And your mind won't stop reeling,
And no words will ever be sufficient...
When your own emotional state feels unfamiliar,
And depression settles in nearly undetected,
And you want to scream and rant and never talk again all in the same minute...
You go back to the blog you started for exactly these reasons. To get out the thoughts that won't come out unless you pull them out painful word after painful word. To make it real, even though you wish it weren't. To reach out to friends and strangers and hope that you can make their trauma somehow less lonely. It's like agonizing therapy: it feels like you are slowly ringing the air out of your own lungs, and yet it feels like you are breathing deeply for the first time in months.
So, here we go. Here is the nightmare of how we lost our second baby.
|On May 14, 2016 Naya barged into the bathroom as I peeked at the test a little early: We're pregnant!|
I wanted to come up with a creative way to tell Hubs, but that afternoon he randomly picked Naya up and said, "You are my favorite-est baby in the whole wide world!" and I just couldn't contain it.
I hollered from the next room, "Naya, tell Daddy he can't say that anymore."
Hubs replied with confusion, "Hun, I won't say that when we have another baby..."
I casually said, "Well, we do. So..."
" WE DO?!?!"
My parents came to town the following day and we celebrated my birthday. We decided to keep our other source of celebration (BABYYYY) to ourselves at this point, partially because of how new the concept was to us, and partially because my family already had big news coming the next day: the gender reveal of my sister's baby due in October! I thought it best to give their news time for a proper celebration of its own, first. So, we secretly winked at each other across the room and squeezed each other's hands in church and kept our mouths shut. I thought I might explode.
Quickly our bean-spilling plans, and our entire lives, were derailed with the news my sweet sister received at her doctor's appointment on May 16. We were stunned. We were shaken. We waited to hear about a second opinion for Naya's tiny cousin early the next week. The news did not get better. And the entire focus of our lives for the past weekend changed dramatically. I drove to be with my sister and called my other sister on the drive. We cried together and tried to process what we learned. And then, I exploded. I spilled the beans. On the phone. Baby #2 was no longer a secret. Oopsie.
The following weeks were a whirlwind of secret keeping, hesitant joy, deep grief, confusion and planning. My sister and her husband looked into experimental treatment for their child and found out they weren't good candidates. I bought a journal and started writing notes to Baby, the same way I had written (and continue to write) to Naya. We started thinking that our house hunt would need to speed up (or stop altogether). My 4-week-long newfound fitness routine came into question. Prenatal vitamins: re-stalked. OBGYN appointment: confirmed. Clothes: getting tight?! Necessary looser clothes: purchased.
And then came Thursday, June 2. The details aren't clear to me anymore, but I know the bleeding started that evening on the couch. It's an unmistakable feeling for any woman, but it truly confused me. I got up, put on a pad, and tried to come up with every reason why this could be normal. My pregnant sister had called me early in her pregnancy with something similar, and it had been nothing, right? A fellow blogging mom had a scare worse than this and her baby was healthy. I rationalized. I told Hubs what was going on. I tried not to think about it. I failed.
But, as only my precious toddler could, Naya took my mind off of myself and Baby by waking up in the middle of the night...sick. She was inconsolable all morning. She barely ate breakfast. And then she puked it up. Twice. With a fever. You know, the works.
I called mom trying to cancel our weekend plans with our extended family because "Naya is sick (AND I'M FREAKING OUT)" but mom encouraged me to give her Tylenol and see how she was later. And of course she was fine. I called my OBGYN to see if I could be seen right away, but a dismissive nurse said "If you aren't experiencing cramping, it might not be what you think it is. This can be normal. Plus, if you are miscarrying, there is really nothing we can do. So, just see how you feel this weekend and call in Monday." Thanks for nothing. I lost it.
And then I temporarily found "it," regathered "it," got "it" back together and we packed our bags and headed out Friday for a little getaway in Shipshewana for my Grandpa's birthday. It was fun: a petting zoo (like way cooler than any other petting zoo. More like a petting safari?), antique shopping, delicious food, beautiful accommodations.
|Naya feeding a deer.|
|On the wagon ride you saw/fed camels, zebras, cows, donkeys, ostriches, etc.|
We were supposed to leave early Saturday morning to head to a wedding in southern Indiana. By late Friday night we were pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to handle the car ride. Laying down in the dark and crying uninhibited were about the only things that felt "right" and I couldn't do that while riding shot-gun for 4 hours, nor while surrounded by my entire family. I didn't sleep all night from the pain and the worry. And neither did sweet Naya. She uncharacteristically called out for me in the night and would only sleep on my chest, like when she was a newborn. It was like a slow-motion scene from a movie with quiet, sad string music playing in the background as I felt my toddler kicking and poking my stomach from the outside and my body churning and cramping from the inside. I thought so much of these two siblings and how this should not be the only time they snuggled together. I sobbed all night. On second thought, maybe that's why none of us slept.
So we got up early, left my family, and went back to our apartment. The car ride was painful in every way possible. I text two dear friends that had previously been open about their miscarriages. I was TERRIFIED. I had no idea what to expect. I asked them what they did, what they recommended, how long it took, etc. They were empathetic, kind, and honest. Based on what they said, I figured I would agonize over this a few more days.
But the second we walked in the door I knew I needed to use the bathroom and change my pad. And immediately when I sat down on the toilet I heard something hit the water. The cramping had been intense just minutes before, but it subsided as soon as I sat on the toilet. I sat there for what seemed like minutes contemplating if I should just get up, flush and walk away or if I should see what just happened. And in a way I can only describe as some weird, strong, maternal instinct, I knew I had to look.
So, I did.
And I yelled for Hubs to come into the bathroom. As he opened the door, I stammered, "I think...I think I just had the baby..." and then the most gut-wrenching, foreign sounds started to come from deep inside me. I absolutely fell apart. I didn't even recognize my own cries as I sat hysterically at the foot of the toilet with my husband embracing me and our startled toddler trying to see what was going on.
Little did I know what would continue to happen in the next 3-4 days. The worst was not over, not by a long shot. Turns out, the body takes a while to actually miscarry. And, if you are anything like me, that process makes the grieving take a while, too.
I decided that I wanted to bury our child as a way to honor his or her precious life. I was only 7 weeks along, so this might not seem entirely necessary, but to me, then, it was. So I called Mom (because we rent and I had NO clue where said burial should take place). And she was gracious, and understanding, and perfectly what I needed her to be in that moment (even though she hadn't even known we were pregnant and she was already grieving with my sister).
So the following day, we placed our sweet Baby and all the notes I had written him or her in a small jewelry-type box. I wrote on the top "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." -James 1:17. Dad dug a small whole near a tree that we planted in my late aunt's memory and then Hubs and I had a moment together outside on Sunday, while Naya napped inside with my parents. We laid the only thing we had of our second child in the ground and we prayed and cried. Truthfully, it put horrid finality on something that felt so ongoing. It gave me a tiny bit of closure, as many people say. I will never forget the words of my father that day: "I don't want to just ignore this and pretend like it didn't happen. We want to talk about it if you want to talk about it. The way I see it, I'm a Grandpa three times now."
*Cue grateful tears*
For the record, I do want to talk about my Baby. I still, 4 months later, don't know 100% how to process what has happened and honor the life that we knew for such a short time without being consumed by our loss. About a month and a half after we miscarried, my sister had my precious niece, Charlotte, and the pain of loss was magnified in a whole new, yet similar, way. My 2-year-old is still obsessed with babies, well-meaning friends continue to ask when we will have another child (and yes, two people have even asked me if I AM pregnant so that's fun and not emotionally undoing at all) and everything just feels OFF. I still struggle with the guilt of having felt like we weren't ready for a second child and the endless mental questioning of every exercise I tried or thing I ate that could have caused this. I have faltered in my understanding of "basic Christian theology" (for the record, this article and its sequel brought me back to sweet, gracious, reality). And I have had this (and two more) posts written since early August and have deleted and re-started and re-thought and freaked out multiple times. I'm a mess, guys. Let's be real.
But. GOD. has not changed. But. GOD. is still answering my prayers. But. GOD. is drawing my heart back to His Truth. But. GOD. has recently reminded me that true encouragement comes when you let people into your life mid-messy-process, instead of waiting until you've got it all organized and worded perfectly.
So, this enormous post is here to say that October 15 (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day) is a big deal to me. And to my family. And to my God. I hope that if you have gone through the loss of a child during pregnancy or birth or at any point thereafter, you know that I am here and willing to listen to what you have gone through and answer any questions you would ever want to ask me about my experience. Because all life is precious. And all loss is loss.