LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kyra Elzy has done a great job of rebuilding the UK women's basketball team this season, and she's always a great motivator.
But through all her excitement and energy is a very private pain. And for the first time, exclusively here on LEX 18, she's ready to share that with the public.
In 2021, Elzy appeared to be on top of the world.
"I was flying high," she said.
Behind the sparkling smile and infectious energy lies a secret.
"For me and my husband, we've had six miscarriages," said Elzy. "And even saying that out loud makes me very emotional."
The first miscarriage was in 2013.
"We took pictures we had the stick that said pregnant, telling our friends and families."
And then a miscarriage.
And then, in 2014...
"I was actually coaching a game at Tennessee. I stood up on the bench and I had a sharp pain, and I said, 'this is not good,'" said Elzy. "We had a miscarriage there at halftime. So it always sticks in my mind."
The third happened before Elzy even knew she was pregnant.
"And then the fourth one [in 2015]... that was the one that probably just broke me," Elzy said. "We went in to get the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat and there was no heartbeat. And at that moment, I was literally like... I thought I was going to die."
Elzy says she was on suicide watch at that moment and couldn't get out of bed or sleep. It was Elzy's husband, Dexter, who turned their focus to adoption.
"Through that journey, I think it gave me something to focus on," she said. "I think it gave me hope, it gave me life again. A reason to live."
Then, on June 13, 2016...
"When they brought him out and put him in my arms, I was sobbing, and I was like, I'm a mom, I'm really a mother."
She says Jackson saved her. Elzy and her husband stopped the in vitro treatments.
"I was like I'm done, I don't care about having any more babies," Elzy said. "I have Jackson, we're good."
That's far from the end of her story.
In 2020, Elzy became UK's head coach in November. After that, she reasoned stress was why she'd been feeling under the weather. She got a big surprise.
"It pops up pregnant right away, no invitro, no medicine, nothing," said Elzy. "I thought 'you have to be kidding me?"
Then, in her office at the Craft Center, as the Cats were practicing before the Indiana game, Elzy says what she thought was a miracle became another heartbreak.
Miscarriage number five.
"I stand up and a pain hit me so hard that I fell to the ground," said Elzy. "I look down, and I am covered in blood."
Elzy was off the sidelines for a few weeks. The BBN knew only that she was sick.
"I remember laying in bed, literally sobbing the whole time," she said.
Elzy clung to what she knew best, she couldn't coach, but she went back to her team.
"I would just sit on the stool, but it gave me a reason to get up, to live," said Elzy. "That team gave me a reason to live, along with Jackson. Cause it gave me a reason to get up. Probably if it wasn't for Jackson, a reason to get out of bed. And a team that was counting on me to get up and coach them, I probably would have checked myself into a mental institution ... that one was tough."
UK fans saw a dedicated, inspiring leader. We celebrated with her when the Cats won the SEC Tournament for the very first time.
"I'm like yes this is what life is all about, this is what you do it for," she said.
Very few people knew about the loss she carried in her heart.
"The thing about miscarriage, nobody can grieve with you, so it's not like I had a physical baby I could show someone," she said. "If I had a stillborn, people could come to a funeral. It's hard for people to grieve with you, it's like... it didn't happen."
It did happen... again. Miscarriage number six.
Right after the NCAA Tournament, this time was different.
"To see, I literally was looking, I could see legs, I could see! And I was like... this is an evil joke. This literally is an evil joke."
Broken again. But in recent days...
"I have really prayed about it for a long time."
Kyra Elzy, a coach, mother, and woman... decided to share her story.
"God really spoke to me and said if I can help one woman, then I've walked in God's purpose."
Jill Embry and Kyra Elzy had been acquaintances for a couple of years. When Jill's baby passed in 2017, Elzy reached out.
"Talking with someone who's been through a similar situation, their words and their experiences help you just a little bit more," said Embry. "They're grieving a baby, the loss of a baby, so even though our experiences are different, we're still grieving the same way."
"I feel like it's a secret society, no one talks about it," said Elzy. "Nobody wants to be in it. But nobody talks about it."
Now, friends, who lean on each other, on this day, releasing balloons in remembrance... one of the little things that provide comfort.
Even though we don't talk about it much, one in five women will suffer at least one miscarriage. Coach Elzy hopes that will change.
When I asked Coach Elzy if she intends to try again to get pregnant, she said she is not sure she could handle another heartbreak but added it's in God's hands.