It was a long anticipated Friday morning.
That evening we would kick-off the family reunion weekend with a bunch of cousins and siblings, pizza, and a movie! But first there was my 17 week prenatal appointment at 8:30AM followed by an early birthday brunch for my mother-in-law (MIL) and I, who I’m lucky enough to share a birthday with!
The 20 minutes to the appointment was filled with to-do’s: the reunion, packing for our move, listing the house, and excitement for my appointment. I’ve always loved prenatal appointments – hearing the heartbeat always brings me such joy and excitement, especially in the weeks before I am able to feel movement.
Little did I know that this joy would soon turn to sorrow…
First the nurse checked for my baby’s heartbeat, then the midwife, then the doctor came in to check once more and prepare me for the probability that we had lost our sweet child. An ultrasound was scheduled and performed within a few minutes as a final confirmation – I was devastated. Although I was technically 17 weeks along, our baby had stopped growing around 15 weeks… my baby had been dead for 2 weeks. I sent a text to my hubby, my MIL, and my mom – there was no way I was going to trust my voice over the phone.
Another doctor who was on-call that day was brought in, and we discussed our options. Then I went home and discussed them with John. We decided to do an induction the next day. Arrangements were made for John’s parents to watch our other children, I had to go back into the OB office to be prepped for my induction, then we decided to continue with our plans of joining family for pizza since we wouldn’t really be able to join them the rest of the weekend. Talking and catching up proved to be a needed distraction, and our kids were able to go home with my in-laws for the night. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 6AM the following morning.
Emotionally I was in shock, with periods of numbness and going through the motions – processing what was happening. Then there were other moments when the sorrow would well up inside me, and I’d be in tears.
We arrived at the hospital, registered, and went up to labor and delivery.
It was an odd feeling. Typically, I love the process of labor and welcoming my children into the world. Anticipating this delivery was drastically different, yet still somewhat familiar. I knew how my body generally responds to a natural labor, but I wondered how it would fare with the induction and delivery of a miscarried child. Would there be more pain? Then I wondered if my child would actually be intact, as I was warned that it was a possibility that she might not be. Could I handle that? One reason we chose the induction was to be able to see and hold the body of our child and say good-bye to her human form. My questions would soon be answered.
Considering the circumstances, everything went as well as I could have desired. My induction started at 8AM, and progressed in the same manner as I was accustomed to with my other deliveries. Around 2PM I knew it was getting close to, if not, the time to push. The exact timing of her delivery eludes me, but she was indeed born not long after I called the nurses in.
She was so tiny, yet so perfect. We named her Faith Marie.
The midwife and staff were very respectful of my emotional needs and let me hold her without interruption for as long as I needed. They still had to make sure I delivered the placenta, but even after 30-45 minutes, it wouldn’t budge. The on-call doctor was called and I was scheduled for an immediate D&C. However, I was able to keep Faith with me until I was wheeled down to the OR. By that point, I had also lost quite a bit of blood and required a blood transfusion as well.
Once I had woken up, I was taken to a new room to recover. They made sure I had something to eat and checked to make sure my iron levels were back to an acceptable level. I was given the option to stay the night, and decided to do so. Physically I would have been fine to go home, but I wouldn’t have been as fine mentally – a lot of processing and some crying still had to be done. Before bed, I was able to hold Faith one last time before they took her down to the morgue, and I was given a box full of items to remember her by.
The next morning I received my discharge instructions and John picked me up to go home.
It was also the last day of the family reunion, we decided that it would be good to be with them and our children. However, we took our time: I changed into fresh clothes at home, and then we picked up some subs for lunch before heading over.
When we finally arrived, we were greeted with hugs from our children who were excited to see us, as well as hugs of compassion from the rest of the family.
We are very blessed. John and I have each other, and we have been gifted with 5 beautiful children on earth and a saint in heaven. Both our families are devout, faith-filled Catholics and a constant source of love and support.
God is merciful. Through both the joys and sorrows of life, He has led and will lead us through. Stretching out His hand he asks, “Do you trust me?” And in those moments where we are too weak to reach up and grab his hand, He catches us before we fall, and holds us close to His heart.