Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby K

This is my chronicling of our baby. I think it is part of my grief process, a way to affirm this child's life.

We have waffled for....well, since G was born about whether to have a 3rd child. At first I thought our family was complete, we had one of each gender and having two kids in 2 years was rough on me. A baby and toddler together were tests of my sanity. So I knew if we ever did have another one it would be after G turned 2. So he turned two in 2008 and we wanted to start trying in 2009 to get pregnant, but things were so up in the air at that time we didn't know if we'd have healthcare to pay for it all so we put it off. Then in the beginning of 2010 we thought about getting pregnant but I was still working so we put if off some more. Then I started feeling like the Lord wanted us to look into adoption. Financially, adopting privately wasn't an option for us so we researched adoptions through the state's foster care system. We took the 10 week course to get more informed and realized it would realistically take about 2 years to adopt a child who was younger than our other two (makes me wish we'd thought of adopting first, but obviously God had A planned for us).

So we felt the freedom to start trying to get pregnant, knowing and trusting that if the Lord wanted us to have another child that way he would weave one in my womb. After only the second month of trying we were pregnant and we told our kids and family about the new baby at the end of July. During the first week of August we had Vacation Bible School at church and I was struggling to stay energized for the whole time. I was feeling pretty yucky, and had to throw up one morning, and I was tired yet wasn't able to rest at home. The kids were eagerly telling 'The Family Secret' to our friends....so some people were finding out, and we didn't really mind. We finished out the summer with the trip to Busch Gardens and when we got back A told a girl at church, "We went to Busch Gardens and Mommy couldn't ride any of the roller coasters because of our Family Secret."

Finally we went to our first doctor's appointment. I had been scared with my second pregnancy that I would miscarry. My mom miscarried between my sister and me and I just thought that my second pregnancy would be like hers, but it wasn't. G was born healthy and happy. From my years of volunteering at Women's Resource and Medical Center I knew that about 25-30% of pregnancies ended in a miscarriage but that the risk of miscarriage dropped significantly after the baby had a viable heartbeat. So on August 19th we had an ultrasound, I held Hubby's hand as I waited with anticipation as I looked for the little heart beating. And there it was on the screen! I was so blessed, three healthy pregnancies! We took our pictures home, they said I was a little under 8 weeks along. We told the rest of our friends, and Hubby announced it to the church family before he preached that Sunday.

They never look like babies on picture at the first ultrasound, but seeing it live you can see them moving around a bit and the heart beating. The doctor said that the head is on the left side of this picture, that circle thing is the baby's 'halo' or yoke sack.

I had still been feeling pretty yucky most days and then it was time for A and G to start school. I worked as a substitute at the preschool and started feeling much better on most days. I assumed it was from the regular routine and more exercise. Life was going along pretty normal as we tried to figure out how this baby would fit into our family as we started making plans. Do we try and sell our house now or wait until after the baby is born? Will G and A share a room? I started sorting out some of my maternity clothes, but I still hadn't needed to wear any of it quite yet. People kept commenting about how I didn't even look pregnant, but I could tell there was a little bump and A started noticing too.

Both the kids were so excited about the baby. First they wanted twins, but the ultrasound showed there was just one little one in there. A wanted a baby girl so she could say she had a brother AND a sister. G said he wanted a sister because A told him he wanted a sister. A talked about the baby, she talked to the baby in my tummy, and we all prayed for the baby. I couldn't wait for the baby to get bigger and start moving around so they could feel the baby kicking. We pulled out their baby books and I showed them their ultrasound pictures and we watched A's ultrasound video.

Then everything changed. As we were packing for Chicago, planning to leave for the airport in a few hours, I had some suspicious symptoms and called the doctor and she asked me to come in for an ultrasound. I saw my baby on the screen, just as I'd seen 2 weeks before. After a few seconds of searching I didn't see the heartbeat. There was silence in the room and I could tell that Dr. was looking for the heartbeat too, trying to get a different angle or a better picture. More silence. Finally I looked away from the screen and put my hand over my eyes. She held my other hand and said she was sorry and that it wasn't good news. She said it was an early pregnancy failure and that something probably was wrong with the baby and that was why it didn't grow right. He/She was only about the size of a 9 week old, so the baby only lived a few days after my first ultrasound.

Someone had asked whether I wanted to have a boy or a girl this time around and I said either would be fine with us, and she said "yep, either way, you just want a healthy baby" and I said that I would take the baby even if it weren't healthy, boy or girl.

Even if there was something wrong I still wanted this baby.

And although everyone said that there wasn't anything I did that caused this, I still wondered. Was it because I walked around too much at Busch Gardens? Was I too stressed? Was it because I wasn't eating healthy enough? Did I do something wrong and this is some kind of punishment?

We knew we had to tell the kids and that was the part that broke my heart the most. I knew that I was an adult and could handle things, but they were so young and it would be hard for them to understand. We sat them down in the living room and had a family meeting. Hubby started by saying that God has a plan for each baby’s life and for some of them that plan is to grow up and be a child and then an adult, and for other babies his plan is for them to come right to him, and God’s plan for the baby in mommy’s tummy was for him or her to go right to God. I explained that the baby’s heart wasn’t beating anymore and that something was wrong with the baby and it caused the heart to not beat. G just could tell we were sad and came and gave hugs and kisses to me, but wanted to know if he could watch a video. A was confused and was getting a little angry with us, asking why the baby’s heart didn’t work. She also asked why we were so sad, and we told her it was because we really wanted to meet this baby in March and now we have to wait until we go to heaven, that we are disappointed because we wanted them to have a little brother or sister and that wasn’t going to happen when we thought it would. We prayed together as a family, and I felt like it went better than I thought it would.

We had to tell the rest of our family and they grieved with us. We had to tell everyone eventually, because we'd already announced that we were pregnant to pretty much everyone we knew. I had waited to tell the world until after the first ultrasound. I had waited in vain.

I had a D&C that same evening. We left the hospital and got home around 9pm. We finished packing and drove to my parents house, slept a few hours and then we were on the plane to Chicago at 7am. Our trip was a wonderful distraction. We had a great time as a family. It was less festive than I'd envisioned it, we were celebrating my 30th birthday and Hubby's completion of his masters degree. Instead of being a fast paced trip to a big city, we actually relaxed, rested, and didn't rush around.

Coming home from the trip was tough. I was pretty sad on the drive back home. We got home and there were sympathy cards in the mail and friends had dropped off dinner, dessert, and wine. All the notes from people online were so encouraging and I could feel the prayers all around me. How blessed I have felt, comforted by realizing what a huge base of support is all around me.

Part of my grief was knowing that others were grieving this loss too. It wasn't just mine, so many other people were excited about meeting this new addition to our family. In some points I felt like I needed to say "I'm sorry" to others for their loss. This child wasn't only mine.

A week or so later and I still am grieving but I'm also hopeful and have accepted what happened. I'm getting used to the fact I'm not pregnant. It's no longer a shock, and I have congratulated other pregnant friends without being resentful, but still it's sad. Seeing other pregnant women makes me need to take a deep breath, but it's because I know they are experiencing such a miracle in their womb. Hearing others talk about their baby's heartbeat makes my heart sink. I don't know how moms who've had multiple miscarriages or lost children after birth can handle these day to day occurrences. At this moment I think we will probably try to get pregnant again as soon as we can. And next time I doubt we'll wait until the ultrasound to share the miracle.

I know that one day I’ll see how God used this in my life. Whether to help someone else, to experience suffering like other women, to be more sensitive, or just to keep on realizing that the earth is not my home. I know he has a good plan for my life, for the life of my children and family. I just can't wait to meet baby K one day. To know that my child is now with Jesus, my Lord, worshiping Him, wow...I am thankful that I was chosen to carry this baby for even such a short time.