- Ashley Swadley -
My husband and I met in high school and married in 2011. Our relationship has gone through about everything humanly possible and I know God put us together for a reason.
In 2013 we decided it was time to start our family. After 9 long months of trying, we got pregnant! We heard the heartbeat at 6 weeks and were thrilled! We told our family and closes friends. We went back at 10 weeks and the heat beat was gone. When we experienced this loss, I felt like God just knew something was wrong with that baby. I blindly believed he had better things in store for us and our next pregnancy would be fine.
We waited the recommended 3 months after our DNC to start trying. We didn't want to risk a baby's health due to impatience. On New Year's Eve of 2014 we found out we were pregnant with my daughter.
Harper Beth had a rocky pregnancy from the beginning. We were told by a midwife, with no bedside manner, we were having an ectopic pregnancy and this wouldn't result in a live pregnancy. At 8 weeks we heard her heartbeat but then started having blood clots. I was hemoriging for 5 weeks. It was a constant scare and fear. At first we thought we were miscarrying again. I was constantly begging God to make things alright.
I already see a specialist for an bicortinate uterus, at 17 weeks we found out she had lost all her fluid so her lungs would never develop and only a 15% chance of survival. I immediately went on bed rest for 8 weeks and just prayed that God would save her.
After spending every day drinking a ton of water and lying in my side, my doctor said the only other thing to do was pray. She continued to grow bigger and develop at each weekly appt. Numerous medical staff told me that she was doing great and most babies they saw with her condition ultimately stopped growing and just passed in the womb.
I spent one week at the hospital when we found out that all of the fluid was gone. I went into labor and started having contractions that just continued to get worse. Since my doctor didn't have privileges, I had to see hospitalists that just insisted that they were growing pains.
At 26 weeks we had an emergency c-section, which was the scariest thing of my life. She had problems from the moment she entered the earth. My uterus was so dry that she came out bruised from the trauma and was immediately given CPR.
My husband is the strongest man I have ever met. He knew something was wrong from the moment we were in the OR. He went up with her to the NICU and came back a different man. I was so loopy from the drugs still I didn't understand how dire her situation was until we were with the NICU nurses (about 10) were all working on her crying to me meeting her. She wasn't doing well and we hadn't even switched rooms to the post partum room before they had called my husband down to make a decision on doing an experimental treatment. I had only spent 15 minutes with my baby and they were already saying she was almost gone.
The next morning we woke up to the news that the tubes and machines were the only thing keeping her alive. After 36 hours of being alive our sweet girl met Jesus.
After we got pregnant with Harper I felt like God was testing us. That the signs we had before she lost her fluid just meant we had to strive harder. But when we got the results of low probability of life, I went through every stage. I prayed and hoped that God would give us our healthy girl, but in the back of my mind, I grieved for her the whole pregnancy.
I went through denial, that God wouldn't punish us in losing her. We weren't that bad of people so God wouldn't take her. There is no way. If I just prayed and believed in him it would be okay. Once she was born I was so thankful she made it safely. Every time we got bad news from the NICU I just thought, there is a 15% chance, there is no way he would take her from us.
When she took her last breath I will never be so heartbroken in this life. God let me down. He took my baby. How could he? I was so devastated it never came across not to believe. I just didn't understand why my body failed us again. I thought for months after that it was all my fault for our losses, infertility and this long wait.
Through the birth of our daughter, I was truly amazed by all the things my husband did to take care of us. He sheltered me and took care of the hard stuff. I can't even imagine the conversations he had. I am just so thankful God brought us together. That he made us match.
When we lost our daughter we talked and decided we needed to cling to God and not run away from him. We made a decision that our faith needed to come first into to get us through the pain.
He amazes me; I sometimes wonder why God let Harper grow in my belly if he was just to take her away. I now believe that God had her grow so we could meet her, hold her and love her in the last moments if her life. So that she would be loved every second on this earth. And to make me a mother.
Our hearts were so empty and ached for the love of a baby. We started trying immediately. Although it took almost a whole year of trying, we believe that God and Harper were watching over us. We got pregnant with James on her birthday. I'm so thankful for her gift and for God's unfailing love for our family. He gave us trials and tribulations and we become stronger together and appreciate this baby more than anything on earth! I know I'll meet my two angels again one day and I'm so thankful for that eternal life with them!
Every moment of our pregnancy with Harper was scary waiting for the worst. But I look at my son now and know he was sent here by his angel siblings! The I Am Fruitful page helped me through those dark 3.5 years. I'm so thankful for Lauren’s constant encouragement.
Stay faithful in prayer, God weeps with us, he feels your pain. One day things will happen that we will never understand but I'm thankful these hard times has brought me my son James.