Many years ago, I wrote an outline and rough story I called Four. Most of the 19 pages was outline, but I wrote out a few scenes. It was a work which I enjoyed the general premise, but I never truly delved into.
I didn't write anything new for about four years due to getting a bachelors degree, master degree, and having a baby. In 2020, I finally felt ready to start writing once more. I wrote the first draft of The Four July-middle of August 2020. I took the main concepts from my earlier version of Four and reworked it into the new version. I decided to make my main female character, Nicki, mute to increase the tension and frustration of not being able to openly communicate to Gil. As a librarian, I worked with a deaf volunteer who signed. I learned some signs, and she gave me my personal name sign. In the book, I state that the people at Nicki's work know signs related to their job, which is based on my experience, because staff learned signs related to library work. At the time, I downloaded a couple different apps for sign language including a sign language dictionary, which I used several times while writing The Four. Each part which talks about someone signing and their hands clapping/smacking loud are connected to an actual word in sign. Now I do know that ASL is not a universal language. There are different sign languages in different countries, but for the ease of flow in my story, the people in Kama also sign ASL, as my main characters do. I also researched how to write ASL as speaking, and in my research, I found that there were many different ways to write it. I chose to use italics and quotations, which seemed to be a well received way of writing the language, due to the prayers the characters make as well. The prayers are thought in italics, so I needed to differentiate thought and ASL.
I had my baby girl in January 2019, and I breastfed my baby girl. As such, my hormonal changes were inconstant for over a year. I got my first menstrual cycle back in November 2019, skipped December, and had another January 15-21, 2020. I was on the minipill due to breastfeeding. On January 29, 2020, I had horrible cramps. I tried to go to work, but I had to turn back home and call out sick. I was in horrible pain all day. I took a lot of Ibuprofen, and I had a heating pad on most of the day. I started bleeding again a day or so later, and I just thought it was my body regulating and being weird. I did e-mail my doctor two days after the extremely painful day (Friday), and a nurse called me the following Monday. I felt better, but after a few more days of heavy bleeding, I decided to call the nurse back on February 7, 2020. The nurse advised me to get a blood test to see if I had been pregnant. I left work early and got the bloodwork done, sure I was experiencing a miscarriage. I got the results back on my app, and I googled the numbers given. They were pregnancy numbers. A different nurse called and advised me to go to the ER for an ultrasound. My mom took me to the ER, and my husband asked if he should go there straight after work. I told him I was sure it was a miscarriage and to go home with our baby. I had two ultrasounds done at the ER, and my mom was with me. Before the ultrasounds were examined, the doctor said it was one of three options: a) miscarriage, b) false period bleeding (meaning I was pregnant), or c) implantation bleeding (meaning I was pregnant). I was still sure I wasn't currently pregnant, due to the awful pain I had experienced, and I didn't know how I'd feel if I were pregnant. My husband came to the ER after the doctor left to look at the ultrasound findings. Looking back, I'm so thankful he did. When the doctor returned, he said there was a fourth option: ectopic pregnancy. Our baby had implanted in my left fallopian tube, and the tube had burst. I had been bleeding internally for nine days, and I needed immediate emergency surgery. My husband and mom waited while I was in surgery. I had blood in my stomach due to the rupture, and they removed my dead baby as well. I had to stay home for a week after the surgery, and I was on light duty at work another week after that. I couldn't lift over ten pounds, which included my year-old baby girl. I named our lost baby Jamie because we didn't know if it was a boy or girl. Later, I found out my blood levels had been relatively normal because my baby blocked the hole in my tube. Jamie saved my life. I literally bled internally for nine days. People can bleed out after thirty minutes in extreme cases. I used my story as a main plot point in my book The Four to raise awareness of ectopic pregnancy, seeking medical help when something is amiss, and to remember my child. I also dedicated the book to Jamie.
The year 2020 was the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, and it was the revival of my passion for writing new books. I wrote 138,720 words total in 2020.