*written Monday 5/6/13
I never knew it would hurt this much, physically or emotionally. In fact, I hoped I would be one of the lucky ones who never experienced this kind of pain. I had hoped that our fourth baby would come uneventfully into the world and laugh and grow just like the first three. I was wrong.
I had been fearing that something was wrong for about a week. When my morning sickness ended abruptly, I hoped it was because I was far enough along for it to do so, at over 10 weeks. Then some spotting, but not more than I experienced with Ellie, and she turned out just fine- I kept reassuring myself. Wednesday night it got heavier so I called the midwives and was seen in their office the next day. The wait felt like forever. But there on the ultrasound was our little baby, almost 11 weeks, heart beating strongly and dancing for us. Peace. Sweet, temporary peace. I was told not to worry since baby looked ok and went on with my day, even went to work and saw a client that night. Friday, I started cramping more and spent the day in bed, worrying and praying and praying not to worry. I told my boss I would need the day off on Saturday and she was supportive, as always. My mom had come to help with the Littles, as a mom on self-imposed bed rest is not very useful. I used my home doppler that day three times, the last right before going to bed and heard the beautiful peaceful sound of my little one's heart racing.
I woke on Saturday with a slight headache and realized it was probably from needing to eat and drink some more and made my way upstairs. I sat on the couch and talked with my mother, nursed my sweet Ellie and watched my little girls play. Just as I was saying something about my baby, I felt a pop, two actually. I knew exactly what it was, it had happened with all three of my girls. My water had broken. I knew this was the beginning of the end. I looked at my watch, 11:20am. I know this time will be in my heart forever- it was the moment my heart broke.
I will spare anyone reading this the most graphic details but I will only say that I never have seen in person the amount of blood I lost over the next several hours. Mike raced me to the ER as I cried, bled and labored and they tried to push me aside into the waiting room until the nurse noticed the blood and suddenly I was actually getting emergency medical attention. All I could think is that I wanted a miracle, but I believed the time was past for that.
Minutes after arriving I was holding my sweet tiny baby, already an angel in heaven. I cried from the depth of my soul as I held this beautiful baby, perfect, just tiny. I counted baby's 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes on the long skinny limbs. The baby had a tiny little baby butt and I peaked to see if I could tell girl or boy, and I think it may have actually been a boy. I wondered at the tiniest ear and nose I have ever seen, and baby's mouth even appeared to be smiling, which actually brought me a glimmer a peace. I thanked God that my sweet baby would never feel earthly pain, even while feeling intense grief. I knew my baby was safe with Jesus, wrapped warmly in His love and I prayed for just a glimmer of that peace that my own sweet baby was feeling.
I couldn't let my baby go and my nurse was incredibly compassionate and encouraged me to take as long as I needed. I couldn't imagine ever having enough time. I was supposed to have a lifetime with this child, how could something easily measured in minutes, or even hours, ever be adequate? I asked Mike to take some pictures. I knew I had to be able to preserve my baby somehow. They bring me peace, the same way knowing that I did get to hold my baby and say goodbye did. I look at the palm of my hand and remember seeing my tiny baby resting there. I will certainly carry those memories with me all the days of my life.
I finally passed the baby off to Mike to pass off to the nurse. The baby was cold and that was hard to handle. The baby remained in the room for hours while they tended to my medical needs. The nurse apologized but I told her it didn't bother me, the baby was the only beautiful part about this. Our dear friend Katie came and sat with me, held my hand and brought me comfort. She told me of the many praying for us and that brought me peace, if only a glimmer. I had to mourn, I had to grieve. I knew the pain was important for the healing.
The hospital had us sign all sorts of papers, including one that is about what to do with our baby, we chose the option to give us time. The things that made me angry were when the doctor coldly refered to my baby and the placenta as "pregnancy products" or "tissues". I know that it must be easier for them if they don't think of them as babies, but what I held was most definitely a baby, just born way too early. Please don't dehumanize my sweet one, "he" was just as human as you, you are just older. How anyone can try to pretend that it is just a lump of cells or tissues? It is sickening that in all states it is legal to kill such perfect tiny babies as this. It has always troubled my soul to know this, but now that I have seen my tiny baby with my own eyes, I just can't comprehend.
It's been more than 48 hours since I last held our baby. The depth of pain is more than I ever thought. Every time I cry, my cramps get worse and my headache gets worse, but it doesn't compare to the ache of my broken heart. The big things and the small things trigger tears. I stood at my kitchen sink this morning and looked out at a sunny day and thought maybe it would help to get me some fresh air and sunshine. This hopeful moment was shattered by the reality that my sweet baby will never feel the warmth of sun on his face and I burst into tears. Almost immediately, God laid on my heart that the warmth that our sweet baby is feeling in the presence of the source of all light and love is more comforting than the sun would ever be. In the deepest moments of pain, God is providing me with peace, through songs, scripture or just words to comfort my heart. I know time will heal my heart, but this scar will always remain. Some day I will see my sweet baby again in heaven and I pray he will know how much he is loved.
In some ways, I am extremely lucky. I have 3 beautiful girls to love and hold tight. I know many women who have lost babies and have not had the blessing of children, so I do not take that lightly. But when my babies laugh and I think of my baby never laughing, or hug me and I can't hug my tiny one, it aches. When something happens that is so contrary to what someone is created for the wound is deep and painful. I have no doubt that I am created to be a mother, so losing one of my dear children will always hurt, though I long for the day when it is not as painful. One of my most common prayers over the last few days has been "please Lord, don't let me outlive any more of my children." However, that prayer is a little selfish so I added to it that I hope that is a LONG time from now, long after my children have grown. For now, I heal. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. The wounds are raw and the healing is necessary. But I know healing will come. Even when it happens, I will always remember 11:20 am on May the 4th as the moment my heart broke.