Friday, March 29, 2013

Life, Loss and Trust (Part One)

I had been feeling really good.  I had been able to stay active; skating, skiing, even ski jumping. In the back of my mind I wondered if everything was okay but experienced just enough times of nausea to put my mind at ease.  I actually even thought this easy pregnancy might be a reward for still trusting God with our fertility despite all challenges and disruptions pregnancy causes.  I thought maybe if I wasn't so sick and could remain active and in shape I might avoid some other the other problems like the uterine prolapse and pubic separation things that makes it so hard to move during the last trimester.  Maybe I would avoid putting on 50 lbs. this time around. 

Then I saw a little bit a pink. Not much. But there was more a couple days later.  I called for an appointment and was anxious to see the baby and find out how far along I was. Since I had been nursing Julia, I only had a guess based on when I started feeling sick.  The doctor said that she wasn't too concerned about the spotting since it's common around 8 weeks but she arranged for me to have an ultrasound to determine the baby's due date.  She wasn't sure if I could get in that day because it was late and she thought all the techs may have left.  I was so thankful that I was able to have one that day and I couldn't wait to see the baby.

I was disappointed when the tech couldn't see the baby via external ultrasound but was thankful the internal ultrasound wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be.  She quietly looked at the baby and did measurements of the baby and the sack.  The numbers that came up on the screen said that the baby was about 7 weeks old.  I was disappointed.  I was sure I was farther along than that.  I was thinking about how that put my due date right around hunting season when everyone in my family pretty much disappears for two weeks. She wasn't able to find a heartbeat but said that the baby just might be too little yet.

The doctor had told me that she needed to leave because her son and husband were at home sick. She said that if I needed labs she would order them and I could go there when I got done. So, I was a little surprised when the tech said that the doctor wanted to talk to me.  The doctor told me that the baby was big enough that they should have been able to see the heartbeat.  She told me that she thought I was beginning to have a miscarriage. She reminded me how common they are and that there was nothing that I did to cause it.  She said she was actually surprised to meet some one who has had five pregnancies and not had a miscarriage.  I was in shock. I was expecting to hear a due date much farther out then I expected. I was not expecting to hear that I would be delivering a baby in the next few days. I tried to listen to what she was telling me to do. I needed to get labs to get a baseline for my beta numbers and come back in two days.  If they were falling, I would most likely miscarry.

I tend to be a bit careless with ultrasound pictures but I carefully folded these ones and tried to put them in my purse because I had this thought, "These might be the only pictures I have of Baby #7." 

 I had brought one of my green smoothies in case I started feeling queasy and needed to eat.  The nurse who took my blood commented how my baby was getting a good start. Um, yeah.

After calling my cousin who I had been texting through out the appointment, I drove home in a daze.  As soon as I pulled in the driveway I got a text from my friend whom I had just told that we were expecting, "Congratulations!!! I'm so excited for you."  I told her what was happening. She told me to have Mike pray over the baby because miracles have happened when dads pray.  I didn't want to sound faithless but I really had no hope. I believed it was over and it was only a matter of time.  I tried to hold on to a possibility but I was already grieving.  We had big plans to go skiing in the morning and then have friends over to play. I figured nothing was for sure and I didn't want to spoil the girls' fun so I kept the plans. Thankfully, it was too cold to ski in the morning and with massive amounts of chocolate and coffee, I got through the visit.  I didn't want to tell the girls, and so I didn't tell my friend. Occasionally she would mention something about the baby. That was hard. Especially when she said she hoped they would have a baby the same time as us because two of our girls already match closely in age.  (They are waiting to be matched in adoption.)

On a side note, when I walked in the door, Ana said, "Where's the baby?" They thought I was going to be bringing the baby home that day. I showed them the pictures.

Friday, Mike was supposed to be out of town but he stayed and took me to my appointment and then waited for them to call with the results.  I was so thankful for a driver.  I had a massive headache (perhaps from the chocolate and coffee) and generally was in a daze. We went the grocery store after the appointment. I pondered how rarely we get out together and that our alone time usually revolved around having a baby.  My beta numbers had gone down.  And I was having real bleeding and some cramping not just pink spotting.  I still didn't tell hardly anyone because it seemed so uncertain and often the response was an encouragement to have hope.  For some reason, that really bothered me.  I was very sad and people responded with hopefulness. I felt like they were trying to stop me from feeling sad. But I couldn't stop it. I was so sad. I am so sad. I was actually surprised by how sad I felt.  "This happens all the time. I have six other kids. I know so many people who have been through this before and some who've had multiple losses." It didn't matter. I felt awful.

Mike left to go to the buying show but planned to come back early instead of staying overnight.  It turned out that one of his contractors won the four-wheeler and trailer so it was good that he was there to haul it back for them.  We just laid low on Saturday. Mom came and got the girls for ski jumping. I wandered around the house in a daze.  Saturday evening was the Daddy/Daughter Dance.  Mike took Amanda and they rode together with Mike's brother and his daughter.  The little girls were so excited.

While they were gone, one of my Facebook friends posted this video on her wall.

It was from a talk she gave in June of 2012.  She had just finally uploaded it to YouTube.  She had written a book, Love Letters to Miscarried Moms. I watched only a portion of her video that night.  She spoke about delivering her baby in the bathtub and knowing she was no longer pregnant.  She also spoke about how God doesn't show favoritism, i.e. it was not scriptural to think that a nausea-free pregnancy was a reward for obedience. I really hadn't been saying much to God at this point. I didn't know what to say.  I had been holding on to the verse, "Jesus wept." and taking comfort in knowing Jesus was sad with me.  But after hearing part of her message, I prayed, "God, I just want to know clearly when this baby is born and I am no longer pregnant." I had no idea what to expect. Would I bleed for days?  Would I see a baby?

That night when I laid down with the girls, I started having more painful cramps. Real cramping.  I got up when Mike and Amanda got home to help her get ready for bed.  I wanted to lay my own bed so we just had Amanda sleep on the floor in our room.  I knew she would need some time to decompress and I was tired of laying in the bed in the girls' room.

When Mike came to bed with me, he rubbed my back and I could finally feel myself start to relax.  I must have dozed off for a little while but woke up with a very sharp pain and then felt something very large pass. I leaped out of bed and went into the bathroom. The placenta and the sack had passed. Presumably the baby was still inside the sack.  I was so thankful for that simple answered prayer. I knew that I was no longer pregnant. I knew I had not flushed my baby down the toilet. I would be able to save the remains and bury the baby with my grandpa. It was 12:30 am on Palm Sunday.  Tali was born on Ash Wednesday and Julia was conceived during Holy Week. I was also very thankful that Mike was home.  He was scheduled to leave for Denver Sunday afternoon.

To be continued in Part Two...


A Family of Love said...

Mike and Katie, I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for all of you.

Nancy B W said...

Oh Katie, my heart breaks for you as I read this. I am so sorry. Praying for you and your family.