As a Christian, I've always taken pride in spreading that joy and being a strong witness for Jesus -- even when it's not easy or popular.
Once I hit my 40s, I was home schooling my children and -- after years of working in the film and television industries -- I was starting to see success with my own production company. And I received an answer to perhaps my most intimate, heartfelt prayer; after years of trying, I was pregnant again.
I know it's cliché, but for me, life couldn't get any better. I floated on a sense of security and peace, and at that point, my faith felt unshakeable.
And then in one fell swoop, I was blindsided by tragedy that not only tested my faith, but forever changed my life.
'That can't be right'
My family and I piled into the room with the ultrasound tech, both of our boys giddy with excitement to see and hear their sibling's heartbeat for the first time. My husband and I would marvel at the growth of our new little one. You could feel the anticipation in the room as I was poked and prodded, and we watched the screen.
After a while, the tech asked me to empty my bladder and we'd look again. Hmm, I thought. I returned, and she continued her examination.
I noticed "7 weeks" on the screen. That can't be right, I thought. I'm almost 12 weeks.
The intensity of the exam slowed to a crawl. A doctor slipped into the room. The two conferred, and slowly the fuzzy picture came into view. "The baby doesn't have a heartbeat," the doctor said gently, almost apologetically. The realization of those words sunk into my being. "No!" I screamed. "No, no, no!"
Hot tears stung my eyes, betraying my desire to maintain any sense of composure. A trickle of tears quickly became a stream. "Can you check again?" I squeaked, desperate for hope. They checked. Still no heartbeat. They ushered my sons out of the room, and my husband and I to an office for counseling. My mind was in a fog, struggling to comprehend how our lives could change so drastically in seconds. The doctor presented several options. I'm not sure I processed any of them.
Our family limped away that day, broken and bruised. My heart, and my faith, shattered.