My People || Idaho Family Photographer

It took me a long time to think about what I could do to give back to some of our sweet friends. We had been through rough year with our miscarriage. But this group right here is what got us through. I honestly don’t believe I’d be as close with them today as I am without the struggles we went through. I still remember waking up from surgery and having a gift basket of junk food and balloons and flowers and a super sweet card. I also had every friend reach out to me to let me know that they were there for me and that they could do anything I needed. Those messages and cards and flowers and gifts meant the world to me. So I thought long and hard about what I could do to give back to this amazing group of people. I decided to host a client appreciation barbecue. Since each of these friends of ours have invested in me for multiple sessions over the last few years. From weddings to engagements to family photos to head shots I have done almost 3 to 4 different sessions per family! So I had to make sure they knew just how great they were.

We hosted a little barbecue on a Sunday night and all got together. And I did super quick family photos for each of these amazing families. What started out as a group of guys who went to high school together has turned out being just an awesome group of friends. I sincerely love these people and appreciate their friendships.

Our Miscarriage

I remember seeing women talk briefly about miscarriage. It seemed to be such a taboo topic. One that either stung too much, or just wasn't something you were allowed to really converse about. I don't write our story for sympathy. I write it out in hopes that someone will be able to relate and feel just a little less alone. Because every message I received from other women who went through the same thing, made me feel less alone. I'd even say it took some of the heartache because to I knew there was someone else who lost a sweet, innocent baby way too soon. 

Telling Jacob

We had been trying for a family for a few months. But the truth was, Jacob had wanted kids from the moment we got married. When I say moment, I mean, he mentioned it multiple times on our honeymoon. So when I finally came to Jake saying I was ready, after 3 years of marriage and Jacob getting a stable job, we got excited together. But we thought it would take awhile so we weren't going to get our hopes up.
During Thanksgiving at my parents house in Wyoming I remember drinking so much Dr. Pepper. Like, more than any human probably should of been consuming. I got in the hot tub a couple times. I wasn't even thinking I could be pregnant. After three months of trying? No, there was no way!
When we got back home to Idaho on Sunday from Thanksgiving, Jake begged me to take a test. Not the 88 cent ones. The expensive ones. I was testing 4 days too early, so he persisted that the expensive tests would be the only ones to detect anything that early.
I remember sitting there after seeing the one usual line. It always pops up and I always sat it down to the side figuring that's all I needed to see. But this time, another faint line came... 
I didn't think it was real. I thought the test was the one in a million that was a dud, but the line got darker and darker. There was absolutely no way I could deny that it was a positive pregnancy test. I was in complete shock. This was my first ever positive pregnancy test. I was just so speechless.
I remember daydreaming about announcing to Jake in the cutest way possible. Like a little gift box with a note. Or a shirt that read, "Future dad!". Instead I walked into the living room and handed him the test without saying a word. He thought I was teasing for a second, but then tears welled up in his eyes and he asked, "I'm going to be a dad?"
So much better than a T-shirt.

 
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Being Pregnant

I was so sick during the first trimester. On top of morning sickness, I had a cold that lasted almost a month that I couldn't do anything for. It was also during the very early weeks of pregnancy when no one, (not even my parents), knew we were pregnant. Jacob was gone traveling for work for 6 of the first 13 weeks. He started really traveling right as morning sickness hit. I look back wondering how I made it through those weeks. I remember listening to "Be Still My Soul" through the pregnancy insomnia. That song has always been a favorite of mine, but it touched me so much during those nights. I'll be honest, pregnancy was hard for me. I dread being sick, but to be alone and sick was a whole other level. But that song would calm me and even put me to sleep on my roughest nights. The video I found came out just days before I found it. 

 
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Ultrasounds

I mentally prepared myself the first two ultrasounds. I knew the likelihood was high for miscarriage. I prepared myself that it could happen. Not that it would of made it any easier, but with my personality I needed to prepare myself for the worst case scenario. Because it could happen. 
I had studied and memorized the statistics. 1 in 4 women will miscarry. But at 8 weeks with a confirmed heartbeat at an ultrasound, the risk drops all the way to 3%. 
And we saw and heard a strong, healthy heartbeat at 8 weeks. Jake got teary eyed that ultrasound. I remember watching him look at the screen with one of the biggest smiles I'd ever seen. The fear faded so quickly. I felt so much peace. And the excitement and reality hit home. We were so excited to be parents.
At our 13 week appointment Dr. Adams did a small doppler monitor on my stomach. He told me it could be hard to hear a heartbeat with how small my body and veins were. But he found the heartbeat! He compared it to mine. The baby's was so quick. It felt more than double the speed of mine. It was a fast, strong, heartbeat. And at last, we were felt we had hit the safe zone and we announced our pregnancy publicly. 

 
 

16 Weeks Pregnant - February 20, 2018

I still remember waking up that morning because it felt like Christmas. 16 weeks pregnant and we were finding out the gender! The truth was, we were going to be handed an envelope with the gender in it. We had a huge gender reveal all planned out for that weekend.
Let me mention, I'm a private person. I'm not one to invite my mother-in-law to an ultrasound. Not because she isn't awesome, because she is!! But because I felt the ultrasounds were such a special moment for just me and Jake to enjoy. But the day before, Monday, I texted my mother-in-law Connie out of the blue and invited her to the ultrasound. I didn't know why. I sent the text and then asked myself, "Did I really just invite my mother-in-law?" And she moved plans around to be there. 
One thing I remember so clear was how off Jake was during the day. He had been so excited days prior but that day he seemed down. I asked him multiple times what was wrong and he said he couldn't put his finger on it. 

I sat there in the chair the tech made small talk with us as we prepped my belly. It was the first ultrasound the baby looked like an actual baby. That small body popped on the screen, and the tech asked if my due date was correct. I knew it was because I knew when I was ovulating from ovulation tests. So my due date was right on. 
The nurse looked through the files and said the baby was measuring small. Immediately I felt uneasy. I didn't say anything as she continued to examine, but there wasn't any movement on the screen. I noticed that right away. She took another few seconds looking around and got very quiet for a second. With tears in her eyes, she told us she didn't want to be the one to tell us...

Our baby had no heartbeat.

I cried there on the table. Even though I knew exactly what she was saying, I couldn't feel all the emotions at that time. I was mostly just numb, and completely stunned. Jacob was devastated immediately and cried on his mother's shoulder. The rest of the day was a blur. Thank goodness Connie was there. She went and got us a bunch of comfort food from Sam's Club.
I remember Jacob going to the nursery and screaming and crying at the crib. If anyone knows Jacob, he's pretty mellow and not a whole lot gets a rise out of him. It was one of the first time I had seen Jacob a complete mess in anger and heartbreak. Jacob and I cried the rest of the night. We couldn't focus on anything else as much as we tried. I still was mostly numb. I knew exactly what had happen, but I was in shock. I was in shock that we were that small percent. That 0.5% that isn't supposed to happen. But it did. 

Surgery Day

I woke up nervous. Mom and Dad arrived late the night before, but mom made me a light breakfast before surgery and they kept me distracted. We watched a comedian on Vid Angel and it was needed. Dad gave me a father's blessing before we left for the hospital and it brought me comfort. I still remember his blessing mentioning "lose yourself in the service of others". 
When we arrived to the hospital, I was shaking. Jake held my hand to calm me down through the entire process. They always struggle getting IV's in me with my tiny veins and it's my least favorite part. Jake was amazing at distracting me during. He asked me, "Do you want Chipotle when you wake up?" I said yes and then he asked, "Okay, what's your order?" The funny thing was Jake KNEW my order by heart. But he was getting me to think about something else besides the IV that took 3 different attempts by 2 doctors. 
Before they put drugs into my IV, they rolled me away from Jake into the surgery room. I saw every light, every tool they were about to use on me and I was still fully awake. That really freaked me out. One of the surgeons saw my concern and told me to count back from 10 and ... I was out.
When I woke up from surgery, I saw mom first and then Jacob. Then Riley Meng came back with a cute basket of goodies and a card. I opened the card right away and it was the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. Honestly, it was one of my favorite things I received after the miscarriage. Every one of our friends wrote a personal message in the card about how much they loved us and were hurting for us.

 
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Healing

The physical healing felt like it took longer than it should have. I just laid on the couch for days unable to do anything. My parents helped around the house and tended to my every need. The cats slept next to me every night at my feet. 
It was so hard seeing Jacob heartbroken. He had prayed to be a dad for so long. It tore me a part to see him so hurt and angry at the situation. I felt like it was my fault, because it was my job to take care of our baby. It felt like I had failed as a Mother. The doctors told me it's wasn't my fault, but as the mom carrying that baby, I always felt that guilt. Like there's something I could of done better. I went through every decision I made while pregnant and critique it. "I shouldn't have ate that. I drank too much of this. I pushed myself too hard that day. I lifted over 30lbs. that day..." It goes on and on. I had insomnia from my medication so I would lay awake wonder what I could have done differently. Doctors, friends, family, they all reminded me it wasn't my fault. But those what ifs stuck with me for a long time.
My body went from being a mother, to not within just a few hours. That stung. From having every decision you make affecting the tiny human you're creating, to no longer feeling like you even have a purpose anymore.
Filling the void was impossible. There was no way to replace our baby or get something that would even remotely make us as happy. I'm a saver and I hate spending money. But about two weeks after the miscarriage I went through a phase of just wanting to spend money all the time. Food, clothes, unnecessary things, movies, anything really. It was very frustrating as we had a huge medical bill coming but no baby, and I wanted to spend money. I tried finding other ways to cope. The thing that ended up helping the most was staying busy. Whether being with friends, working my business, or being out of the house getting fresh air. If Jake and I would sit alone too long, we'd fall into a depression and end up crying with each other. It was hard to be a rock. When Jake had his rough days, I had to pull out all my energy and any bit of hope for us and try to show him that. We each had hard days, and some times on the same day.

The Lord's Hand in all things

While this has been the hardest trial of my entire life, I saw so many blessing within it.

-Connie (my mother-in-law) coming to the ultrasound. Since she was there, she was able to contact my mom right away and let her know the news. Because of that, my parents were able to get up and leave within an hour and be present at my surgery. 

-Connie coming to the ultrasound x2. Connie was able to comfort Jacob right when we found out. I was in complete shock that I couldn't even think or function correctly, much less hug and comfort my husband.

-Connie coming the the ultrasound x3. When the nurse gave us the options of what we could do next, I was still in shock. The nurse said we were welcome to go home and think about it which is what I thought we should do because I honestly didn't know what to do. But Connie asked, "what's the soonest we could get her on the schedule?" They tentatively put me on the schedule for a D&C for the next day at 3:30pm. If I would of went home and called my mom, by the time she would of advised me to do a D&C as well, the office would of been closed and I wouldn't have gotten a surgery time until probably Thursday or Friday.

-Dr. Adams. When we went in the morning of my surgery to sign paperwork, Dr. Adams came in the room with open arms and hugged me while I sobbed and sincerely told us he was sorry. He also sat me down, looked me in the eyes, and told me I did nothing wrong. That I couldn't have done anything different for a different outcome. I may be biased, but I really do believe having an awesome doctor can make these types of situations much more bearable. 

-A possible mistake. When you sign the paperwork, you acknowledge that things can go wrong. One thing Dr. Adams brought up was the possibility of puncturing the uterus. I remember him saying, "I'm pretty good at what I do, and I can't remember the last time I did it, but it is a possibility I have to warn you about."
While I was in surgery, (which only takes 15-20 minutes), Dr. Adams took my mom, Jacob, and Connie into a room and let them know he thought he had punctured my uterus. He needed permission to make incisions on my stomach to take cameras in from other sides to double check his work. It took a long time for him to get back to my family after that, and of course they were worried. ( I was asleep thank goodness and did not have to deal with this stress/worry at all.)
Turns out I just have a big uterus. The typical uterus is 10 centimeters, and mine happens to be 13cm. So while he was checking his work and not feeling any tension back, he thought he might have punctured something. All in all, Dr. Adams is a very thorough doctor. And I'm grateful he double checked his work.

-Dad sat down. My dad cannot, repeat, CANNOT sit down and relax. He has to get up and be doing something. Especially when he is not in his own home, he really struggles just sitting and enjoying a moment. But during recovery I begged him to stop cleaning the apartment, and to sit down and watch Shark Tank with me. And he did.

I Lost my Child

Some days I have to remind myself that I'm allowed to be a complete mess. To break down and miss our child. Because I did lose a child. I felt that loss of life. And it HURT. It hurt more than words can ever describe. But time can heal. We aren't fully healed, and I don't think we will be until we're reunited with our baby. However, we are getting better. Each day has gotten better.

If someone you know has miscarried, I recommend sending a card with comfort. We had so many cards with thoughtful words and it eased the pain. Just the acknowledgement that we had lost a child was what I needed to hear. 
Talk with them when they're ready to talk. Listen as long as they're willing to talk about it. 
Get them out of the house when they are physically healed. Lunch or shopping or even a mani/pedi day.

If you miscarried, you aren't ever alone. I'm here to say it does get better. It feels like your world has completely shattered in front of you, but it will get better. Allow yourself to feel every emotion. There is nothing wrong with being angry, depressed, and heartbroken. Get out of the house when you can. You won't want to go. It'll be hard. You'll have to force yourself. But it'll help your body and mind refresh and heal. 

We are so grateful for the gospel in our trial. To know that we will be reunited again. And that there is no better place for our child to be right now than in the arms of our loving Heavenly Father. Eternal families do exist. And It makes me try a little harder every day to be a little better. 
Thank you again for everyone's kind words and comfort. We couldn't ask for better friends and family to help us through every step. Thank you again.  

Mother Daughter • Idaho Falls Family Photographer

To know someone your entire lifetime and watch them become a parent and mother is an amazing experience. Jodi is my gorgeous sister who I've looked up in every aspect possible. She takes her role as a mother seriously and takes any opportunity she can to teach lessons to MJ. I love seeing Jodi ask MJ to grab her shoes and bring them over with one in each hand. I'm also grateful to have little MJ as my niece. She has been one of the best things for my soul after miscarrying in February. I look forward to every FaceTime call and every reunion I can get!

"The highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother." - Russell M. Nelson

Can't wait to follow in my sister's footsteps as a mother one day. I couldn't ask for a better example.