Thursday, August 7, 2014

Strength through Gratitute

I knew that the days and months leading up to the birth of my sweet baby would be difficult and I worried about how I would be able to be strong enough (emotionally) to carry this child. I was worried that emotionally I would be a wreck. While I believe it is important and healthy to allow yourself to grieve and experience the feelings that come naturally I worried how I could possibly focus on anything else but the baby inside me that I knew would not live long.

I was very selective as to who I told about our situation. I was worried that any time the topic would come up that I would break down and cry. While sometimes this was the case other times it was easier to explain to people. I also didn't want people to befriend me because they pitied me and my situation. I have always valued genuine friendship and I didn't want to become anyone's project.

I knew that there would be some things harder for me to experience because of my situation but by far the most difficult for me was baby blessings. In my church when a baby is born they are given a baby blessing by someone that holds the Priesthood. Within the blessing they are given a name as well as told some gifts that God has blessed them with as well as some things that will happen in their life in the future. It was very difficult for me to be at church when someone's baby was being blessed. Part of this was because I didn't know if my baby would be alive long enough to receive one, and secondly because I knew there wouldn't be anything to mention with regards to his future. While I was happy for other people and their blessing of having a healthy baby it was EXTREMELY difficult for me to be present during a blessing . I also didn't want to be bitter towards others that had healthy babies, nor to be upset at God or bitter because of our situation. I know that often God's plan for each of us surpasses our understanding. So when there would be a baby blessing often I would go and stand in the hall and mentally and/or verbally list everything that God had blessed me with in my life. This was the only way that I could get through moments like this. Even after I did that I would usually be so emotionally drained or spent I would go home to continue crying and lay down for a bit. By doing this it helped me remember that I have a loving Heavenly Father that allows me to have challenges and trials in my life to help me grow and become like him. It also helped me to remember how truly blessed I have been in my life. If we always focus on what we don't have we can never truly appreciate what is in front of us, and I have been greatly blessed in my life!  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

                          The Ultrasound
The day of an ultrasound is always a very exciting time, it's definitely a day we looked forward to, so that we could find out the gender. When the doctor came in to see us it was one that we had never met yet. This office has about five or six doctors that you rotate through. You  never have the consistency of the same doctor. As the doctor came in to do the ultrasound it was obvious he was very rushed. During the ultrasound the doctor told us that he couldn't get a good view of the baby and so the gender was unknown. He then mumbled something about some of the organs were hard to see and then said "I'm going to refer you to a specialist because their equipment is a lot better, and you will be able to see everything more clearly." I'm not sure if it was my naivety but I thought going to see the specialist was no big deal. The doctor gave no indication in his tone of voice or mannerism that indicated something serious was wrong. 

The next day we went in to see the specialist on October 30, 2011 and I was twenty weeks at this time. At the specialist they had someone come and do the ultrasound for an hour. When I asked  questions they were avoided and passed over leaving me frustrated. Finally after an hour to an hour and a half the specialist came in. I will never forget the words that were then spoken to us, she said "your baby has some very serious problems and will probably not live." My heart sunk as I grasped D's (my husband) hand. I was in complete shock and the question ran through my mind, "how can this be happening?!" At the same time I was extremely grateful for both the candidness and the empathy that this doctor possessed. 

Doctor F then went on to explain that I had very little to no amniotic fluid and they could not find my baby's kidneys. She also said there was some problems with the heart and water on the brain. She also told us that although it was early we had a couple of options. These were to either be induced so that this baby would come early. The other option was to continue with the pregnancy for as long as possible. Our first and main concern was "is the baby in any pain?" to which we were told no. I have never believed in abortion (or whatever term you want to call it) but at the same time I had no idea how I would be able to carry this baby (for what I hoped would be) almost full term. "How would I be able to go through every day carrying this child I was so excited for, yet was so heartbroken about at the same time?" While everything was happening I kept thinking my baby's death is not a definite thing because I know that God is a God of miracles. I have experienced a few in my life, but I also know that it has to be his will.

We were devastated and sat there crying together as she continued to tell us that they had no idea what exactly was causing these problems and that they would have us talk to a genetic counselor to see if these problems were genetically inherited. She stopped intermittently to ask if we were okay and if we wanted to continue our appointment tomorrow. This moment was so painful I could not bear to drag it out no matter how difficult it was. As I looked at D and asked him I knew he felt the same way. 

We then spoke with a genetic counselor who told us she did not believe the problems were genetic but more testing would help us know for sure. We then went in the next day to have a placental biopsy done. This was so they would know if the problems were genetic or biological. The results from this didn't give us much information just ruled out that genetics were the cause, but also told us that our baby was a boy.

I will be forever grateful for great family and friends. Within a few days one of my friends came over and told me about her experience with losing a child. I cannot tell you how much strength that gave to me by her sharing about her heart break, love and loss of her precious baby. Her experience was very similar yet different in many ways and it helped me immensely. Regardless of how much time has passed, when you lose a child the pain is still very real.

Over the next few weeks I prayed more diligently and harder than I ever have in my life that my baby's life might be spared. It was within a few weeks after I began praying for this that my prayer was answered. Just as we have loving parents that do not always give us what we desire, so we have an infinitely more loving Heavenly Father that is the same. My answer was that my miracle would not happen, and that my precious baby's life was not to be spared. No matter how much I wanted my baby to live this was not the will of my Heavenly Father.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It is a common thing within our culture after finding out that you are pregnant to wait until 12-15 weeks before telling anyone other than your spouse. At that point the likelihood of miscarrying lowers significantly. This is to protect oneself from having to go back and let everyone you initially told that you were pregnant know that now you have miscarried. So when I experienced a miscarriage in March of 2011 I was devastated. None of my sisters, nor my mother had ever experienced a miscarriage so this was something completely new for my family. They of course were incredibly supportive. After I had miscarried I wasn't feeling relief because I didn't tell anyone (other than my husband)  that I was pregnant, I was wishing I had because I needed emotional support from friends and family. I remember feeling numb for a few weeks and being depressed. 

So when I became pregnant again two months later my hubby and I were both cautiously ecstatic! Besides in my mind I had already experienced what I believed was the worst thing that could happen during a pregnancy. As time passed by during my pregnancy I continued to feel relief as I heard the heart beat with each appointment. When 15 weeks had come and gone I felt great relief thinking we made it past that milestone and our baby would be fine.  

Just over two years ago was the most difficult as well as sacred day of my life. I gave birth to a beautiful little boy that only lived for 23 minutes. Although I knew and anticipated the arrival of this day nothing could have prepared me for the grief as well as the peacefulness that I felt. I am/was so grateful for the opportunity that I had to develop a bond with my sweet baby and carry him as long as possible, until he came on his own. He only lived a very short time but was/is deeply loved. I have felt for a long time now that it was important that I share this difficult time and experience for myself and my family in the form of a blog. I know that our challenges are for our benefit so that we might become stronger and have opportunity to place greater trust in God and strengthen our faith. I also strongly believe that our experiences and the things we learn happen so that we might strengthen and help those with similar challenges and trials. My hope with this blog is that it might be of some help to those who are facing similar situations, because sometimes it just helps to know that you are not the only one in the world facing something that feels so unbearable. 

"Sometimes the Lord lovingly cares more about our growth than our comfort"
                                                              -Jonathan G. Sandberg