April Fools

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* * * * * Folks, I was feeling horrible throughout the day I originally put this post up. I had been walking around wondering if I broke some unspoken code to not talk about such horrible things. I was about to log in and just delete it when I received an email from someone who told me sharing my story helped her when she was having her own crisis of faith, hitting bottom. So, while it is much darker than most of my writing, I will leave this story up, hoping it helps others know they are not alone, that God does have a plan and maybe it will help them find the courage to keep moving forward.  However, please be warned this has the potential to cause undue worry if you are currently pregnant and re-traumatize  if you have had a loss. Please think about your state of mind before proceeding.* * * * *

Our first child was due April 2, 2009. An April Fools baby.

We had been trying to conceive for two years to no avail. We finally decided to take a break since we had just bought a house and were in the midst of moving. Shortly after we were settled, I remember it dawning on me one morning that I was late. Very late. Of course, since we’d been trying to get pregnant for two years already, I had oodles of tests lying around so I took one. I laughed out loud when I saw a bold blue line appear. It was fate. Finally, everything was working out for us.

We wanted to wait to tell people until we made it to three months. We had an ultrasound and he was gorgeous. We had never been through this before and had no idea what to expect from that first doctor’s visit. We were both so stunned when the doctor turned on the sound and we could hear his heartbeat. It sounded like a horse galloping through the wild. So strong and fierce! Oh, we were so EXCITED! —So excited that we didn’t make it to three months but we did make it to eight weeks.

In retrospect, I know exactly when we lost him. We had dinner with my mother-in-law, to share the news, the meat made me feel nauseated. I had this weird flip-flop feeling in my belly and felt sort of like the world was spinning too fast. I just chalked it up to morning sickness when nothing happened. The spotting started the day before my three month check-up. My husband and I were sure everything was okay but I was definitely scared. I can still hear the horrible crack in his voice as he told his father, expressing remorse that it was the one time I wasn’t just worrying over nothing.

Our son (we both believe it was a boy), who we’ve come to call Noah, had died just after our eight week appointment. The specialists believe it was due to Trisomy-18. Neither of us could really believe it was true because there still wasn’t any real bleeding or cramping or anything. -Just a little bit of spotting. And how could he have died a month ago and not have passed yet?!?! How could I walk around for an entire month with a dead baby inside me and not know? All the while, gleefully dreaming away and sharing our good news with friends and family. The doctors compassionately assured me he was gone. I was still in denial so I refused the D&C and said I would wait to pass the fetus naturally. Like the dying embers of a fire, I still had hope they were wrong.

I remember where I was when it finally started to happen. At a stoplight near our home. I still can not sit at that light without remembering it all. By the time we arrived home, it was time. The cramping had started in earnest. It was so intense when I stood up to get out of the car. I collapsed into my husband’s arms and cried out, in pain and heartbreak. I remember the first gush felt like someone was ripping my soul from my body. I have cried many times in my life but that is the first and only time I felt like it was my heart literally crying out.

I did go into shock from all the blood loss but I still refused to go to the hospital. Looking back, I don’t know why it was so important for me to be at home. I remember being on the bathroom floor asking my husband and mother why it sounded like they were talking to me from inside a can. I bled heavily for four days. I would shake so hard my teeth would chatter. I kept thinking this is it and then there would be more. I kept thinking each clot was finally the baby. The pain meds did nothing to curb the pain. Nothing. It took four days for him to pass. We said a prayer before we bid him farewell.

We ended up planting a double flowering peach tree in his honor. It blooms beautiful and vibrant flowers for just a few weeks each Spring and then retires, just like our Noah. Interestingly, Silas has two favorite books and they are both about Noah’s Ark. Thad and I think he somehow knows his big brother is in Heaven watching over him.

In my mind, Noah died September 11, 2008, the day we found out. They opened the 9/11 museum today so perhaps that is why I am remembering all this now. I also saw a beautiful interview with Sarah Bessey today in which she recalls feeling forgotten by God during her miscarriages and her quest for children.  Forsaken: It’s a feeling I am all too familiar with. Her message is an important one: “..you are not forgotten.” Take the time to watch the interview. It’s worth it.

It took me a long time to hear that message. It was another two years before we found success on our journey to parenthood. I remember having a screaming match with God after one of many failed infertility treatments. I sat at the table yelling upwards, asking why as well as why not. Now, I know. God knows me like any parent knows their children. He knew this was the best way for me to become a mom. I believe He intended for me to care for two very specific souls, Silas and Emerson. They were not ready. So, He sent me Noah to let me know how very much I did want to be a mother. He sent me Noah to make sure I had enough fight in me to conquer infertility, to bring Silas and Emerson into the world when they were ready. And, maybe, He wanted me to be able to speak about my pain so others might know they are definitely NOT forgotten. Yes, you out there, thinking you are all alone… You are not alone and you are not forgotten. As Sarah Bessey says in the video above, “Wholeness is in God’s heart.” He has wholeness in store for you!

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I was undecided about whether to post this or not. Here is what my husband said when I asked for his thoughts:

It’s difficult for me to put into words – as with any loss, you go through periods of numbness and periods of pain – but that experience greatly exaggerated both the pain and numbness.  You probably remember before the first (and ultimately last and only) ultrasound, I was not very excited… for me, the pregnancy was simply a line on a stick, there was nothing real.  Hearing the heartbeat for the first time was a game changer, it was beyond anything I had experienced, and for me, it was literally the proof that god was real.  And then all that was taken away… there was no joy, no future, no god… the elation I felt only weeks before, had completely turned upside down.  That upside down feeling, that numbness lasted a long time – as much as I loved Silas, he was probably two years old before I felt comfortable about him going to sleep. Each night, I half expected (not even feared, just expected) him to not wake up the next morning; and every morning brought only a temporary relief before the next bedtime.

I’ve said before that sometimes a good memory is a curse – there are plenty of things that I wish weren’t so fresh in my mind.  So, reading this post, reliving all the events and the feelings that went with them, is not a fun thing.  It sucks.  That experience was so horrible that I would not wish it on my worst enemy; yet, so many people go through the same thing… or worse.  If writing and publishing that blog post helps only one person, you must do it.  The entire medical community (along with our friends and family) will tell you that 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage – of course, the intent is to be helpful, if not consoling.  But no one warns you how much it will hurt.  Fertility issues aside (that’s a whole separate topic), that single event, that single loss of a heartbeat, that single loss of life, changed our perceptions, changed our lives, forever.  So I say again, if this post helps just one person, you must share it.

 

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