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The Journey I Never Intended to Take

This post was supposed to be about my recent trip to Walt Disney World. I was going to share cute pictures of my daughter dressed as Princess Anna (who's practically another family member at this point), discuss my feelings on going to Magic Kingdom mid-August, and review the off-site hotel where we stayed.

I did go to Walt Disney World with my mom and my daughter. But the experience turned out to be devastating, and I'm just now figuring out how to process it all.

Walt Disney World wasn't the cause of the problem--it was just the setting. In what is supposed to be the most magical place on Earth, I had to experience the most difficult thing I've done thus far.

I lost the sweet baby I was carrying.

I was 17 weeks along and feeling great. The morning sickness had long passed, I had lots of energy, and I was just starting to pull out my maternity clothes.

For the first day we were in the Magic Kingdom (Thursday, August 20), I felt great. Britton, my mom, and I hopped from ride to ride, ate brunch with Pooh Bear, and watched a few of the shows. Even when we headed back to the hotel around 3 for Britton's nap, I was pain-free and in great spirits.

It was only after I woke up from my nap that I started to feel poorly. My stomach felt as if it was in a vice grip. The feeling was nothing like labor pains, but rather as if someone had put a vice grip on my abdomen and wouldn't release the pressure. I figured I had pulled a muscle or two from all of the walking--or perhaps I hadn't had enough water that day. Despite being in a tremendous amount of pain, I decided to head back to the park with my mom and Britton.

We ended up in the Contemporary resort after a horrible storm made us rethink walking around in the park: we had dinner there as we attempted to wait out the thunderstorm, but around 8 p.m., it was still pouring and we decided to head back to our hotel. I was still in a considerable amount of pain, so I wasn't too upset.

When I woke up on Friday, the abdominal pain wasn't as bad, but I discovered I had started bleeding. This scared me far more than the pulled-muscle feeling, so I called my obstetrician here in Charleston, and she recommended that I go to the ER to get checked out.

I was poked, prodded, examined, and sent for an ultrasound. And after several hours in the ER, the doctor came and told me those two horrible words: fetal demise. My heart fell into a million pieces at that moment, and I still haven't even tried to put it back together.

I was rushed up to the labor and delivery ward, which seemed so horrible. Women normally go there to have fat, healthy babies. People are happy there. Instead, I was devastated and in a great amount of pain. As soon as he heard, Landon rushed down from South Carolina to Orlando, and the nurses had agreed to wait to induce me until he arrived. My mom and Britton were there, but I knew that I didn't want Britton in the room when it was time.

In the end, my body had other plans, and I went into labor at 6:30 that Friday night. Landon was still an hour and a half out from the hospital, so the nurses helped me through the experience. I really didn't want to do it by myself, and the nurses were absolutely wonderful to me. I did get to see our baby--a little boy!--after I had delivered him, and those few moments are all that I have of his tiny life. He was so small, but absolutely perfect.

I ended up losing a significant amount of blood and had to be rushed into the OR immediately after delivery. Because of the blood loss, I had to stay in the hospital until late Saturday night to finish my blood transfusion and medication. We made the long, quiet, sad trip back to Charleston that Sunday.

Today marks two weeks since the miscarriage, and I'm no closer to understanding it than I was when I first found out. Landon and I were so excited about this upcoming baby, and, now that I'm not pregnant anymore, the world seems to have shifted in this strange and horrible way.

We named our son August Gibson--August for his birth month and for Landon's grandfather, who was named Augustus, and Gibson for my mom (it was her maiden name). He seems so tangible to me still, and the worst part of all of this the the sudden realization that comes just after the moments when I forget that I'm not carrying him anymore.

We're still taking things one hour at a time. Everyone tells me that the pain will eventually become more bearable, and I take comfort in that.

But I still miss him.

Cruising into Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary

I first met my husband Landon in August 2003. We were freshmen, and he was helping my roommate move into our room.
Cruising into Our Fifth Anniversary | CosmosMariners.com
November 2003, just a few months after we started dating (the first time)

I didn't know it then, but seven years, many breakups (one that lasted over two years), and an engagement (to another person) later, Landon and I would get engaged. 

And unlike my first engagement, this one would actually stick. I'd still be petrified at the thought of getting married, and I'd seriously consider my dad's offer to go get ice cream rather than walk down the aisle, but I'd go through with it. And be so, so happy I did. 

Cruising into Our Fifth Anniversary | CosmosMariners.com
Getting hitched, May 2010

I've now known Landon almost half of my lifetime. We've watched one another grow from headstrong, stubborn teenagers into well-rounded, responsible adults (who are both still pretty headstrong--and stubborn). We've bought two houses together and supported one another as we began parenthood. 

We've traveled as much as our jobs, student loans, and budgets would allow since we've been married. We've ziplined in St. Maarten, explored Scotland, snorkeled in the Bahamas, watched plays on London's West End, and traveled all over the Southeast

Cruising into Our Fifth Anniversary | CosmosMariners.com
Edinburgh Castle, 2011

For our honeymoon, we decided to go on a cruise through the eastern Caribbean: I'd just finished my graduate program, and I wanted nothing more than to relax for a few days. That week-long trip allowed us to learn about one another's travel habits (good and bad!) since we hadn't done much traveling with one another while we'd dated.  

Cruising into Our Fifth Anniversary | CosmosMariners.com
Honeymoon cruise, 2010

We enjoyed ourselves so much on that trip that we've made the anniversary trip an annual tradition. We went to Jekyll Island, Georgia, Balsam, North Carolina, and St. Petersburg, Florida, for our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th anniversaries, respectively--they were smaller trips, but just as much fun. 

Cruising into Our Fifth Anniversary | CosmosMariners.com
Jekyll Island, Georgia, 2011

Now, five years into this marriage gig, we're headed back out on another cruise--but this time, we're going to the western Caribbean. Even though the locations are different, I hope we manage as much relaxation and fun as we did on our honeymoon cruise. 

Since I'm going all out on this trip and making it a real vacation, I won't be working next week. (Plus, have you seen how much wifi is on a cruise ship!?!) 

However, I am leaving the blog in the hands of some very competent guest bloggers while I'm lazing by the pool and soaking up some sun, so show them some love next week. I'll be back to life as usual on Monday, June 1 with lots of pictures, stories, and adventures from our Caribbean cruising. 

Happy 5th anniversary to us! 

How do you celebrate your anniversary? Have you taken a cruise? How did you like it?

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