In March of 2007 I decided it was time to expand our family from the two of us to more. I quit taking the pill and figured magic would happen within months (at most). Like many people, but very few of my close friends, this did not happen. As a matter of fact as of December 2009, 33 months later, we are still just a two person family.
In July of 2008 I became pregnant for the first time, and so you don't have to count it out it was 16 months after we started trying, 3 rounds of clomid, umpteen vials of blood, mulitple visits to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist), and lots of tears and frustration. But it had finally happened, I got that happy 'pregnant' announcement on the stick and was over the moon. All seemed well at my 5 week appointment (early because I was seeing an RE), and her little heart was beating away at 7 weeks. It was magical, though sadly my hubby wasn't able to be there because of work. I'll never be able to put into words how sad it is for me, to this day, that he wasn't there as he has yet to, and may never know the wonder that is seeing that little heart beating away so perfectly. At our 9 week appointment (9 weeks 3 days) we went in to see her little heartbeat together, and we waited all smiley and happy, and waited, and waited, while the doctor wiggled around. I didn't realize that he was searching for what wasn't there, my baby's heart had stopped beating only the day before. It was so quiet in the room that it was like I could only imagine it being in warped space travel, so loud with nothing that your ears are about to explode. Then the silence was broken, mostly by the sobs that I'm sure terrified the expectant mothers that could hear me. I'm sorry to say I wasn't even a little concerned with them. I can't put completely into words the feelings that you go through when this happens, but I will say this...If you haven't experienced it, then you don't have a clue what it's like and I (and some other baby lost moms) would appreciate you not offering your words of wisdom, pearls of advice, or try to relate something in your life to my experience. It's not that we don't appreciate the sentiment, it's just that you never know when the words you mean to help, do nothing but tear us further down. The best thing you can do is just tell us you're sorry and let us talk when we need to talk, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Anyhow, that was September 12, 2008 and I went in for a D&C on the 15th, I consider this my baby's angelversary (this is a term used by we baby lost moms to say when our babies went to heaven). My EDD (expected due date) was to be April 15, 2009. It never occured to me that I wouldn't be pregnant again by then, as all but one of my friends who had experienced loss had been pregnant by their EDD, I never dreamed I'd be any different (wrong again!). Actually technically I was pregnant again, but didn't know until 8 days after my EDD.
Some wonder how we keep these dates straight in our heads, but they remember their children's birthdays, their first words, their first haircut, these dates are all we have of our babies. I know that some consider that they weren't babies yet, and everyone has a right to their own beliefs, but mine were babies. I believe that at conception a baby is a life and has the right to live and be loved.
So, on April 22, 2009 (7 months later for the record) I found out I was pregnant again. Again I was over the moon, but once you've lost, you never truly enjoy a pregnancy again. I was due to leave for Nashville the two days later to run in a half marathon so I went to the doctor, who told me not to run. Easy for her to say, she hadn't spent the last 3 months fund-raising and training for this event, didn't have tickets booked, rooms reserved, and a whole host of events planned surrounding it. So, I talked to my husband and I decided I would do it anyway. And I did complete my second half marathon in 3 hours and 6 minutes (not fast at all), because I took plenty of rest breaks, drank at every stop, took pictures of the fun things, and basked in my happiness of having such a good reason to go slow. The whole experience is one I would never trade as I had raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training, to honor a friend's wife who lost her battle with Leukemia in November of 2008. It's a cause I believe in and if you're interested, you should check out TNT!!
The first visit, again early because of my history, my husband couldn't go to (again because of work), so my Julie went (my college roomie, who introduced me to hubby, who is a doctor, and who can handle me in all situations) with me. Not a good visit, so glad I wasn't alone. The ultrasound tech was a nightmare (sorry to be blunt, horrible), and told me that I was measuring an entire week behind where I should be and argued with me about knowing when I got pregnant. This bit I will tell you about most people who struggle with infertility, we KNOW when we got pregnant, we may be off by a day or two, but never a week. We count days, we take ovulation tests, we KNOW! So, that was horrible and Julie helped me not completely lose it, but she knew and I knew that this wasn't good. My OB is one of the most fantastic women I've ever met and I haven't heard a patient of hers not say the same, and she tried to reassure me, gave me every pep talk possible, told me good happy stories of these things working out, she was amazing. But my heart knew what was coming. The next week we went in for another ultrasound, still measuring behind, but had a heartbeat (not strong enough, but I tried to push that away). Luckily this time hubby was with me, but we still were skeptical. We went again a week later (seriously sick of the MD office) and the heartrate had dropped significantly. The ultrasound tech (still horrible) left to get my sweet doctor and she came in and she looked as mad/sad/upset as I felt. While they were both out of the room I told Sean, "It's happening again, I know it is". And I was numb, not yet anything but numb. So, when Dr. T came in and told me I already knew and she said obviously we would have to wait for the heart to stop completely before we could do a D&C. I went in for my second D&C on May 26, 2009, so that is Michael's angelversary. His EDD is new year's eve, and I'm struggling with that as I type. I was crushed beyond belief, but still a little numb.
The next couple of months led to something that I have no way to describe other than complete rage. I didn't act it out necessarily, but I was furious with someone that I've never been comfortable being furious with, God. I couldn't pray, I couldn't talk to Him, I knew I couldn't trust Him. And that battle still goes on for me, which is very very hard to say. I was at camp with my high schoolers from church (I volunteered with our youth group) and I remember telling one of our pastors, "I don't know why I'm here, how can I help these kids when I don't even know what to say myself?" I do know with all my heart that while I struggle with God, He knows, and He's there even when we shut Him out. As I was in a friend's office looking over her bookshelf a few months later I came across a book, that I've recommended time and again to other baby lost moms, When God Lets You Down by Donald Gee. It was heart changing for me and exactly the words God intended me to read, so if you know someone struggling with loss, get it for them!
This process continues for me and there is yet to be a happy ending to our story, but I wanted to invite you all on my journey. I plan to post more on just how I feel, the steps we're going to take to make our family bigger than just 2, and possibly how you can support baby lost moms.
I want to thank a few people very specifically for their love and support through all of this and if I miss someone, I must say that I'm sorry I'll add as I remember...
Amanda, I don't know that would've made it through day one of losing Layla were it not for you and your friendship. I know you know my pain as you have 3 angel babies too, but the support that you (and your sweet momma) gave me can never be replaced.
Kandi, my parents, my sister, Emily & Johnny, Stephane, Shawn, Jean, Karla, Leah, Sarah, Becky, all of my First Place ladies, my youth (there are too many to name individually but you know I love you!!), Caryn, Rachel, Bria, Rhonda, Tammy, Derek, Mark, Heather, Emily, the Center for Therapy staff, all of my church family, and my sweet ladies from http://www.ourmiscarriage.com/, especially Andrea and Nan!
This is for my angels in heaven Layla Marie, and Michael, your mommy loves you to the moon and back!
Goodbye 2nd Grade, Goodbye Kindergarten
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