The First Post: A Story of Loss and Hope

The problem with starting a blog is that you have to fill it up with words, and staring at a blank page is extremely intimidating. I want to genuinely thank you for being here and sharing this journey with me. {Don't be a stranger. I'd love to be blog buddies!The beginning of this blog coincides with a new chapter of my life. One that closes several darker chapters which I will probably talk about at some point. For now, let me start with the catalyst that led to the start of this blog: my heart of hearts, Zae.

This little face is my entire existence right now. I want to dance and shout and sing {even brag a little bit} to everyone I meet, and I would never do any of those in public. {I’m pretty sure there’s a technical term for this known as New Mom SyndromeHe's six months old now. {have you ever had that feeling that you woke up suddenly and time passed without you realizing it?} Every day I count my blessings and try to enjoy every moment. {You really learn how to do that when Eyore's little cloud has been hanging around for so long

As I look back at pictures of the last six months, I see how fast time has flown by, day by day. From this brand-new to the world little bundle that fit into the crook of my arm:


To this little being with so many smiles and so much happiness to share:


Through a haze of happy exhaustion, I reminisce on this wonderful year that has been a balm on a somewhat wounded soul. Last March I was just starting to feel better after suffering months from hypermesis gravidarum. I was rediscovering food after months of crackers, rice, and broth {and often those were too much} and tentatively looking forward to the second trimester. As miserable as I was physically, every moment I was quietly terrified I'd lose that nauseous feeling. We'd suffered through three losses, the last one the most brutal.

Just before Christmas I had this sudden feeling I was pregnant. I didn't have any symptoms, I just had this feeling of surety about it. I lost my dad in 2009. {part of those dark chapters which I will someday elaborate on} Since then, I've felt a strong connection with him on a spiritual level. I'll write about the phenomenon of visitation dreams sometime. {and you will either think I'm crazy or feel a sense of hope and peace, especially if you've lost someone in a tragic way} 

Anyway, I glanced at these carousel horses he'd made me as a Christmas gift years ago and I just felt his presence so strongly. I felt like he was giving me a Christmas gift, and I immediately knew he was watching out for me this time...that he'd appealed to God on my behalf and they would gift me with a miracle. I quietly burned with this little joy as I counted down the days until I could take a test. Maybe that was premature, but I just knew. When my husband {who I refer to as Mr. 67and I went out for Mexican food in the beginning of January and I left it all in the kitchen sink that night, he cleaned it up with a concerned look on his face. {you know it's true love when someone sticks their hand into a basin of vomit water}

He asked me if I thought the Mexican food had disagreed with me, and I told him I didn't think it was that kind of sickness. We went down to the store and got a test, which I used in the store's bathroom. Almost instantly, that wonderful blue line appeared. It was a feeling of joy, tinged with a little sadness. Seeing that test reminded me of our other pregnancies, particularly the last one. 

We'd gone to a fertility doctor who'd done a sonohysterogram, a test to check the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes, using fluid to do the imaging. Our chances of getting pregnant would rise for a month or so after the test, as the fluid they use sort of cleans out the passageways. Little did I know, it was going to happen right before I went in for a a spinal fusion at L4-5. They did a pregnancy test before surgery, but it was so early it didn't register. 

I think that pregnancy was never healthy. I was nauseous, but sick only once during a drive to see my sister. {and I would swear that was from my mom's habit of driving ping pong style between the lines: to the leeeeeft, to the riiiiight, to the leeeeeft...} Who knows what anesthesia and high-powered pain medication do during those tender early days...? Besides that, my body was redirecting all of its power to healing from a spinal fusion which kept me in the hospital for days. It was a hard time physically, and emotionally, as I struggled to do the simplest tasks. {I think that was the straw on the camel's back in my road to fibromyalgia. It was all just too much for my body, and my heart}

We lost that little angel baby on a Friday night in the first days of fall. Mr. 67 and I were going to walk up to the fair a couple blocks away and indulge in some junk food. My back hurt, but as I'd had three spine surgeries in the last year, that wasn't anything new. It had been bothering me for a couple of days, more than usual, but I didn't think much of it at the time. Then I started spotting and I realized it was cramps. The dread that set in at that point weighed a ton and was almost enough to floor me. I came out from the bedroom and quite calmly told Mr. 67 we needed to go to the hospital.

We sat in the ER for hours. As they called name after name, I was stoic, sort of in another world. It was denial and acceptance at the same time, colliding and pulling me both ways at once; one minute feeling like I was witnessing the events unfold to someone else, the next my heart wrenched with the wicked truth. Still, it didn't penetrate enough to cry. There was still this small flicker of hope that it was the sort of benign bleeding that sometimes comes with pregnancy...even as I knew it was wrong, all wrong. Still, hope burns bright and fierce sometimes, and I was riding it out until the end, even though a part of me knew {maybe all along} that this was going to happen. 

Our Third Angel Baby
Friday night crept into the small hours of Saturday morning. Only two more days until we were scheduled for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. Instead, we had an ultrasound in the ER to confirm what I already knew. That there was no little heartbeat. Halfway through the pregnancy, on September 19th, 2013, the pregnancy came to an end. When I met Mr. 67's eyes, the tears came fast and furious. I remember going home and sitting on my bed next to the open window. It was so beautiful out. It didn't seem right that it could be so beautiful and I could feel so broken. I cried until I felt like I'd dried up to dust on the inside.

My obstetrician said that he told most women that they were "safe" [from miscarriage] at that point. We had no answers to why it had happened. What if it happened again? There was no "safe" to me until I had a baby in my arms. 

Despite the fear always rattling around in the back of my mind, I also felt hope. I suppose you can only feel hope when you also feel some level of fear. I tried to keep a positive attitude, but I was cautious. I didn't dare buy anything. I still had that fuzzy yellow duck blanket I'd bought when I was visiting my sister in Virginia that August before we lost the last baby. I wouldn't quite let myself imagine a little bundle wrapped up in it. I kept it a vague, hazy hope. And all the while, as fears threatened to close in on me, I felt a sense of peace and calm that my angels above were watching out for me. {it's amazing how many thoughts and emotions can bump around in our heads at the same time}

We had a dating ultrasound in February. How my heart leaped as I saw him for the first time. I didn't see any movement right away. I was waiting to see some pulsing movement, but instead he kind of jumped and I cried. After I got home, I told my mom he was a mover and a shaker and she cried. Then we both cried. But this time it was in a good way. Incidentally, the tech made the note about his hands being over his face, and he is still obsessed with putting his hands on his head, feeling his hair or ear. {see the last photo in this post!}

The weeks slipped by. I grew bigger, though I had a strange sense of body dysmorphia that made me feel like I didn't look pregnant. Some kind of weird defense mechanism. 
{I mean, check out this picture...obviously some kind of mental block}

The reason for that defense mechanism: Mr. 67 and I have a past of grim humor that those things that we imagine too completely, savor too much, desire too much, won't come true. When we saw life going one way, that was when life dipped down or swayed in a new direction, veering so far that those plans or dreams became indistinct memories. We learned to let our paths go where they may, and savor the little events along the way. Life is the journey, not the destination kind of thing. So, I let the cards fall where they might and thrived on hope. Every night at 11:11 I made my wish: "Happy healthy baby. Happy healthy baby." That's all I wanted. Boy or girl, it didn't matter. {though at the time, I was convinced it was a girl. So much so that Zae was nameless for the first 36 hours of his life}

Weeks turned into months and we passed into the zone where a baby can live in the outside world even if I was to go into labor. At that point, every day seemed a little battle won, another day down and that much closer to the finish line.

Then it was the end of August, and our September 8th due date was staring me in the face still with that sense of unreality that seemed like it would never really happen...and then it really seemed like it would never happen as the days passed with no sign of impending labor! We ended up with an induction scheduled for September 18th. Zae wasn't quite ready to join us yet, however. He was born the next morning, at 9:58 a.m., on September 19th, on the two-year anniversary of the day we lost the last baby. A wonderful memory to shine over the darker memories. 

The journey to this point in my life has been painful at times. Now that I've hit my thirties, I feel like I've hit my stride at this whole life thing. I've learned to accept the things I can't go back and change. I've carried a lot of guilt for a lot of years about my dad's death. I've been through some personal things that ripped out my heart. Some of that stuff I might write about at some point, as I find my courage, but right now I'll just say that I've come back to a place of light after spending a long time in the dark. And, for the most part, if I could go back, I wouldn't change much. {Obviously, if I could change the last time I saw my dad I would in a heartbeat, but now it would be a choice...I couldn't have them both} If I hadn't been through every part of my journey, I wouldn't have this precious face to look at every day. 


And if we had to wait what felt like a million years for him, that only makes him that much sweeter. Our pain shapes us, and if it makes our smiles a little less bright, it makes them all the sweeter, too. 


1 comment

  1. I can't believe I never commented on this first blog of yours! what a long, hard, emotional journey you and your dear husband have been on. this is a very heart touching post.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for all your kind comments!