“You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”

Months after having my third baby, Oliver, my doctor discovered a solid mass on my ovary. Luckily, it was small enough (about 4cm), that she wasn’t worried. She told me it would most likely vanish over time, but if it grew, we would talk about removing it. I went in every 3 months for ultrasounds to have it monitored. During my 4th pregnancy (with Ever), the pain just disappeared. I was sure the mass had dissolved, like the doctor thought it would. But about 6 months postpartum, a sharp, familiar pain returned in the same spot.

One year ago today, on April 24th, 2019, I went in for another ultrasound to determine the cause of the discomfort I had been feeling. The tech put on her gloves and sat down. She was sweet, with a genuine smile on her face and a head full of curls. Kindness radiated through her and I felt a sense of comfort, as if she were an old friend.

“Okay, you ready?” she asked. She placed the wand on my abdomen and observed. After a few minutes, she explained, “Good news! The mass is gone. Both your ovaries are clear. I just need to go back and check out your uterus. I’m seeing something.”

My heart sank. This is it, I thought. I’ve lived a good life without too much tragedy, so something was bound to happen eventually. I braced myself, imagining what it could possibly be that she was seeing and how my life might change. 

“When did you say your last period was?” she asked, while cocking her head to the side. 

“About a week ago”, I replied nervously.

“Was it normal?”, she asked looking confused.

“No, actually, it was really light.” To be frank, I had assumed I wasn’t ovulating because it was a stressful month.

“Huh. Okay, well see that little ring right there?”, she pointed to the screen. “That’s a yolk sac. And that little grain of rice is the baby. You’re 6 weeks pregnant.” 

It was too early to hear a heartbeat, but she pointed to the screen and showed me the life that flickered inside me. She explained that the pain I had been feeling was a corpus luteum cyst that appears after ovulation and looks like a ring of fire. And that the flickering meant the baby is alive.I was speechless.

I thought we might end up having a 5th someday, but my husband and I were content with where we were at. We were just enjoying our four and were definitely not ready to try for another. But believe me, I know how privileged we are to have surprise babies so I couldn’t help but feel joyful and lucky.

Once the shock wore off, happiness engulfed me and I just started giggling. And there I sat, with a complete stranger, while we just laughed and laughed together.

 “This has never happened to me before! I’ve never found a surprise baby! I’m excited!” she exclaimed, sharing in my joy. Boy, was I excited too. This had never happened to me before either. I usually know right away when I’m pregnant. Hyperemesis Gravidarum rears is ugly head and I’m vomiting before I even test positive. I always confirm my suspicions and that second pink line pops up early at just 3 weeks along. But this time, there were no signs. This little guy decided to sneak in there, undetected for a few weeks.

I was ready to leave and the tech held the door open for me. I walked through, then turned back to say goodbye. Simultaneously, we wrapped our arms around each other and hugged like we were sisters.

“Congratulations!” she whispered in my ear. To this day, I remember her smile. I will never forget her.

I walked to the car and my heart started pounding. I was terrified to tell my husband. Would he be mad? Excited? Scared? I didn’t know what to expect. I shot him a text that read: Brace yourself. I have news. He called me immediately. First, he asked if I was okay.  When I told him I was okay, he knew instantly.

“You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” 

“….yes.”

The other side of the phone went quiet. I drove home, call still connected, in silence. My mind raced. Five kids. Five freaking kids. That is a lot of kids. Four kids is kind of a lot, but it’s totally doable. But FIVE?! What if I can’t handle this?

When I walked through the door, I was met with a big, bear hug from the man of my dreams and we both just broke out into laughter. He laughed. I laughed and cried. Without me saying a word, he spoke.

“We’re good at what we do. We can handle one more.” The peace in his voice spilled over me and all my fears melted away.

And that was the last time I doubted my strength as a mother.

I would give anything to be writing this with my 4 month old baby boy asleep on my chest, but our precious baby died just 6 days after he was born. I often think back to the day I learned of his existence. I think of all the laughter and bliss he brought us, just from knowing he was growing in my womb. I wonder how different my life would’ve been if we had never got our 5th baby, if my life never would’ve been touched by such deep loss and heartache.

But that is a life I would no longer want, because it would mean I wouldn’t have had him at all. All the pain of losing him was worth the joy and love he gave us.

Our Sterling died from a rare metabolic disorder that we didn’t know he had until it was too late. But that, my friend, is another story for another time.

Screenshot of me (before the purple hair dye) telling my mom and sister the exciting news the following day.

Life with Sterling

TW: baby seizure, EEG.

December 10th, 2019

We were airlifted to CHLA in the morning and by the evening, Sterling was having a seizure every few minutes.

This was during an overnight EEG to monitor seizure activity. He had a monitor at the end of the bed and a camera recording him. I stood next to him and pressed a button whenever I saw a seizure. This would mark the place in the video so the Neurologist go back and see where his seizures might be.

I remember feeling sad when I first saw his little head all wrapped up like this. I remember taking this photo, thinking I would never share it or even go back to see it, but now, I’m just so thankful I have photos of him at all. I wish I had more- more videos, more photos, more time.

It’s easy for me to look past all the tubes and wires and wraps and just see my son. My sweet, little baby. It’s not exactly your typical photo of a swaddled newborn with a soft, cloth baby beanie on his head. But this was life with Sterling and I’m grateful for every minute of it.

I’m so proud of you, son. You’re absolutely beautiful. And I like your fancy ‘snow beanie’ you have there. Miss you so, so much, darling baby.

Little Hero

Dear Sterling, 

A piece of my heart went to heaven.  Pieces of yours live on.

Two children each received a heart valve from you and even though we didn’t get the miracle we were looking for, 2 other families will because of you.

Thank you for the gifts you’ve given, my sweet, little hero.  I am so proud of you. I love you.

Gone

As much as I wish I could be reporting a miracle, I have devastating news.  Our beautiful Sterling was ushered into heaven last night, while being snuggled in his daddy’s arms. This has been the most excruciating pain we’ve ever felt, but we also feel the Lord’s presence, His hand holding us together, and His strength, peace and comfort. 

Precious Sterling was born with a rare metabolic disorder that shut down his entire little system.  We’ll never understand why we were chosen to walk this road, but we trust in God’s plan for our lives and for Sterling’s little life.  It was short, but impacted many. Thank you for all your support, love and prayers.  We wouldn’t have been able to go through this without you guys by our side and we love you all.


I love you, sweet boy.  I’m so sorry for all the doctors, pricks, pokes, tubes, tests and scans. It killed us to see you that way, but truly, you’re a lucky boy.  You had a fast pass to heaven and now I know you’re at peace. No more pain, just peace.  Daddy and I will be here taking care of your sisters and brother, but we will be thinking about you every second of every day until we go home to be with you.  The Lord sent us an angel for Christmas and although it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done to have to give you back, my son, I wouldn’t change having you for the world.

  Thank you for the 6 days we had with you.  I love being your mama, Sterling.

Silversmith

We are truly feeling the love and support and we are so grateful for all of you and your prayers.  I don’t have much of an update, but I wanted to let you know that our darling Sterling is currently stable and has been all day. 

I’m going to share a message that was sent to us today from one of our dearest friends:

“You know, the thing about Sterling silver, it’s put through a refining process that puts it through strong heat mixing, turmoil; impurities are taken out, at which point it becomes flawless. A mirror like finish to reflect the silversmith.”

I don’t know why this is happening, but I know God is good.  No matter what, He is good.  I know that He loves Sterling more than we ever could.  We are feeling the heat of the fire.  But I trust the Silversmith.


Thank you for continued prayers.