This is the third post in a series about the six babies we miscarried. Naming these precious ones has been an honor as well as a healing process for us. The previous two posts can be found here: Emily Grace; Callie Elizabeth.
In March of 2003 we found ourselves at a crossroads. In less than a year's time we'd had two pregnancies and two miscarriages, both at 11 weeks gestation. Both times we found out that our babies were no longer living when ultrasounds revealed that they appeared to have stopped growing around 7 weeks and their little hearts had stopped beating. We were heartbroken, and now we were scared.
My OB/GYN at the time recommended that we go to a local Center of Reproductive Medicine to have some initial testing done. We talked and prayed about it and decided we had nothing to lose. It was definitely worth a try. Our first appointment there was in August of 2003, and we began with lots and lots blood work and a semen analysis. Our blood work came back pretty normal and hubby's tests were stellar. Because my results showed the MTHFR mutation, I began taking extra folic acid along with my prenatal vitamin and a daily aspirin. We also tested my progesterone and came up with a new plan. Each month I would start taking extra progesterone on cycle day 17 and go in to have blood drawn 4 days later to check the level. I would return for another blood draw on cycle day 31 to check for pregnancy. This continued for several months. It was frustrating to see the days and months pass with no change, but we continued on because at least we felt like we were doing SOMETHING.
After a while when it appeared that my progesterone levels were staying nice and high, I continued using the supplements but didn't go for blood work each and every month. Every few months we'd go in and talk with the doctor to check on things and talk about the plan. We knew there were more aggressive things out there but we felt sure that another pregnancy would come, and we felt good about taking these steps and monitoring things to try to give the baby a better chance. We were stressed. We were nervous. It hadn't taken us this long to get pregnant before but we tried to remain as patient and calm as possible.
More than a year passed before we saw our third positive pregnancy test. It was September 24, 2004, and we were so very hopeful and anxious to find out if things would be different this time. They were different, but not in the way that we'd hoped. My first HCG check on September 27 came back at 349. On October 1 it was 666. We knew these numbers weren't looking good. We checked again on October 5 and it had dropped to 49, and I lost our third baby on October 7, 2004. We'd hardly had much time at all to even let it sink in, just a few short weeks, and just like that it was over at 6 weeks gestation.
We were so sad. So disappointed. In an effort to hide ourselves from the world and try to find some peace in the situation, we quickly planned a getaway to New England, just the two of us. We spent the next week surrounded by beautiful fall foliage, cozy bed and breakfasts, and gorgeous lighthouses on the east coast. It was a wonderful, comforting trip, a place we'd always wanted to go and at just the right time of year. We needed it so badly and we both look back on that time as a very special memory.
I love looking back at the pictures we took on that vacation, but I can still see the sadness on our faces. Of course we realized that there was really no escape from what was happening in our lives -- to us, and to our babies. Immediately after we returned home, I had one final blood draw to confirm the HCG was negative.
We decided to name our baby, our first son, a name that was at the top of our list for favorite boy names: Luke. Luke is a name we always liked. It's a good, strong Biblical name, which is true about every single boy name we've chosen, and true about his middle name, Daniel.
The name Daniel has special meaning for us, since it was my husband's grandfather's name. The name had meant something special to his mother as well. It was after studying the book of Daniel in the Bible that Pop's mother had given her life to Jesus. She said then that if she had another son his name would be Daniel, and she kept that promise. Her Daniel, our "Pop," was one of the most amazing men I've had the privilege to know. He was a missionary, a preacher, a pastor, a carpenter, a WWII veteran, and truly the kindest, gentlest father and grandfather I have ever met. (I wrote a post about him here, after he passed away in 2009.) We certainly looked up to this man of faith, as we do his Biblical namesake. I know he's with Jesus now, just like our sweet little boy.
What a special boy you are to us! We hope you know how loved you are. Part of your name came from a man who was very special to us, too, who lived his life to honor his Savior. We can't wait to see both of you in heaven one day. You were with us for such a short time but are no less loved. We miss you so much.