Wednesday, October 15

On Losing a Child

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child in 2009, my heart felt so full. I sat on the stairs in our house, waiting for my husband to get home from work.

When he arrived, I ran down the steps.

“Let’s go out for dinner to celebrate!” I said, grabbing his arms.

“Okay – um, what are we celebrating?” he asked.

“We’re having a baby!” I said. Our Mexican feast at La Casita that night had never tasted so good.

But just a few weeks later, my joy turned to dismay. During a work meeting on a Friday, I felt a whoosh and just knew that something was wrong. In the emergency room, I tried be brave while we endured tests and were told that there was no heartbeat.


I spent the weekend eating junk food and watching movies with Tim, trying to take my mind off my red, gritty eyes and warring feelings of hope and gloom. We had gotten pregnant so easily. Had we taken it for granted? 

On Monday morning, the doctor breezed into the room at the clinic, where Tim and I anxiously waited.

“It appears you’re having a miscarriage,” she said. “Would you like to schedule a D&C for this afternoon?”

“Wait…what? That’s it?” Tim asked. “They told us on Friday there was another test we could take to find out for sure.”

Yes, that was true, she said. However, the chances were slim.

Despite her dire predictions, we both decided to wait. The next few days we were on pins and needles. My hCG level was going up, but wasn’t doubling, as it should be. And it was high enough that we should have a heartbeat by this point. On Thursday, we had another ultrasound.

“There’s the heartbeat!” the ultrasound technician said cheerfully.

“Nice catch, dad,” the doctor said when we saw her again.

Still we wondered – what had happened? When we asked the doctor, she told us, "I think there was another baby. That’s why your level was so high, even though you weren’t that far along yet."

At the time, I felt profoundly grateful. After all, if we had gone through with the D&C the doctor recommended, we would have aborted our precious Elise without even knowing it.

But a part of me still wondered about the other child, now lost to us.  

The baby’s in heaven now, a friend of the family said. Now Katrina has someone to watch over. 

A few weeks ago, we watched "Heaven is for Real." During the part where the son tells his mother about meeting a sister in heaven – one he never knew on earth – I sobbed like a baby.

“What was her name?” the mother asked her son.

“She didn’t have one,” he replied matter-of-factly. “You didn’t name her.”

And I thought – you better believe I’m naming my child. That night, Tim and I chose two names we liked but don’t plan to use for any future children. It sounds a little silly, and yet – is it, really? I’m not going to argue with anyone about when a baby is really a baby. To me, that child is my child, and it was loved before it was even conceived. I want that child to know – You are so loved. You were wanted. And I’m sorry we won’t be able to meet you for awhile.

Until we experienced it ourselves, I was completely oblivious to the threat of miscarriage. But according to the March of Dimes, as many as 50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15 percent of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.

Today, October 15, is Infant Loss Awareness Day. (You can find more details at places like this.)

If you’re grieving, I’m sorry for your loss.

If you know someone else who may be grieving, please – acknowledge the pain. To me, the worst thing about miscarriage is how it is so often NOT talked about, and yet it can leave such wounds.

I'm thankful for the two precious girls we have on earth, as well as the child we're currently expecting. But in the back of my mind, I know I'll never forget our other child, either.

And that's ok.






Today we're linking up with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee for TellHisStory.

8 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss--but so glad that you didn't follow the doctor's orders! Thank you for sharing your experience so that others might find healing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm so glad that we didn't, too! Thanks for your kind comment and for stopping by. :)

      Delete
  2. Wow! Thank God you listened to your gut and that you have your precious Elise! I'm so sorry for your loss. I too cried at that part of the movie as I thought about our little Taylor Lee. Just knowing that our baby is in Heaven gives us so much peace, even though it's not an easy road to walk down. Thank you for being so brave in sharing your story about your baby - it will touch so many people in ways you may never know. God is being glorified through your story. May He bless you abundantly & continue to comfort you and fill you with His love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet Taylor Lee -- I think the only consolation is my belief that someday in heaven we will have such a joyful reunion; I feel certain that my child will know me and already anticipates that day, too. Blessings to you!

      Delete
  3. I thought the same thing when I saw that movie. We should have named the child we lost! :) Thanks for sharing your experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it wasn't something that had even crossed my mind until I saw the movie -- although it makes sense. I wonder how many unnamed children are in Heaven, and how God keeps track of them...one more question that will probably have to wait until we're there. ;)

      Delete
  4. Such a bitter sweet story. I am so glad we know it isn't over!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you -- me too. :) It does comfort me.

      Delete