June 2022: when it all began.  After 8 months of trying Zach and I finally got the positive pregnancy test we had been praying for.  Already the parents of 2 little girls, we were excited to grow our family, hopefully adding a little testosterone this time around.  Our excitement following the positive test was short-lived, within a week I started bleeding.  The bleeding lasted for more than 2 weeks but ultrasounds at 6 and 8 weeks confirmed growth and viability.  Our 12 week ultrasound showed a beautiful little baby growing right on track and my 16 week appointment I heard babies heart beat in perfect rhythm.  Anxious as I had been about this pregnancy, I thought we were in the clear.  Little did I know, there is no such thing.  Week 19 rolled around, and I started bleeding again, I left work and called the doctor immediately but was told all was well as I wasn’t filling a pad. 2 days later, still bleeding I called the doctor and told them they could see me, or I would go to the ER.  They scheduled me as the last patient of the day and told me to bring someone for support who could drive me home.  At this point the nagging feeling that something was wrong switched to feeling this is very bad.

The ultrasound felt like it went on for hours.  I remember thinking, I don’t know what she thinks she is looking for.  I’d had enough ultrasounds to know within a moment of seeing the image that Nolan was gone.  There was no wiggling, no movement at all, just his lifeless little body.  I laid there with tears streaming down my face while the nurse took her sweet time coming to this conclusion as well.

From there everything was a blur.  I called my husband to share the news, he was out of town.  I remember his voice cracking on the phone as he raced to get home.  I talked to the doctor, or rather he talked to me about our options.  It was a Friday, and I was to be induced on Monday after dropping the kids off at school.  My husband made it home and made the calls to family that we had lost our baby.  Everybody came.  There was cooking and cleaning, laughter and tears, so much normalcy for a time that was far from normal.   

Much like everything throughout my pregnancy our birth did not go according to plan.  Sunday night I went into labor around 2am.  We rushed to the hospital where I delivered our sweet our boy just after 6 am.  Due to the circumstances, I wasn’t given any pains meds and I remember crying out how much it hurt.  That hurt paled in comparison to the pain we endured as we learned to live without our baby.  We spent the day holding and loving Nolan.  He was perfect and so beautiful.  To this day I have no idea how we left the hospital without him. 

The days that followed were long and dark despite it being one of the most beautiful fall seasons I’d ever seen.  Our people eventually left and went back to their lives, we held a private funeral and felt the gut punch of burying our boy.  Aside from follow up doctor’s visits, I rarely left my bed.  It wasn’t until I found No Foot Too Small that life became somewhat manageable again.  As soon as I got involved I was met with compassion and understanding: after all, no one understands the loss of a child better than a loss parent.  I’ve learned that loss changes things; it changes everything.  Losing Nolan changed me to my very core.  No Foot Too Small has provided refuge while I navigate these changes.  The organization has had a profound impact on my grieving process and taught me that grief and joy can co-exist.  In some ways, life is better when it does.  I know that NFTS will always be a safe space whether it’s to grieve my loss or celebrate my angel.  We are all in this together and I am eternally grateful for this group.

Zach and Marina Evanovich