JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
Life was great for Lt Col. Brian Campbell, 633d Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, and his wife Katherine. They had been married for a few years, enjoyed being a couple, doing fun things together and had just found out they were pregnant with their first child.
The couple described the next few months as “living in a fun yet naïve bubble.” They enjoyed the thought of starting their family and began to plan for the future.
“Kat and I went in for our first official visit and ultrasound at about 12 weeks, fully expecting to have that ‘wow’ moment,” Lt. Col. Campbell explained. “God had other plans. Although Kat’s body was still growing and changing, there was no longer any baby - a missed miscarriage.”
In that moment, the Campbell’s experienced an incredible sense of loss.
“I remember thinking, it’s okay, God has a plan; we just can’t see yet,” Lt. Col. Campbell said. “The next couple of weeks were not easy, but we kept faith.”
Mrs. Campbell immediately underwent follow-up surgery and was hospitalized for a period of time following the miscarriage.
“The next two years were a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts,” said Mrs. Campbell. “I was losing trust in myself as well as in my relationship with God. I hoped that one day I would be able to look back and see the beauty in this.”
The couple experienced and processed their grief in different ways; the sense of loss didn’t go away for either one. For Lt. Col. Campbell, he deeply grieved the loss but didn’t feel it physically.
“My body hadn’t changed; I hadn’t seen or felt the baby,” said Lt. Col. Campbell. “For me, it was a lot of confusion and just trying to be supportive for Kat.”
A few years passed, allowing both Mrs. Campbell and Lt. Col. Campbell time to heal; but in 2017 they would lose another baby. The gap they had become too familiar within their lives was reopened, and they experienced a second wave of grief.
“I watched Kat lose excitement, happiness and joy over the thought of parenthood,” Lt. Col. Campbell said. “I could see in her this sense of failure, pain and loss. It felt like she didn’t have peace about it. There was no sense of closure.”
Through this difficult time, the couple made prayer, church and small groups a priority and allowed each other the space to feel and respond in their respective ways.
“I tried to take some of the ‘life’ burdens off her plate,” said Lt. Col. Campbell. “I pushed us to do other things like weekend getaways, completing workout programs together, going on walks and just getting out and about.”
They still wanted to have children and had been trying for several years while continuing fertility treatments and staying involved in local support groups.
While continuing treatment, the couple began a 21-day prayer group. On day 22, they found out they were pregnant, and several months later, they welcomed their first daughter into the world.
“I was completely awe-struck,” said Lt. Col. Campbell. “The overflowing feeling of love; that I would do anything for this little, tiny, wrinkly baby.”
Mrs. Campbell felt disbelief that the baby was actually theirs but when one of her friends said, ‘A child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of your body,’ Katherine couldn’t agree more.
Today, Mrs. Campbell wears four rings on her right hand. Two small blank rings to honor the babies that were never born and two rings for the children they now have, Alexandra and Olivia.
“It’s a way to honor our babies and have a visual reminder of the goodness of God all in one place,” said Mrs. Campbell.
Throughout the difficult times, the Campbell family stuck together and kept faith that there was a perfectly created plan for them.
“Whether it’s being a husband, commander or a father, it’s important to understand that it’s not always going to be easy,” said Lt. Col. Campbell. “Setting the course for your family, being present, available, and caring is a necessary part of the health and welfare of the entire family.”