This is the third part of the story of my first stillbirth in November 2014. The First and Second parts are linked in this sentence, but this was probably the most comprehensive and cohesive post of the three.
Part 3: Thanksgiving
It’s been a week since I first got the diagnosis that I had lost our baby. Despite the realities of our situation that I’ve experienced this week, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the silver lining blessings I’ve experienced as well. I tend to describe my personality as an “annoying optimist,” someone who no matter what finds silver linings in any situation, no matter how crazy those may be. It can be somewhat annoying, but it’s the way I cope. Anyway, here are only a few of the amazing things that have happened this week.
The medical staff: The clinic I go to has five different doctors there. The one that I have seen the most, Dr. W, was the one that saw me for both miscarriage diagnoses. She arrived right after I delivered last week. She said when she saw it was me that Monday, she just prayed and hoped that the sonogram would show a healthy baby. She even brought in another doctor in the hopes that she was wrong, because she wanted to be so wrong. The doctor she brought in happened to be on call the morning after I delivered, Dr. D. Dr. D said that she wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just taken care of physically, but emotionally as well. She said 50% of women who go through this get put on an anti-depressant for a short period of time to help, and that I shouldn’t feel weird if I need to take that option. Both doctors were such a blessing.
Not only the doctors, but the nurses at the hospital. Nurses in the L&D ward are a special type of people. Every single one had no problem staying there and talking to me when I needed to talk, even if it was just clinical questions to distract me from what was going on. The day nurse was so positive and straight forward. I never went into a single part of that experience without knowing exactly what to expect and what to watch for. And it didn’t matter if I only met them once or twice, every nurse was patient and caring, never acting like I was a burden or an inconvenience. They even said if I just needed to talk, they would be there with a quick push of the call button.
The community. To say that I’m overwhelmed by the community here and online is an understatement. There are so many people who were involved. There’s Lori who came to visit the evening I got my diagnosis and at lunch on Wednesday. There’s Tod and Candace who came to pray Tuesday night and visited Wednesday evening. There were the myriad of texts, Facebook messages, and emails we received Tuesday and Wednesday from friends and family, and continue to receive every day (I may not comment back, but believe me, your words are cherished). My family has also sent their words of comfort and helped where they could. My mom handled all the pictures and birth stuff from the hospital (as well as being emotional support) which was very needed and I’m so thankful she was able to be here.
Also, my mom shared with me a box given to her at the hospital from a women’s ministry made up of women who had gone through what I had. In it were notes, verses, a Bible, a journal, and other things to offer encouragement and support to me. It was unexpected but appreciated.
And then this past weekend, Lori dropped off a basket of goodies given to us from families at church who wanted to do something. She said it was overwhelming to see how everyone came together for our little family. I completely agree. We also received encouragement from our neighbors who were so excited for us and now offer us a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. We know that we are loved and that we are so humbled by this experience.
My husband. There are no words for the amazing man that is my husband. Throughout this entire pregnancy, he has been there for me. In the first trimester, when I was sick, he came home after 12 hour days to cook and clean while I laid on the couch. In the second trimester, he would talk about our baby or how beautiful I was, and he would work on nursery projects or find little gifts or gift ideas for the future. And then when I lost the baby, he has been there for me every step of the way, handling all the details when I couldn’t. He stays up with me, when I wake up crying, talking me through it, listening to me, and staying up until I fall back asleep.
This experience has already brought us closer, even more so than the one last year. Throughout this pregnancy we had learned to become a team. We have been there for each other through a lot of changes and ups and downs. And I can’t imagine having anyone else by my side through all of this. To say I’m blessed or lucky to have him in my life is a complete understatement. I thought I understood what it meant to marry your best friend, but I had no idea until now. And what really blows my mind, is that he lost a baby too. He’s going through loss and pain as well and still stands strong next to me. Even though the experience for him is different, it’s still the same too. His strength and love are immeasurable blessings, and I’m so overwhelmed that I get to call this great man my husband.
My relationship with God. There is absolutely no way I could be upright and typing without the strength of God in me. All of the above blessings are gifts from God, and I know that. I am reminded that I’m not alone in my loss even in the Bible. Job lost all of his children, questioned God, and God answered him. I know that God will answer my questions too. Plus, there are a myriad of stories of women in the Bible who struggled with infertility – Rachel, Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth. I know that God understands my grief, and just based on the amount of stories included in the Bible, I know he has a special place in his heart for women who go through this at any level.
Additionally, God has put women in my life that have been through what I have that I know are there for me. I don’t think that was ever a coincidence that they are in my life. This situation sucks, but I know that God hasn’t forsaken me. Like I’ve said before, God doesn’t keep me from going through the storms, but he promises to be there every step of the way.
So, coming home on Thanksgiving day from this ordeal, I don’t think was a coincidence either. God answered prayers that there were no complications and that the process happened quickly and with little physical pain. We have a community around us, some we don’t even know, that have offered love and support throughout this ordeal as we heal both physically and emotionally. And for these reasons we are truly grateful.
I don’t want to make light of this. I’m still going through this every day, day by day. Some moments are really hard. Some are easier. I imagine the easier moments will outweigh the harder ones eventually, but that’s not the reality right now. I wanted to write all of this down now for two reasons. One, to let others who may go through something similar have some idea of what to expect (although every experience will be different, even made with different choices, and that’s okay). And also, so that I can remember where I’ve been. I won’t be here forever. And that knowledge along with the love and support around me helps me go through each day, each minute, each moment towards healing.