plans vs. reality

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In the second half of 2016, we went through a LOT. And here is where more of the tragic which I mentioned a few writings ago, comes in. Some will say what happened at the school and with our house is tragic, but to me, this next piece of our story in 2016 is devastating. A lowest of lows.

I had "moved forward," a little too quickly to my comfort, from our baby in May.. Because, well, things needed to get done. But these things looked nothing like we thought (it didn't turn out as we had expected). Loss happened. And.. amenorrhea was still there. I know it will always be. It has been since I can remember. So again. I didn't think much... But I just had a feeling...

Isn't it funny how women always "have a feeling" about something? But it's true, isn't it? I read recently in the new release, Love Unending by Becky Thompson (of the Scissortail SILK blog - hello!) that its always the wives who sense a problem, or disconnect, before it shows its true colors.

Yet this showed itself in the way of nearly invisible symptoms. Enter amenorrhea, enter "starvation," enter "exhaustion" ... and enter our baby.

Yes, in 2016 we had two babies, and in 2016 we lost two babies. But let me explain this a little more, because our child deserves a voice.

It was traumatic. My symptoms were extreme this time. I could barely stay awake.  Very early with Taylor, all I could eat was spinach and toast. But unlike then, I could hardly look at spinach without throwing up.... This baby was different.

Yet we were expecting! Because of the timing, we decided to wait until Christmas to tell everyone. After all, that was sooner than with Taylor (8 weeks along vs. 12 weeks along). And after losing our second baby so suddenly, I needed this little soul to be seen, no matter what. This feeling of telling the world, or at least our family, sooner, was onto something...

When I went in for bloodwork at my first OB appointment, I was eager to learn when exactly in July our baby would be due. But I had no way to pinpoint how far along our baby was... A blood test with hormone levels would have to do, until an ultrasound could be done. I needed to know, I want to know and share early, after a loss. I just needed to. I asked repeatedly for that ultrasound. I had to see our baby as soon as I could... We had to know before Christmas, so we could tell everyone then. It was a perfect plan! It was what I wanted to do, when we first thought about children... years ago... I wanted to announce a blessing at Christmas. It was idyllic.  So an ultrasound was scheduled for December 22nd.

I went by myself, with Taylor in tow. At 14 months, he was behaving so well, and was so curious, as I lay there awaiting the moment of truth. And really, I didn't know what to think about this baby. I was exhausted, and starving, but I know for early pregnancy - to an extent - this was normal. Yet even so, I just wasn't sure.

A few days ago I mentioned my word of the year for 2016 was Contentment. I had a hard hard HARD time with this word. But there is a purpose for why the Lord put this word on my heart at the new year (speaking of 2016, here). I needed to know this lesson, and this entire year was a lesson on learning to be content... I was learning this word in ways that I never would have ever chosen for myself. What does that truly look like when.... life.... happens?

The ultrasound tech put the jelly on the probe, asked how far along I was... And said a few times that she didn't understand why I was getting an ultrasound before 12 weeks. She was confused. But she did her job. That kind of annoyed me. It felt RUDE. Just let me see our baby! I needed to see our baby to have peace over the season. I explained... I asked if they had an internal ultrasound, like what I had with Taylor at 7 weeks at Camp Pendleton, but no, they did not. You can get a better picture that way, early on. Oh, I wish.

But we saw enough. I was in disbelief, denial, shock, confusion.... everything, all at once. Oh, why. 2016 was a HARD hard year. Why was my word content - of all things, content - again?!

She showed me the baby on the screen, explained what we saw, explained what we should be seeing, what she knew. She left to get the nurse. It was a long, long wait. I asked for a picture, when she came back. I had to, needed to see our baby closer, in a tangible way. I was grateful and terrified all at once, that we had an ultrasound photo.. to love, mourn, look at every day for the next week and a half.

A baby's heart starts beating just 16 days after conception, which is the same time that the pregnancy hormone (HcG) is able to be detected in a home urine test. This means that our baby had life for around a month, give or take, before things took this turn.

Our baby was there, but there was no heartbeat, no bloodflow. I was carrying death in my womb. Based on my hormone levels I was around 8/9 weeks along...But what the nurse pointed out was a lifeless little body, that didn't make it. Our baby died in the womb at 7/8 weeks along, according on measurements at the time. And that's right on the dot, we found out later.

We lost another child. Two children in 2016. I could barely process this. Imagine this conversation while a one year old climbs all over you, as your nurse hands you the ultrasound and points at the lack of bloodflow, and explains what probably happened...

I don't know how much time I took, but they gave me all the time I needed in a room to process and leave at my own pace. I called Marshall, cried, took pictures of the ultrasounds. I searched online for indicators of a miscarriage, of life lost. I called him again. I stared into space. I tried to keep Taylor out of the magazines on the counter. I didn't know what to do.

2016, and my word was contentment? It all felt like a sick, twisted joke. Worse, way worse, than how foolish April 1st can be, because this is here now - not a memory - but NOW. Oh, I don't know how I made it to the door that day. But I did. We went to the hospital's cafeteria for lunch. I had no idea what to do. I composed myself until we got into the car, and I broke down.

Looking back, I can't believe I did all of this by myself, with Taylor in tow.

Off and on, the tears came. Any little thing could trigger it. Facebook was dangerous. I was silent.

So we wait.

The nurse gave us the option to schedule a D&C, to "move forward," but I could not imagine that. This year was too much. I said I'd call about what we wanted to do, and I researched.

At 7 weeks, a mere month after taking a positive pregnancy test.... What does our baby look like? What really happens at a D&C? And what I found, I couldn't bear it. That wasn't it. It sounded so... barbaric.

Our baby will come in his or her own time.

So we wait...

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