06-13-17 The Hazel Box

If the math was correct, next Tuesday would have been my due date, but since all of my children have been c-sections, and they typically schedule those exactly a week before, today would have been the day.

But instead of celebrating a birthday, I am staring at a box that contains all the earthly evidence that Hazel Marie ever existed. The Hazel Box… A pregnancy test, some surgery photos, and the doctor’s report from October 29th.

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I never knew you could miss someone so much that you never met. I never knew the hole that loss would leave. But it’s there, and it’s gaping, and the only thing that soothes it is to know that this isn’t the end, that one day we will meet face to face, and the first thing I will say is “I love you.”

The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult, as this day loomed on the horizon, and me unable to slow it’s approach. But it’s come and it hurt. It was made easier by the friends that reached out to me to make sure that I was ok, that checked in on me to remind me that I am loved. Thank you for that.

This evening I was in a car accident on the way home from work. It wasn’t my fault and it wasn’t serious. There wasn’t much damage, but I’m sore, and probably will be for a few days. The van will need some cosmetic work, but I’m praising God that it wasn’t worse. I’m thankful my children weren’t with me when it happened. I’m thankful the people stopped.

And in reality, I am thankful for a great many things. While my mind often wanders to the empty crib now stored in the attic, I have before me three beautiful, wonderful children, whom I love more than life itself. I have an incredible husband who has walked this painful road with me, has held me when I cried, and coaxed me out when I have spent too long in my own thoughts. I am thankful to a patient heavenly Father who has slowly, but steadily, transformed a terrible situation into evidence of His glory and faithfulness in my life. And I’m thankful for Hazel. She changed me. I’m not the same woman that I was when I woke up on October 29th, for better or worse, I’m different. And I’m not sure what that means and I’m not sure who I am becoming, but I’m eager to find out.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

 

04-21-17 “I wish…”

“I wish we were a family of four kids,” Big E said ruefully as he was getting dressed this morning. “I wish there was another kid.”

“I do too, buddy,” I responded.

“Can we have another kid?” He asked me.

“I’m not sure. Mommy’s not the one that decides these things. God makes that decision.”

“Oh,” he said. I turned and walked out of the room as I felt the lump in my throat. “I just know we are never going to have another baby,” he called after me. I flopped down on my bed and closed my eyes.

After the ectopic, Tim and I discussed about what we would say to the kids. We decided to tell C, but we chose not to tell Big E until he is older. Our conversation with C went very well, but she has never really brought it up since then. I’m wondering now if we should have told Big E, but he is such a sensitive kid I didn’t want him so upset over something he couldn’t fix and couldn’t really grasp.

Every once in awhile I go online and check a pregnancy calculator to see how far along I would have been if I hadn’t miscarried. That probably isn’t the smartest decision, but when I’m sad I catch myself doing it. Today I would have been 31 weeks and 3 days along.

Tim took the crib down the other day and put it in the attic for storage. He had warned me he was going to do it, but I wasn’t prepared for how sad it would make me to walk into Baby E’s room and see the empty space it once occupied.

I wish I had a better answer for Big E this morning. I wish I could have held him and told him it would happen. But I don’t know. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But whatever God’s will is for our family, I know His plan and His timing are perfect, and in Him we can find the peace that passes understanding.

03-15-17 Remembering

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I distinctly remember the sound of the bed being wheeled down the hallway, briskly, but not with the same urgency that had taken us to the ultrasound room in the first place. Tim was walking beside me, his eyes cast down, his gait heavy. The automatic doors cranked open and shut as we weaved our way through the hallways back to the Emergency Room. They wheeled my bed back into my room, the nurse said something I don’t think I ever heard and then she left. As the curtain stopped swaying and the door slid shut, Tim crawled into the bed next to me and pulled me closer to him. I laid my head on his chest.

I knew he had seen the ultrasound screen, that he knew the truth… but he didn’t offer it and I didn’t ask. I would know soon enough. I wanted to hold on for as long as I could to the hope, be it ever the slightest glimmer, that my child would survive. And try as I did to believe my lie, there were tears in his eyes that betrayed what I feared.

So we sat there in silence.

 

I’m not sure why that surfaced tonight. That’s the strange thing about grief, it ebbs and flows with little reason. 

03-02-17 Twenty Four

Baby E struggled with his sausage patty this evening. He had taken a few bites out of it, and it was shaped more or less like a crescent moon. He had a divided plate sitting in front of him, and as he positioned his sausage into one of the little square cubbies, it did not sit flush with the bottom of the plate. This was extremely distressing to him, and he sat there crying and smashing the sausage onto his plate. Defeated, he gave up and moved along to his next crisis.

In honest, the kids were very well behaved this evening, if not a little wild. I decided to wear them out by having them do exercises until their bodies were tired as well. They fell asleep quickly, much to my relief.

I was going through a stack of old papers this evening, trying to make a dent in the mess that is my house, when I came across my discharge folder from the hospital. With a quick calculation, I realized I would have been 24 weeks pregnant this week. But I’m not. I don’t think about it nearly as much anymore, but every once in awhile it gets me. I guess tonight was one of those nights. I let myself dwell on the what-ifs for a few moments, but tried not to linger there because what happened happened. And life goes on. And thinking of those dear children asleep down the hall makes my life that much sweeter and my time that much more precious. I won’t say they are my world, because that would make them idols, but I love them more than I thought could be possible and every day is better for having them in it.

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11-01-16 The beginning of grief…

Grief is a strange bedfellow. It is both cold-hearted and distant, and yet suffocatingly confining.

The leaves behind my house are changing, red and yellow. The wind is coaxing them to dance and flutter about. I watch them when I’m resting. They make me feel calm.

There’s residue from medical tape in spots on my arms. I have to dig at it to get it off, but that seems like too much work, so most of it is still there.

My hands are bruised from all the blood draws, but they are no longer puffy from the extra fluids.

It hurts to walk, but it’s getting a little easier. I’m tired. Very tired.

I posted my story last night but then I got so very anxious I took it down. I’ll post it again when I’m ready. The short version is this. I had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured. I had emergency surgery to stop the significant internal bleeding. We lost the baby.

I’m home now, in half hibernation, surfacing only when I need air.

My heart breaks, but I know I just have to ride this out, crying when I need to and grieving as I can.

I’m grateful to be alive.

I know this side of heaven I may never learn the ‘why,’ but I’m trusting there is one. Is God still good? I know Him to be so, so I will cling to that as these waves toss me. I’ll ride the current to calmer waters.

My boys were roughhousing this evening, their screams and squeals filling in the silence that has otherwise permeated our house. It was a welcome reprieve.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we heal.

*My children do not know the extent of what happened. Please be sensitive in what you say in their presence. Thank you.*

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The reason I breathe.

 

10-31-16 The Story

Tomorrow I would have been seven weeks pregnant. 

I took a pregnancy test at three and a half weeks and it was a faint positive. Afraid to rely on it I took three additional tests in the week to follow. All positive. The final one I took gave me bold immediate confirmation. I was pregnant.

And happy… So very happy.

We hadn’t told many people about it. My parents and sister knew. My currently pregnant sister in law and her husband knew. And a few close friends. I wanted to do a huge, fun announcement.

The first week and a half I felt great. I was getting a little tired in the afternoons and I was hungry all the time, but other than that I was feeling wonderful and mentally preparing myself for weeks of morning sickness. Then about a week and a half ago I started to have some abdominal pain. I attributed it to my digestive track slowing down and the prenatal vitamin that I had been taking. The pain would come and go, and there were days it didn’t happen at all.

I woke up on Saturday morning in an incredible amount of pain. Within an hour I was throwing up from the pain. After dropping the kids off, Tim took me to the ER. All their beds were full and as we waited the pain greatly intensified and I started throwing up again. After that episode, the pain let up quite a bit and that’s when I noticed I had started bleeding. At that point I was convinced I was having a miscarriage.

When a room opened up, they checked my vitals and started giving me fluids. Then they sent me down for an ultrasound. I could tell on the tech’s face that something was wrong. Very wrong. Tim could see the monitor and the expression on his face confirmed not all was well. The tech called the doctor immediately. By the time I was back in the ER room, the doctor was close behind.

She informed me that the pregnancy was ectopic. It had planted itself into my fallopian tube. It was still alive and had a heartbeat, however my tube had ruptured and blood was pouring into my abdominal cavity. Incompatible with life… for both of us. I needed surgery as soon as possible to stem the flow of blood. She said that it had probably burst when I felt the rush of relief earlier in the morning. The on call OB doctor arrived and confirmed. They were calling people in and prepping the OR. Because of my previous c-sections they weren’t exactly sure how they were going to proceed. They would try laparoscopically but there might be too much scar tissue. If that was the case they would have to open me up completely. The good news was all my blood work was coming back beautifully. I had enough reserve blood in my system so hopefully I wouldn’t need a transfusion. My kidneys were working well. My EKG looked great. Tim remained with me through as much as he was allowed and Tim’s dad stayed with us as well while we waited for the OR.

When it was finally time go to back the surgery took about 2.5 hours. Thankfully they were able to do the operation laparoscopically. They removed over a pint of blood from my abdominal cavity. They cleaned up the rupture and saved what they could. The baby was lost. There was no way to prevent that, even if I hadn’t ruptured. Because it was so late when they finished, they decided to keep me overnight. We were told multiple times that we were lucky. I believe we were blessed.

I’m recovering now. It reminds me a lot of a c-section recovery so I know the routine. The doctor said to stay home from work for a couple of weeks. No heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks. I have to follow up in two weeks and we will reassess what happens next. I’m sore, but I’m up and walking. I took a shower this afternoon, which helped to wash away some of the funk.

I know this description has been mostly devoid of emotion. We’re still processing that part. Naturally Tim and I are very sad. My typical reaction to trauma is to switch into survival mode and turn off my emotions. I’m fighting very hard not to do that this time. I cry when I need to. I’m sleeping when I can. Tim has been amazing. He is suffering the same loss that I am, but he has been taking care of me and the kids and making sure our house is running smoothly. I am blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.

We never told our kids about the pregnancy. They know mommy went to the hospital and mommy had surgery, but they don’t know much more than that, so if you see them, be careful not to mention it around them. They desperately wanted a baby sibling.