God's Unfailing Love
- Ashley Swadley -
My husband and I met in high school and married in 2011. We have been 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 months of trying, we got pregnant! We heard the heartbeat at 6 weeks and were thrilled! We told our family and closest friends. We went back at 10 weeks and the heart beat was gone. When we experienced this loss, I believed God 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 was a high risk 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 hemorrhaged for 5 weeks and lived in a state of constant fear. At first we thought we were miscarrying again. I constantly begged God to make things alright.
I saw a specialist for an bicornuate 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 on my side, my doctor said the only other thing to do was pray. She continued to grow bigger and develop at each appointment. Numerous medical staff told me that she was doing great but 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 that I didn't understand how dire her situation was until the NICU nurses (about 10) started working with her. Harper wasn't doing well and 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. When she took her last breath, I was so heartbroken. In that moment I felt like God had let me down. 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. 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 to get us through the pain.
He amazes me; 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 was 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. We became stronger together by experiencing this loss 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. 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 and he feels your pain. Things might happen that we will never understand but I'm thankful these hard times has brought me my son James.