Friday, October 11, 2013

There are blessings in every situation.

Being that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I've decided to share my story. This is kind of difficult for me to write, but I feel like it will also be kind of therapeutic to get it out, so here goes...

WARNING: I go into detail so if you have a weak stomach or are easily upset, please don't read this.

At the start of May this year, we were on our way back from Orlando and I felt this strange pressure on my lower abdomen from the seatbelt. The seatbelt wasn't tight or anything, it was just uncomfortable. I remember thinking that it was strange and that I had only felt anything like it when I was pregnant with Lachlan. I tried to dismiss the thought because I hadn't noticed any other symptoms and I'd had symptoms from really early on with my first pregnancy. But then I remembered that I'd had heartburn a few times in the past week, which I'd only ever had during pregnancy. And of course, I'd been emotional for a couple weeks, but I had chalked that up to the fact that I had recently stopped breastfeeding and had figured my hormones were a little out of whack from my milk drying up.
I bought a couple of tests and took one that night, not really expecting to see two lines. It was eight o'clock at night after all. So I was shocked when I saw two dark lines staring back at me, within seconds of taking the test!
I ran upstairs to tell Anthony and the first thing he said was "why are you crying?" I hadn't even realized I was crying and all I could manage to say was "I don't know"
He just smiled at me and turned to Lachlan and said "you're going to be a big brother, bud!"

The next morning, I woke up and tested again to be sure and again I burst into tears when I saw those two lines, but this time out of sheer joy and excitement, rather than shock. The love I already had for that beautiful baby inside of me was nothing short of amazing.
I called the OBGYN and was told that they won't do a pregnancy intake appointment without proof of pregnancy, so I found a clinic that would do a pregnancy test and made an appointment for that same day. I got my proof of pregnancy and was told to go back the next week for a dating scan, seeing as my dr didn't take appointments until 9 weeks.

We decided that day to tell our parents, which made it seem all the more real. Of course they were as over the moon as we were. Within days, my morning sickness had started and was getting worse by the day, so after much deliberating, we decided to make the announcement that next week, because with as sick as I was, there was no way we could keep it a secret.
Even though my morning sickness was horrible, it wasn't nearly as bad as it was with Lachie and my boobs barely hurt, whereas they were almost too sore to wear a bra with my first pregnancy. I told myself that it was a different pregnancy, so my symptoms were bound to be different, but I couldn't help but worry that something was wrong. I tried my best to stay positive, I pushed any negative thoughts to the back of my mind and focused on the love that was growing inside of me and my excitement to be able to experience again all that indescribable joy that I had experienced when Lachlan was born. I was so excited that Lachlan would have a little brother just a little less than two years younger than him, everything seemed so perfect!

By 8 weeks, I had started to have mild dizzy spells, and at 8 1/2 weeks, on a Monday morning, I woke up so dizzy that I could barely walk. I was scared to lift Lachlan and ended up having the sister missionaries come and sit with me for a few hours, so I wouldn't be home alone in case something happened.
The next day, on June 4th I woke up in a panic from a dream that I had gone to the bathroom and was bleeding heavily. I told myself that it was just a dream, but couldn't shake the feeling that I had had that dream for a reason, that I was being prepared for bad news.
The next night, on June 5th, I went to the bathroom before bed and noticed that I had light brown spotting when I wiped. I tried to tell myself that it was normal, lots of people spotted when they were pregnant, but it didn't calm me down. I ended up calling my mum in tears and I honestly can't even remember the conversation, all I remember is that she made me feel better. My mum has a real knack for that.

Thursday morning (June 6th) I was still spotting so I called the doctor and was told not to worry unless it was bright red and as heavy as a period and was put on bed rest until that coming Monday, which was when my first appointment was scheduled for.
I stayed in bed all day, except for obviously going to the bathroom, and by that night had mild cramping, which honestly scared the crap out of me.

By Friday morning, the cramping and spotting had stopped and I still had morning sickness, although, not as bad as it had been, but I was 9 weeks pregnant by that point and I tried to convince myself that it was tapering off and everything was okay, after all, the bleeding and cramping was gone. I stayed on rest all day, but around 1pm, I needed to go to the bathroom, so I stood up and I felt something come out of me. I turned to Ant and said "honey, we just lost the baby"
Then I felt a huge gush of blood. My whole body went numb and my ears started ringing so loud that I couldn't hear anything else. Anthony helped me to the bathroom where I found myself reliving that nightmare that I had just a few nights before, only this time it wasn't just a bad dream, it was real life. There was blood everywhere and then I saw the thing that I had felt pass just moments earlier. It was a huge clot, the size of the palm of my hand. I had never seen anything like it before and didn't know any better, so I thought it was the amniotic sac with the baby inside (in reality it was just a mother freaking huge clot). I screamed out to Ant and completely lost it. I don't even remember him coming into the room, all I remember is him holding me. Neither of us said a word, we didn't have to, he knew what I needed was to be held, so he held me tighter than I've ever been held before, while I sobbed my heart out.

Then the physical pain started, it was like being in labour, just before you get to the point that you can't talk through the contractions, only the pain was localized to my lower abdomen and lower back, rather than my whole belly and back, I guess because my uterus was still so much smaller and lower.

I called my mum and woke her, I think it was about 3:30 in the morning Australia time, so I felt guilty waking them up, but I just needed my mum so bad and of course, she didn't mind being woken up. I don't even think I could talk at first, I just cried and cried. I felt so helpless.
Mum asked if she could message my friend Karen to come give me a hug on her behalf seeing as she couldn't be there herself, so Karen came as soon as she could and stayed with me most of the afternoon into the evening.

My OBGYN had closed by the time I tried calling them and I didn't have their emergency number, so I called a friend who works for another OBGYN and I practically begged her to tell me that I didn't have to go to the hospital. She ended up telling me that I technically should, but if I really don't want to, then to keep my eye out for certain symptoms (like a fever, nausea, vomiting, severe pain, etc) and if I had any of those, to go straight to the ER.
The pain just kept getting worse and I kept passing huge clots, so I had started to figure out that what I had passed earlier was just a huge freaking clot and not the baby.
At around 10pm, the cramps were almost unbearable and I felt like I needed to poo. I went to the bathroom and tried, but couldn't. A few minutes later, I got another really bad cramp (I guess technically they were contractions), I went back to the bathroom and just sat on the toilet for a few minutes, then I felt something pass that felt much bigger than any of the other clots. I looked into the toilet and saw the whole amniotic sac, in tact with my perfect baby inside.
I honestly can't even describe the pain I felt at that moment. My heart had just been ripped out of my chest, I felt destroyed. I felt as though all the love, all the excitement, all the hopes and dreams we had for that baby were gone. It was so final and I didn't know why.

But then I realized something. God can use even the worst situations for good. Even though I may never know the temporal reason for losing my baby, I knew that my Heavenly Father would bring some good out of this. I knew that through this experience, I would be able to help somebody through a similar situation. Even though I was hurting worse than I thought possible, I could see the blessings that would come from my pain.
The following days were the worst of my life. Everyone knew I had been pregnant, so those that didn't know what happened were asking how the baby was and I had to try to find the words to explain what had happened. Thankfully, I had Anthony by my side to explain to people when I couldn't talk through my tears and to catch me when I felt myself crumbling into a heap.

And then it started, although meaning well, people just kept saying all the wrong things.
If you are reading this, I beg of you, if you ever know anyone who has a miscarriage, no matter the circumstance, please just love them, hug them, give them your condolences and most importantly, pray for them.
Don't even think about saying anything that begins with the words "at least..."
"At least you weren't further along"
"At least it wasn't your first pregnancy"
"At least you didn't have to have a D & C"
"At least you know you can get pregnant" (yes someone actually said this to me!!)
Don't compare their situation to someone else's.
Don't tell them it could have been worse.
It doesn't matter how far along a woman is in her pregnancy. It doesn't matter if it was her first pregnancy or her twenty first. It doesn't matter if someone else's story seems worse to you. What matters is that she is  going through one of the most heartbreaking times of her life. She is grieving. She feels broken. She needs love. She needs support.
And please please don't bring up trying again. I can't even tell you the amount of people who told me that I was young enough to try again. I just had I miscarriage, the last thing I wanted to think about was getting pregnant again.
And please don't assume that just because you see her smiling a couple weeks later that she is ok, chances are, she is feeling just as broken as she was before, she has just gotten better at hiding it and putting on a brave face.

Just over a month after this all happened, on July 10th, we were getting ready to move house and my cycle hadn't returned to normal so I decided to take a pregnancy test. I was terrified. I wanted so badly to be pregnant, but at the same time, I didn't. I didn't want another pregnancy, I just wanted to still be pregnant from before. I didn't want to see two lines on the test, because the thought of going through this all over again scared the life out of me, but I also didn't want to see just one line, because that would mean that these past five weeks really happened and I really wasn't pregnant anymore.
I held my breath and took another test. This time, I couldn't sit there and watch for the lines to appear, I placed it on the counter and cried with my head in my hands, not knowing what the test was reading. After about 5 minutes, I brought myself to look at it. There was only one line. Negative. My heart broke all over again.

Over the next few days, I felt like I was grieving all over again, but this time, I felt like I had to hide it. Everyone that was close to me was acting like it never happened, so I felt like I had to too. On the night of July 13th, I had this niggling feeling that I should test again, if we weren't moving in just two days, I would have ignored this feeling, but I had to be 100% sure so that I didn't lift anything too heavy or strain in a way that could cause problems. I woke up at about 5 o'clock the next morning and took a test. There were two lines within seconds!  The spectrum of emotions I felt were just baffling to me. I was happy that I was carrying yet another beautiful baby, I was sad for the loss of my last pregnancy, I was terrified of what might happen, I was immediately in love with the baby and I felt like I had to protect him/her no matter what, but most of all, I felt helpless. Like no matter what, I couldn't control what would happen, I could be healthy for myself and the baby, I could wrap myself in cotton wool until March, but if anything was going to happen, I couldn't stop it. It all amounted to a surreal feeling of numbness.

A lot of people seem to assume that because I'm pregnant again, I have somehow replaced the baby I lost, or that I am okay now. Oh how wrong they are. Another pregnancy doesn't magically heal the pain of a miscarriage.
These past few months have been beyond stressful. I catch myself constantly going to the bathroom to check for blood. I have spotted multiple times. I freak out at every little ache and pain and I read into every symptom more than I should. At my 14 week appointment, it took well over 10 minutes for the midwife to find the heartbeat with the doppler because the baby was moving around so much and I ended up in tears by the time she found it.
I have felt the baby move, but there are still times where I will go long periods of time where I can't feel anything, because baby is still so small and those times freak me out so much more than they should. I am so thankful to have my faith and testimony of the gospel, because without it, I know I would have lost the plot. I would be a total basket case.

Thankfully, I have been blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I am blessed to have a husband who holds the priesthood and was able to give me a blessing for comfort and to help me on my path to healing. I am not going to lie, I still hurt, I still cry, but I take comfort in my Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. It is a wonderful thing to know that families are forever, that our children are sealed to us for all of eternity. I am so thankful to know that I WILL hold that baby in my arms one day, my baby will join our family, whether it be in this earthly life at a later date, or in the eternities. My baby was not taken from me, it just wasn't the right time. Even though I hurt from losing a pregnancy and losing the time I thought I had with my baby, I now know that I haven't actually lost my baby, God's plan for his or her life is just not what we all thought it would be, or at least, not in the timing we thought it would be.

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