely stop time, rearrange plans, and create so much love. We laid in bed that night talking about pregnancy announcements, baby names, and Ellisyn becoming a sister. It wasn't in our plans, but it suddenly consumed all of our plans without a doubt.

Two days later, I began to have the one symptom you don't ever want to have during pregnancy. I began to bleed. I immediately called the women's clinic. My doctor while pregnant with Ellisyn was through Bingham Memorial Hospital and has since moved away, so I knew I needed to get with a local OBGYN that could deliver at Portneuf especially since Ellisyn was early and required the NICU. I hadn't done any research at all and settled with the first available doctor that was accepting new patients. The nurse later called me and ordered blood work to check my HCG levels over the next 48 hours to determine if I was miscarrying or not. During this time, the bleeding stopped, and I felt relieved. After the longest two days ever, the blood results showed that I was still pregnant! The nurse told me to continue as normal, and they would see me at my 8 week appointment.

Not even a week had gone by when I began to feel strange cramping at Daniel's city league softball game. I immediately knew something was not right and came home to find that I had started to bleed again. This time, however, it was accompanied by intense cramps and pain. I almost immediately began to assume that I was becoming one of the many women experiencing miscarriage. The next morning, after speaking with the nurse, I went to get my blood work done again. Within hours I was informed over the phone that I was in fact having a miscarriage. I had never experience a miscarriage, so the nurse informed me to lay low and take some pain medication to help with the cramping.

The following days were filled with preparation for our Alaskan cruise. We were leaving in just three days after I found out I was miscarrying. We sent Ellisyn to Grandma and Grandpa Spicer's for the week and began packing and prepping for our week of adventures. However, in the midst of all of that, I was really not feeling up to par and still had horrible cramps. I also had developed throbbing that would radiate from my right shoulder and down my arm. It become so unpleasant that I finally told Daniel we needed to go to the emergency room right then, the night before we left on our trip.

The emergency room was several hours of waiting, ultrasounds, blood tests, and some pain medicine before being discharged with papers that read "incomplete miscarriage". My blood revealed that my HCG levels had gone up again but the ultrasound did not show any signs of pregnancy. The radiologist was able to see "something" near my right ovary that could really be anything from tissue to bowel with the slightest, rarest chance it would be an ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy. The doctors are required to err of the side of caution, so they did advise us to stay home from the cruise in case it was ectopic, but unless other symptoms arose, we were to simply come back in a week to check my blood and see if my HCG levels were continuing to decrease.

We were upset and discouraged. I felt like something still was not right, but I have no medical experience and continued to trust the professionals. Daniel and I decided to go ahead with the cruise since the doctors couldn't do anything until I went back in a week for more blood tests. So, we went to my parents where Daniel and my dad gave me a blessing before heading home to finish packing.

The cruise was such an incredible experience, but it was tainted with indescribable cramping, bleeding, and pain. I lived on pain pills throughout the entire trip assuming that the symptoms I was having were just part of miscarriage. The throbbing in my right shoulder and arm would radiate down my right leg as terribly painful cramps consumed my abdomen. Towards the end of the week, my abdomen had become to sensitive to touch and pressure that I had to wear my pants undone to sit comfortably. It was awful and I frequently told Daniel that I would rather give birth than go through a miscarriage.

Once we arrived home, I went back to the hospital for my blood work. It had now been almost two weeks since I was first told over the phone that I was miscarrying. A few hours later, I got a frantic phone call from my OBGYN's nurse. She said that my HCG numbers had gone up even more and something is definitely wrong. She instructed my to come to the women's clinic immediately. I dropped Ellisyn off to my mom before meeting Daniel at the clinic. The nurse quickly took me back to the ultrasound room where they began to do an ultrasound. The moment she placed the probe inside of me, the tech gasped. She asked if I was in pain and expressed that she had never seen a pelvis area in such bad condition. I remember flashing a look at Daniel, telling him with my eyes that I knew this whole time something was not right! I was then shuffled to another room where the doctor came in and explained that I had had an ectopic pregnancy, the baby had grown until my fallopian tube had completely burst, and I would need surgery to remove the tube and clean up my insides. I was somewhat shocked, but mostly, I was relieved. I was relieved that I wouldn't be in pain anymore and I could move forward from this never ending 'miscarriage'. I had been in so much pain, its like I didn't really get to mourn the fact that I had actually lost a baby, a baby that was actually trying to grow and do everything right just in the wrong spot. The doctor told me that since I had just eaten lunch, it would be safer to wait until the following day to have surgery, but if I experienced any pain to just go to the emergency room. Once again, I trusted the doctor and went home to prepare for surgery in the morning.

Daniel and I went to dinner, rented a movie, and put Ellisyn to bed. As we started the movie, I began to feel the familiar cramps. This time, however, the cramps were excruciating. I grabbed my stomach in pain and began to cry. Daniel announced that we were going straight to the ER and began calling my parents to have them come stay with Ellisyn. I kept saying that I didn't want to go and I could wait until morning for my surgery, but Daniel was adamant. My dad rushed to our house and we headed to the hospital. It was close to midnight when I finally went into surgery. The doctor on call had not been the OBGYN that I had been dealing with for the past few weeks. Instead it was Dr. Jones, and he was amazing. After my surgery was done, he explained to Daniel how grateful he was that we came in that night. He removed nearly one pint of blood from my abdomen along with my destroyed fallopian tube. I was having a near death experience and I didn't even know it. The throbbing in my right arm and leg that I had been having for over a week were actually signs of internal bleeding. I was internally bleeding and if I wouldn't have gone to the hospital that night, I literally would not have survived until my scheduled surgery the next morning.

I have fully recovered physically from my ectopic pregnancy and surgery, but emotionally and spiritually I don't know if I'll ever return to how I was before this all happened. There were countless miracles throughout those few weeks. It was a miracle that nothing severe happened while on our cruise in the middle of the ocean, miles and miles away from proper medical facilities. It was a miracle that I had the abdominal pain that night, as most people don't experience any pain once the tube has ruptured. It was a miracle that Dr. Jones was the doctor on call, as he specializes in female surgeries. It is a miracle that I'm here right now sharing my story.

I've often wondered why all of this happened, and I don't know if I will ever really have an answer. But, I do know that trials and experiences that test our physical, emotional, and spiritual strength help provide just a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. I have realized that we must "glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts ... " (Romans 5:3-5). So, today on October 15th, I feel for all of the families that have lost and hope that each of your can feel your Savior's love today and every day.