The 1 in 4: The Washington Family

When my wife and I finally decided to try and have a baby after a few years of being married, we didn't know that the journey would be this long and difficult. My wife, Natasha, had already experienced miscarriages and infant death many years prior to our marriage. So, she was far too familiar with the pains and heartbreak that these losses brought. We tried to conceive naturally, but after months, we weren't successful. So we went to the doctor and found out her tubes were badly damaged and blocked. She had a procedure to try and unblock them, although the damage was severe. Again we tried but were unsuccessful. We were faced with the reality that if we were to have children, it would have to be by alternative means.

After much deliberation, we decided to try the IVF route first. Our first round of IVF wasn't successful. She miscarried around 8 weeks. This was a tough blow. However, we had purchased two cycles of IVF, and when it was possible, we went forward with the second try. This time, we were in for quite a surprise. When we went back for our first ultrasound, we didn't see one, but two sacks and two little bitty heart beats. I literally almost fainted and fell out of my seat. I was so nervous about being a dad, but a dad of two? I started having visions of myself in a rocking chair holding two crying babies, and I'm just lost in daze, hopeless. Soon, I got a grip on the fact that there were going to be two babies. Two kids to raise. Two of everything. I had to tell myself, on the bright side, at least we can get both out out the way at one time. Also to my joy, we later found out that one was a boy and the other a girl. We decided to name them Natalie and Nicholas. Because my wife was high risk, due to her age and previous losses, she was instructed to be extra careful with work and everyday activities.

Right around the time she made 20 weeks, she called me one night while I was at work. She was frantic and said that while attempting to go use the restroom at home, she felt a gush. There was blood and fluids everywhere in the bathroom. She thought she may have miscarried again. I thought about it and said that she was far enough along that if one of the babies came out, she would see the umbilical cord. This gave her some comfort, but she still drove herself to the hospital.

When I got off from work that next morning, I went to the hospital. Come to find out, Natalie's bag had ruptured, but she and Nicholas were still fine. The doctor told us that the game plan was for Natasha to try and make it to 24 weeks and then she was to come back and be admitted into the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. He also said that the worst case scenario would be for her to get an infection and as a result, both babies would have to be delivered and the likelihood of survival would be slim. She was released a day later, and later on that night, she got a fever. She started vomiting and having chills. This was Sunday, February 5, 2017. We rushed to the hospital that morning. Her contractions were becoming more severe. The doctor came in and told us that the babies were coming and they most likely wouldn't survive. I still tried to remain positive and prayerful.

Natalie came first. We all looked and waited. We saw no movement. She was not alive. I looked at my wife and she looked back as if she was extremely ashamed. Soon after, Nicholas came. He had this slight grin on his face while sucking his thumb. I couldn't believe it. That was such a precious sight to see. Being that he was just a day or two past 20 weeks, his lungs weren't developed enough for him to survive. This was devastating to us. I saw how hurt my wife was, and I purposed in my heart that I was going to make something good come out of this tragic situation.

We received bears from Angels Among Us. One for Natalie and one for Nicholas. One of the bears was in honor of Aiden Meyer and the other in honor of Gabriella Louise. We had the memorial service on February 25th. After that, I made sure we did something I failed to do after the first miscarriage. We went to counseling and to the group sessions that were offered by the hospital. There we met Casey Meyer who works with Angels Among Us and is the mother of Aiden Meyer, whose bear we had. I shared with Casey how I wanted to be involved in whatever way I could to be a help to those who have and will experience the pain and grief that we were experiencing. She encouraged me to sign up for the upcoming Quarter Marathon, being put on by Anna's Grace Foundation. So we signed up and came out. Even though we only did the 1 mile fun run because my wife was still experiencing some difficulties in her legs from the epidural, we had a great time being around so many others who have been through similar situations as we have. It was very encouraging. Casey introduced us to Mrs. Monica Alley. She opened her arms and heart to Natasha and I and had become a friend and mentor to me, in my journey to strive to give back and be a help to the community of those who are now part of the 1-in-4.

To make a donation to Anna’s Grace Foundation in honor of the Washington Family, visit https://www.annasgrace.org/donation-acknowledgment

About Anna’s Grace Foundation Anna’s Grace Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting families in the Greater Baton Rouge Area who experience miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Each and every day one of our neighbors, friends, coworkers, or family members will experience the devastating loss of a baby, and Anna’s Grace is there to provide emotional and financial support so that families can focus on healing. The Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon is on March 25, 2018. For more information or to register, visit http://www.annasgrace.org/registration.

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