From our Broken Hearts

* I don’t normally find it necessary to make disclaimers for my posts. But this is regarding pregnancy loss and I know many friends who may find this upsetting.

It is from the depths of grief and sadness that I write this post. I thought waiting a couple of days would make it easier, but the pain is just as sharp.

I intended to post this Thursday for Thanksgiving how thankful we were for the blessing of our third child, safely into our 2nd trimester at 14 weeks.

Instead I come to you today, having lost our baby, who we have named Miles, this past Friday, November 21st.

This baby was so wanted. So loved. So celebrated. Dreamed of. And now he is gone.

It is fitting that the snow turned to rain as I suffered in the hospital for nearly 24 hours. My soul is full of tears that are pouring like the rain on these cloudy November days.

This pregnancy was so difficult from the very beginning. I felt nauseous from the second I saw a positive pregnancy test back in August. And tired. SO tired all day, every day. I thought it was a good thing. A sign how many awesome hormones were coursing through my body.

But then between 8 and 9 weeks I started bleeding. We spent a harrowing weekend resting and terrified of losing the baby until we went for an ultrasound and were told I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is essentially a blood clot between the uterine wall and placenta. I had just months before sat with my friend Jessi in the ER as she was diagnosed with the same problem, but she is well into her 2nd trimester, so I knew it could be ok. Plus we heard his heartbeat. Miles got his first and only picture.

So I took it as easy as I could with two active children to chase after. I scaled back on housework and socializing. I took a nap or rested every single afternoon. I was doing everything right.

Then last Thursday I started spotting again. Heavier. Darker. Scarier.

When our midwife, Audra, couldn’t find heart tones again I tried with all my might not to freak the fuck out. So we scheduled an ultrasound that I should be at right now. The bleeding stopped that afternoon. I felt normal. Thought that I felt the baby moving around.

We were having Nicole and Rola, two of my oldest and dearest friends, over for dinner, to see the house for the first time. We had just finished dessert and I felt a gush. I ran to the bathroom and blood.

So. Much. Blood.

I didn’t even think I could leave the toilet I was bleeding so much. I knew what was happening. I knew he was gone.

So we went to the ER at Sparrow. And after being shuffled around the hospital and being throughly disgusted by how I was treated by the L&D unit nurses, we were finally given an ER room and the most amazing nurse, Carmen.

How do you thank the woman that holds your hand and brings you warm blankets as you’re suffering such a tremendous loss? There aren’t adequate words. She was an angel. Even though she tried to hide it and stay professional, she cried with me.

What hurts the most is that our child wasn’t buried. He has no final resting place. He was lost somewhere between the shitty L&D unit and the ER unit bathrooms amongst the other tissue and blood I lost. And that pains me to no end. He deserved to be delivered, to be held, to be cherished.

The OB doctors performed an incredibly horrific and painful procedure on me without anesthesia or warning of how much it would hurt.

Then I lost so much blood that I passed out, went unconscious for a bit and had to have a blood transfusion.

All while my poor Michael had the scare of his life, with me every second, holding my hands and trying not to fall apart. He was so strong. He is my rock. I don’t know if I could have survived one second of this ordeal without his strength.

After spending 24 hours in the hospital, I was finally discharged and came home to my girls that I had missed terribly to tell them the news.

Cedella cried with me and told me so wanted our baby back and why was the baby sick. Isora seemed to take it easily and not quite understand. But now she sees me cry and says “Is it because the baby died?”

I know it seems harsh or somehow inappropriate to tell the kids the truth, but I don’t know any other way to talk to them. They deserve to know what happened. Why I’m sad. Why Dad is sad. Why we won’t be having a baby this spring. They have been a part of the pregnancy from the beginning and should be a part of its end. This was their baby too.

And now we have to figure out how to go on. How to get back to ‘normal’. How to grieve and process and try and make sense of this.

And even if I know this isn’t my fault I am so angry with my body. It did this to me. To us. Something went wrong in my body and that is the worst feeling ever.

I know we can try again. But that doesn’t make any of this any better or easier. Because I will never hold this child. I will never watch him grow. I will never kiss him or nurse him or hear him say ‘I love you’.

So while I certainly hope we will have another baby some day, it will never be this baby. And that just hurts.

Just as their aren’t adequate words for the nurses that helped me at the hospital, there aren’t enough words for those that have taken care of us in the past couple days.

To Nicole and Rola. I can’t thank you enough. For being my friends for nearly 20 years. For introducing me to Michael all those years ago. And for taking such good care of my girls while we were at the hospital. I can never repay you but will be eternally grateful for all you have given me.

To my Tribe. My amazing, supportive, incredible friends here in Lansing and all the way from California to Illinois. They sent flowers to the hospital and sent Trisha to hand deliver chocolate to me. These women are the best support system through good and bad and how fortunate we are to have this group in our lives.

To Sudharshan who was the first at our door, despite his wife (my dear friend Maha) and son being in India, to bring comfort and see if we needed anything. He made me a specific healing food and brought food for the family as well. How thankful we are for a friend like him.

To my girls: Leslie, Nicole G, Meghan, Jessi, Nicole H, Ashley, Kristy, Katie and Annie. You talk to me nearly every day. You have supported me throughout this pregnancy. And your phone calls, texts, hugs and gifts have made this just a little more bearable. I know that you all will be there when this still hurts months from now. I know you won’t hesitate to sit with me and cry. For that, I love you.

To Angela, Robyn, Niki, Kristyn, Jen, Natalie and Lucy thank you for your texts and love and for understanding.

To Klisti, Angelica, Desiree and Jessie, who dropped off food, supplies, chocolate and love. You are such incredible friends. I honor you for taking the time to help my family.

But I could not be here, could not do anything without my family and their love. To Mom and Tracey who sat with me for an entire day in the hospital, watching bad TV and eating terrible hospital food. You two are my world.

To my incredible inlaws, my second father and mother, John and Hilda, thank you for taking such good care of the girls and for supporting me, crying with me and loving me as much as your own daughter.

To Kylara and Robbie who didn’t know what to say to make me feel better but called none the less, who cried with me and who suffer this loss with me, I love you guys.

To my mother-in-law Becky, Michael’s grandma Cecelia and my grandma Rose for sending their love and prayers.

To André and Merissa for your love and kind words and beautiful flowers.

And to Sabah and Talia and Diana, my loves, for sending their prayers and kind words and love.

We are so fortunate to have such a big and caring and supportive family. This baby was loved and wanted by each and every one of them. His loss is felt by each and every one of them. Their hearts break with our own.

There is nothing more I can say to you Michael beyond thank you. Thank you my love. Thank you for our life. Thank you for your love. Thank you for walking this road with me. Thank you.

So now we try to go on. Each day will hurt a little less. Some days will hurt more. Today is just one step forward.

Many have asked what they can do for us. The food and flowers and calls and texts are all so helpful in this moment. It is next week and next month and next May that we will need you the most. What I ask is that you not forget us. Don’t pretend this didn’t happen. Don’t hesitate to ask how we’re doing. Don’t forget our sweet baby Miles.

Much love to anyone I have failed to mention that has kept us in their hearts or prayers. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Loss and Remembrance

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and today I send love to all of my family, friends and readers that have lost a pregnancy or baby.

One in four woman will lose a baby in their life. 25% of women. So many more than you may ever know.

It’s a sad and often silent sisterhood.

I didn’t learn how much miscarriage and child loss affected those around me until I became the 1 in 4.

When I became pregnant in 2011, while Michael and I were working desperately on keeping our marriage together, I was elated. Sure, everyone always tells you that a baby can’t fix what’s broken. But we were already on the mend. Our pregnancy was something to bind us even closer together.

But just as swiftly as I found out I was pregnant, I began to spot, and then cramp, and after several devastating hours in the emergency room it was clear that I had lost my baby.

It was hard. So very hard. But like all hard things, I wrote about it, and the outpouring of stories, love, compassion and support I received was remarkable. You can read my thoughts and the kindness I received HERE.

I have lost my father, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, beloved cousins. Attended countless funerals, memorials and wakes.

But losing my baby was something so intimate and personal and internal for me. No memorial service. No coffin. Largely just me and my sadness.

I know so many brave women that have named their Angels. That honor them with tattoos or trees or statues.

But I haven’t.

Not because I don’t long for and miss who my baby could have been. But because I am not strong enough to give my baby a name. To memorialize. To constantly remember.

It hurts in such an abstract and hard way. It’s like I can’t touch the grief. It’s there. Right under the surface, a nagging sadness in the corner of my heart. But I can’t cry it out. I can’t grieve it away. It aches but I’m used to it.

And then there’s the guilt. Guilty for longing for a baby that was lost when just months later I was graced with my perfect and healthy Isora. Perhaps guilt is irrational in this circumstance. But it’s there. I can’t help it.

So many friends have suffered losses in the past couple years. Mamas who gave me the excited news about being pregnant only to call to tell me something went wrong. Friends who lost a baby and feel that was their one and only chance to be a mother. Women that have suffered multiple miscarriages only to finally be blessed with a rainbow baby. And one incredible mother who has lost three dear sons, in such a short amount of time, whose courage and strength are inspiring to thousands of us.

My heart and soul goes out to each and every one of them. My tears pour out onto my keyboard for them. Whether they suffer in silence, or welcome people into their journey, they are, each and every one a hero. Heroes that are capable of making life and surviving beyond the life they have created though it pains them to do so.

I know that the ache in my heart is part of motherhood. Part of life, really. And while I would love to be holding my baby, instead I choose to accept that this baby was lost so that Isora could be born.

So I light my candle today…for Dani, Jen, Leslie, Kaitlyn, Stephanie and of course my dear Diana and the hundreds of others.

May each of you find peace and comfort from the grief. And may your Rainbows light the way.

 

Wordful Wednesday: Why? Just why?

As summer winds down we are trying to cram so much into every single day. I had so many grand ideas of things to post today but my computer died last week and I haven’t gotten back to editing photos yet. Besides the fact that while me and my two incredible kids are busy living, laughing, loving and just being, there are families out there suffering so much.

I just can’t stop thinking about how fortunate we are for what we have. Or how unfortunate and shitty some people have it.

My awesome friend Alex lost her home to arson earlier this summer. This sweet sweet mama and her family lost everything but the clothes on their backs. Thankfully Alex, Scott and Bella are safe and sheltered and looking for a new home. After our house flood and simultaneous miscarriage I thought life would never be the same. But I was astounded by the rallying of our loved ones around us.

And this situation is much the same. Our incredible Crunchy Momma community here in Lansing pulled together and organized clothes, food, toiletries, gas cards, cell phones and toys. Showering Alex with donations within hours. It is inspiring how much we pulled together.

Despite living with family (SO much like our situation) they are living their lives and looking for a home and moving forward. They are sad and still shaken but so very strong. If you want to help the Schroeder family move into their own home check out their YouCaring site HERE.

I’m so proud of how strong Alex has been through all of this. Because what is a mother without strength?

Strength defines Diana Stone. Many of you have read her blog Hormonal Imbalances or followed her pregnancy on Babble. She was one of the first blogs I followed. She encouraged me to write more and helped me through some rough times and always, always took the time to respond to me and send emails and answer my questions.

And now, after losing her twin sons at just over 19 weeks old in May 2012, she is fighting for the life of her 2 week old son Kaden.

All I can even summon right now is the question “Why?”

Why is this happening to her? Why again? Didn’t she suffer enough when she lost her boys?

It’s not fair. It’s bullshit. It makes me angry.

I am not a Christian like Diana. In fact I don’t subscribe to any one form of religion. But I believe in a higher consciousness. A human connection. The power of so many minds and souls focusing on one thing has the ability to make a change. I truly believe that prayer can work.

And so I pray. Begging pleading cries into the universe for this child.

Prayers for this child whose heart isn’t working because of a random virus. Totally undetectable. Totally unpredictable. Totally random. It could have happened to any of our children. But it happened to Diana.

And this is where her incredible strength will be tested to it’s absolute limits. I pray the most for her to have the strength to make the tough calls and to fight for her son no matter what.

She showed that strength when she fought for Preston and Julian. She showed that strength when she went home and went back to mothering her Bella the best way she knew how. And she shows it now, as she pumps every day in hopes of giving her son a few precious drops of liquid gold. As she watches him undergo procedures and tests and tubes and IVs.

I don’t know that we can ever understand why illness and disability strikes one family and not another. Why when it rains it insists on pouring. But I do know that we are damn lucky to have two healthy little girls.

Whatever your faith, or lack there of, please spend a couple moments thinking about this family. They could use all the help they can get.

Or if giving is more your way of showing concern please consider donating to their YouCaring fundraiser HERE. They are out of their home, away from their daughter and without any end in sight for Kaden’s hospital stay. Every penny helps them to stay close to their son and hopefully move the entire family closer to the hospital.

I can’t imagine watching my baby through an isolette. I can’t imagine being hundreds of miles away from my daughter. I can’t imagine not knowing if my baby’s heart was going to give out. It’s devastating just to think about.

Diana, Sam, Bella, Preston, Julian and Kaden. You are all in my heart and I am praying for you each and every day. Hoping for better news for all of you soon.