Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Lord is Close to the Brokenhearted

I have missed this blog.

It used to be a place I shared my feelings, thoughts and emotions and I set it to the back burner while I pursued other interests. Grief has brought me back here today - to write down events, emotions and feelings so I don't forget.

This post will be long.  It will be real, it will be raw and it may be uncomfortable. It won't hurt my feelings if you close the page, because I need to write and I need the healing that comes with it.

A little over a week ago, at a routine OB check up, I was told that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was 16 weeks along.

That morning had started no differently than any other, really. My husband was out of town for work and I was trying to juggle our 16 month old and get ready for my appointment. It was the kind of morning where everything took longer than it should have because Beckett was in a particularly mischievous mood and was tearing my bedroom apart. I felt stressed and was running behind and as I went to throw on clothes, I had a thought in the back of mind to wear my regular pants. I had just started to ease myself into a few maternity pieces for comfort mainly - but for some strange reason that morning I felt determined to wear regular jeans. And I did.

 When I got to my appointment, I had a quick meeting with a nurse who went through the standard information - medications to take and not to take, how to register at the hospital. Medical history, current children, etc etc etc. After this we waited to see my midwife. They were running way behind schedule and I was stuck trying to keep the toddler entertained in his stroller. We looked at lights, at fans, watched Blues Clues on the Kindle Fire and played peek a boo. I furiously texted friends how angry I was that we were kept waiting for so long. Just when I thought I couldn't wait one more second, the midwife and her assistant came into the room.

I hopped up on the table so she could listen for a heartbeat. I waited anxiously for the sound to come. If you've ever heard a fetal heartbeat you know what I'm talking about. That glorious and ridiculously loud sound - like a horse stomping around the room. She moved the doppler around and around, and nothing happened. The room became uncomfortably silent. I held my breath, willing that sound to come. Praying, pleading and knowing something was wrong. Still she tried, and tried and tried. Said babies wiggle around a lot at this stage and maybe she just couldn't get the baby to stay in one spot long enough to hear. I wanted to say I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt like if I said the words out loud, they would come true. I waited as she tried to find the heartbeat again. And then she told me that she wanted me to have a sonogram done, and I knew. I knew that no good news would come of this appointment. I knew that my life was about to change. Beckett and I headed down to the room where the sonograms were done.

I was quiet and nervous as I laid down on the table - again pleading and hoping, wishing that my sweet baby was just playing around in there. I watched as the image came up on the screen. I saw that sweet little profile, and again, heard nothing. I could see where the heart should be flickering and saw nothing. I saw the tech marking measurements, all measuring behind where I should have been. I knew that the baby was gone. But still I stayed quiet, and prayed and hoped. And then she turned to me and said softly, "Honey I am so sorry, but there is no heartbeat" I can't even tell you what I felt in that moment. I remember bursting into tears and sobbing on the table. I remember looking at Beckett, so sweetly innocent, eating his snacks in his stroller and looking around. I remember the tech handing me tissues and giving me a hug. It felt so surreal and so wrong. We had to sit in the room together - the tech, Beckett and I, while we waited for my midwife to come back. And then my midwife was there, and condolences were said, instructions were being given, and there were decisions to make, appointments to make, people to call. Did I call my husband yet, did I have family in town, did I know what I wanted to do from here... I left the office in a fog.

I called my husband and tried to tell him the news in between sobs. I was crying so hard I could barely put Beckett into his carseat. I'm still not sure how I drove myself home. I called my mother and my sister and told them the news. The next few days were a fog for me. Decisions to make, messages to read, people to respond to. I wanted to curl up into a ball and never leave my bed. I wandered around aimlessly, not wanting to eat, not wanting to talk to people, not wanting to move forward. One of the most startling things for me to take in was how life goes on for everyone around you. People do exactly what they should, which is continue on. But isn't it strange that the person next to you in the car driving home from what should have been a standard doctors appointment is grappling with life altering news, and you never know.

Todd and I believed with every fiber within us that our baby was gone and with Jesus. That this child is now whole and complete and beautiful and in the arms of Christ. And that brings me great peace. This child's body, while miraculously tiny and already formed did not hold our child anymore.

The day of the surgery was beautiful. We woke up early and laid in bed together, feeling sad and unsure of what the day would hold for us. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink and I remember being so incredibly thirsty. Getting ready for the hospital was painful. I deliberated over what to wear. Nothing felt right or appropriate. Everything seemed too cheery or too ragged. This was the day I would say my final goodbye to my child. I couldn't figure out something as simple as what to put on. It felt excruciatingly stupid to think about clothing. I knew I couldn't bear to leave the hospital in maternity clothes. I tried on several outfits wondering if I would want to burn the final choice when I arrived home.

Fall has arrived in the Queen City (at least for now...) and the air was nice and cool outside, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue. Again I was struck by an acute awareness of how life was moving around us, without us, oblivious to us. We were escorted into the hospital by a friendly man who made small talk about the weather and the traffic. I wanted to punch him. The women at the check in desk smiled and laughed and told me to sit and wait for them to call me to be registered. I burst into tears as we sat down in the lobby and told Todd I couldn't do this. I couldn't sit among the people there for outpatient surgeries that weren't as life altering as mine. I didn't want to sit and wait and watch Katie Couric's new talk show on the tv hanging on the wall. I felt nauseous and unbelievably, chest crushingly sad.

The next few steps of the process were mind numbing and routine - but everyone was kind, gracious and compassionate. I got into my hospital gown and stared at the wall as the nurse chatted and made me comfortable. I watched the clock. I held Todd's hand and we looked at each other. I felt like there was nothing to say, and yet there seemed to be so much to say I didn't know where to begin. Finally, anesthesia was administered. I remember kissing Todd goodbye and crying as they wheeled me to the operating room. I remember when the doors opened and seeing all the people inside. There seemed to be throngs of them. I'm sure there were only a handful, but at that moment there seemed to be so many people. I remember them asking me to slide to another table and I remember nothing else after that moment until waking up. I came out of anesthesia crying and asking everyone, "Is my baby gone? Is my baby gone?" Someone gently said "Shhh" and handed me a box of tissues.

I cried all the way to recovery. I laid there, feeling heavy and nauseous and unbelievably sad. I drifted in and out of sleep and heard the term "anti partum" several times. It's funny what sticks with you - but I will never forget that term. I was not post partum, I was anti partum. It seemed like an awful word and I wanted to tell them to stop saying it. I dozed off and on and finally it was time to see my husband again. They wheeled me to another room where I sat in a recliner and sipped water until he arrived. 

Seeing him come down the hall was a beautiful sight. I felt like I had spent hours with strangers in one of the most intimate and painful experiences of my life. My sweet husband was perfect with me that day - his birthday - he was kind, unselfish, loving, and strong. He kissed me and we hugged and I cried some more. That friendly man showed up again as the nurse wheeled me outside and he smiled cheerfully at me and said cluelessly, "Well that didn't take long, now did it?"  I felt numb.

The days that have followed have been a mix of beauty and tragedy. I have two wonderful children at home that have been filled with empathy towards me, in their own little ways.  Logan has given me hugs and offered me words of comfort that show me he is so much wiser than his 11 years.  Beckett has been full of laughter and snuggles and has sat curled up in my lap more than he has in months.  And those have been beautiful moments.  Talks with my 11 year old about life and death and God - snuggles, kisses and giggles with my 16 month old.  They have been precious, life affirming moments.

However, there is no way to escape the truth that I carried a life inside of me for 16 weeks only to have it cruelly taken away from me with no warning. We have so many questions that we know will probably never get answered. We are waiting on results of gender testing and chromosomal testing so we can have closure with what may have gone wrong and give our precious child a name. I spend hours feeling numb and then suddenly I feel fine. I want to chat with my friends and send out silly text messages again and then minutes later I want to throw my phone at a wall. Everything around me seems trite and unimportant. I don't know how to feel. I don't know what anyone can do for me. I don't know what to say, or how to act. I feel tired and confused.

I read on the March of Dimes website that only 1-5% of miscarriages happen in the 2nd trimester. These statistics are equally maddening and comforting. I can't believe it happened to us. I can't believe I fit into that 1-5% of pregnancies.  And yet it did happen to us, and I do fit into that statistic and we are surviving it.  I don't know how I will continue to survive the grief, but I know I will - because we follow and serve a good God.  And we are called to be fearless because we know that death does not get the last word.  I am reminding myself of that over and over - and resting my hope in the knowledge that I will see our child again one day.  And he or she will be perfect and beautiful.  I do not feel angry with God, because I know that we live in a fallen, broken world.  I think God intended this child to be a part of our family and I am comforted to know we will be together one day.

Still I know the upcoming days, weeks and months will continue to bring pain, grief and heartache as well as healing, happiness and laughter.  I know to expect waves of emotion, ups and downs and to watch for symptoms of post partum depression.  I am fearful of how I will respond and react to people, to my family and I can only hope that we all come out of this stronger and more in love with each other than we were before.

I want to thank each and every one of you who has reached out to me, to us, to my family.  And I know there are some of you that don't know what to say, but are praying and thinking about us.  I'm thankful for you too.  I've been overwhelmed at times with how many of you have offered up kind words, thoughts, prayers and advice.  My kitchen has several big, beautiful arrangements of flowers that are reminding me beauty still exists.

And, I remember hourly the verse a friend shared with me that brings me great comfort.  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  It is a perfect description of how I feel - brokenhearted and crushed in spirt.  And it is a perfect reminder that even now, the Lord is with me.


18 comments:

  1. I can't even imagine your heartache. I pray that your blog will help you find some release for your pain. You are a brave beautiful woman and I am priviliged to know you.

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    1. And I am privileged to know you friend! <3

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss Miranda. More sorry than words can begin to describe. My heart is hurting and aching for you. I have prayed so much for comfort, and healing, and peace for you and Todd. Please know you are loved SO MUCH!

    Know that it's okay to be okay sometimes, and then HATE everyone and everything other times. Know that it's okay to want to laugh, but then be so incredibly angry, yet so devastatingly sad at the same time. It's okay to feel NOT okay. Every day it will be a little less NOT okay, until you are finally okay again.

    You're forever changed, but I promise it won't hurt this bad, all the time, forever. And I KNOW how ridiculously stupid that probably sounds right now. But maybe tomorrow it will bring comfort. {I know what it's like to simultaneously want to punch someone in the face for trying to console me, yet hug them for caring at the same time.}

    Millions and millions of hugs to you. ♥

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    1. Thanks Brianne - I am SURE I will be riding a roller coaster of emotions for a long time to come. If there is one thing I have learned in life, it's that it is necessary to ride the roller coaster. Smothering feelings never does any good.

      Thank you for your words, for your prayers and your advice. Lots of love to you!

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  3. I am sitting here, bawling...For the heartbreak you, Todd, and the boys are feeling. For the baby that was called home before we even got a chance to welcome him or her. And for the way life has continued on for everyone else while you stood still, shaken by the news that rocked your world.

    But I am also incredibly inspired by your strength and your faith. By your continuous praise and thankfulness to our Father. You are an amazing wife and mother. And I am so blessed to be your sister.

    This baby was already loved by so many. And there will be quite a birthday party in heaven the day we all get to meet face to face. I love you! And I am covering you with prayer every single day.

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  4. So sorry for this heartache you have to endure. Thankful that life is eternal and you will meet your baby one day in heaven. Praying that God continues to offer you comfort and peace.

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  5. Oh Friend, you've moved me to tears. Losing a child is indescribable, yet you've managed to describe the roller coaster of emotions quite well. Reading this brought me back to standing in your kitchen several years ago crying my eyes out to you. You are an amazing friend, woman, wife and mother, and I admire your courage to share your experience with others. You are in my thoughts and prayers and now more than ever I wish you weren't so far away. I love you so very much!

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    1. Miss you, friend. We have not seen each other in far too long!

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  6. Miranda, I know of you because my husband and I went to Next Level for a bit and I am friends with people who do actually know you and I just want to tell you I am so sorry and my heart is broken for you. I was not as far along as you were when I lost my babies, but losing a child is losing a child. My husband and I had finally decided we wanted to start a family and we were so excited and nervous at the same time. I cannot explain the feeling I felt when I saw double lines on that stick!!! I went to my very first appointment (the confirmatory one) and everything went good I was 6 weeks pregnant. Two weeks later I lost my first child...I had to have surgery and I was absolutely broken. We decided to give it another try six months later...this time things were going better I thought...I passed that six weeks mark....went to my next appointment (the one where you meet with the nurse) and BEGGED for an ultrasound through tears...they told me I would have to schedule it and so I did before I left the office. Deep down I knew something was wrong and I just wanted them to put my fears to rest and just do a flippin' ultrasound! I was eleven weeks when I found out my baby was measuring 6 weeks and no heartbeat...I was numb this time...completely numb. Miranda, your family's loss is so real to me. I know so much of how you feel. I wanted to punch every pregnant woman I saw because they had something I wanted with every inch of my soul. All the people who were pregnant for the first time with no problems infuriated me! Why can't I have that??? Unlike you, I was angry with God. I couldn't understand how He could give me a precious gift and then just take it away. Not once, but TWICE! It has been two years since I lost my babies and there are moments when I break down...I know I am healing though. It's a very slow process, but I'm getting there. My coworker and her husband are expecting their first child (they were on BC when she conceived) and I can actually say I am happy for them...something I never thought I would be. I'm still very scared to try for another baby because there is no certainty I won't have to go through this a third time, but I guess that is just something I have to give to God. I'm sorry for typing so much, but when I read this it brought back so many memories and feelings for me. Your family is definitely in my prayers.

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    1. You know, Amber - I think it's ok to be mad with God sometimes. I definitely don't think it's bad or wrong - He knows what's in our hearts anyway, so go ahead and get pissed. Yell, argue and be mad. I've had my moments where I just have to let it out - and who knows, that may still come for me. You are justified in feeling angry. I think that by being honest with God and with ourselves, that's when the healing comes. I pray for continued healing for you as you walk through this. There is no timeline, so you work through it on your own terms. Praying for peace for you!

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  7. Youre a precious girl Miranda. Thank you.

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  8. Miranda, this is beautiful, open, honest and so very sad. Thank you so much for sharing something so very personal. I pray that your knowledge of the Savior and the resurrection will give you the peace to carry you through the grieving process in the many years to come. As you say, God is good.

    7 My "daughter", peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

    8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
    (Not a proselyting attempt I promise)

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  9. I can only imagine what you are going through. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    My family and I are constantly praying for your family.

    HUGS

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  11. Miranda you have been in my thoughts and prayers so much. My heart hurts with you. I can say that all the things you are feeling are ll normal, you are grieving. You will have dys like that, but you will also have good days. Its hard to just move on, so days you feel like not doing , dont. Its ok. I love you and so thankful for you and Todd.

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  12. I can't even begin to know how you feel. All I can say is these tears that I'm crying are heavy...Thank you for sharing with us.
    I know right now my husband and I have been trying for several months to conceive and the longing I feel is overwhelming and it breaks my heart. I know my struggle is nowhere even near what you are struggling with but there is strength in tears shed in commonality. Your encouragement about the Lord being with the brokenhearted, I needed to hear it.
    Thank you so so much.
    I am praying for you and your sweet heart.

    xoxoxoxxo
    Sarai

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  13. Miranda, my sister Cassie goes to your church and told me about this post. I am so sorry for your loss and I know exactly how you are feeling. A few weeks ago on August 31st, my husband and I went to the doctor's to hear our first baby's heartbeat for the first time. I was so excited and just couldn't wait to hear it. I laid down on the table and waited for what seemed like forever for the tech to try to find our baby's heartbeat. I could see the tiny baby on the screen, but the only thing I heard was "I'm sorry...your baby doesn't have a heartbeat." We were only 10 weeks, but the baby stopped growing around 8 1/2 weeks. We were devastated. Looking back now...I can see that God has his hand in everything. We were supposed to go to the beach with some friends that weekend, but they backed out and we decided to go ahead and go to the beach anyways. I can see that God had planned it like that so that we could get away and grieve together. I cried so much that weekend and really just didn't want to get out of bed. We tried so hard to have a "normal" beach trip, but in reality we didn't want to do anything. I also had to have the surgery and remember thinking that it was such a short process, but one that completely broke my heart. I went back to work to try to continue on with life, but basically stayed in my office all day because I didn't want to hear my coworkers complain about too much traffic or that they forgot their lunch. Small mundane things that to them was a tragedy, but for me I would have loved to be dealing with that instead. For a week or so, I just felt like I was "faking" it through life. I've really spent a lot of time talking with Jesus lately and even though I will never understand why this happened, I can still have hope in Him and know that His timing is perfect. I also read the best blog last week from Proverbs 31 ministries (my sister posted the link on her facebook page) called "Please don't give me a Christian answer". It's a good post to read if you have some extra time. Please know that I am praying for you and your family. Keep me in your prayers as well. I'm so nervous to try again and will probably be a nervous wreck the whole time. I will just have to trust in Him and know that if it is His plan, I will be a mom. Thank you for posting this (even if it did make me cry the whole time)...it was healing to hear your story and to write this comment as well. I'm sure that our babies are hanging out with Jesus right now. It gets easier everyday...

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