Thursday, April 10, 2014

Another angel

For weeks now I have wrestled with whether or not to share this.  As much as I wish it never happened it has become part of life.  This blog tells our story.  The good, the bad and the sad.  My hope is that it fills in details for the ones who love us most and that maybe someday someone will stumble upon this post who feels as lost and sad as I have and that it might help them in some way.

The week after Thanksgiving I had a feeling that I was pregnant.  I can't exactly explain it, I guess I just had a hunch.  I took close to a dozen pregnancy tests that week, I suppose just to be sure!  After the loss of baby #3 it also offered me a glimpse of hope to see those two beautiful pink lines again and again.  I've always wanted to share the news with Jarrod in some special way but as he knows, I just can't keep a secret!  For the next couple of months we kept the news between the two of us.  Around the eight week mark the morning all day sickness hit.  It seemed to worsen by the day.  Most days I simply lived on dry Cheerios and Gatorade.  I slept a lot more than usual and Owen was such a good sport during the day.  My sickness eased up a little and I felt my best around bedtime each evening.  My first noteworthy cravings were Olive Garden salad dressing, Cutie oranges and real Dr Pepper.

My first prenatal visit was in mid January.  Jarrod took the day off to be there.  We dropped the kids off at school and headed to Ihop for a romantic breakfast :)  As much as I really wanted to enjoy the alone time with my hubby, words cannot describe the anxiety that overwhelmed every ounce of my being.  My nerves didn't subside once we arrived at the office.  After all, the last time I was there I discovered the loss of baby #3.  It was refreshing but bittersweet to see our sweet baby #4 on the ultrasound screen.  It was a new beginning and the perfect way to start the new year!

Dr D kindly allowed me to return the next week to hear the heartbeat again.  It was at that visit that he was successfully able to detect it with the doppler.  He reminded me that, statistically speaking, my miscarriage chances dropped to 3% at that point.  I was finally able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and relax.  Or so I thought.

Because I had reached the second trimester and was so sick we told the kids.  Soon after we told a few close friends and family members.  I found a great deal online and purchased my very own home doppler.  My doctor warned me that it wouldn't work until I was much further along.  Of course I decided to try anyway!  The day I was exactly 12 weeks along I finally heard it loud and clear.  I checked it almost everyday after and found the heartbeat in the exact same location.  On Valentine's day Jarrod and I listened to the strong heart beat right before we went to bed.  We had a busy Saturday and I never used the doppler.

On Sunday, February 16th I was running late for church (what's new?!).  I decided to listen with the doppler very quickly before heading out the door.  I couldn't find the baby.  The batteries were on the fritz so I didn't panic entirely.  I searched the house high and low but couldn't find the battery charger anywhere.  During church I prayed and prayed that this baby would be fine and that the Lord would continue to offer His protection.  After church we rushed home for lunch and back into town for pregnancy announcement photos we had scheduled with a local photographer friend.  Deep down I knew something just wasn't right.

I decided to call my doctor on Monday morning and shortly after drove to his office.  After waiting in the exam room what seemed like forever Dr D arrived.  The only thing his doppler detected was my aortic vein.  He took me across the breezeway to the ultrasound room.  In my heart I knew this baby was gone.  A few moments later he confirmed what my heart already knew.  He stared at the screen trying to make sense of it.  It was not a common occurrence at this point and he had not expected to find this.  He said that it must have happened very recently because it was measuring right on track to date.  As he solemnly explained the next steps my body went numb and my mind raced.  In that instant my world flipped upside down.  Nothing made sense.  My heart ached all over again.

I simply couldn't speak so I updated Jarrod with a quick text.  I returned home to face my kids, plan the rest of our week around a hospital stay and put my maternity ware back on the top shelf of the closet for the second time in four months.  I am thankful for a husband who went through the house to put away the doppler and ultrasound photos before my arrival.

Early Wednesday morning, February 19th, I arrived at the hospital for a D&E.  My room was on the labor and delivery floor which was hard.  I wanted so badly to be there for a joyous reason.  Within the first hour a young lab tech came by to draw blood.  I'll never forget her first comment: "You don't look big enough to be having a baby".  I managed a head nod but shielded her from the whole story.  The procedure took most of the day and I delivered our baby at 10:20pm.  Jarrod and I agreed to find out the gender if possible.  Soon after the delivery my nurse returned and handed me this.  She said he looked perfect.  He shared a birthday with my sweet Memaw.

Thank you to those who prepared delicious meals, sent beautiful flower arrangements, cards, called, text messaged or prayed for us.  We are truly blessed with lots of love and support.  A special thanks to Jarrod's mom and cousin Kirsten who visited and helped out while I was in the thick of morning sickness and to my parents who visited and helped out after my hospital stay.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Two months have passed and I am still trying to put the pieces back together.  Painful little reminders sneak up on me.  Pregnant women and newborns seem to be everywhere.  I'm so happy for them but so sad for us.  It's true; everyone handles grief differently.  Some days are easier than others but a day doesn't go by that I don't think about our sweet angel babies.  It doesn't seem fair and it doesn't seem right.  My mind could swirl with questions all day long.  The bottom line is that our great God knows what He is doing.  He doesn't make mistakes.  He is in control.  I am not.

 During this stormy season of life I have learned to be much more sensitive to what others may be going through in a way that I never was before. I have learned to count my blessings. I have developed a new appreciation for my children on earth and I have been reminded to savor Children are such a blessing and it is so easy to lose sight of that in the hustle and bustle of life. I have been reminded of what an incredible man I married.  He is strong when I can't be and lets me grieve the way I need to. He loves me through thick and thin and I am grateful to have him by my side.   

Between losses a dear friend loaned me the book I Will Carry You by Angie Smith.  It tells the story of the loss of her fourth daughter.  It offers help to find grace and peace in the midst of such trials.  Her husband Todd (lead singer in the Christian band Selah) performs a song dedicated to their sweet baby.  The words are beautiful.  Grab the Kleenex.  

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