Our Carli is a Blessing - A Gift From Heaven Above

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Attempting to Understand a New Kind of Loss

I thought I knew the pain that one felt when they experienced the loss of someone they loved.  I had lost all four of my grandparents; each loss affected me a different way.  I still cry sometimes over the urge to see my Grandma and Pawpaw again, just to hear their voices or get a hug or ask for advice.  I still smile at memories of my Grandmother and her quiet graceful mannerisms.  And I look around my house and I have pieces of furniture that my Grandfather made or refinished, I cried the day one of my girls accidently broke a vase he had made.  I miss them all, I miss them dearly and I thought that I knew what it was to know, to love and to no longer have them with us any more. 

The week of August 18, 2014 I learned that there is a different kind of hurt, one that I am not sure anyone could ever prepare me for or explain the depth of the hurt.  On August 18, my heart broke and for the first time in my life I asked God what did I do to deserve this hurt and I was so mad, confused and heartbroken.

I have been pregnant five times.  I am currently 29 weeks pregnant with a precious baby boy.  We are anxiously anticipating his arrival in July.  I say five pregnancies because before we had Carli we had a miscarriage.  We never got a chance to go to the doctor the first time.  I literally had taken a pregnancy test on a Friday and that Sunday I miscarried.  I was probably around six weeks.  I mourned the loss of our child, but I never saw the baby on a sonogram, never anticipated hearing a heartbeat and never knew what it felt like to feel that first kick.  In all honesty we were not planning to get pregnant so it never sank in we might be parents before all the sudden we weren't going to be any longer.  We never told anyone about that pregnancy.  I lost the baby on December 7, 2007. 

God blessed us with our Carli Lynn on October 1, 2008 and again on May 14, 2010 our hearts were forever changed with the arrival of Ava Ruth.  The girls were about 19 months apart and that first year was hard.  Keith was adamant that our family was complete.  I was not as sure, but I was very sleep deprived and I knew that two was all we needed at the time.  Fast forward to about 2012, both Carli and Ava were convinced that we needed another baby.  They started telling anyone who would listen that we were going to have a baby, maybe even two!  They had the names picked out, Drew for a boy and Maggie for a girl.  We had a lot of explaining to do to family and friends for the next two years! 

On July 4, 2014 Keith and I found out we were pregnant with our fourth child.  We were so happy, but deep in my heart I was scared.  I had NEVER been paranoid with the girls' pregnancies but from the time I found out we were expecting, in the pit of my stomach, I was anxious and scared that something was not right.  I can't explain the feeling, some may call it lack of faith that God would take care of me and the baby and some may just call it a sixth sense but whatever it was, to me it was real and something I could not shake for the next month and a half.

On August 18, I had my first appointment with the OBGYN.  Keith was not home.  He had to be out of town for work.  He texted me constantly and all I could tell him was to please...pray for a heartbeat.  I was scared.  When the doctor walked in, he started asking me a lot of routine questions, and then he looked up at me and asked what was wrong.  I asked if we could just find a heartbeat.  After an eternity it seemed, the doctor looked at me and said, "I am so sorry, but I cannot find a heartbeat today."  I just nodded, b/c I could not talk.  The baby measured at nine weeks, four days - to the day my nausea went away and my energy had returned.  I had lost the baby exactly one week earlier.  I held it together, until the nurse came back to check on me and she didn't even say anything but just wrapped me in a hug and cried with me.  When I made it out to my car, I sit there and I sobbed.  I cried the ugly tears.  Momma called and I couldn't talk, so she talked to me and listened to me cry.  I look back now and I think how hard that had to have been for my Momma to know how badly I was hurting and to not be with me to hold me. 

I could not talk to anyone.  Bless Keith, he must have been hurting so badly but I could not talk to him on the phone.  I felt like I had let him down, like I had failed my family and I had lost my baby.  My parents were jewels.  My Momma was just there.  We never told the girls, I guess one day they'll know since I keep this blog as a journal to them.  But I went through the week on auto-pilot.  I never sat down, I kept myself busy.  I had my girls, we had a messy house since we had just moved and I just went on autopilot.  Each night I'd lay in bed and beg God for a miracle, to please let it be a mistake, please give me my baby back.  I held up okay until church on Wednesday night, and as soon as they started singing, I just couldn't do it.  I walked out.  I sat in my car and I cried tears I didn't know I still had and I asked God why, and I told Him I was so mad and I was lost. 

On Friday, my Daddy came and watched the girls and Mom went with me to the doctor so they could double check everything at my request.  I had found some peace and when they confirmed there was still no heartbeat, I asked for a picture.  Here is my beautiful baby at nine weeks four days.

On Monday, August 25 Carli started her first day of kindergarten and I went in for day surgery for a D&C and I said goodbye.  I went to bed that night and I didn't talk about my baby for a long, long time. 

At the end of October we had a positive pregnancy test and I felt good.  I was still nervous but the sense of something being wrong was not there.  Our doctor was amazing and he allowed us to have a seven week ultrasound and again at 8.5 weeks.  We saw a heartbeat, we saw growth and we were so so grateful. 

I have cried more than once in bed at night mourning the loss of my fourth baby.  The week of March 15th would have been the due date, and I did everything I could to not think about it.  I know that God had a plan for my fourth pregnancy.  I did not exactly like it, in fact, I hated it.  But I know in the end, God had his reasoning, just as he did for blessing me with two girls 19 months a part. 

I am forever grateful to my parents.  Their ability to just be there the week I lost my baby.  They didn't talk unless I talked.  They didn't pressure me to come stay with them.  They even took the girls for a night and let me just be and have it out with God on my own.  I know without a doubt, they hurt right along with me more than I will ever totally understand.  I felt their prayers, their love and never ever doubted that I was not alone.

For Keith, I think we both hurt so badly we didn't know what to do with each other.  One night, laying in bed before we had heard Drew's heartbeat, I just cried.  Keith listened.  I told him of my fears, that I felt I had failed him and if God thought I was strong enough to endure a loss again I would disagree.  And Keith just held me, and he prayed for us.  He prayed for our lost baby, for our little Drew and for our family.  And he prayed for God to give us peace.  It was then that I realized how much Keith must have been hurting too.  He lost a baby on August 18th too and how helpless he must have felt to not have been able to have been here that whole week. 

We are blessed to have been surrounded in prayer by people we love.  There is something I learned through it all - never, ever judge how a person reacts to a loss of a pregnancy.  I had never really thought much about miscarriages and how it so deeply affects a mother and a family.  I will never look at another mother and say I know how she feels over the loss of a child.  I think we all handle it differently and I think the best thing we can ever do for those who hurt is to pray.  Don't tell them you understand, don't share your story, but just pray and let them know you are surrounding them in prayer. 

I may not have memories to dwell on as I do with my grandparents.  I don't have that treasured feeling of a first kick, the excitement of hearing a strong heartbeat or the remembrance of a sweet smile and chubby cheeks.  Maybe that's why the pain is so different because I use my memories to bring a smile to my face when tears try to come instead when I miss my grandparents.  But what I do have is the feeling of love from my family, the strong silent presence of my husband, and the complete peace that comes with finally just letting God take away my fears, my anger and my doubt.  

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