On August 24, I was 16 weeks pregnant with our daughter Maya. Our lives were changed forever that day when we had to face the most unimaginable decision . . . death or death.
Our beautiful family of five, built by adoption and biology, full of life, deep love, disability, trauma, and joy. We were thrilled to be welcoming a fourth child, but this second pregnancy was overwhelmingly challenging from the beginning. As time went on instead of improving, I started to drastically decline in physical health.
Three days prior to that life-altering decision, I was admitted to the hospital with stroke-level blood pressures that sent everyone into action and panic immediately. My condition was a mystery to the doctors for a few days while I underwent every scan, test, and lab under the sun to figure out why I was so ill. After days of this, my incredible maternal-fetal medicine doctor came to me with her theory, but it took a little more time for everything to unfold because what she told us was so unfathomable, rare, and heartbreaking.
I was essentially carrying an undetected twin pregnancy with a complete molar pregnancy alongside our growing Maya.
The complete molar pregnancy (toxic tumor-like placental tissue) was taking over my uterus, sending my systems into shock, and it was questionable if I would successfully make it through surgery alive. This complete molar pregnancy growing alongside our daughter was rare, aggressive, and threatening both of our lives.
After consulting with doctors around the country, receiving test results that were unbelievable to my doctors, everyone was watching my body basically die before their eyes. My condition was so grave the outcome was uncertain. I underwent emergency surgery to terminate the pregnancy, removing the complete molar pregnancy and causing us to lose our beloved daughter as well.
I was wheeled into surgery surrounded by the most amazing and compassionate team we could’ve ever asked for.
My doctor’s phone lay on my chest playing “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle as I faded off to sleep. I can’t even begin to recount how well we were cared for by my medical team and the love we felt there.
Our whole world stopped as doctors saved my life, my body fought, and we said goodbye to our beloved daughter.
We are forever changed.
For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom why God would make this a part of our story—we aren’t strangers to hard, but this was beyond any comprehension.
I knew in these moments that grieving the loss of our daughter would be soul-crushing, but I had to make it home to our three babies and my husband. I had to.
Part of the seriousness related to a molar pregnancy is that traces can cause a cancerous threat to the body, and certain hormone levels would need to be monitored closely as well. Complete molar pregnancies run the risks (many of which I personally endured) of life-threatening hypertension, hyperthyroidism, anemia, hemorrhage, hysterectomy, risk of cancer, and maternal death.
I never could’ve imagined having to join the ranks of warrior women who have survived crisis, life-threatening pregnancies against all odds. Truly the strongest of the female race. Also, some of the most questioned, silenced, and misunderstood.
I never thought I’d have to decide between death or death.
I’ve heard many say that the chances a pregnancy can threaten the life of the mother are so very slim, practically unheard of, but that was me.
My heart is fully pro-life, and that has always included and extended beyond unborn life. There is so much value in having a heart that is intentional and reflects being pro-woman and pro-family, every person, womb to tomb.
I pray no one ever has to experience a crisis pregnancy like I did, but I know someone else will, and until you do, you’ll never know the depth of the hurt and pain. Having to make unfathomable choices is the most heart-wrenching thing that can happen to a mother.
So my grief leaves me in this place where I struggle between the gratitude I feel for my own life and the deep loss of our daughter.
My hope is that our experience brings awareness about such a challenging subject and also allows women experiencing molar pregnancies or other crisis pregnancies to feel less alone.
I wish more than anything I could’ve saved you from this sweet Maya, my only hope is that you’re resting in the arms of Jesus. My girl, He is our safe refuge, and I pray he carries us both through this until we can be together again. You will be a part of me always. “I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.”