Saturday, May 21, 2011

These Last Few Weeks - Part 1

I've wanted to write about what we are going through ... losing our baby ... the end of a pregnancy, but I keep erasing whatever I write ... its so hard to write about something causing such pain.

We were so excited back in March to find out (while on Vacation in Jamaica) that I was pregnant again ... We love our big family and we love every gift of life the Lord blesses us with. I admit that mixed in with my excitement and celebration there were fears. This was my 9th pregnancy ... we have 5 living children, so we know the possibilities. But at 6 weeks and again at 8 weeks we saw that beautiful blinking blob on the ultrasound screen ... utter relief!!! But at my 10 week ultrasound on May4th I could see it as soon as she started there was nothing blinking, I could tell she was searching around for it ... but even before those dreaded words came out her mouth I knew "no heartbeat" and the tears began to fill my eyes ... my mind reeled with "oh Dear Lord, here we go again!! Again? really? Again! Why does this keep happening?"

I took my time getting out of their paper sheet and back into my clothes, I shot out a quick text to my prayer warrior friends asking for prayer cover as I dealt with bad news. And then I called Allen ... told him there was no heart beat and that i needed him desperately. He had been so giddy and excited with this pregnancy, I felt like I was disappointing him in the horrible way, it hurt so much to tell him my body could not keep this child, our child, alive. It hurt so much to tell him the sweet tiny baby he was so happy about was now dead. And then my body let me down even more by not kicking into gear and starting the process on its own. My past three miscarriages have been able to be at home ... its horrible no matter where you are, but I feel better being this vulnerable in my own home. I really do hate hospital and so did not want to end up needing that d&c. But my body failed yet again, the baby had stopped growing, but my uterus and my hormones still thought I was pregnant ... I hated walking around, knowing the baby inside of me was dead. A week later another ultrasound showed the same thing, my uterus was not even trying to let go of this baby, so we ended up with a d&c.

I once described miscarrying to Allen as "this horribly violent bloody mess" ... Its as if I'm living through a hurricane or tornado and my baby was being ripped away from my arms, away from my body, leaving me with a bloody mess. The physical pain adds to the emotional pain, and I felt myself spiraling out of control. The loss of control when a baby dies ... when a pregnancy ends is frightening. All my mothering instincts are to protect my babies ... but I had failed this baby. Such anger and guilt and sadness filled my soul ... I rotated between wanting to scream and throw things, to crying uncontrollably, to numbly crying softly until exhaustion took me off to sleep. And then I would awake right back at more anger and more pain. I can only imagine how confusing and volatile I seemed to my sad, grieving husband, and yet he was my rock ... leaving work early and rushing to be by my side. Day after day looking me in the eye and reminding me how much he loved me. Reassuring me I was not to blame. I know to him, he felt helpless and unable to comfort me ... but the truth is his presence was the only thing on earth that brought me some bit of comfort, his words and eye contact that told me he still loved me and that we would get through this together, were the only thing that made an ounce of difference to me in those days. Unfortunately he has learned how to help me in these kinds of moments by living through previous experiences, three previous miscarriages. This is one experience I wish on no one! But since we have walked this path before we knew a few things that helped and we had learned that some things make this process even worse.

Allen's experience told him it was time to step in and be my buffer ... my go between between me and the world. People can say the most hurtful insensitive things when they are uncomfortable and don't know what to say. I know they don't mean to hurt me, they are unsure of what to say and they feel helpless because they can't understand what I am going through. So Allen handled all phone calls and just told people I was not up for talking right now. Oh how I wanted to just curl up in a ball in a dark room and never ever wake up. When those thoughts pass through your head it can really be scary ... I really did want to die ... the pain of living through this was going to be long and hard, I just wanted to be in heaven where God promises no pain and no tears. But that is not yet part of God's plan. Four of my babies have beat me to heaven. And now I need to figure out how to keep living ... and not just how to process my own grief, but I need to help my five living children through this ... there would be no new baby ... they need to process grief too. Its an exhausting combination with no guaranteed time line. Much like the physical side of miscarriage, walking through the emotional grief is unpredictable and messy.

Since we have walked this path before Allen and I have learned how important it is to be honest (yet age appropriate) with our kids. If thinks are left for them to wonder about there imaginations can create some horrible things, so I practice deep breaths and I cry out in prayer for God to give me the right words at the right times. And my Lord, my Creator, answers those prayers ... not always as I expect ... but he does answer my prayers and he does give me the words I need, when I need them.

I have several other things to write about ... things I highly recommend people NOT say to a grieving mom, be it a miscarriage, a still birth or an infant death ... people should just learn to NOT say certain things. And then I have a picture list of things that have blessed my soul, have helped bring healing in this yucky mess. I'm also compiling a list of books I found helpful and where I found support online. I'm still working on those posts and lists, and will post them here on my blog as soon as they are finished.

I'll close this post with a beautiful song I hear for the first time in mid April ... God was working to prepare my heart even before my baby died:

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