We had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and had undergone three IVF attempts by the time Rigdon came into our world. He was decidedly our final attempt through IVF, and we could not believe when we got word that we were going to have a little one! In fact, I don’t think I actually let myself believe it for many many weeks.
When you go through failed fertility treatments, you learn the art of being ‘cautiously optimistic.’ I didn’t share the news until about 20 weeks into my pregnancy, when I finally felt like it was ‘really happening,’ and I allowed myself to just enjoy it. That was a little short lived. The pregnancy was full of its own drama, and I had two episodes of heavy bleeding where I thought “there is no way our baby made it through that!” Both times, I remember sitting in anticipation, paralyzed with concern, waiting for the ultrasound, and both times, weeping with joy when we heard that heartbeat and saw him wiggling around as if to say “I got this. I’m not going anywhere.” I knew from the beginning he was a strong soul. The strongest…
I had just gotten home from my shift in the ER on Jan 21, 2016, and was getting ready for bed, when my water broke. I was completely stunned. I had just started feeling better with the pregnancy symptoms, and had barely started to feel movement; I couldn’t really process what had happened and honestly, I had no idea how our world was about to change. I think I subconsciously, and rather naively, thought “we got this, things are fine, our little guy has shown us he’s strong before,” and off to the hospital we went.
The next few weeks of bedrest are kind of a blur. I had ruptured at 21 weeks and 6 days, and there were a lot of conversations about the lack of much needed amniotic fluid for his lung development in particular, as well as the risk for infection. I had a couple trips to L&D, but the contractions would calm down, and the 3 weeks we were able to keep him in were filled with hope for just one more day for him to grow. We had goals to reach! Our first goal was 24 weeks; we never got to the next one.
During that time, I started thinking back to many years ago, when I had been serving as a missionary, representing our church in the Caribbean. One day when I was struggling with feeling tired, lonely, and dejected, one of the leaders of the mission there said to me: “We can do hard things.” There was more, but that phrase has always stayed with me. And that became our motto. We were feeling tired, often lonely and often dejected, but our little family, our little boy; whatever he would face -- could do hard things.