Friday, April 12, 2013

pain, tears, hope, faith and LOVE - my story of loss

(via weheartit)
I love the amazing writing created by so many lovely ladies that blog these days.  I am inspired to be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter friend, writer, photographer, cook, diy'er...because of the things that these ladies publish.  At the same time, I also find support - words that echo true to me - as if they know EXACTLY how I feel.  At the end of the day, I feel less alone...and that is a very powerful thing.

Something I have alluded to previously, but haven't tackled head on, has been my experience with pregnancy and loss. It has always seemed so personal, too raw and too much to share publicly.  However today I read a post about Loss on a blog that I read regularly, The Wiegands, and it really hit home and compelled me want to write about my own experience.

When we lost our baby, I was 12 weeks pregnant and it was shortly after Thanksgiving in December 2011.  We had just started telling people, not many, but a few family members and close friends.  I was scared, excited and just so ready to be a Mama.  As an older woman, I knew my risks and had seen many friends who experience loss - so while I was thrilled, in the back of my head I kept thinking, don't get too excited, just in case.  The time finally came for my 12 week ultrasound at the OBGYN, I was excited and nervous at the same time.  I remember Joe picking me up at work, and I looked at 2 of my work-friends and said something like "wish me luck".  It was as if "I knew", before I really knew.  Once at the doctor's office, I remember telling the PA that I wanted to do the ultrasound before the exam, just to be sure everything was ok.  She brought the ultrasound machine into the exam room, I laid on the table and looked up at a poster of kittens - that stupid poster is seared into my mind forever.  She squirted gel on my tummy and put the ultrasound on my, still flat, belly,  I saw the image of a perfectly shaped tiny fetus come up on the screen...with no movement.  I knew,  before she said a word, I knew.  I looked at Joe and saw the hope in his eyes and realized he didn't know yet.  I looked at the PA and saw the dread in her if she was figuring out how to break the news to me. She told us there was no heartbeat, then said she would have a doctor double check. From there we went through a ton of things that quickly became a haze for me, with Joe looking shell-shocked and trying to be strong for me.  I remember feeling desperate to contact my sister, immediately...and my Mom and my best friends.  I felt like I needed to talk to them, to have them hold me up, to keep me upright, because I felt myself slipping already.  I felt the darkness nipping along at my heels as I walked out of the doctor's office.  I remember looking up when we walked back through the waiting room, looking at all the women there and realizing a few minutes before I was like them, hopeful, excited and pregnant.  Now I was not.  I was no longer a member of that club - and I wanted to scream, in agony, in pain, in frustration and in fear.

A few hours later we went into the hospital for my emergency D&C that night.  On our way to check in, we passed a very pregnant woman with her husband, and it was obvious she was in labor and on her way to the Labor & Delivery Unit.  It seemed cruel.  How could my God put this in front of me at this time?  I had to have a D&C because even though the baby had no heartbeat, my body was continuing to believe I was still pregnant. Plus I was past 12 weeks, so they didn't recommend that I allow nature to take its course.  It seemed like another cruel joke.  I would later find out it's the most common way to experience miscarriage and most women don't know they have lost their baby until they have an ultrasound.  We left the hospital late that night and came home, no longer pregnant and without a baby.  Then came the horrible work of telling the people that knew about the pregnancy -- there was no longer a baby.  Even worse was facing the people that didn't know.  It was this huge thing that happened to us, weighing on my mind, not letting me sleep, making me cry constantly -- yet people didn't know what I was experiencing.  They didn't know why I couldn't concentrate or why I looked ill.  I was going through the motions and appearing normal, while living through my own private hell.  Wanting to scream - don't you know what happened to me? Do you know I lost a baby? Do you know I don't feel whole?  Do you understand that I am broken?

It was scary, these feelings and my inability to control them.  I have always prided myself on my ability to "fake it till you make it".  Even when I felt sad or depressed in the past, I would talk myself out of it.  But this was different.  It felt uncontrollable, and so big - so, so big - it felt like it was going to swallow me whole.  Each time I heard someone was pregnant - it was like a spike through my heart.  Each time Facebook was updated with a friend's new baby photos, it felt like the band-aid was ripped off.  I knew a few people that had miscarried, but very few I actually wanted to share my story with, so I went online in search of something - help, advice, insight, support?!  There I found an amazing sorority of women who knew exactly what I was talking about, exactly how I felt and could help me with their words, their faith and hope, and most importantly their advice.  Casey Leigh Wiegand was one of those women, and her honest writing helped me in my healing process.

(via weheartit)
My story doesn't end there, and it has light and hope too.  In February 2012 I found out I was pregnant again - this time with my little Sloane.  This pregnancy was so hard for me, I was on pins & needles until about 35 weeks - and even then I didn't let me guard down.  I never let myself relax and I never stopped praying.  I never took any belly pictures.  I am sad about that now - that losing my previous pregnancy robbed me of those fun moments.  I bought an at-home fetal doppler heart monitor and I used it all-the-time.  I held my breath at every ultrasound and I didn't buy anything "baby" and didn't start her nursery until I was 32+ weeks.  But now she is here - my rainbow baby - my love, my heart, my hope, my healing.

Casey Leigh puts it much more eloquently and sums up exactly how I feel about Sloane now...

"Being pregnant and giving birth to Apple was a whole new experience after losing a baby. I knew the delicacy this time. I appreciated her life on a whole new level. 
and how easy it could be gone. 
I wept at sonograms. 
I was forever changed. I would never look at certain things the way I had before ever again. 


I rest in hope. 
that all these sweet babies are in heaven now.
that they escaped the sin & heartache of this world and went straight to the feet of Jesus. 

They say that everyone worships differently. 
We all are moved by God in different ways and are inspired in our own ways that are unique to us. I am the type that if I see a beautiful beach or a snow covered mountain.... if I watch a beautiful film or hear a lovely song.
I rejoice in Him.
Those things move me. and those are moments of worship for me. 

Looking into the eyes of my little ones is the same. The beauty, the uniqueness, the true wonder in their spirits- it moves my soul greatly.

And Apple. I rejoice in her. The symbol of hope that she is."

If one person, just one, finds my little blog and reads this post and gets something from it - then I am glad I have written about our loss.  I still cry, especially when I read about someone else experiencing miscarriage.  But I also cry at the joy too!  When I read or hear about a birth story that touches me or see pictures of a Mama with her new brings me tears to see that joy, hope and love.  And I realize, going through this has made me become the person I needed to be...more vulnerable, openly empathetic and appreciative of each moment...all parts of me, now.  

always have hope,  

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