Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Story Of Loss And Healing


Today is 
PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS AWARENESS DAY

I am proud to share my story of loss, pain and my rainbow after the storm. We tried for nearly 3 years to give my daughter a sibling. After complications from her birth, I was left with many unanswered questions and a "broken" body. Doctor after Doctor, 7 different ones to be exact, not one had a solution. Finally, after a move across the country due to my husband being in the Marine Corps, I crossed paths with a doctor that would change everything for me, in more than one way. He finally had the solutions and answers that none before him had. He helped mend my "broken" body through a surgery then fertility medication. Then, came the 2 week wait... And anyone whom has ever dealt with infertility or actively has tried to conceive, knows that 2 week wait is unbearable! It was 10 days after ovulation and I just couldn't wait anymore... I peed on a stick. In that 60 seconds, I think I felt every single emotion you could feel. Then, I looked, I saw the slightest faint pink second line.. Was I? No, really? No. Could I be?! I peed on another an hour later, compared the two, held it up to the light, posted pics on my infertility Facebook groups asking the annoying question, "Do you see it?". The next day, I took another and that second pink line that I was going nuts over, stressing over, it was even darker! I was! I was! This miracle baby that I had wanted for so long was really happening!!! I wanted to scream from the rooftops! Little did I know, that little miracle baby, I would never come to meet, never get to hold in my arms or kiss their sweet forehead. 

 10 weeks. 10 weeks that little life grew inside of me. To some, that may seem like nothing. How in just 10 weeks could you become attached to something/ someone you never even met? Surely that loss couldn't hurt as bad as losing someone living. I can't compare my experience to anyone who has lost a living child, and never will claim that my loss hurt similar to theirs, because loss for everyone is completely different. In those 10 weeks I grew to love a child that I had longed for, wished for, went through physical pain just to bring into my life. I started dreaming of decorating a nursery, began researching cloth diapers, and double strollers. I began planning a life with 2 children. We already had names picked out for both a boy and a girl. This baby was loved and wanted before he/she was ever formed. 

At about 5 weeks I went in to have my first ultrasound. This is not typical of most OB patients because at that stage there is not much to see, but because I was an infertility patient and was on medication before becoming pregnant they wanted to check how many of the follicles I had produced actually took, and I had produced 4 follicles before conceiving! So.. to say I was a little scared and excited at the same time is an understatement. The ultrasound showed one tiny babe growing, no heartbeat yet, but that was completely normal. We were sent home with a photo of our newest addition and would be back again at the doctor in another 2 weeks to hopefully see and hear that tiny heartbeat! 

2 weeks later I was back in the ultrasound room, feeling great, ready to see this tiny life growing inside of me and hear that sweet little galloping sound. In that 2 week wait, I never once worried, I felt like, we had overcome so many hurdles to get here I thought nothing could go wrong. And little did I know, God had a much bigger plan in store. The look on the ultrasound tech's face was the first sign, her silence was another. I asked "is everything okay?" She didn't answer. Just more moving around of the stick and clicking of the keyboard. Then she said "let me get your doctor." I knew that couldn't be good. I laid there, trying to prepare myself. He came in. Looked at the screen the same way she did, then said, "We see the fetal pole, and there is flickering there, so there is a heartbeat, but it's not able to be heard yet." I was relieved! But if there was a heartbeat, why did she have to go and bring him in? He then continued, "This can be completely normal at this stage early in pregnancy and your baby's heart may just be delayed in starting. So let's have you come back one week from today and check again." I thought to myself, everything will be fine, he didn't seem too worried. It is early, so this is normal.

One week later, and back in the same room again. This time, my husband by my side. We held hands as the ultrasound began and prayed we would finally hear that little heart beating away. Again, silence. My doctor returned and said the same words he said the week before. He explained that our baby's heart was weak, and from his experience that our baby wouldn't survive, but at this point the heart was still "flickering" so he didn't want to do anything yet. He wanted to continue closely monitoring me and take it week by week. I was devastated. My world shattered all in that moment. How could this be happening? Not me. Not us. I went home that night and prayed harder than I have ever prayed, asking God to strengthen my baby's heart, to let this baby live and grow inside of me.

Another week went by and I headed back to the doctor, this time, sitting in a room of pregnant women and newborn babies, not even knowing if my baby's heart was beating. A woman next to me asked how far along I was, I didn't know how to answer. I told her, "9 weeks." She said, "Oh I remember early in my pregnancy, it's such an exciting time! Hopefully you aren't too tired! I'm due in 2 weeks, can't wait for him to finally be here!" I felt like I got socked in the gut. I wanted to be excited, I wanted to feel tired and nauseous, but I felt not one of those things. They called my name and I headed back to my usual table, laid back and prayed. After 3 minutes (which felt like a lifetime), the doctor came in and said "how are we doing today?" How do you even answer that? The ultrasound began and both the tech and my doctor started at the screen and pointed yet again... No noise. Just the clicking of the keyboard. Then, again.. The same answers. Baby's heartbeat was still there but not strong enough. Again, I was sent home to wait.

The next week though, everything changed. There would be no more waiting, my baby's heart had stopped. Nothing was there. This time I was sent home for good and was given a surgery date for 2 days later. I walked into a waiting room full of pregnant women with bellies of all sizes and at that moment felt completely broken as I carried a lifeless fetus inside of me. I was pregnant but not pregnant all at the same time. 

I went home that night and felt numb, yet could not stop hysterically crying. I turned to God, and questioned why I would be given this gift, just for it to be taken away so fast? I found a verse, Joel 2:25 - God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. all you need is faith. That verse alone restored my faith. Made me see that he took my sweet baby because he/she was broken and needed to make them whole. I just had to have faith in his plan. 

The next 2 days were difficult. Trying to process it all. Then surgery day came. I knew this was my last moment with my baby with me.  My mom had passed away while I was pregnant with my first child, so she never got to see me become a mother or meet her grandchild. I asked and prayed that the Lord place this baby in my Mother's arms, let her raise my baby, rock them, kiss them, until we would be reunited again. I came out of surgery and knew where my baby was and was whole in heaven. 

3 weeks later at my follow up appointment, we received the results of the fetal testing that my doctor suggested we did just to be on the cautionary side due to my medial history after I had my first baby. In those results we found two things, one, our baby was a BOY. They were able to test the chromosomes and determine that early on the gender of the fetus. Second, our baby had triple the amount chromosomes, one from the mother and two from the father. I didn't even understand what that meant. My doctor explained that I had what is called a Molar Pregnancy or Partial Molar Pregnancy in my case, where the fetus forms, but one egg was miraculously fertilized by two sperm at the same exact time. In partial molar pregnancies there is no way for the fetus to develop normally nor survive in the womb past 20 weeks at most. Lastly, he added that this was not just the case of why we lost our baby, but my uterus became a harbor for pre-cancerous cells and I needed to have weekly blood work done until my HCG levels reached below zero. If the levels didn't go down on their own, I would need to have chemotherapy. Try to swallow that in all one appointment! 

Good news is that for me, after 7 weeks of weekly blood draws my levels reached zero. I continued draws for another month after to insure they stayed at zero or below before being cleared. Finding the news of the gender of our baby after he was already gone was tough. I wanted to connect with him, now knowing what life was supposed to be like with him in it. As I stated before, we had both a boy and a girl name picked, but our boy name just didn't fit this baby, his story, our journey. I went to bed one night and dreamed of a river, water flowing over the rocks, calm in certain places and rough in others. I knew that was the perfect name for this baby whom I never got to meet. My journey with him was peaceful and trying all at the same time. We rested on River James, James being after my grandfather's middle name who is also in heaven. 

This necklace made by Rachelle Isms means more to me than any other piece of jewelry I own, other than my wedding band of course. It holds my two babies (at the time) and the verse that got me through it all, and continues to. And little did I know that that storm would lead to the most beautiful rainbow... 

Once cleared to try again, we did. I wasn't giving up. I was scared with every ounce of my being, but I knew that nothing good could happen unless you continue to push forward. With a little help from fertility medication and God, our third little miracle came to be and Emmalyn Faith was placed into my arms. Faith fit her perfectly, because without faith, she would have never came to be. 

I may have never held my son in my hands, but I will forever carry him in my heart. 


3 comments so far

  1. I am so sorry for your losses! I've had two miscarriages. One before I had my first child and one in between my two children. The second one was really hard because I knew and understood so much more of what I was losing. On the second one the ultrasound was 100% conclusive that the baby was dead so I decided not to do a D&C (as I had done with my first miscarriage) because I wanted to give the baby the best chance I could. Unfortunately I did miscarry on my own (on the day of my son's 2nd birthday party). It was so scary but I was thankful that I had given God a chance to do His will for the baby. Everyone who experiences that loss has it happen in different ways and I'm so thankful for my two children that I do have.

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    1. Meant to say WAS NOT 100% conclusive....

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