Hi! I'm Kelly. A mom. An Entrepreneur. A mom. A wife. A mom... Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, drop me a line and let me know! Here's to Motherhood!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Miscarriage - The Mourning After

I remember like it was yesterday. We had recently moved into my in-laws home with the intention of saving for a new home. My three children Luke, Noah and Mia were in tow. I was sad at the timing of our move as it would mean that Mia would have her first birthday in someone else’s home. But with my eye on the prize I got over that knowing that the end justified the means. I was working in the fashion industry and while the job was demanding I really loved it. My husband’s father had taken ill just weeks after our moving in with them and was hospitalized. In order for him to attain the most optimum care the family decided to move him three hours up the road to Johns Hopkins. We made visits there as often as we could schedule them around our hectic family life and jobs. As mentioned above my daughter, Mia was just about to turn a year old. Right around the time of her birthday I was finding it difficult to nurse and not really sure why. However, just days later I noticed my period was pretty late. I had been nursing exclusively throughout this first year and had only had one period and it was a little over a month prior. Suddenly I was flooded with the reality that I may be pregnant. My husband, Scott, and I had just weeks prior declared we were “done”. In fact, we were seeking out the names of a good surgeon who could perform a vasectomy for Scott. On this particular evening, Scott ran out and purchased a pregnancy test for me so we could rule out the possibility that I may be pregnant. As I looked down at the stick and saw two lines I started to cry. This is not an unusual response to a positive pregnancy test. Many women say they cry when they find out they are pregnant. I feel badly saying that the tears were tears of sadness. My family’s world was upside-down right now. We were living in a home that was not ours along with our other three children. My husband’s father was probably going to be dying soon… Wait a minute, that’s it! My husband’s father will be dying soon. That’s why I’m pregnant. This is the circle of life. It makes sense now. Wow, this means that Mia and the new baby will only be 21 months apart. Well, sounds like a lot of work but I can do it. Besides, a million other women have multiple children under the age of two. Yeah, I can do this. I knew in my head that I was carrying a boy. I knew that this little boy would be special because his birth would probably closely follow his grandfather’s death. We would use my father-in-law’s first name as our baby boy’s middle name. That’s it. It’s settled. I calculated my due date and called the doctor the next day to set up my first appointment. As usual, the appointment was scheduled further out then I would like. After all, they perform the first sonogram at this appointment to confirm your pregnancy and due date. I was so excited. I did what some would say is “bad luck” and informed our families and close friends that I was pregnant. It was especially meaningful the day we went up to the hospital to visit Scott’s dad to tell him we were having another baby. After all, Scott’s dad had babysat Mia at a very young age and was really sweet with her. I couldn’t wait to tell him. He would be the first we would tell on Scott’s side of the family. It was a Thursday that we would go. Scott and I took off of work and drove up there to see him and tell him. Scott’s dad couldn’t talk but we had no problem seeing that he was excited. Some events do not really need words. We told him right then that if it was a boy we would name him Canaan Vincent. He smiled big. Afterwards we had lunch with Scott’s mother and sister at the hospital before driving home. At this time I was already showing, this being my fourth pregnancy. The Sunday after that Thursday Scott’s dad had made it known that he’d really like to have all the family there at the hospital at the same time to visit with him. Being the family guy that he was, that totally made sense to us that he’d like to have us all there at the same time. We went back up to Johns Hopkins and visited with him and the rest of the family. After our visit, and a bite to eat on the way home, we arrived home to a ringing phone. Scott’s dad had asked to be removed from life support and had passed away while we had been travelling back home. It was a horrible time. So much sadness permeated the family. We somehow knew we would all be forever changed by this loss. Inside I felt blessed to have told his father just three days prior that we were having a baby and that it would have part of his name if it were a boy. Days passed and life continued as it does. We excitedly let others in on the news of my pregnancy as we saw fit. I kind of had to do so as my severe morning sickness was certainly a tell-tale sign to those around me that something was going on. I was pretty sick but I never minded knowing that a sweet new baby would come in several months. When the day came for my first doctor’s appointment I think I watched the clock all day long at work. Scott came by my work and picked me up and we drove to our appointment. I spoke about how I thought it would be a boy and Scott said he really felt it was a boy as well. We arrived at the doctor’s office and had our first sonogram. We watched the screen. I could see it - my little baby and the little blinking speck that was the heartbeat. No matter how many pregnancies you have I don’t think you ever tire of that miraculous site! I was filled with joy. My joy was soon quenched when my doctor told me that my baby was measuring a bit small for the due date. I was pretty certain about the conception date so this wasn’t making sense to me at all. He said that we would come back in two weeks to re-measure and see where we are at that point. I tried to remain hopeful but I really struggled the next couple of weeks keeping my chin up. I knew worrying wouldn’t change anything but I couldn’t help it. Two weeks seemed like forever! Thanksgiving was around the corner and my appointment was scheduled for the Tuesday prior to the holiday. I was thinking to myself how nice it would be to sit at the Thanksgiving dinner table giving thanks for my family and for this new little life growing inside of me. On that Tuesday Scott picked me up from work and we rushed to the doctor to see our baby again. We thought maybe at this point it could be possible to decipher if it was a girl or a boy. We arrived at the doctor’s office and went through the routine of discussing morning sickness, having my blood pressure taken, and checking my urine. Then it was back to the room we went to have the second sonogram. I was so anxious and was saying prayers that somehow the baby would be measuring the correct size and that all would look good. I switched back and forth looking from the sonogram screen to my doctor’s face. I kept staring at that darn screen. Why were they having so much trouble finding my baby this time? Where is that little blinking of the heartbeat? I gave another glance to my doctor’s face as he turned to me to say. “We cannot find a heartbeat”. “You’ve had what we call a failed miscarriage. Your baby died but your body doesn’t know it yet”. My thoughts started whirling. I started crying heavy tears. I wanted to yell, “Look harder! Look again! Don’t stop looking until you find it! It’s there, I know it’s there!” How can this happen and I not be aware of it? What about the circle of life? The doctor continued and said that he would schedule a D and C for the day after Thanksgiving. Really? The day after Thanksgiving? I can truly say that nothing has ever quite rocked my world like the events of that day and next couple of days to come. How were we going to share this with the children? They were so excited about another baby. How do you explain this kind of thing to such sweet innocent children? Well you do it. You do it because you have no choice. I can’t even remember the exact words that I said to them. I remember my two older boys crying. I remember Noah asking me, “Why did the baby have to die?” I had no answer to that. I had miserable morning sickness all throughout the Thanksgiving dinner. Man, my body really didn’t know what was going on, did it? I made it through that day. I didn’t sleep much that night. I went in for the D and C the next morning. I remember the nurse who was checking me in asking me typical health questions. And then I remember her asking if I had any nausea. When I gave her an affirmative answer to that question she asked “What do you think is causing your nausea?” Are you serious?, I thought. I said “because my body doesn’t know yet?” and I lost it at that point. I was so sad. I was experiencing more sadness than I ever thought possible. Awakening from that procedure knowing the pregnancy was officially done my and my baby was officially gone was almost more than I could bear. I went home and rested in the days following. Scott and I cried together a few times. We decided that, although unexpected, that baby was wanted and now incredibly missed. We decided we would try to get pregnant again. This was not a decision of “replacing the lost”. It wasn’t. It was just the decision we wanted to make. So we did try again. Each day following the loss seemed full of sadness. I had phoned my aunt who is a midwife to ask her how much sadness was “normal”. I told her the extent of my sadness and she assured me that what I was experiencing was normal. My heart was broken. I had lost something that was not possible to get back. A child. A baby that I had loved from the first moment of the knowledge of my pregnancy. And yes, it was a namesake to a man we loved dearly as the doctor confirmed that our suspicions were correct and I had been carrying a boy. I can’t explain the depth of the pain. I truly feel this is one of those times that unless you go through it you can’t possibly understand it. I chose to openly deal with my grief. I decided that it was okay for me to miss my baby. I also decided that I would take measures to remember the baby that I lost. We did give him the name Canaan Vincent. At Christmas we placed a cross painted with “Canaan” on it on our Christmas tree. On my original due date I wrote Canaan a letter and placed it in a frame with his first sonogram picture which hangs at the end of our hallway. The second year anniversary of the due date I took the children to a teddy bear workshop and we stuffed a teddy bear in memory of him. My family and I decided to remember him lovingly as the son, sibling and grandson that he would have been had he come full term. We let ourselves love him and remember him freely. I know everyone handles grief differently. This is how we dealt with it and continue to deal with it. It never gets “easier” but loving him freely has been helped me get through the grief.

By the way, our son Silas was born within the next year. He is child number five; number four awaits us in heaven while he keeps with the company of angels and his late grandfather.

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