2016 was the year of changes in my life. On April 23, I married my husband Eugene. Life was good and things were going great! I found out I was pregnant some time in July. We were ecstatic to be adding to our family. I scheduled my first doctor’s appointment for August 15, 2016.
I joked with my doctor about the possibility of me having twins. He smiles, laughs and says “we will see.” At my September appointment, I had my very first ultrasound. And to all of our surprise…TWINS! I was nervous and excited about all of the possibilities. I knew that my medical issues could cause some problems. My wonderful doctor referred me to the local maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) doctor. I had regular appointments and just hoped and prayed that everything would be okay.
Occasionally, I would hemorrhage, be put on bed rest, then continue with my normal life. In November, I began to have very noticeable round ligament pain. I would lay on the floor and stretch. Sometimes I would have the physical therapist use therapeutic kinesiology (KT) tape on my stomach and back, massage my back or whatever we could do to relieve the discomfort.
On December 16, 2016, I was not feeling the greatest. So I called my husband at work and told him that I need to go to the doctor just in case. I left a message. I was instructed to go to the hospital. Once there, I had a routine ultrasound and other tests. The nurse does a routine check of my cervix. Her facial expression told a story I was not ready for. She said she would be right back; she needed to call my doctor. I got dressed and told my husband how hungry the twins were. The nurse comes back into the room and says that we need to go straight to my doctor’s office. So off we went.
I walked into the office, the receptionist Courtney left the desk to notify them I was there. Dee comes out and brings me directly to the ultrasound room…another ultrasound! Now there are a million things running through my mind. I knew something was wrong. My husband stared at the screen watching our beautiful little “Thing 1 and Thing 2.” My doctor walks in the room and once again I am checked. The seriousness in his face was alarming. My doctor sat down and began to talk to my husband and myself about the possible outcomes of my pregnancy. I was 4 centimeters dilated; I was to have strict bed rest, only to get up to use the bathroom or very short showers. Gene helped me get my shoes on and we began to leave the office. As we were leaving the office, Dee stopped me and handed me a piece of paper. What I thought was a prescription was actually her phone number. I never knew that number would be one of the most important numbers I would need during my healing process.
I felt ashamed and guilty knowing that my pregnancy could soon come to an end. What did I do to deserve this fate?
What did I do wrong? How could a loving/caring God let this happen? Isn’t He suppose to hear our prayers? Answer our prayers? I was losing all faith and trust in Him.
Bed rest was BORING! My husband would pack my breakfast, lunch and snacks in a small ice chest so I wouldn’t have to get up. He would come home during his lunch break to help me to the bathroom then back to bed.
The events that took place on Sunday December 18 are very blurry to me. I know at some point we took my oldest daughter Alyssa to my friend Eva’s house so I could go to the hospital…AGAIN. I am not even sure if I sent Dee a message or a text about what was going on or what actually happened.
When I got to the hospital, we were taken straight to labor and delivery, and this is where I met Gina. Little did I know, she would be there with me throughout the whole process. My doctor sent me home. Before leaving, Gina told me that if anything were to happen, come back. Well, you didn’t have to tell me twice.
On Monday, December 19 , 2016, I delivered Elijah Raymond Ballard at 6:19 a.m. and Ethan Robert Ballard at 6:43 a.m. It was such an amazing feeling to be able to hold my “Things” no matter how short of a time they lived. Their lives were brief but meaningful.
Christmas was a bust that year. Presents were not wrapped, the tree was not decorated. That was the new “normal” that year. Nothing quite made sense anymore.
In January 2017, I was invited to my first infant loss meeting with SOBB. That was when I began to learn about the 1 in 4. I never knew anything about it and it really never crossed my mind. Shortly after that, a friend I met with SOBB invited me to the Quarter Marathon with Anna’s Grace. She had gone the previous year and explained to me some of the wonderful things that the organization does for the community of loss parents.
In March, my family and I would venture out of our new comfort zone to the race. It was absolutely amazing to see all of the people running, walking, jogging for the 1 in 4. This type of positivity is just what I needed, so desperately needed. It was like I found a small piece piece of what had been missing.