Friday, October 26, 2012

Packing Up the Dreams God Has Planted...

This is going to be one of the most difficult posts ( I hope ) I ever have choose to write. It will probably be very long and overly detailed with seemingly unimportant details... but I want to remember. I think I probably need to remember.

I am in the process of packing up my hopes, dreams, thoughts, memories, and emotions attached to our little Baby Ross #2, who went home to be with Jesus, before we ever got a chance to touch, skin to skin. I don't know how you say good-bye to a child you never even got to know, hold, but yet loved so deeply.

Ellie Faith was our first miracle baby. However, this baby was also a miracle! We were beyond surprised to discover I was pregnant, as my body has showed NO signs of my cycle "coming back to life." The day the USA Women's Soccer team won their Olympic Gold medal, I was sick with an upper respiratory virus, and thought I was also coming down with appendicitis. Later that night, the light bulb went off in my head that maybe in fact I wasn't dying... just ovulating. I dug out some of my old dusty ovulation kits, and sure enough a double pink line popped up.

Five days later I knew I was pregnant, for very nonspecific or scientific reasons. Five days after "already knowing", I saw another double pink lines, on a pregnancy test.

Jared was out of town, as seems to have become our normal for us when I discover I am pregnant. We were also getting ready to head out of town for the week. Ellie and made it to the doctor and back secretly to confirm the pregnancy. Due to many reasons, we were celebrating Jared's 30th birthday weeks late... one of his presents was the pregnancy test.

We were both ecstatic!! Getting pregnant without even trying - this was new territory for us for sure, and we loved the new landscape! It also spoke God's faithfulness to us, in a new and different way - He had given us, what felt like, a free gift... just 'cause.

I started throwing up week 3 of the pregnancy, and spent the majority of the next two months in bed, on the couch, or over the commode. Those old faithful words of many, "every time you throw up just remember you body is doing what it is supposed to do..." lingered in my ears, but eventually came to haunt me.

On October 9, 2012 I noticed very mild, almost nonexistent spotting. I really wasn't worried as I knew it was very common in the first trimester. My ever present nausea and vomiting brought additional calm and comfort. That afternoon, the spotting was gone, and since my mom and grandparents were passing through town,  Ellie and I got to meet them for a late lunch. Later that night, as I was helping lead a bible study with our college ministry, I started to feel a "uterine twinge." The next morning, a Wednesday, I was bleeding slightly more. Jared stayed home with me and Ellie, and that afternoon we went into the doctor for an ultrasound.

By this point I think I was 50/50 about what the outcome was going to be... but you are never really prepared to hear,"your baby no longer has a heart beat." I knew almost immediately though, as soon as the ultrasound started - the image on the screen was significantly smaller then our ultrasound a month ago, and I couldn't detect the flutter of a heart beat.

"Please just be looking at my cervix from a funky view!" I kept thinking to myself. Our doctors's ultrasonagrapher is amazing - so kind, gentle, yet objective, and competent. She does a wonderful job! She spent time talking with Jared while I was getting cleaned up and dressed again. She even teared up and gave him a hug as we were leaving. Having a son herself, she said she always hoped someone would remember his emotional needs if he ever found himself in this position.

Jared shed several tears a couple of different times while we were at the office, discussing what the next steps were. I didn't. Ellie was having a come apart... maybe picking up on the emotional change in the climate... I don't know. I also, unfortunately perhaps, switch into medical mode too easily once I am in a medical setting. There were decisions to be made and questions to ask, and tears were not going to get either of those things accomplished.

I was offered the option of miscarrying at home or having a D&C. Our medical team thought it would be completely safe for me to deliver at home, as everything appeared to be so small (the baby has probably passed away ~ a week before) though they made sure I knew it could be emotionally very difficult. Ultimately, I was not yet ready to be surgically separated from my baby, even though I was fully aware the baby was no longer living inside me. We decided to schedule the D&C for the following Monday, if my body hadn't taken care of it all by then.

I don't think I officially shed tears until we got into bed that night. I remember touching my very prevalent baby bump and saying, "I miss our baby!"

The next four days were tough, but overall, very peaceful. It was just the three of us - myself, Jared, and Ellie. I communicated minimally with some of our closest friends, prayer warriors, and family via text, but wasn't ready/willing to verbally speak, or actually see anyone other then my own little family. Our lives are generally pretty busy, so just being home together for that many uninterrupted days was very nice.

Thursday was a beautiful day. One of those perfect fall days that begs for you to be outside. It was also one of those days where you wonder how on earth is life still going on at its normal break neck speed, while you seem trapped in a time warp? Jared convinced me to let him drop Ellie off with his parents then take me out for a walk... as long as I didn't have to see people, especially someone I know. He took me to places down by the many lakes in our city. He knows how much I love the water - especially lakes! We walked for several hours, then stopped and got Chick fil A via the drive through. On our way home, I realized it was the longest period of time Jared and I had been together, alone, since Ellie was born!

By Friday, I was feeling more physically uncomfortable, and more aware of the reality of what this situation actually entailed. I was still looking pregnant. I still had a baby bump that I kept rubbing out of habit. I didn't look at my body during those days. Its a cruel trick of nature to still be able to look pregnant, while not. I could easily forget for moments that I was no longer pregnant, as I was still so nauseous. Jared and Ellie joined his family for a quick dinner out for his parents anniversary.

Saturday.was.awful. I felt horrible. I was exhausted from not sleeping well the previous nights, emotionally spent. And the physical pain was constant. It was the worst kind of waiting game. By that afternoon I was really regretting waiting to have the D&C. I knew I hadn't been ready Friday, but if my OB hadn't been out of town that weekend, I know I would have called and begged him to do the procedure over the weekend. I read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt which was just the right blend of easy and entertaining light reading. While Jared went to the grocery store and Ellie napped, I forced myself to take a shower, and while I was there I set my phone to play 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman on repeat.... and sobbed.

I remember there was a football game that weekend... I don't remember if it was a home or an away game. I didn't care. Jared was watching the game on the TV in his usual spirited fashion. All I could think about was who freaking gives a care - its a stupid game!! Jared had been unbelievably supportive throughout this entire ordeal, so I wanted him to be able to enjoy the game and kind of have an escape I guess. So I went upstairs to read and hoping to get some sleep.

As exhausted as I was emotionally, mentally, and physically, I could not sleep, probably from too much pent up emotion. I tend to get through a situation completely before I can really let go and walk through the emotions of the process. However, the right music can always get to my deepest emotional spot. Its my secret weapon, I guess you could say, when I feel emotionally stuck.

By this point, I was fully expecting to have to go in for the D&C early Monday morning. I could not imagine how horrible that time would be waiting to go into the OR and waking up from anesthesia, without my baby inside me. I needed to good playlist. Songs that put words to my emotions, without me having to speak them. Songs that reminded me of my truth. Songs that focused me where I needed to be focused. So lying in bed that night, I made one, and named 10,000 Reasons in October. Then I decided to play it ... on repeat.

And I fell asleep, crying silent tears unlocked by songs yet again.

4:30 am I woke up to extreme discomfort, and within 10 minutes I was in extreme pain. I went to the bathroom, and stayed there for the next two hours on the commode. Two of the most intense hours of my life. I, unfortunately, was one of the few women to experience full blown labor during my miscarriage. With Ellie, I was induced, and received no pain meds, and this pain was almost equal to the pain I experienced with her birth. It was so intense, Jared wanted to call for an ambulance several times. One slight hiccup that we were both aware of, but never verbalized was - Ellie was sound asleep in the next room. What do you do with a 9 month old when her mom is being carried away in an ambulance having a miscarriage!?!? I was having full body tremors, like I did in labor with Ellie, was pouring sweat, dry heaving, etc... then my legs fell asleep, combined with my sleep deprived exhaustion, I couldn't hold myself up any longer. Jared finally convinced me to get back into bed, the process of which nearly made me pass out.

I think he moved me right as I was entering the "transition phase." As soon as I got back into bed, the pain exploded inside me, and I writhing on my hands and knees with my face buried in my pillow. I started bawling and begging God,"Please just give me a five minute break... I can NOT do this any longer. I need a quick break." Evidently, Jared was doing the same thing. I kid you not when I say this - as soon as those words left my mouth, the pain went completely away. I laid completely still for a few moments, both of us afraid to speak, waiting for it to start back up again. I truly thought I was being granted my five minute break, and that the pains were going to start back up again. Thankfully, they didn't. By 6:30, I was curled up on my side, being help by my husband, listening yet again to my newly made playlist, crying tears of grief and relief. And was soon asleep.

All three of miraculously slept in late that Sunday morning. Oddly, I didn't deliver the baby, etc... during the labor.  I did, however, deliver it painlessly, once I got up that morning. It was the first morning I woke up without the overwhelming nausea. And thankfully, in a very painful way, my baby bump was gone.

My mom was already planning on coming up that day to stay for several days to help out with Ellie when I had the D&C. She still came up so I could get some rest. My mom had 4 miscarriages of her own. She was the first person I spoke with on the phone or saw during this time. It was just nice having someone (especially your mom) who knew without being told exactly what you were going through.

Because I had gotten so sick so early on in the pregnancy, a lot of people found out about the pregnancy. The bummer about social media is its a great way to spread fun and exciting news like this:
But there really isn't a way to "take back" that kind of news.  I am just not the type of person who can update my facebook status or  twitter with "we miscarried." Therefore, I have received several post miscarriage pregnancy congratulations, as well as comments like,"wow, you look like you are finally feeling so much better." Those are awkward and uncomfortable moments for everyone involved!

I also get asked a lot about how we are doing. And honestly, the answer is, and always has been - we are really doing ok. Its not the path we would have chosen for sure, but we trust God's sovereignty. So far, I can honestly say I am not mad at God. However, as time has gone on, I am realizing how hurt my feelings towards Him are.

The Tuesday following the miscarriage, we decided to go ahead and go to our Bible Studies on campus, and I even led the girls discussion. You just have to get back to living at some point, and it was a small step I felt comfortable with taking. On the way there, Jared turned on the radio, and it was on a Christian station. I quickly changed the channel. I knew 95% of their songs had the potential to make me cry, and I didn't want to do that at that moment. The following Sunday, during our main weekly service with students, there was  change in order of service, and worship was at the end. A wave of emotion came over me as the first chords were struck, and I realized I hadn't listened to any form of christian music since the night of my miscarriage. So while I am not, to the best of my knowledge, mad at God, there are probably some much more negative (and naturally healthy) emotions deep down inside that I still have to come in contact with.

One of the most odd emotions, that both Jared and I expressed, was our sadness for Ellie. I especially was so excited with Ellie getting to have a sibling so close in age to her, but that train left and the opportunity is now gone forever.

When we were trying to conceive with Ellie, I thought I was in the midst of the greatest baby boom imaginable. Wrong! I miscarried in the middle of the biggest baby boom I have ever experienced. We literally have fewer non-pregnant friends and family, minus the college students (thank God on numerous levels) then pregnant ones. We got a late start on our family, and I missed getting to be pregnant with many of my friends and family the first time around. This was my chance, and I was thrilled about it. That train has pulled out of the station too, and we are left on a different track.

The amazingly awesome fact that we got pregnant without trying or even thinking about it, is not lost on me. The miracle of that is a huge part of what has carried me through this. I realize there may be many (or one or two people) who are going to read this and want to drop kick their computer or hand held device over a cliff yelling, "get over yourself, at least you have a baby and then freaking got pregnant on your own without any assistance." Believe me, I have been there and know what that is like, and because of having been there, I feel like I really should put my big girl panties on and shut up, while kissing the chubby cheek of my little Ellie Faith. I have been blessed beyond what I could imagine and have what so many of you out there are longing for.

Speaking of Ellie Faith, I said from the beginning, I could not imagine how on earth we would have gotten through this without her. I have known so many people who miscarry before ever giving birth to a live child, and having never been there, I can not even begin to comprehend what that must be like. She has been a constant and tangible reminder of God's ever present love and grace in our lives. However, I am also realizing that having a kid leaves you with another set of grieving  - I know what I am missing out on. Before having Ellie, we didn't know what being parents was like. We knew we wanted to be parents, but you can not experience the emotions and bonds formed with a child until you become a parent. I realize I will never get to experience that first moment of holding this baby, kissing that forehead, marveling at the fingers and toes, watching those eyelashes grown, etc... I know exactly what that is like, and I know exactly what I am missing.

One is not better or harder  - miscarrying with or without a child... they are both different, but in the end, the same - you lost, and therefore, will never know your baby.

This next phase, though not as acutely difficult, will probably be the hardest. Everyone moves on and begins to forget eventually... but the mom does so at a much slower pace then those around her. I was physically aware of my baby almost every second of every day until the miscarriage ended, due to the sickness. So in one sense, feeling soooo much better now physically, is a help in recovering. But the emotional recovery has to be taken a day at a time... for a long time I am afraid.

I realize, I have never asked my mom if she did anything to remember her angel babies - a keepsake, and momento, etc... I know I have never been aware of any. I have no doubt she remembers her due dates, etc... I couldn't decide if I wanted to do anything or not, until last night. I was talking to a lady at our small group who lost their first baby, and she said she planted a rose bush that they have transplanted at every house they have lived in, and how much it means to her. That made me decide I want to do something/get something. But I am just not sure what yet.

In case I forget, or need reminding, Baby Ross #2 - we found out about you on August 22, 2012. On September 19, 2012 we saw and heard your precious heart flutter away. On October 10, we learned you went back home to be with Jesus. On October 14, you and I became physically separated forever. But you will remain, forever in my heart, as my second baby.

I can not imagine right now referring to our next child, if God should bless us with one, as our second child, but lets be real, if we called them our 3rd that would required a lot of explaining, and really... it would just be plain weird. But I am not ready to have another Baby Ross #2 yet... and I think it might be quite a while before I am.

So for now, I am packing up the dreams God planted... putting them away so that I can look back at them, and see where they brought me. I was telling our college girls in our bible study this week that if they look back on their life, they will probably be surprised that some of their most defining moments wouldn't just be their first state championship, their first kiss, or college acceptance, but instead times in their life where they thought they were loosing, being robbed, hurt, or missing out. I encouraged them to go back and look at their life story from time to time. Otherwise, they might miss out on realizing some of the best gifts and accomplishments in life.

So for me, I am putting one foot in front of other, surrounding myself with God's truth and the Body of Christ, and learning to be the best mom I can be to my first miracle baby.

After all, her name, Elliott Faith, means: the Lord is my God to trust. And every time I look at her I am reminded of such.


  1. This post just broke my heart, Amy. I am so sorry for your loss. :( This was so beautifully written - I'm sure you'll be happy to have this all written out someday. ((HUGS))

    1. Thank you for your sweet words, as always, Josey! I am already glad to have it all written down - it was very therapeutic! Each day gets better,

  2. I miscarried at 10 weeks during my 1st pregnancy. I have since wondered if it would be easier or harder had I already had a child. I am so sorry for your loss. Miscarriage matter the circumstances.

    1. I am sooo sorry to hear about your loss. You are exactly right, there never an "easy" option for the loss of a child!

  3. Great post! Prayers for you through this difficult time

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  4. Thank you, Kate! Just went over to your blog and discovered we have way more in common then I would like. Praying for your family during this difficult time as well!
    "Because someone we love is in Heaven, we have a little bit of Heaven in our home."