Our Story

Our Story

Part 1 of 3

Two days after Christmas, I was rolling meatballs in my mother’s kitchen. 

I let my mom sit down after entertaining my family for the past few days on our visit to Cleveland. My parent’s house was full for Christmas and unfortunately, it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. My brother and his family weren’t able to come in and my sister had been in the NICU with her newborn daughter. I was sad to have pieces of our family missing, but smiled at the thought of my own little family finally coming together – I was 9 weeks and 6 days pregnant.

I was washing my hands after finishing the meatballs to look around and find a rare moment; I was alone. My sister-in-law, four nieces, nephew and my mom had all retreated elsewhere from the kitchen. I took a deep breath and sighed into a smile as I dried my hands in the unusually silent moment.

And then, I felt it.

I hurried my steps as I walked to the restroom. “Think about every time you’ve gone to the bathroom thinking it was this. It’s not this. It can’t be this.”

Sure enough, there, on my bright pink underwear, was blood.

Surprisingly, I didn’t panic. In all the moments throughout my 9 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy where I imagined this fear coming to life, I pictured panic. I pictured screaming. I pictured pain. But that day, I felt nothing. I had a flashback to my first period happening in this very bathroom. What did I do then? What should I do now?


My mom burst through the door and I cried, “Mom, I’m bleeding. What do I do?” over and over again. She hugged me and her voice cracked as she apologized over and over, “oh honey, I’m so sorry, I’m so so sorry…”

This is where I began to mourn a loss that hadn’t even happened yet. Mothers just know.

My husband Preston had just left the house. I picked up my phone to call him, “I’m bleeding. You need to come home.” 

My heart began to race as I called my doctor’s office. I was met with the voice of a nurse on call, exceptionally less concerned than I, even after sharing the information that would inevitably change my life. “Since it’s a Friday, you should probably go to the ER…but this happens a lot in pregnancies. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong.” 

This was the same contradicting calm I was met with when I had messaged the office a few days prior to share that my nausea had essentially disappeared. The “home stretch to the end of the first trimester” they called it.

Nothing was wrong. But it didn’t mean everything was alright.

“You’re still pregnant!” 


Preston came home and went to our suitcase to get me new underwear. As I was changing, the reality of the situation hit me. Our baby was in trouble, and there was nothing I could do to save him. I crumbled on the floor as I tried to slip my legs back into my jeans in between sobs. “I’m not strong enough for this,” I cried, shaking my head. “Why is this happening to us? What did we do? I can’t do this.” He held me up as I sank lower to the floor.

Preston drove me and my mom to the ER. When we checked in, they had me put in my social security number. My maiden name popped up in their software because I had been there before in my childhood. I asked them to change it, fearing it would interfere with them connecting my results from the day to my doctor’s offices in Dayton. They reassured me they would change it at the end. The beginning of a long string of lies and miscommunication.

The ER was packed due to the flu that was taking over that season. Many people in masks sat waiting in the large room. I thought about how my doctor warned me against the flu while pregnant and the precautions I had taken to avoid it – I had done everything right. Why was I here?

We waited for 45 minutes before I was seen. They slapped a tag on my wrist and sure enough, there was my maiden name on my ID. I rolled my eyes. That’s not my name,I thought angrily. A nurse took my vitals and then drew blood to check my levels. She chose a random spot on my arm that I knew wasn’t the best choice, but hey, this isn’t my job. The blood was stopping and starting into the vile “huh. That’s weird!” she exclaimed as my arm pulsed. This hurt. That spot was the site of a 4 inch bruise leftover from the whole event that wouldn’t fade until weeks later. An ugly souvenir, and a fitting one.

As we waited for the next step, an ultrasound, my mom and I talked to pass the time. I even managed to laugh when something interrupted our conversation on the hospital intercom: Brahm’s lullaby played in light, child-like tones. Somewhere in this same hospital, a baby was being born. I cradled my stomach and cried.

When it was time for the ultrasound, they pulled out a wheelchair. “Is this really necessary?” I asked. Apparently, it was. They wheeled me, Preston following, to another end of the hospital to the obstetrics wing. It seemed like a horror movie – being Friday evening, a lot of the lights were turned off and no one was there. It was also exceptionally cold. I shivered for both of those reasons, and at the thought of what could be looming in this ultrasound.

The ultrasound tech emerged from an empty room and seemed nice enough at the start. She calmly guided me with what to do, even though this wasn’t my first rodeo. She did an abdominal one first (which was actually new to me), and seemed unphased when she couldn’t find anything there. Then it was time for the transvaginal one. The room was quiet as she muttered undecipherable comments under her breath. She seemed anxious, so I stopped looking at her and looked at Preston. The look on his face is something I will try to forget for the rest of my life. A mix of confusion, hope, pleading, pain – all of it, in the handsome face I love. My sweet husband, looking for his son. I closed my eyes.

Still, the tech kept on mumbling. I didn’t understand why it was necessary to speak when all that was going to come out of your mouth was a whole lot of nothing that would help us. We asked about the heartbeat, and she said she wasn’t “getting one,” but again, she seemed unphased. I asked her, “You can’t tell us anything though, right? Until we talk to the doctor.”

“No, uh, I can’t,” she said nervously, “you know, not until the doctor sees the scans and, uh…you know, stories like yours, they don’t tend to have a happy ending…”

I sat in disbelief. She left the room so I could go to the restroom to change. I sprang up, “did she just tell us we miscarried? Is that what just happened?” I couldn’t believe the lack of professionalism, the lack of sensitivity to this matter. 

We waited for another hour before we started to get impatient. I approached the front desk and questioned if we could know anything. The nurse at the front desk tried to be cool and level with me and tell me about my “quants.” “You’re at 19,000, do you happen to remember your last numbers?” I was at 25,000 a few weeks prior. They were going down. He gave me a disappointed face and told me about support groups on pregnancy apps I could join.

Was my baby still here or were people already mourning him and I was the last to know?

After a few more hours of waiting, we spoke with a doctor that told me I had a subchorionic hemorrhage and a “threatened miscarriage.” I was told to be on complete pelvic rest, no heavy lifting, and to give myself plenty of rest. He went into details of what could go wrong, rightly so, as I needed to know and my head was already there. However, the details stopped after what the pregnancy would be like. He told me if I did miscarry, it would feel like “the worst period I’ve ever had.” When he left, Preston hugged me and said, “this is great news. You’re still pregnant!” Then why did I feel like someone just gave me a death sentence?

“Happy New Year”


Back at home in Dayton on New Year’s Eve, despite still being in the dark, I decided to be positive. I hadn’t bled since the day at my parent’s, I wasn’t in pain, and I was still pregnant. Preston and I ordered take out from a ton of places all over town. I sipped on Welch’s sparkling grape juice in a plastic champagne glass and wore a “Happy New Year” tiara paired with my yoga pants and t-shirt. “Take my 10 week picture, please!” I asked Preston, handing him my phone, forcing enthusiasm. When I asked him to take another one, he groaned. “This might be the last one I take, just take it.” He did. And it was.

Around 11:30 PM, I went to the bathroom and noticed some spotting. This was to be expected, but it bummed me out nonetheless. The clock struck midnight and it was 2020. We kissed, wished each other a “Happy New Year,” and went to sleep.


I woke up the next day with what felt like the first day of your period. I was tired, cramping, and bleeding. Not enough to be that “worst period ever” level, but enough to know that something was up. Preston took down all the Christmas decorations while I delegated from the couch (one perk to this “no heavy lifting” thing) and he bought a subscription to Disney plus. I sat on the couch watching Disney movies all day, using a heating pad to ease the cramps, snuggling my dog.

“The house don’t fall when the bones are good.”


“So, I’m sorry, there’s just…nothing there. There’s no baby.”

The medical table paper crinkled under me as I took a deep breath. A breath I think I had been holding since the day rolling meatballs at my mom’s. I nodded, “okay.”

After some more apologies on her end, I asked what would come next. She said it would get worse within the next few days. She turned the screen to show us my empty gestational sac. Then it occurred to me, “so, where did the baby go?”

“Unfortunately,” she said, “it probably just dissolved into the tissue and was passed.”

I started to tear up “so, basically, I flushed my baby down the toilet?” I felt like I was going to be sick.

She told me again that it would get worse. When I asked her to clarify this time, she said the same thing; “the worst period you’ve ever had.”

She shared her condolences again, the first of many times this would happen in the coming weeks, and let us have a moment together. As soon as she left the room, Preston hugged me and, strangely, apologized to me. As he buried his head into my shoulder and cried, I heard “The Bones” by Maren Morris playing on the radio in the hospital. As I held my husband in the empty ultrasound room with my empty gestational sac on the monitor, I heard “the house don’t fall when the bones are good.” I closed my eyes and hugged him tighter. “We were meant to be parents,” I heard myself say, “we will be parents.” I said it as if I believed it myself.

As I pulled out of the hospital, I still hadn’t broken down. All I could, selfishly think about was what would happen next? What would this pain be like? What will my body go through? This was soon replaced by this overwhelming feeling; he needed a name. And it needed to be Anthony. I held on to this, and held on to the peace I was feeling. Even then, I knew this was a blessing and that he was safe, even though I still believe the safest place would have been with me.

That night, we watched Cinderella on Disney plus and I finally let myself cry. She sang “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and I pictured myself as a toddler singing this song (albeit, poorly) to a Disney Princess cassette tape. I wondered if I would ever see my daughter or son do the same.

“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing…”

Part 1 of 3.


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