How it all started
Mindy and I began dating in October of 2013. We had been spending time together since late August, but she had a then 3 year old son, so we wanted to make sure we were both on the same page before we moved forward. On Christmas Day of 2013, I proposed and was lucky enough to get a “yes!” from Mindy. We were married on June 8th, 2014 in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. In March of 2015 we discovered that Mindy was pregnant with another little addition to our family, due in November. On our one year wedding anniversary we went to Stork Vision and found out we were having a little boy! We quickly had a gender reveal party with our families and used silly string to reveal our results to them and then brought out a cake with “Michael Titus Hohfeld” written on it. Michael was the name of my uncle who passed away when I was 3 years old. We came up with Titus because we wanted a strong name and also one with biblical ties. We had decided that he was going to go by his middle name, Titus. The pregnancy progressed pretty much normally. We hired a doula and attended classes to learn about nutrition, exercises, birth positions, and many more things to help make giving birth a special and enjoyable process. Around 32 weeks, we switched doctors, and because of this we got to see Titus with more sonograms than we probably would have than if we did not switch. Titus was breech but turned on his own the week before we were going to have him turned. Mindy experienced pre-labor for quite a while. Contractions would come and go but were never strong enough to progress. Finally, on Monday November 23rd, I got a text from Mindy while I was at work saying she was pretty sure these contractions were going somewhere and our doula was coming over. She told me I did not need to leave school early, but to get home as quickly as I could afterward. I headed straight home from school to find her laboring with our doula in our living room. The plan was to labor at home for as long as comfortable and then to go to the hospital to deliver Titus. We did some exercises and used massaging and warm compresses, and just before 6 we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We arrived, went to triage, and they began hooking up monitors to see how Mindy and Titus were doing. I instantly knew something was wrong when the nurse could not find a heart beat on the fetal monitor. She played it cool and said they were going to use a different method to find it, but I knew right then everything was not okay. They attached a monitor to the top of Titus’ head and again, could not find a heart beat. I can remember feeling like I was going to pass out, throw up, or both, but knowing I could not do either because my wife was going to need me. Mindy was obviously quite distracted by labor pains that were continuing to intensify, and did not fully grasp what was going on until our doctor, who was by the grace of God already at the hospital, came into triage and showed us with a sonogram machine that there was truly no heart beat. I could not even look at the machine. We walked in the hospital prepared to welcome our little boy into this world, and within 10 minutes everything was flipped upside down. I immediately called my father in law and told him the news. He had just gotten up to the hospital (we had text everybody when we were on our way to the hospital) with my mother in law and Elijah. My parents and sister were also simultaneously showing up, along with one of Mindy’s sisters. I’m not quite sure who told who, but the news got passed quickly between our families. They moved us to a private room and at that point Mindy decided to have an epidural. I can remember sitting on the floor outside her room while they gave her the epidural, just in shock and unable to process everything that was going on. After the epidural, I went and got our family and brought them back to the room so they could just cry with us. Elijah came back first and we broke the news to him. I do not think he initially understood what was going on, but he was brave and strong for both of us. Almost everything else that night is such a blur, but when Mindy started pushing I started playing the song “Good, Good Father” by Christ Tomlin, and at 9:24 PM, Mindy delivered Michael Titus Hohfeld. He was 8 pounds and 12.7 ounces and 21 inches long. He had a head full of hair, chunky little cheeks, and two different ears just like his mom. We held him and loved on him, our family and friends came back and held him and loved on him, and our family friend/photographer was there to document it all. I don’t know what time everybody left, but we fought exhaustion to soak up every moment we could get with our Titus until about 4 AM, when we knew we had to get some sleep. We both woke up the next morning hoping with everything we had that it had just been an awful nightmare, but it hadn’t. Family and friends came back up and spent the afternoon with us, and we kissed our boy goodbye one last time right around 4 PM as we handed him over to the nurse and headed home empty handed and broken hearted. We had his funeral the next Monday and were both overwhelmed with the amount of love and support we received there. My school had teachers from four different elementary schools come and cover classes so that my coworkers could attend Titus’ service. We buried our little man in between my Oma (grandmother) and my Uncle Michael, the man he was named after. Things turn into a blur again after that. Minutes turn into hours, which turn into day, weeks, and months. We were blessed in so many ways right after we lost Titus, from the plot he was given by my family to all the different people who helped us to be able to purchase the most beautiful headstone for him. We could go on and on about how we were blessed by both God and those who love us.
We knew we wanted more children but we did not want the same thing to happen again. Mindy’s doctor ran pretty much every test he could, but that never got us anything other than the same explanation he gave us the night Titus was born, which was that there truly was no explanation or cause and that it was just a tragic, spontaneous, unexplainable loss. So after Mindy’s doctor gave us the go ahead, we began trying again in February of 2016. That was a very anxious month. We took test after test, only to get negative results. On Friday February 26th we were going to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate Elijah’s 6th birthday. Mindy decided to take one final test so she could know for certain (even though I was already confident we did know for certain that we were not pregnant). I got a call from her with about 30 minutes left in the school day and she was sobbing over the phone. She told me that she had taken another test and that she just could not emotionally handle it. I assumed she meant she could not emotionally handle another negative and went and told my principal that Mindy needed me and I needed to go. I arrived at home to see my wife standing in the driveway with a sign that read “parking for daddy of three”. The test had been positive. We both broke down in tears and I got down on my knees and kissed her belly and prayed. We kept this little secret to ourselves as we went out of town for Elijah’s birthday weekend. On Monday we had Eli’s party with our family and we revealed the news to everybody. The number one rule of pregnancy is to never reveal that early, but we needed our family to be our support group, and little did we know at the time how crucial that would be. The very next day around 2 PM my phone rang while I was teaching. Mindy rarely calls me while I was working, and if she does it’s usually either an accident or very important. The way I tell the difference between these two things is by letting the first call go to voicemail and seeing if she calls again. If it is just one time, it is an accident. However, if she calls back then it is something important. This time she called back. i quickly excused myself and stepped out in the hallway. She was calling to let me know that she was bleeding. My heart sunk. We lost Titus at full term (plus a little) and now we were losing another one almost right away?! The hardest part about a miscarriage is that there is nothing you can do. Mindy had blood drawn right away and it revealed that her hormone levels were a 5, which is right at the very bottom of actually being pregnant. But hey, we literally just found out, so maybe that is why they were so low. She was truly just barely pregnant. Maybe the bleeding was nothing. We clung to that hope. A week later, another blood test, and there was no hope to cling to anymore. Mindy’s hormone levels were 0. Once again, in a very short period of time we had gone from excited to crushed. This was hard. It seemed to bring the waves of grief crashing back in on us. We now grieved the loss of two babies. Titus and Baby H.
Here we are now, pregnant with our little girl Layla Grace who is due December 6th. We are anxious and nervous, but excited at the same time. We are taking this pregnancy one day at a time and praying for the best. We wake up each day not knowing what to expect, but knowing that our life will never be the same as what it was before November 23rd, 2015.
2017 UPDATE: 7/5/17 We now have a 7 month old princess named Layla Grace. She has turned our world upside down in every way imaginable. She looked so much like her brother Titus when she was born, but also so different. We praise God for the 3 perfect children we have had born to us.