Thursday, February 4, 2016

Healing Through Loss


The image from my #First5 devotional on January 
A month ago today was one of the hardest days I've ever experienced, dare say, it was the hardest. There's really not an easy way to start this post, but it's something I want to blog about because talking makes things easier and I hope that it may be able to help someone else who is going or has gone through this same thing.

I've been a little quiet on my blog the last few months. Yes, life has been full and fun, but I've also taken a step back from one of my loves, running, which eliminates one of my frequent blogging topics. I've also been dealing with fertility issues and pretty much, consumed with those, and at that point, I didn't want to talk about it.

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For a while now, we've wanted to expand our family and for over a year, we've been hoping and praying it would happen soon [read now], but it wasn't working. The first approach my doctor gave us was for me to cut back on my mileage and speed and to eat a little more. I started doing that this past summer, and with a busy fall of soccer games for the boys and some work events I have several Saturdays a year, it was easy to not run "as much" and to not race with an easy explanation for why I wasn't. I was hopeful that cutting back on running would cause my body to do what it needs to do to allow a pregnancy, but that seemed to only make the matter worse.

In October, my doctor prescribed Clomid to help jump start ovulation (my problem). We assumed it would take a few months to get the dosage right, but on November 24, I found out I was pregnant. To say I was surprised and elated is an understatement. I went to the doctor (also a friend) the next morning to have some blood work done and everything looked great.

Not much after that appointment, we went for our first ultrasound. At that point, I should've been 6w5d, but only measured 6 weeks. That's not a huge surprise, especially that early in pregnancy, but with the fertility drugs, you would think it would have been closer. After the ultrasound, we talked with my doctor who was really encouraging, and scheduled another ultrasound for eleven days later to hopefully see the baby's heartbeat.

On December 21st, we went for our second ultrasound. I had a bad feeling almost from the beginning and at this appointment, we found out that the baby wasn't growing normally. I should've been almost 9 weeks, but the baby only measured 6w5d - five days of growth in eleven days - and the heartbeat was only 94. I haven't looked at that ultrasound photo.

After the ultrasound, we went back to my doctor's office to talk. We asked questions, got answers, and found ourselves in probably the worst place you can be in for this type of situation - waiting. We decided we'd wait for two weeks and on January 4th, we'd find out the viability of the pregnancy. I knew from my questions, there was a very slim chance that everything work work out ok, so I took those two weeks to pray for a miracle and prepare myself for things not working out as I hoped.

With this total change of events, Kevin thought we needed to tell our parents (we were originally going to tell them and our boys on Christmas, and keep the news a secret from everyone else until the first trimester passed). Having to tell your parents that they are going to be grandparents again but probably won't get to meet the baby is not something I ever thought I'd have to do or ever want to do again.

Thankfully, I didn't have to work anymore that week or the next, which was a blessing. With Christmas a few days away, I wanted to do everything I could to maintain a sense of normalcy and joy. I didn't want the boys to know anything was wrong and didn't want to look back and regret not enjoying the holidays. Of course, there was a dark shadow over everything in my mind and my heart was broken into thousands of pieces, but we made it through with God's grace and strength.

I was so sick over the Christmas holiday with a horrible cold and pregnancy symptoms, so for much of the week after Christmas, we just played with the boys and stayed home. I didn't ever have miscarriage symptoms, but my pregnancy symptoms began to lessen after Christmas. I even went out for a few runs at the end of the year.

The night before my big appointment, I got a message from my doctor that she was going to be having emergency surgery the next morning, but had left a lot of detailed notes in my file. She asked me to let her know as soon as I finished with the ultrasound.

The morning of the 4th, my sister's boyfriend's mom texted me to let me know she was working (she's an OB nurse) with the doctor my doctor wanted me to see if something happened over the holidays while she was out of town. She filled him in on my situation and he gave me instructions to be added to his chart.

As soon as we got to the office, I had an ultrasound. I asked the tech not to show me anything unless something had miraculously changed. I think, subconsciously, I already knew, but the moment I walked in the room, I knew for sure.

A few minutes later, the doctor called us to his office and talked with us about everything. One of the first things he said was that this is the Lord's way of handling something that wasn't going to be right. He kept making references to God and it just gave me so much comfort knowing we serve the same God. With a missed miscarriage like I had, there are no signs of a miscarriage - no cramping or bleeding - which causes it to be a surprise to so many. I was given the option to wait to miscarry naturally or to have a D&C. I choose to have the D&C and was able to have it that afternoon.

The people at the hospital were incredible. Not only were we dealing with this tragic loss, I was also anxious about surgery and being put to sleep as I've not ever been in the hospital. My nurse comforted me, the man who wheeled me back to surgery prayed for me, and the anesthesiologist bet me his house I was going to wake up! I found out later he is a big runner and he and his wife have had their fair share of fertility trouble. When I woke up an hour and a half later, the woman beside my bed in the recovery room told me how she had gone through the same thing a few years ago and birthed a healthy baby not long after.

It was crazy how much changed in that short surgery. Emotionally, I had been preparing for this since we found out on December 10th that the baby was measuring behind, but physically, I was still sick. After the surgery, I felt more like myself than I had in months. Getting the physical part over with helped the healing process tremendously.

The next two weeks were tough. I stayed out of work for a week and Kevin stayed home with me. I couldn't do hardly anything and tried my best to listen to the doctor's orders. My FIL cooked a huge pot of vegetable soup that I enjoyed almost around the clock, my parents brought dinner, and my sister made my favorite pie and kept me company before going back to Clemson.

Every morning, without fail, the Lord showered me with His strength. Whether I was reading a devotional or my Bible, what I read was exactly what I needed to read. I prayed in ways I've not ever prayed before asking for strength and hope. My soul was strengthened and my hope restored.

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Losing a child you've longed for and wanted your entire life before you've even had a chance to meet them is the most traumatic event. The moment I found out we were going to have a baby, I had all these dates and scenarios in my head. I was imagining what our beach trips would be like with our two boys and a big belly. I was wondering what I'd wear to my cousin's wedding. I thought about how awesome it would be that I'd be home bonding with our new baby and his or her big brothers for several weeks this summer before the boys would be back in school. I thought about how the timing of this baby's birth would work perfectly with my work schedule. I thought about how I'd watch my favorite summer Olympic events while snuggling my precious, sleeping baby. I thought of how my heart would swell when I saw my husband and our boys with our baby. I thought about how I'd do the nursery. We made a list of names. I thought about how we'd tell our families. But most of all, I thought about the incredible blessing the Lord had given us and how awesome it was all going to be.

Even though this child is not ours on this earth, I thank God for the blessing of this baby. It didn't turn out like I wanted it to, but He is still good. He is faithful and just. He gives mercy and peace. He's strengthened me and filled me with a hope that only He can give. He's watching over us and in His time, we will have a baby to coo over and snuggle with and love on.

Until then, I will praise Him.

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Three weeks ago, I had my follow up appointment. Everything looked great and I was told I could resume my normal lifestyle. I saw the same doctor who did my procedure and he suggested I have some blood work done in a few weeks, so I'm going to do that, but at this time, there's no cause for concern. The chance of a miscarriage again is no higher now than it was with my first pregnancy. Genetically, there were no abnormalities, so we have that worry put to rest.

Oftentimes, I've learned, pregnancy may cause your body to regulate itself. I'm praying that happens with me, but if not, I'm able to start Clomid again in a few months. We know it works!

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For now, we wait, we pray, and we hope. Our vacation last week could not have come at a better time. Being able to get away from it all and just have fun was so therapeutic. God is giving us exactly what we need to be able to get through this, and just as He's doing this, I know that in His time, we'll be blessed with a baby. My hope and trust is in Him!

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These verses/quotes have helped me tremendously. God is so good! If you don't have a personal relationship with him, I'm happy to talk with you.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Remembering God's faithfulness in the past lets us embrace the difficulties of the present and the uncertainties of the future. Whitney Capps, First5

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory! Ephesians 3:20-21

The joy of the Lord is my strength! Nehemiah 8:10

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You. Isaiah 26:3

I have made you. I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

May the God if hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, to that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit! Romans 15:13

4 comments:

Kayla MKOY said...

Anna, you know I've been praying alongside you for months but you may not know how STRONG I think you are. You're already such an amazing momma and I pray God will bless you with another in your future. He is always SO good!!!!!! Love your positive spirit, as always. Love you!!!!

Erin LFF said...

Anna, I am so saddened to read this and hear what you have been going through. But wow- your heart for God shines through in this post, and I know He is doing great things in your life, even through the trials and the pains. I will continue to pray for healing both physically and emotionally for you and your family♥

Allison said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. I wrote a similar post about a year and a half ago. God spoke to me so clearly through that valley and while it was so hard, I had to trust Him completely. Thanks for sharing your heart. Women need to read honest posts like these because it is always good to know we are not alone. XO (Found you from Helene's FB Group and wanted to say hi.)

Samantha W said...

Hi Anna! I found your blog on The Newly for the Thursday Confessions and I followed the link to this post. I'm so sorry for your loss! I had a similar experience with a miscarriage in October and I wanted to say that this post and your message about God spoke to me and was exactly what I needed to read today. Since my miscarriage I've had days of funk and today was one of them until I read this... thank you!