“If we’re being honest, in one way or another we are all optimistic with hopes that all of ‘the bad’ things in life will pass us by, and we will be exempt from certain things. Right? Well at least I had hopes for that. But unfortunately, for years I felt like I was on the outside of my life looking in at someone else’s trauma. I could not believe that infertility had chosen me. That loss had stolen my joy. That my longing hearts desire to become a mother was being ripped from my grasp one miscarriage at a time. Infertility and loss was something I had always heard about, but I never in a million lifetimes would’ve ever thought it could actually happen to me. I don’t know why I thought I would be exempt from this heartache, but just like any other bad thing in life, we think, ‘That’ll never happen to me.’
After dating for four years, I got the pleasure of marrying the man of my dreams, Justin. We were married in April of 2015. Justin and I agreed we wanted two children. Ultimately we knew we couldn’t choose, but if it were up to us we always said we would like a girl and a boy, and for the boy to be older if we’re being honest.
We agreed to wait to start trying to grow our family after we had been married and enjoyed one another for at least two years after marriage. Those two years very quickly passed, and we began our journey to parenthood in the spring of 2017 on our two year wedding anniversary. We were so excited, optimistic and very hopeful. All my life I thought well, ya know, you make plans to have a baby, do ‘the thing’ and a few weeks later you have two pink lines on a stick. Boy was I mistakenly wrong. For some it is simply that easy. But for others, little did I know, it would be much harder and would come with a lot of heartache, doctors appointments, prayer, and growth.
The first 10 months were kind of a blur. Looking back, I remember all of the negative pregnancy tests in a row. I would take ovulation test, after ovulation test, looking for a positive, and we would try even when we didn’t get a positive ovulation test.
Positive Pregnancy Test
Finally on March 28th, 2018 standing in my bathroom at 11:30 at night as my husband was asleep in our bedroom, I got my first positive pregnancy test. Even just typing those words I’m still flooded with emotions. I’ll never forget that moment. Ever. Every other test I had ever looked at only had one line, so why did I think this one would be any different? Even though this time I was actually four days late for my period. When I turned that stick around to the camera, it took me by surprise. I had to do a double take!
I’m so thankful I got that moment on video, because I almost still can’t even believe my reaction. The weight of emotions that came over me was amazing. It was like all in one moment all of my prayers were answered. At that moment I realized finally, I was going to become a mother, and I was going to be able to share the good news with my husband! But I needed to wait until the perfect time!
I waited two days before telling him! Man, it was hard to sleep next to him holding onto that huge secret. Two days later when I told my husband, his reaction was priceless. Another core memory I will never forget. He was just as shocked as I was, we cried together and thanked God for the blessing of the little miracle we had made.
Being optimistic, we had chosen not to tell our family until we were further along. Three days after I told my husband we were pregnant, it was Easter and we were gathered around our whole families. It was extremely hard to keep a secret, but it was our little secret for that moment. And that felt so sentimental. My husband and I would look at each other from across the room and just smile and blush, knowing we had our own little secret. It was so sweet. Until it simply wasn’t.
Later that afternoon, I got a phone call from my mom saying my granny was headed to the hospital, they think she had a massive stroke. Heartbroken and completely in shock we turned around and headed straight to the hospital. Although I had to be strong for the baby, my heart was completely shattered every single moment knowing my granny was very sick and may not make it.
After a weeks long battle, my granny passed away. This was solely one of the hardest things I had ever had to face. The feeling of being so excited about what my husband and I have longed for for a long time, mixed with the emotions of losing one of my best friends, was simply terrible.
My husband and I had already planned and paid for a cruise for our anniversary. As much as I didn’t want to leave my family during this terrible time, they encouraged me to go, thinking it may be ‘good for me.’ Still, they had no idea about our little secret. My husband and I prayed a lot about the situation, and we decided to go on our trip. Maybe it would be good for all of ‘us’ after all? It was what I knew my granny would want for me.
I tried my hardest to put on a smile and enjoy this moment with my husband I had dreamed about. I had a life growing inside of me! It was very hard though. Once we got on the ship we could take all of the cute little pictures of his hand on my belly because no one knew us there. It was still kind of our little secret.
Two days into our cruise things quickly changed. Our worst fears became a reality when I started bleeding. The next little bit of the story is where my trauma truly began. But definitely not where it escalated to its max. When I started bleeding on the cruise ship, my husband took me down to the ‘doctor.’ If you have ever been on a cruise I hope this is not something you have ever experienced, because what they consider a doctor’s office on the cruise is merely a joke. I told them my situation, and they proceeded to tell me if I got checked out it would be X amount of dollars, and depending on the severity of the situation if things really were going wrong there was nothing they could do for me.
My husband and I simply did not have that kind of money, and we were still hopeful that everything would be okay. We declined their service, and headed back to our room. The doctor did recommend we stay in our room until the end of the cruise. Now remember this is only on day two, we were on a five day cruise. And now we were told we had to stay in our room for the remainder of the trip. So I could be on bedrest.
We got back to our room, and we just laid on the bed looking into each other’s eyes, crying. Our hearts were broken. We were scared of the unknown. He looked at me and said, ‘I’ll be right back!’ A few minutes later he came back from the gift shop with a deck of cards, he said, ‘If we’re going to be in here we’ve got to do something to keep our minds busy, let’s play some cards!’ Hours went by and the bleeding began to get heavier, so we decided to head back down stairs to the doctors office.
They already knew why we were there and proceeded to tell me if this was major there was simply nothing they could do for me aboard. That our best bet would be to go to the hospital in Cozumel Mexico the next morning.
The next morning we were able to get off the ship earlier than others to catch a cab to take us to the hospital. After hours and hours of waiting we started to panic. If you’ve ever been on a cruise before, you know they leave port at a set time with, or without you. My husband contacted border control, to try to see if there was a way we would be able to get home had we been left behind, or had to stay there for an operation. Not long after making that phone call they finally called us back to be seen. In this hospital where no one spoke great English, filled with so many unfamiliar staring faces, my husband and I held hands and walked upstairs to the OB unit following the nurse.
The doctor confirmed we were in fact losing our first baby to a miscarriage. We were devastated that our thoughts became a reality in that moment. She told us we were okay to board the ship again, just take things easy, and try to enjoy our time as hard as it may be. We headed back to the ship and rested for the rest of the day.
Fast forward we got back home from our vacation and had to tell our families we were not only pregnant, but now we weren’t, and the trauma that we had endured. That was terrible. At that moment my husband and I promised ourselves we would never do that again, when we got pregnant again we would tell our families immediately. After all they were our biggest supporters, and that’s what family is there for.
Months passed and on December 12th, 2018 I got to see two pink lines for a second time! This time my feelings were a little different. Although my heart still filled with joy, there was a piece of me that was terrified. I planned another cute surprise to tell my husband. Again we cried together in excitement! This time being so close to Christmas we decided to surprise our parents with an early Christmas present telling them the best gift was yet to arrive! We spent the next couple of weeks enjoying the festivities of the upcoming holiday, but on Christmas night, our joy was stolen once again.
I started bleeding for a second time. Automatically I was terrified knowing how this ended a few months previously. I contacted my doctor Christmas night and they were able to get me in the following morning. We went in for an ultrasound, and upon scanning my belly for our baby, they did not see it. They told us I was already in the process of passing our sweet little baby. Absolutely shattered, we held on to each other, and hoped, and tried our best to get through the next few days.
As the days passed my bleeding did not let up like it had in my first miscarriage, and my blood work showed the pregnancy was still growing. Almost a week later I headed back into the office for another opinion on what was going on with my body. The doctor looked at my husband and I and said, ‘Honestly we don’t know what’s going on. Would you be okay with another scan?’ Um YES! Absolutely.
What seemed like 30 seconds into the scan, the ultrasound technician saw our sweet baby growing in my right fallopian tube. She confirmed I had an ectopic pregnancy, and it was definitely life-threatening. They put me on the schedule for the following day and I had to go back in to have shots to stop the pregnancy from growing, or it could likely kill me. Heartbroken, I couldn’t believe this is something we actually had to do. This was an extremely hard pill to swallow. Not only were we losing our baby, but I was in danger.
On my husband‘s 29th birthday our second baby gained its angel wings. At this point we were 21 months into our journey, and honestly I felt defeated. All along even through the pain, I knew God had a plan and a purpose! That is what I held onto! He had never failed me before and I knew he would not leave me now. Clinging to God‘s promises my husband and I prayed and pushed forward. We did extensive testing with our doctor but no explanation for our two losses. We simply had unexplained infertility at this point.
In July 2019 we pursued a fertility specialist. Surprisingly, 12 days after we met with her I got a positive pregnancy test for the third time. This was simply a coincidence. For the third time I planned a surprise for my husband to tell him we were pregnant with our third little miracle. Again we cried together in excitement, and also in fear. We decided to trust God with whatever he had in store for us. He had taken care of us before.
A few weeks into the pregnancy, I once again started bleeding. I don’t think I can even describe the gut wrenching feeling in words that I felt at that moment. I called my husband at work and he rushed to meet me at the doctor’s office for an ultrasound. When we got to the doctors office, we sat in silence. You could basically hear a pin drop. Once the ultrasound technician did the scan, she told us our little baby was fine, and for the first time we saw and heard a heartbeat.
I had a rare condition called a subchorionic hemorrhage that rarely happens with pregnant women. Our baby was okay, I just had a blood clot. There is no cure for this hemorrhage, ‘It will likely heal itself, but could get worse before it gets better, just keep an eye on it’ is what we were told. We left that doctor‘s office and were overjoyed with the news we received.
Over the course of the next week my bleeding did get worse, so we headed back to the doctor for a second ultrasound before leaving for vacation. Everything checked out great again! Our baby had grown and so had my blood clot, this time the heartbeat was stronger! Over the moon, we left for vacation the next day. We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation, but also took it easy.
The night we got back from our vacation my bleeding picked up, and got redder than it had ever been. I felt in my stomach that something was not right. The next morning we headed back to the doctor for another ultrasound. For the first time I had heard the words I never thought I would… ‘I’m so sorry, but your baby no longer has a heartbeat.’ Honestly she didn’t have to say a word. I could see it all over her face. My heart broke like it never had before, and I swear I could feel depression settling in my bones in that very moment. I just knew I wasn’t going to make it through this one. What could have possibly gone wrong? Everything was going great? We saw our babies little heart beating, TWICE! This couldn’t be right.
The doctor told me I had two options, one to have a DNC to remove the baby, or two, to take medication to help my body go into labor. I opted to take the medication and rest in my own home. My husband took me home and I began the medication.
Over the next 24 hours I was in the worst pain of my entire life. At one point I had my husband call the hospital because I seriously thought I was dying. My body was shaking uncontrollably with pain, it was almost too much to bear along with the emotional toll of knowing exactly what was happening. I never understood it when women told me that when in labor ‘Your body just knows when to push,’ well now I understood what they were talking about.
After losing our third baby, I was shattered. I was broken. I was losing myself. I didn’t even recognize myself. I started scaring the people closest to me. I knew I had support and love, but that didn’t seem to matter to me. The only thing that got me through was God. I held on to his promises EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! I got in his word, and I prayed my heart out! Sometimes I couldn’t even pray, I simply just cried. But nonetheless, He still knew my heart and was working on me while writing my story. I never lost hope. After all, I had to hold on to something. I told God and my husband that I was so tired. Tired of hurting, tired of fighting, tired of crying, wishing, wanting, and depressed.
Later that week, I looked at my husband and said, ‘I’m ready to give up, it’s like I just don’t care anymore.’ He replied, ‘Care anymore about what honey?’ I said, ‘Anything. Nothing makes me happy anymore, and I’m just simply ready to give up.’ That moment is when I truly started to scare myself. I had always been a positive person, the one to brighten others day, although still trying to do that everyday at work I cried the whole way home each night. I knew I needed help. I reached out to my OB , had a consultation and began medication for my anxiety and depression.
Justin and I continued on our journey and chose to trust God with every step. The infertility specialist recommended more extensive testing, and found out that I had a very low egg count. At the age of 28 years old, that’s something you never think you will hear. After all, I had perfect health my whole life! She explained to us our options, and suggested that we started infertility intervention immediately. We decided to try IUI two times, and if that didn’t work we would need to begin the process of IVF. Our last option. The doctor also informed us that with my egg count being so low, if we planned on having more than one child IVF just may be our best option anyways.
We left that up to God and a few weeks later proceeded on with our first round of IUI on August 15th, 2020. Once again with overwhelming hope, excitement, and a lot of prayer, we waited. I couldn’t contain my excitement and wait the full 14 days after my procedure before taking a pregnancy test. I’m so glad I didn’t wait, because 10 days after my first round of IUI I got my fourth set of pink lines!!!! It was almost as if I was not believing what I was actually seeing. And this time it felt different, but a good different! I was so hopeful, more hopeful than ever before, I trusted the Lord with whatever He had planned.
It just so happened that weeks prior to our IUI I had been going back and forth with a local photographer who had reached out and asked me if Justin and I would be interested in being a model for an upcoming fall photo session she had in mind. We agreed at the time to take the fall photos. When I saw those two pink lines on that stick I knew this was my perfect opportunity to surprise and tell my husband! What a more perfect way, than for it to be captured all on camera by a professional?! I called Amber, the photographer and we shared in the excitement, she was totally down to turn this ‘fall truck session’ into an announcement for my husband! Amber was simply nothing short of phenomenal in every way, she wanted to make sure my ‘dream in my head became a reality.’
She and I planned everything out to a T, but as the day arrived to tell him the fear started to set in a little. I started thinking, ‘What if I went through all of this planning to tell him and everything falls through like every time before? What if in the end I am wasting Amber’s time and I never get to truly use these pictures because, what if everything ends just like it had before?’ In the end if everything failed, I knew I had gained a friend in Amber.
On August 28th, 2020 during what my husband thought were just simple ‘fall photos’ I was able to share and surprise my husband with the good news of our pregnancy! Amber was yet again phenomenal and able to catch it all on video, as well as photos. My husband’s face was truly priceless, he had no idea that was coming! This was for sure another core memory I will never forget! We all cried together, and I’ll never forget my husband raising his hands in excitement and shouting, ‘I’m going to be a daddy!’
Later that night when we got home I yet again was punched in the gut with my heart sinking, I went to the bathroom and was bleeding. Immediately my mind went everywhere. ARE YOU SERIOUS? This can NOT be happening again I thought to myself. I was almost even afraid to tell my husband, because he was on cloud 9. The next day I went to the doctor and my numbers looked great. I was used to being in the doctor’s office 3-4 times a week just for blood draws.
Although everything came back great the bleeding didn’t stop there, it only got worse, which called for an ultrasound. I had the same blood clot in this pregnancy as I did in the previous pregnancy, which scared me to death! I knew how that ended, and I thought to myself ‘Ultimately, is it the subchorionic hemorrhage that caused me to miscarry our last baby?’ No one knew. Everything at the ultrasound appointment checked out to be great, and we were able to see the start of our little baby on the screen. We chose joy, and prayed for the best! Because that’s what God says in his Word in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Again, the bleeding got worse, so we were seen for yet another ultrasound. The car ride headed to this appointment was silent, and long, my husband and I were both pretty nervous. I just remember praying with every mile we drove. When I got undressed and settled into the room Justin and I prayed together for God’s will to be done, and for peace with the outcome, no matter what that may look like. He knew best. I think we both were hoping the bleeding was just a blood clot again. And praise God it was! My blood clot had grown in size causing it to bleed worse. But my blood clot wasn’t the only thing that grew. This ultrasound looked different than any other we had ever seen before.
Not only was our little baby doing great, God saw fit that he would bless us with another one! Before the tech could even say a word, I looked at her and asked, ‘Is that what I think it is? Is that another baby?’; I’ll never forget her nodding with a huge smile on her face and saying, ‘Yes maam! It’s TWINS!’ Just months back she had to tell us our baby no longer had a heartbeat, but today was different! Justin and I busted out in tears! Our hearts were overflowing with thankfulness to God!
At that moment all of my fear faded away. Everyone in that office celebrated with us! We drove home still crying with excitement and shock and decided to tell our parents that night! They were just as excited and shocked as we were, all of the prayers everyone had been praying for us doubled in size! After telling our parents we decided to keep the ‘twin part’ of our pregnancy a secret until our planned gender reveal party when we were 16 weeks along!
As we drove to our reveal party, Justin and I talked and laughed about how we really only had two names picked out, one for a boy, and one for a girl. If we had two of the same gender we would have to discuss more names, but for right now we were settled on the two names we had. After all, before getting married we did say we wanted one boy and one girl. That day was one of the best days. Our parents were in on the secret and they helped us in our reveal.
After announcing to everyone that it was TWINS we moved on to then find out what they were! Now this part was a surprise to us all! We lit the first pumpkin and blue smoke started to come out, and we knew right then that was our Braxton Micheal we had always dreamed about. We were so happy! The next pumpkin I felt like took forever to get the smoke rolling, I’m sure it was just my nerves and the anticipation, but when it did it was PINK! That was our Olivia Grace we had always dreamed about! I ran into my husband’s arms and we shouted in thankfulness together! Everything we ever wanted is now becoming a reality! This was all a part of that pain and suffering we had to endure to get here.
From this day forward everything about my pregnancy was perfect! No sickness, no fear, no depression, no worry, just pure joy, and that was Jesus! Fast forward to February 9th, 2021 at 27 weeks pregnant, I woke up ‘peeing on myself.’ I was pretty positive that my water had just broken. He was in disbelief, I wasn’t but wished I was. We had no hospital bag ready, no baby clothes packed, nothing was in order. After all I was just 27 weeks, I had many more weeks to prepare for all of that, or so I thought!
Joke was on me, we rushed to the hospital where they confirmed that my water did break with ONE of the babies and that I would not be leaving the hospital until they were born, whenever that may be. ‘Whenever they may be?’ I thought to myself. What do you mean I ask? My water had just broken didn’t that mean that they were coming now, like that day? I was wrong again. The baby replenishes its amniotic fluid daily.
The next 33 days dragged on for what felt like forever. I had good days and I had bad days, mentally. Covid had stolen my opportunity to see my family and spend time with them, but I’m thankful my husband never left my side.
March 13th, 2021 at 4 a.m. the contractions started on strong, the doctors and nurses kept a great eye on me and the twins. At 6:40 the doctor came in and told us that things were quickly changing with Olivia and we needed to deliver via C section ASAP! It felt like I was living in a scene straight out of a movie. I had never seen so many nurses rush in and start working together to get me prepped. I was swiftly rolled to the operating room where the twins were quickly delivered. Praise the Lord that at 7:14 and 7:16 the twins were born safely and healthy, though still very premature. Which we were warned and prepared for.
The twins spent the first month of their life in the NICU attached to wires and monitors 24/7. Justin and I spent our days navigating the emotional roller coaster of having twins in the NICU. I was pumping constantly because I felt like that was the one thing I could do for my babies to provide and help them grow! After 63 days spent in the hospital, our family of 4 was finally able to go home complete! Our precious Braxton and Olivia are nothing short of the most perfect gifts God could have ever blessed us with.
They just turned 16 months old, and are learning and exploring so many new things each day. One thing I can tell you for certain is time is a thief. I’ve loved every single second of being a twin mom. I’ve tried my hardest to bottle up and soak in every stage because each one is so precious and goes by way too fast. I truly believe in my heart God’s calling for my life was to be a mother. Everything I went through, all of the heart ache, pain, doubt, fear, depression, searching, and prayer led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t be the woman or mother I am today without the storm. I’m thankful that he’s the potter and I’m the clay… because had I things my way, I wouldn’t have been able to experience God’s full blessings for my life or have the children that I do. I’m thankful that even on my darkest days I chose to have faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, because honestly on some days that’s all the faith I could grasp.
Our family of four is now complete. God granted our hearts desires to become earthly parents, in his time. It’s always perfect, and he also answered our hearts’ desires for EXACTLY what we had always wanted. Here I am living out my real life happily ever after! Never stop praying, never stop believing, never lose hope, trust in Jesus, call out and cry out to him!
Love Leah, the double miracle mama.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Leah Canter. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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