November 26, 2014 · Personal
Today, my husband and I are celebrating 9 years of marriage. 9 years. It seems strange to be celebrating something at a time where we are dealing with so much heartache, but it’s in the midst of heartache that I see our marriage for what it is. Stronger than before. Solid. Unbreakable.
The “for better or for worse” part of our marriage vows has seemed like we’ve been living out more of the latter lately. But, all the “for worse” we have faced has made our relationship BETTER…not worse. For that, I am thankful.
We lost another little one this past week. That’s 3 babies in 3 years. Three little ones, all spaced out enough that we could have had all three. Be a family of 5. Yet, we are still a family of 2 here on earth. Our family size in Heaven is much larger than what we have to hold onto here. It makes me long for the day where I can see, hold and kiss my three littles.
Their due dates and birthdays are forever branded on my heart. December 30, 2011. September 27, 2012. And the most recent, June 4, 2015. We now have an oldest child…a middle child…and a youngest child. I never imagined I would lose ONE baby in my lifetime…let alone three.
We were in the 12th week of pregnancy. My nausea and vomiting were still raging and all the signs and symptoms of a healthy pregnancy were in full swing. We had spent weeks trying to figure out the perfect way to announce this exciting news to our family and friends. The plans were made. We would be surprising our parents the next day.
Instead, a single phone call delivered the best and worst news to our parents. One right after the other. Tears streaming down our faces as the way we anticipated telling our parents turned into these shallow words over the phone, “We were pregnant, but we lost the baby…”
My 12-week ultrasound revealed that our little one had passed away in the 9th week. We were in shock. No warning. No signs. Just…gone.
My miscarriage before I delivered Owen was much different. My symptoms disappeared almost overnight between weeks 8-9. I had spotting. I almost saw it coming. This time, I felt like my body had betrayed me.
I was almost out of the woods. For 3 full weeks I continued on as if everything was normal not ever knowing that my baby was already gone. It was almost time to celebrate and shout our pregnancy from the rooftops. Almost.
Instead, we found ourselves at the hospital a few days after our big “reveal” was supposed to go down. I was there for a D&C. Had I not had that 12-week ultrasound I would not have known anything was wrong until the miscarriage kicked into gear. Most likely still another week away. When I woke up and prepared for my surgery, my body still had me fooled that everything was ok.
Since my last miscarriage where I went natural was so graphic, excruciatingly painful and landed me in the ER, my doctor suggested a different plan this time. Her findings during the surgery solidified that decision, as she concluded there was no way I would have been able to do this naturally this time.
The staff at Mercy Hospital were over-the-top in their care for us. They took time to hear about our baby and the babies lost before. They sat with me on my hospital gurney and expressed how much their hearts ached for us. I was SO touched by every person I came into contact with on this difficult day. We were granted favor and showered with love and support from people we didn’t even know. God was wrapping us in His Arms. No doubt about that.
The hospital sent us home with a little miscarriage momento and information on where we could visit our baby’s ashes at a local cemetery here in town where they take all the little ones that pass away before 20 weeks. After 3 years, we learned that our first baby is in this location as well. A missing piece in our grief that was finally revealed years later.
Our babies are BABIES to them, not tissue to be disposed of. What a blessing to this hurting mother’s heart, because the little punching hands and kicking feet I saw in those ultrasound images were not just tissue. The heart I saw visibly beating on that screen was not just tissue. THAT…was my baby. My BABY. Only an inch in size but 100%, UNDENIABLY a little visible human being. Moving around and showing off for Mom and Dad.
Feeling like you have no control over what happens to your baby after it is passed from your body is almost unbearable. Now, we have a place we can go and visit. Another spot. In addition to Owen’s grave site.
There were days during this pregnancy where I could hardly function through the nausea and vomiting. I hated food. Anything with sugar made the nausea almost unbearable. Then, suddenly, sometimes after a full-on vomit fest, I’d get a hankering for something sweet. Like German chocolate cake. Or pie. Or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Johnny and I would laugh at these random cravings and quickly named the baby McSweets.
If I tried to eat something sugary on MY terms? I was sick as a dog. If I waited until McSweets wanted something sweet? It was like a little piece of Heaven on its way to my stomach. My babies always let me know that they are DADDY’S baby. Daddy has the sweet tooth. Mommy prefers salty treats.
We’d talk to McSweets multiple times a day. Oh how we loved that little McSweets. Sometimes, I’d use the baby as a pawn when I felt bad asking my over-accommodating husband for yet ANOTHER favor for his miserably pregnant wife. “McSweets is requesting mashed potatoes for dinner.” He could never say no to McSweets.
McSweets, while here only briefly, brought us so much joy…and peace. That peace that passes all understanding. Because, there is NO explanation except for God’s Hand upon our lives for us to feel peace with a pregnancy after burying a son. No way. But, McSweets helped usher in that peace into our lives.
While our hearts are aching for our little one and we begin the process of grieving yet another loss, we are not without hope. I refuse to let my heart become hardened. I refuse to give in to the lies that nothing good is ever going to come our way. I will not turn my back on my Savior.
I may cry myself to sleep for a while, but joy is coming in the morning. And I will not give up hope for what God is going to do in our lives. I will not give back the peace that McSweets helped to bring to us. I will cling to that as we step out into the unknowns of our future. Whatever they may be.
McSweets was in our lives for a reason, and this baby’s brief little life was not in vain. McSweets was here for a purpose. That purpose was peace.
Click here for the very beginning of our 8 year journey through life, loss and our unexpected struggle with secondary infertility. Starting with what we shared at our 3-week-old son’s funeral.