May 17th. A special place in my heart. Fours years ago we were expecting a baby on this date. A day that was supposed to be filled with joy and anxiousness, awaiting the arrival of a beautiful baby. Now, it's a day for memorial to me. All because of the heart-wrenching tragedy known as miscarriage.
Okay, I know this isn't a typical "Pinned Sisters" post. No recipes, no crafts, no household tips. But, I know God uses me as a vessel to help others and their loses, so I shall pour my heart out on here. I hope you all don't mind :) And if I help just one person out there, to God be the glory.
Rewind yourself back to 2007. After trying to get pregnant for what seemed like years (but was only 6 months), Jason and I found out we were expecting. We were beyond thrilled. We told our families, told our boys, and began preparing for our third child. Around 6 weeks, my OB scheduled a routine ultrasound because my levels weren't growing as fast as they should. I was so nervous and expecting something bad. As I braced myself for bad news, the ultrasound tech informed me everything was fine. I was just measuring a little behind. We got to see and hear the heartbeat. As I cried tears of joy and relief, I allowed myself to fully embrace my pregnancy and not be scared.
Regular check-ups were all fine and my pregnancy progressed. I began to show and had a few pregnancy symptoms (which I never had before with the other 2 boys). Extreme fatigue and nausea occurred. I was convinced I was pregnant with a girl, since my pregnancy was so different. Either way, we were thrilled and couldn't wait for the first trimester to be over.
|6 week ultrasound. All was good and healthy|
At my 13 weeks check-up (actually, 12 weeks 5 days), everything was checking out. When my OB placed the doppler on my belly, I couldn't wait to hear the heartbeat. After what seemed like hours of her trying, she wasn't able to hear it. So she calmly suggested an ultrasound, thinking the baby was hiding or moving. To the ultrasound room I went. She stayed by my side as the tech checked. I knew instantly by their faces that something was wrong. The tech turned to me and said "I'm so sorry, there is no heartbeat. The baby has passed". Here I was 6 weeks after my first ultrasound in the same room, sobbing again. But this time, there was not tears of joy. The doctor led my to a room and we discussed my loss. She was very comforting and helped my sort out my thoughts. We decided to wait a few days and see if my body would let nature take it's course. I got into my car and had to make the phone call I was dreading. Jason had to work that day, so I had to inform him that our baby was gone. As I sobbed hysterically and told him the news, I could hear his heart break. He came home right away to grieve with me and help comfort me.
After a few days, it was evident that my body was hanging on. The baby had measured at 9 weeks, so it had been almost 4 weeks since the last heartbeat and my body still thought I was pregnant with a living baby. So we scheduled our D&C. On November 6, I was admitted for outpatient surgery. The surgery went as expected, and I took a few days off to recover physically and emotionally.
The following months were extremely hard on me. I couldn't look at a baby or see a pregnant lady without breaking down. My best friend was pregnant with her first child and I was so happy for her, yet so sad for me. I was in a dark place and couldn't figure out how to climb out. I felt like many people didn't think I suffered a real loss. So many people offered kind words of advice, but many of their well-meant words actually hurt. "Something must have been wrong with the baby", "It's for the best", "You're young, you'll bounce back", "You can try again", etc. I know how well-intended the words are, but in the heat of a loss, it's hard to accept.
I turned to the internet for support and God led me to the most amazing group of women. We all had babies due in May. We formed our own little group and were there to share stories, support each other, and let each other cry on our virtual shoulders. As time progressed and wounds started to slowly heal, we were there for each other as we all began to try for another baby. Jason and I tried for 3 months and became pregnant again. And throughout that pregnancy, all of the girls were there for me and my fears of another loss. Words can't express how scary a pregnancy after loss is. Constant fear of another loss is always on one's mind. But they were all going through the same thing and were able to relate. I am so grateful for them.
Fast-forward to December 8, 2008. Our precious baby boy Caleb entered the world and was healthy and happy. Tears of joy once again flowed and I thanked God over and over for this gift. A saying that my friend saw once kept creeping up in my head. "No rain, no rainbows". Caleb was our rainbow after a dark and stormy period of rain. We had weathered the storm and emerged with a beautiful precious child of God.
Today, I still think of our "may baby". Actually, it's rare that a day goes by that I don't. But the wounds have become scars and although the pain will always be there, it is no longer a gut-wrenching agony. The kids know about their baby that is in heaven and every May 17th, we plant a shrub in memory of our baby. I also just got a new tattoo and has the baby incorporated.
|One of our memorial shrubs|
Over the years, I have come to realize a few things:
- God uses all situations for the good. If we hadn't gone through our trial, we would not be able to witness to others like we can now. We actually met a couple a year after our loss that were expecting a May 2009 baby and had lost the baby in October (just like us). Because their loss was fresh and we had gone through ours the year before, we were able to comfort them like not many others could.
- If we didn't suffer our loss, we wouldn't have Caleb. Of course, we would have our May baby and love them with all of our hearts too. But I can not imagine life without Caleb. He is our sunshine and our rainbow.
- I still to this day think the baby was a girl. I don't know that, as no testing was done. I know several ladies that just can't carry the opposite gender. But in my heart I feel it was a girl. And although I would have loved a girl at some point, God blessed me as a mother of all boys. And because we have all of our boys, they are able to carry on the family name. They are the only boys on our grandfather's direct tree limbs that can. And that makes me proud.
- God wanted me to turn to him. At first I was angry and hurt. But as I reached out to Him, he provided comfort that only He could. If you are hurting, confide in your Lord. Yell, talk, cry, vent. He is there for you and always will be.
“When you go through deep waters,I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” Isaiah 43:2-3a
|Memory Box: Holds cards, Ethan's Big Brother shirt, hospital bands, pictures, etc.|
I'm sorry if this post is way too long. But I hope someone out there is able to get some hope or comfort from our story. The pain is real, the loss is real. Even though we never got to hold our baby, we still lost a child. It doesn't matter if it was a loss at 5 weeks pregnant, 20 weeks, or when the baby is born or is a child, or an adult. A loss is a loss and hearts can break no matter what the calendar says. May God bless you and comfort you <3
"The world may never notice
if a rosebud doesn't bloom
or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon
but every life that ever forms
or ever comes to be
touches the world
in some small way for all eternity
the little one we longed for
was swiftly here and gone
but the love that was then planted
is a light that still shines on
and though our arms are empty
our hearts know what to do
every beating of our heart says
We will remember you."