I’m a pretty sentimental person, but I’m also someone who doesn’t always like to show that side to everyone. Last night, at a Darius Rucker concert, the music got me all emotional and I wasn’t prepared. You see, the last year or so of my life has been
difficult arduous just plain exhausting.
About this time last year, we were preparing for an adoption to be finalized. I’d rather not get into the details here, but unfortunately, there were some…issues…that I couldn’t have predicted. Teenage boys can be unpredictable, especially one that’s been in and out of the foster care system most of his life. I so desperately wanted it to work out. I’d wanted to be a mom for so long. No, he wasn’t the baby I always dreamed about, that I could carry and name and share an unbreakable bond with… this was a teenage boy who needed parents to love him, shelter him and keep him safe. We tried so hard to be the parents he needed us to be, but in the end we just weren’t. As the social worker agreed that it was never going to work, that it wouldn’t be right for any of us, I felt like it wasn’t real – this isn’t happening, this is all a dream…
If I told you the mess I can be when there’s no one to see could you look the other way, could you love me anyway?
But no, it wasn’t a dream. And just as quickly as parenthood became a part of my life, it was gone.
As difficult as it was, I finally moved past it. We determined that as much as we wanted to be parents and as much love as we thought we could give to a child in need, it was just too hard emotionally. Our first experience with fostering & adoption was traumatic and in my heart, I know I’m not strong enough to do it all over again.
I know what I felt, and I know what I said, but don’t think I don’t think about it.
After a few months, we were in a better place. In the past, our relationship has had its ups and downs. We’ve surely had our share of issues to deal with (maybe even more than most couples) but I think the experience actually brought us closer together. Our relationship was stronger because of it. We learned that God has a plan and if that doesn’t include us having children, well then, we’ll be okay because we have each other.
God certainly has a way of making sure you know that you are not in control. Once we got to the point where we accepted the fact we may never have kids that’s when I got pregnant. It was a complete and utter shock because that wasn’t supposed to be possible. After many years of trying to conceive, I finally agreed to go to a specialist to hear what I think I knew all along – we’re infertile. Not me, not him, but both of us. The doctor told us that together we only had about a 15% chance – and that would continue to decrease as I got older. His exact words were “your only GOOD option is in vitro”. That’s all fine, I have no problem with fertility treatments if that’s what it takes, but even if we had the money our odds were still only 50%. So, you can imagine my surprise when at 38 I see those two pink lines! Of course, there were several more tests to confirm I wasn’t just seeing things.
We were ecstatic! The general rule is to wait until you’re through the first trimester to tell people because you could have a miscarriage – and the odds were much higher at my age. The waiting was incredibly difficult, how could we possibly keep it a secret? I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. We waited a full 8 weeks before telling our parents and after that my husband was telling random strangers in the grocery store.
When I lay down at night I thank the Lord above for giving me everything I could ever dream of.
The rest of the public and social media were told at about 12-13 weeks on Easter, we just couldn’t hold it in any longer. Then, the bomb is dropped. We opted not to do any of the genetic screening because we wanted this baby no matter what. Well, a simple ultrasound determined that our baby had cystic hygroma. It’s a genetic disorder and when diagnosed in the womb, it’s very rare for the baby to survive to full-term. Devastation. Ok God, is this a test? Are you testing us to make sure that we really want to be parents, that we can handle it? I tried so hard to stay positive the next few weeks, hoping & praying for that small percentage where everything turns out okay. ‘There’s not enough room in my head for worry & hope, so I’m choosing hope’ became my mantra.
We are one heartbeat in the darkness, we are one lasting answered prayer. We are one unbroken promise and we are two true believers.
God’s timing is impeccable. At my 16 week appointment the doctor can’t find the heartbeat. I knew something was wrong – my nausea had gone away a few days earlier and I led myself to believe it was because I was further along. No. There was no heartbeat because our baby had died. It was the day after Mother’s Day.
Apparently, I had a few options: 1) Go home and just wait until the miscarriage completes naturally, which could be several days, 2) Undergo a D& C (there was absolutely no way I was going to let that happen) or 3) Go to the hospital and essentially induce labor. From the time we found out there was no heartbeat, I had remained relatively calm. We knew this was a possibility. But as I walked into that hospital room, I lost it. I had pictured it, but of course it was under very different circumstances. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be a happy time. I’ve never noticed it before, but when you walk through the maternity ward, take a look at the room doors. You’ll probably see plenty of pink & blue cards “It’s a Girl” or “It’s a Boy”… and then there may just be one that has a simple picture of a leaf with a raindrop. Those are for the mothers like me who don’t get to take their baby home.
And it’s crazy to think that one little thing could’ve changed it all.
Emotionally, it was a very difficult night, but medically speaking, it was fairly easy. The nurse said it could take hours or even days for my body to start labor and I would have pain. And she scared me by saying the biggest concern was around the placenta and the umbilical cord. If the cord breaks (because it’s so thin) and the placenta doesn’t come out I’d have to go to surgery. I was supposed to have the second dose of cytotec at midnight, but it wasn’t necessary. I didn’t realize what was happening at first… the nurse came in at just the right moment. It happened so fast. I think that God blessed me with making it pretty quick and painless – he had to have known I’d been through enough already. After about 15 minutes, we were looking at our baby. Too hard to determine gender, about the size of my palm. We could see facial features had started to form, tiny little hands & feet. It was so surreal.
This could be one of those memories we wanna hold on to, we wanna cling to, one that we can’t forget.
Our baby was gone. I’ve caught myself telling people that we lost our baby. But really, we didn’t lose him/her. Our baby wasn’t misplaced, like a set of keys or your favorite pen. Our baby died. Then again, maybe our baby was misplaced – placed in the wrong womb or at the wrong time…
It’s been tough, some days are definitely better than others. It’s hard to hear another coworker, friend, neighbor, family member is expecting. I’m happy for all of them, but sad for myself and sometimes it’s best to just keep my distance. Sometimes I don’t think about it but then I’ll hear a song, see a belly or pass a baby and it makes me feel a little guilty. How can I go on living like nothing happened? I’ve learned that we will never get over it, but with our wonderful family & friends supporting us, we are getting through it. We prayed for a child, but God gave us an angel instead.
But now I’ve got an angel looking out for me today.
Often it’s hard for me to put into words exactly what I’m feeling, but sometimes music can say what I can’t. So let the music play…