“Have you ever felt like someone sweet talked you into accepting a promise only to break it later? That’s how I felt.
I felt like my slim and slender, healthy athletic body failed me. It promised me two beautiful baby boys and right before it could deliver its promise, it pulled it’s hands back like a child about to touch fire that was stopped by his mother.
‘You are having twins,’ says the nurse. As I looked at my husband, we were in total shock. When we walked into the doctor’s office that day experiencing bleeding, we were sure that something else was the issue — not twins. It was the greatest news I had ever heard. It was a dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I have always said I wanted twins—even though it was not common in my family. It was a great desire of mine. And that day, I felt like I was granted the biggest wish in the world.
Everyone – from my family, friends and 3,000 strangers on social media – were excited for us. Because of my husband’s position at the time as a traveling minister, we were always in the spotlight. Many people knew me. Many people followed me. And many people watched in silence as I battled one of the hardest circumstances in my life in front of the public. One of the hardest things is being strong when you want to be weak, smiling when you are in pain because of who you are.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was visiting patients in their homes, as I do every day. On that day, I asked my patient to use her bathroom. A few minutes later, as I sat on the toilet I heard a ‘pop.’ I got up. I said my goodbye, with a smile on my face and fear in my heart. I walked out of that home in full disbelief that my water just broke. The unbelievable joy turned into unbearable pain. Teemed with questions, I traded beds from peace to worry, from hope to doubt. In one moment, my life changed forever. The year of 2017 was a year to never forget.
I mean, if feels like just a couple days ago, we started to feel them move. Making them promises of how we will be the best parents in the world. Promising authentic, unconditional love. As I drove home, I felt this flow of water between my legs. This out of place, warm and inviting flow of hope flows down my legs. Indicating the promise that they are here. ‘But it’s only 20 weeks,’ I thought. ‘Why is this warm and inviting flow here?’ Within moments my fear became a reality.
The thought never crossed my mind that I would be sitting in a hospital bed, my husband holding my hands, my family standing all around me and my doctor looking at me saying these words: ‘You have caught an infection that is moving rapidly through your system. If we do not remove these babies right away, you will become sepsis. In other words, you can die.’
In that moment I had no words. As tears ran down my face, my doctor stated, ‘This is not where I hoped to see you.’ Neither did I.
A choice was given, do I take medication to expel the babies fast so that it can decrease the infection in my body, or get the epidural and let it happen when it happens with increased infection?
As the epidural began to send its warmth throughout my legs, my husband looked me in the eye and said, ‘You are the strongest woman I have ever met.’ I didn’t feel like it. I felt like I let him down— his boys. I could not carry his boys. Can you imagine the very dream that you so desperately fought for and carried for so long is now about to kill you? It’s about to get between your marriage and break it up? Yeah, the babies I so desired had put me in a place where my life was in jeopardy. If I didn’t survive this, then what?
Numb. I felt so numb. Numb from the circumstance. Numb from the epidural. In that moment I placed my faith aside from believing that in the last 4 days of this fight– from broken amniotic sac, to hospital visits, to being sent back home with hope to having to go back to the hospital– that the story would have ended differently. As I welcomed doubt with open arms, I knew the dream had died.
Why didn’t anyone tell me that you will face complications in pregnancy or can die in child birth? No, we paint pure joy and happiness. Where are the conversations that talks about the real challenge in childbirth?
I had never heard anyone in my family talk about a miscarriage. I had never had to know what the signs were or what to expect. I had never had to know the increased changes of depression and anxiety that come with losing a child—because I never lost any.
But when I went home, I was overwhelmed with emotions—pain, hurt, disappointment, disbelief, signs of depression, the unwanted thoughts of suicidal ideation. ‘What do I do now? Why me? What did I do wrong? How can I face everyone who was cheering for me?’
After I cried like a baby and grieved like no other, I decided I had a choice to make. I was either going to sit here and die in my pain, or I was going to live. And I chose to live. I would get up and speak spiritual words of affirmation over my life. I would stop going in the shower to drown out my pain. I would sing songs of encouragement when I felt myself going into a depressive state.
My faith in God was a major key in my ability to fight for my life. I had built this spiritual connection through prayer that strengthened my inner man overtime. And when I needed it most I could draw strength from within.
But even though God was major in my healing process, my husband was a lifesaver.
I remember one of the greatest moments my husband saved me from diving into the wave, that emotional current of pain. We were sitting in the living room with my family. They were watching TV and I started to drift because of the show that was on. It brought back horrible memories. It was only days after the loss and it was as if every show had something about a baby.
My husband looked at me and said, ‘Baby, lets go for a walk.’ As we walked I remember saying, ‘I miss them.’ And he said, ‘I miss them too.’ That day we talked about all our hopes for them and as parents. And that’s when I knew that healing hurt just as much as the pain. But the healing is more gratifying. He has never stopped being my shoulder to lean on. He fought with me—for me and for us. Having a supportive spouse was so vital in the healing process.
The day I first told my story, I was at Temple University. As I expressed to a room of women and couples about my journey, I felt the joy being released in my life. That day I told them, ‘Opposition reveals hidden opportunities.’ If I had never told my story, if I had never embraced my story, I wouldn’t have discovered the strong and incredible woman that stands here today.
She was hidden, and I would have never known her if my opposition didn’t reveal her.
As a traveling Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist I am on a mission to help other women and couples ‘Find Their Voice’ —their identity, why, purpose and how to embrace their story. Every time I share my story, it leads me to another person who has not discovered the power of their voice. I have the opportunity to impact those around me through my story. I chose life and it was the best thing I could do for myself. Since then, I have not stopped telling my story and I have not stopped living. It’s time that we start talking about it and stop shaming women for something that was not their fault.
Today I am a mommy to Carter Hugh Whitfield who travels with me everywhere I go. He is 5 months and holds the key to my heart. My husband named him the best name because it means ‘carrier of goods.’ He comes with such an abundance of love, laughter, joy and hope—great goods. Motherhood is such another world that healing is necessary to lead at that level. I am glad I never gave up on me, because in discovering me, I found healing that will cause me to be a better mom than I was prepared to be with the twins.
There were times of anxiety and fear that would try to creep in my mind during my pregnancy with Carter, but I had to continually speak words of affirmation over myself. That was key for me—reminding myself that I was important and valuable. The day I had Carter, I became a Mom and a Dream Midwife to those who do not know who they are, what their purpose is or how to embrace their story. Healing hurts but it’s necessary for you to reach your full potential. There are days that the negative memories of the twins try to control my thoughts and I had to remind myself that I am stronger than a thought. As the creator of my destiny, I choose the thoughts that have an effect on me.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cornieta A. Whitfield of Connecticut. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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