I can still feel the memory almost as vividly as the moment I was experiencing it. I was dressed in white, walking into one of the most beautiful rooms of the Temple, and as I passed the threshold of the room, I crossed a tangible barrier of love. Tears flooded my eyes and I was overwhelmed at the support and excitement I felt from everyone in that room. Then I looked up at Dave’s face and was in awe that I had finally arrived. Arrived to the place where I could truly love with my whole heart and trust without abandon; all with the support of God, my family, dearest friends, and this Man.
The following hours and days passed with a fury of twinkling lights, photographers, music, and happiness. Pure happiness. I finally had what my heart had always wanted, a Husband to call my own, and a love that rivaled all the rest.
Settling into our small apartment was just about as exciting as the wedding festivities themselves. We had been planning for months what our life would be like after February 17th, and now we were equipped with more than enough to build our home together. We sewed pillow cases, moved furniture, made beautiful meals, cuddled until we fell asleep, hung pictures on the walls, wrote thank you notes, and relished in our marital bliss.
Real life had to set in eventually, and it did so, gradually. I was working two jobs, one in Salt Lake at a tier one hospital, and the other as a full time medical technologist at a specialty clinic in Provo. Working six days a week started wearing on me and on my spare time to spend with Dave, so I decided to quit my job in Salt Lake. Coming back down to just 40 hours a week made such a difference. We had time to go camping on the weekends, I felt enough energy to work out, and best of all I could have lazy Saturdays filled with eating breakfast in bed with my guy.
One of the largest challenges that started to wear on us was Dave’s hunt for a job. He would leave the apartment when I left for work, go down to the public library, and just hunt. Searching endlessly for a job resulted in hundreds of unreturned emails and inquiries, an hourly updated LinkedIn account, and a lot of frustration. After several months of searching Dave found a place with a consulting company that had promise and potential. Unfortunately in the weeks that followed Dave discovered why the company had not yet reached its promise and potential. His Boss was losing major clients on a regular basis while micromanaging the few successful cases being handled by the few competent people in the office. We once went a month and a half without seeing a paycheck from this company. Needless to say, Dave spent many a lunchtime interviewing with new companies.
Then came RPM. They are a burgeoning company that had not only survived the recession, but had boomed right through it. They were hoping to open a new office in Shanghai. Dave has been eager to move out to China since the day we were married, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Dave quit his awful job and I gave my notice. We started applying for new passports, visas, ex-pat insurance, and I started looking for Medical Technologist positions at labs and hospitals in Shanghai. In all of the excitement the men sending us out there went radio silent. No phone calls, no emails, no confirmations of our itinerary. Then the news came that the Shanghai project was to be postponed, whether it would be a few months or indefinite, we could not tell. So we were back at square one. I humbly asked for my position back at my Lab and Dave started the hunt all over again.
To make matters much more complicated, but infinitely more exciting, we had found out that we were pregnant! I cried as I nervously walked out of our tiny blue bathroom to show David the tiny blue plus sign. He held me through my tears and had the faith that we could make it all work. We bought prenatal vitamins, reading material, and booked our first two ultrasounds. I posed in front of the mirror staring at my belly, trying to absorb the reality of the situation. Was I really growing a baby in there? I had my friends at work run my blood through the immunochemistry analyzer, and sure enough… I was very much pregnant. With HCG levels at 10,446 mIU/mL, there was no doubt.
We decided if it were a boy we would name him Charles, and if it were a girl we would name her Jade. My hopes had never been so high; I was even excited to gain weight and to start seeing a belly. Sometimes after I overate, I convinced myself that my baby the size of a raspberry was starting to peek through my clothes. Then I remembered that food babies are not the same thing as a growing fetus. I never could quite understand those black and white grainy pictures, but I did understand the sound of that rapid heartbeat at eight weeks. What a miracle. Dave held my hand and it was one of the first times this pregnancy seemed real to the both of us.
We kept our tiny baby a secret until Christmas, when we then surprised both of our families with the news. Through the laughter and the tears we received, yet again, all the encouragement and support we could ever ask for.
I took off an hour early for lunch on Thursday January 17, and met Dave at the OBGYN’s office. We spoke briefly with the doctor and then he pulled out his small ultrasound to catch the baby’s heartbeat for the twelve-week check up. He was unable to hear anything, but that had happened before because of my tilted uterus. He got a bigger machine with a computer screen, and again, could not find a heart beat. I noticed that the baby was not moving, was the same size, and less bean shaped than the last time we saw it. My heart dropped to my stomach. The doctor quietly explained what he was and was not seeing. “The yolk sack and the fetus seem to be the same size they were at seven weeks, I am also unable to find a heart beat. I am almost positive that this is going to be a miscarriage. I am so sorry. We are going to send you into the best ultrasound room and have a sonographer confirm what I think I am seeing here. After she confirms, we will talk about our options.”
The sound of my tears hitting the paper lining on the examination table were amplified by the tension in the room.
The sonographer confirmed the horrible news and we lost our baby the next day. I was alone in a bathroom at work and I wept from the loss of something so small and pure. How could I already have grown to love that baby so much? I came home to a bubble bath filled with suds and rose pedals. Dave held me through a wave of tears and cared for me through the residual contractions and heartache.
Telling the few friends and family whom we had shared the original news with was heart wrenching. Words of comfort and compassion were widely shared, but could do very little for the ache in our hearts. My mom offered to fly Dave and I to Arizona and California for a weekend getaway, to catch some sunshine and to heal from our disappointment. It was a lovely weekend, but coming back was that much more difficult. Back to the sub freezing temperatures, grey inversion, and the book on my nightstand outlining what to expect. I didn’t expect this.
Dave and I grew closer together through this hardship. I saw such compassion and understanding, while he saw my frailty and sadness. I love him more today than I ever have. We share more than an apartment or a last name. We are linked together in love and sadness, happiness and pain, joy and sorrow. I cannot imagine having to go through this life alone. Because of the promises and covenants we made a year ago, we will never have to go through anything alone. We not only have each other, but we also have a loving Father in Heaven overseeing the very details of our lives, guiding and protecting us. We may have to pass through sorrow, but we can do so with the eternal perspective that we can go through it together and forever.