Thursday, May 7, 2015
A Mother Named Christy Remembers Her Unborn Son On Mother's Day . . .
A Mother Named Christy
Remembers Her Miscarried Son
On Mother’s Day
June 2nd started like any other day in summer with four children. Busy. We had breakfast. Then I got the younger two girls dressed and ready for the day. I took my oldest to get her haircut. I also made a doctor's appointment that day. I was one day shy of being 15 weeks pregnant. I hadn't seen a doctor since they confirmed the pregnancy with an ultrasound at 9 weeks.
I couldn't believe it. Me. Pregnant at age 40. We had 4 healthy, active girls at home. They kept me going from sunup to sunset with carpool and meals and activities and errands. How was I going to be able to add another little one to this crew and get all the necessities of running a home and raising a family accomplished? Also, what were people going to say? We had encountered all kinds of negative comments when our youngest was announced. So the previous 15 weeks had been filled with worry and doubt and fear.
Things were starting to turn around though. We had just told our children that they were going to have another one to add to their number in November. Greg told his employer. I had told friends and was beginning to tell the parents of my girls' friends. So off to the doctor's appointment I went, eager to hear the heartbeat and get on the road to telling everyone else and planning to add another little one to our family.
Ever since I miscarried my first child at 20 weeks, I went through a phase between the first and second trimesters. Is my eating getting back on a more even level because the baby is getting what he/she needs and the morning sickness is passing or is something wrong?
Is that cramp because my intestines are full, my muscles are stretching to accommodate another life or is something wrong? Am I less tired because I am moving on to the second trimester or is something wrong? Having four normal, healthy pregnancies since then, I was quick to dismiss the questions during this pregnancy.
I waited in the waiting room for my appointment. Then they took me back and checked my vital signs. Normal. The doctor came in and checked my fundus. Normal. She brought out the instrument so we could listen to the heartbeat. She wasn't able to find one. Leah had made the doctor chase her around the womb and he never got her to be still enough so we could hear it. Leah was checked on ultrasound to give me confidence that she was okay. As it was then, my doctor now said I needed to go to the ultrasound room to see what was going on. At this point I was getting a little nervous, but then again my nerves had played tricks on me a lot during the last four pregnancies.
I laid on the table and the tech brought out the gel. Then there was my baby on the screen. I looked and looked and looked. The room was quiet, and I finally asked, "There is no heartbeat, is there?" This pregnancy was unplanned and some days, if I am completely honest, unwanted because after all, we were done with our family. In that moment though, I realized, in spite of the swirling emotions of the past 15 weeks, I am a mom, and I love my kids, this one included. I then asked the technician if the baby was measuring 14-15 weeks. She told me that he or she was measuring 11 weeks. This life has slipped away around four weeks previous, and I had no idea. I had continued my fretting and worrying.
On Wednesday June 4 at 6:45 am, my water broke, and I held my baby. I kept looking at this little one. A head, a place for eyes, a mouth, arms, legs, hands, feet. Still underdeveloped, but they were there nonetheless. The body was about 4 inches long with papery white, thin skin so that the ribcage was visible. I kept going back to look at my baby over and over through the morning. Not a blob of tissue that the medical personnel told me it was. It was a baby, my baby. I had seen it. I had held it. It was tiny, and it was underdeveloped, but it was my baby.
As the morning went on, I kept getting more and more light headed. I kept lying down waiting for my 4 pm doctor's appointment while Greg went on two trips to the store, did things around the house, and helped the girls with what they were doing. After that he came into our room and sat down. I am so thankful he chose then to come in because he was able to catch me as I passed out. When I came to, I was lying on the floor, and I felt terrible. I started calling out for him to call 911. I had remembered a girl I went to high school with having a bad miscarriage a few years ago, and it was then I thought I was bleeding too much.
As I was taken out of the house on a stretcher with my girls tucked into a bedroom so they didn't have to see me that way, I prayed that God would allow me to come back home and raise my girls. I wasn't raised by my parents, and I remember the struggles that I had because of it.
I got to the emergency room and things stabilized. The doctor started talking about letting me go home. I had to go to the restroom several times while I was there, and I used the wheelchair to go up and down the hall because I was still weak. Greg, meanwhile, was settling our girls in at home with the older girls taking care of the younger girls. He then got to the hospital and filled out all of the paperwork. As soon as he got to my room, I needed to go to the restroom again. He had to catch me from falling out of the wheelchair as I passed out yet again.
About this time my doctor showed up and checked me. The doctors decided I was definitely to be admitted, and they took me to the labor and delivery wing because I needed more monitoring than a regular room would allow. They rolled me to L&D on a stretcher, and I sat up a little bit to move from the stretcher to the bed. The nurses left the room. I muttered that I felt like I could pass out again, and Greg wasn't sure he heard me correctly so he asked me if I was going to pass out again. All I could do was nod. I am so thankful he was there with me because I couldn't have pushed that call button for anything in the world. I could hear, but I could no longer respond. I began praying that God would let this feeling of passing out cease so I could feel normal again. I didn't yet realize it, but my blood pressure dropped to 57/30. My room filled not only with the L&D nurses but also an emergency response team and a chaplain. They began more IV fluids in the tubing that I received in the ambulance. I was then lying with my head lower than my feet, and I felt well enough to answer all kinds of questions being addressed to me.
The nurse on the emergency response team, Karen, is an ICU nurse part-time at the hospital where I was. She is also a full-time L&D nurse at another hospital in town. While the other L&D nurses reported to the doctors that all of their assessments of me were normal, Karen was paying attention to the amount of blood I had lost. While the doctors were seeing other patients because they were relying on these assessments, Karen began advocating that they give me blood, and the internal physician agreed with her. I ended up with 5 units of blood that day. The next day the chaplain was sure to let me know that God was mighty to save me because so much of my blood had been lost. When I saw Karen three days later, she told me that she has said for a long time that God puts her where He wants her.
They finally got me stabilized, and I had a d & c to stop the bleeding. A small piece of the placenta had remained behind and kept me from healing. I spent that night and the next day and a half in ICU, and then I was moved to a regular room.
During this time lots of people came in and out, but three people I remember well. One was a nurse in ICU. I was her only patient, and we would talk when she came in to check on me. I was talking to her about wanting to know if we had a boy or a girl because the baby needed a name, and I needed a way to remember him or her. She told me she was going to cry if I kept talking like that. I was completely confused so I asked her what she meant. She said I was talking about it like it was a baby. She was from Jamaica, and she said she had seen a lot there. I am not sure if she meant miscarriage or abortion, but her views were definitely different from mine. I went on to explain that this was a baby; I had had held it. I told her what my baby had looked like. She didn't respond, but I hope God uses my experience to help her in some way.
The second person was a lady who came to take my order for my meals once I was moved to a regular room. She had seen my four girls in the hall when they had come to visit earlier. We were talking about them, and I told her I have two more babies in heaven that I get to meet some day. She told me she hadn't thought about it like that before, but she has sisters in heaven waiting for her. She left my room with a smile on her face and wonder in her voice. I am praying God gave her some comfort through this story that day.
Then there was Heather, my nurse the first day in a regular room. She came in to check my vital signs when I arrived in my new room. This was after they had told me I was to have another nurse that day. A last minute change. She told me that the best they could tell we had had a son. She hugged me while I cried over the loss of our son. She was full of so much compassion and care.
I love it when God reaches down and gives us what we need when we need it, especially in the hard times.
These events are part of the life God has given to me to be lived out, but this is really His story. The story of His amazing mercy and grace flowing freely to those who accept His Son. The love and patience and kindness He gives us. The pain placed at just the right time so we rely on Him and not on ourselves, and then we can begin to become more like Jesus-thankful and willing to do the Father's Will above all else because God will be glorified.
You see I had been fretting, which God calls evil. I was worried about people's opinions and being able to handle the changes in our family in my own strength. I had not yet come to the point of repentance and relying on and resting in God in this situation. God put Greg right next to me when I needed help that day. He put Karen on ICU duty that day, an experienced nurse in ICU to care for me. Without her care, I might not be here today. But that is just another small detail God worked out in advance-to save me, to let my kids have their mother, and my husband his wife.
He also revealed more of Himself to me that day. I tend to panic during trouble, fearing I won't make the right decisions or be taken care of. I had peace all day long-during the times I passed out, during the administering of anesthesia. I knew He was with me. I also live in fear at times. My greatest fear is death. My dad died when I was six years old, so from an early age I learned we are mortal. My grandfather who raised me passed away four and a half years ago, and my fear of death multiplied. At times I would keep repeating Jesus's words "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you", and I would hope for the best as I tried to lay down my fear. Do you know what God showed me?
At the time of my greatest need and when I was completely powerless, He was there, and He was mighty to save. He stood between me and my greatest fear. He stood between me and death. And doesn't He do this for all of us? Isn't this the reason He sent Jesus to die on the cross?
June 4th was not my day to pass from this life, but I will come to the day when it is my turn. Because I believe in Jesus and that His blood covers my sin, when that day comes for me, my God will still stand between me and death. My body will pass from this life, but my spirit will live. God allows pain because we live in a fallen world and we have free will, but He can and will use our pain for our good and His glory. It takes faith. It takes not leaning on our own understanding. It takes believing in His goodnessand His love and believing His Son is our atonement for sin. Not just for the world. For me.