This sad story begins on the morning of October 30th, with some happy news: my wife Tasha and I found out that she was pregnant with our second child. The test itself showed only a faint positive line, but a second test confirmed the result. From there, things progressed normally (albeit quickly) into the normal nausea and fatigue that accompany early pregnancy. I was surprised to receive a phone call from my wife around 11 am on Tuesday, November 6th: she was experiencing sharp pain and cramping and I could tell from the tone in her voice that she was scared.
I rushed home from work and took her to the emergency room, where they opted for a sonogram to check to see if there was anything visibly wrong. Unfortunately they could not see anything because it was too early in the pregnancy. They also checked her pregnancy hormone levels via a blood test to get a benchmark level and they wanted to test it again in two days. By the time the doctors had finished their assessment, Tasha was already starting to feel better and the pain was subsiding. The doctor agreed that this was encouraging, and that we should diligently monitor her condition in case the pain returned or worsened. At the follow-up blood test, they discovered that hormone levels were not doubling every 48-72 hours as they should be at this phase. They warned us that it could be an ectopic pregnancy, or it could be nothing at all wrong.
A grueling week of close monitoring my wife (due to the threat of a possible ruptured tube) and worrying about the fate of our child culminated in some very bad news: last Monday we found out that the baby was located in my wife’s left Fallopian tube and was still growing. This placed my wife in serious danger, so last Thursday she had the operation to remove the damaged tube. Tragically, there was no way that the baby could survive. My wife is still recovering from the surgery but we both thank God that we detected the condition before it turned life-threatening for her. This leaves me in the difficult situation of being both grateful that my wife is safe and devastated the loss of our second child.
I must admit that I have sat down to write about this experience several times over the past two weeks, recounting the whirlwind of emotions and fears, the comfort of unexpected support, and the deep sorrow of loss… but frankly the pain is just too near right now for me to do a reasonable job at it. One thing that I can capture now, is that I know that God is working in my life. Four weeks ago – before our positive pregnancy test – I was preparing to write the first of a handful of articles that I was concerned would be too controversial. It was regarding facts about abortion, the fifth of which outlined the Principle of Double Effect. When researching that article I thought it was important to refresh my understanding on what is morally acceptable and what is not from the Catholic point-of-view. I had no clue that less than a month later my wife and I would have to execute on this new knowledge. God was preparing us for the road ahead.
I can tell you this with certainty: doing what is morally right and licit is difficult. Devastatingly difficult. But over the last two weeks, Tasha and I have received great comfort from friends, family, and faith. Through this tragedy I have gotten to see God’s work in new ways. As I work through the grief, I want to capture the impact of these experiences in order to honor that little life that ended far too soon.