Monday, May 18, 2015

Heartbreak and Healing

Disclaimer: This post is extremely long. I won't be offended if you don't read it. It is more for me than anything, but I hope that it is one day able to help someone who is going through a similar situation.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not looking for sympathy. What happened, happened for a reason. What that reason is I have yet to figure out. I just know that it is something I want to share for one so I remember, but for another to maybe someday down the line, be able to help and lift another who is struggling. I have been editing this post for a while, trying to find the best way to put into words how I am feeling, and sharing it in a way that is best. I'm posting it now because I feel that I am at a place where I feel emotionally ready, but it has taken some time to get there. There have been times through this when I have felt so very alone, and I want to share because I know that I'm not the only one struggling and I want others going through the same thing to have something to look at to know what what they are feeling is normal, though not always easy. Part of the reason I've felt alone is because often times, women going through this are often silent. I want to end that silence and be a strength to others.

April 25, 2015

One month ago today, on March 25 we found out that I was pregnant. I was due around the end of November or the first of December. I was beyond excited. I was ready to be a Mommy again, to have another sweet baby to snuggle. Being pregnant is hard, but I was looking forward to feeling my sweet baby move inside me. I was crossing my fingers for a little girl, but would have been equally as happy to have another little boy to give Jackson a little brother to play with. We told our families using a sign I made for Jackson to hold that said "Every Superhero needs a sidekick and I get mine in November." They were excited too. Both grandmas told me I needed to have a girl to even things out, granddaughter #5 for the Ponds and #1 for the Goods. Of course, they would have been happy with a little boy too.

I went to the doctor on April 6, and when I had my ultrasound, everything looked good, it was just too early to see a heartbeat, so they scheduled me to go back in for another appointment two weeks later. That appointment was this past Monday, April 20. Jeff was at work and I left Jackson home with Mom and headed out. They called me into the ultrasound and started, and as I looked at the screen and the ultrasound tech got silent, I knew something was wrong. She asked if I'd had any spotting. No, of course I haven't. I'm very pregnant. My morning sickness is getting worse. I can't wear any of my regular pants and just went to the storage unit for my maternity clothes on Saturday. But as the ultrasound continued and I didn't see much at all on the screen, my heart started to fall. I didn't give up hope though. I couldn't. I went back out into the waiting room to wait for the doctor. But when I saw the look on the nurse's face when she called me back, I knew that it wasn't good news. I sat down in the room, and saw it written across the top of the paper. "Fetal demise." My heart was broken. What had happened? When had my sweet baby died? Why hadn't I had any symptoms of miscarriage? The doctor came in and offered condolences. He told me that it wasn't because of anything I'd done. These miscarriages are usually caused by chromosomal abnormalities that doesn't allow a baby to develop. He told me that we could wait to see what would happen, he could give me medicine to allow my body to start the process, or we could do surgery. I immediately said that I wanted to let my body do it on it's own. My mind was blank, and I didn't have any questions for the time. He asked where my husband was. Still being fairly new at his job, he doesn't have time to take off to make it to every single appointment with me. It was so hard for me to be alone when I received that news though. I longed for him to be there holding my hand. He told me that if Jeff had been there, he would have told him that it will be harder on me that it will be on him, and to be patient with me.

I left the office, and called Mom to let her know that I was going to drive out to Melaleuca. It was Jeff's lunch, and I needed to be with him. I needed to tell him in person. I sobbed the entire way across town. Why did I have to be alone? When I pulled into the parking lot, Jeff ran out to the car. I told him that I'd miscarried, and we cried together. He held my hand as tears flowed down my face. At the end of his lunch, I left and drove home. Mom held me as I cried some more. I went and rocked my sweet little boy to put him down for his nap as I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, pleading for comfort.

That afternoon, I got a call from my doctor. He had reviewed the ultrasound, and gotten the opinion of the radiologist as well, and he said that he wasn't 100% positive that it was a miscarriage, he wanted me to go have my blood drawn to check my hcg levels, and to go back on Wednesday for another test to see if they were going up or down. That gave me a little bit of hope. I got back in the car and drove back across town to have my blood drawn.

Monday night Jeff held me in his arms as I sobbed. I wanted this little baby so bad. I wanted it to be okay. I wanted this to be a bad dream. He gave me a blessing that brought me a bit of comfort, but my heart was still breaking. I took a sleeping pill to help me sleep through the night. I got up on Tuesday and went to work, but my mind wasn't there. I sat in my classroom through my lunch hour and planned out sub lessons in case my situation warranted taking next week off.

They called on Tuesday afternoon to give me the number. Around 48,000. My doctor called me that night to see how I was doing. I told him that I was hanging in there. He told me to come back in the next day to see what my levels were and we'd take it from there.

Tuesday night I again broke down in tears in Jeff's arms, thinking about and longing for all of the experiences I wouldn't have with my baby. I wouldn't feel it's movements inside of me. I wouldn't know if it was a boy or a girl. I wouldn't ever kiss it's sweet face, or smell it's new baby smell, or count it's fingers or toes. Jeff told me that we didn't know for sure that we'd lost the baby and not to give up yet. It was just so hard for me to even have the thought in my mind that I had likely lost my sweet baby. Once again, I took a sleeping pill so I could sleep.

Again on Wednesday, I was at work, but my heart wasn't. Neither was my mind. I drove numbly to the doctor's office for another blood draw after I got off. I was trying to hold out hope, but I think I knew deep down that my sweet baby was gone.

Thursday was such a long day. It had been such a long week already. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I went visiting teaching, when I saw my sweet companion, I told her what was going on. She said that she's been there too, and asked me to let her know when I found out. We went to the grocery store. Still no call. Waiting was so nerve-wracking. I think I knew when I hadn't heard anything that morning that it wasn't going to be good news, because my doctor had told me that he should have the results first thing in the morning, though I also knew that he was scheduled in surgery all day. Finally, about 3:00 I couldn't take it any more and I called the office. My level had dropped to around 43,000. The nurse put me on the schedule to see the doctor at 8:30 Friday morning so we could discuss my questions and go over what path I wanted to take. I hung up the phone, and sobbed harder than I think I've ever sobbed in my life. There it was in black and white. My sweet baby who I was so excited to meet, was gone. I never would have any of those experiences that I was looking forward to.

Jeff arranged to go into work late on Friday so he could go with my to visit the doctor. I knelt in prayer before we left asking for strength, telling my Father that I was done waiting, and asked Him what would be the best option for me, whether to take the medication and have the miscarriage at home or surgery. I felt that either option would be okay, that it was my choice. I told Jeff on our way out that I was done waiting. Emotionally, I couldn't take it any more. As the doctor discussed things with us, Jeff stepped up and said that we would go ahead with the surgery. I was scared, because I would be all alone. Having surgery is scary anyway, but the situation made it so much worse. But almost immediately I felt calm. I knew that it would be the best path for us. We scheduled the surgery for 3:00 pm (because I'd eaten breakfast and it needed to be 8 hours after I'd eaten anything) and came home to wait until we needed to leave to be to the hospital to check in 2 hours before my surgery. The day crawled on. I was nervous, but calm at the same time, if that makes sense. Probably not. I think I was just glad to know that my nightmare was almost over.

When we got to the hospital, I got all checked in and put in a room to wait. I read my scriptures and the Ensign while I waited while Jeff sat by my side and held my hand while he played on his phone. I had nurses coming in to take my vitals, and blood. And the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about the anesthesia. I signed what I needed to, but really, everything went in one ear and out the other. We were both nervous, and really weren't looking forward to it. Finally I was wheeled back into pre-op and prepared for the surgery. When it was go time, I kissed Jeff goodbye and they took me back into the OR. They had me transfer onto the operating table, and covered me with some more warm blankets because I was freezing. They put the anesthesia into my IV, and the next thing I knew I was starting to hyper-ventilate because I was waking up and realized that my baby was gone. The nurse told me to breathe and at that moment I felt peace wash over me. Through the rest of the day I felt great peace. When they brought Jeff into the recovery room to see me, I told him what I'd felt. We sat and talked until they were ready to release me to come home. I felt so much peace. I can honestly say that I felt the sweet spirit of my little baby with me, letting me know that they were okay. That was such a comfort to me.

When we got home, Dad handed me a bouquet of flowers that my visiting teaching companion had brought over while I was gone. It was nice to feel that I wasn't so alone, that people were thinking of me. I was glad that I'd shared what I was going through with her. I didn't have any pain and felt good. I knew that I had made the right choice to have the surgery and that I would be able to start moving forward.

April 28, 2015

It's been a few days now. I've had some good days and some bad days.

Saturday started out okay. I was still feeling peace from Friday. Jeff's parents sent me a bouquet of white and yellow daisies that helped me to feel loved. However, as they day went on and I was doing my best to take care of Jackson as everyone else was working outside or getting dinner ready, I did a little too much and pulled something in my abdomen. I'd been told to take it easy, and I guess dragging a screaming toddler into his room to change a messy diaper doesn't qualify as "taking it easy." Up to that point, I hadn't had any physical pain, but as it set in and everyone else was still occupied with other things, I lost it. I had also been reading a book recommended to me by a friend, and in that book it stated that sometimes it helps grieving parents who have lost babies to be able to name their babies. That hurt my heart as well, because it was too soon to even know if we were expecting a boy or a girl, so I can't even give my baby a name. I wish I could, so I could refer to them with a name instead of just "the baby" or "my baby." That was the last straw for me. I had a break down. It was hard-core, ugly sobs. I physically didn't have strength to even stand up. I tried and I collapsed onto the chair just sobbing. Eventually, Jeff was able to help me up, but he practically had to carry me downstairs so we could be alone and talk and work through what I was feeling. It took me so long to calm down. I was crying so hard that I couldn't breathe. And I wonder if I was starting to go into a type of shock because my entire body was shaking and I was shivering even though I wasn't cold. Finally I was able to find the words to ask him for a blessing and that helped calm me down.

Looking back on that event now, a few days later, I can see that I just needed to let myself grieve. I needed to mourn what I'd lost. Losing a child is not an easy thing, no matter when they were lost. I was only about seven weeks pregnant, but that doesn't make my pain less. I had already grown to love that sweet baby growing inside me. I was looking forward to so many things with that baby, and it felt like it had all been ripped away from me in an instant. I had a difficult time sleeping on Saturday night.

I woke up on Sunday and got ready for church. Dad said that he would go help Jeff teach our Sunbeams because I knew I didn't have the energy to go and teach those active three and four year-olds. I wasn't sure I even wanted to stay for all three hours of meetings. I knew, however, that I needed to take the sacrament. My mind wasn't very present in the meeting, except for during the musical number, I Believe in Christ. I do believe in Christ. Through Christ I will be able to hold my sweet little baby again, just not in this life as I had planned and wanted. The last talk also really spoke to me. It was about trusting in the Lord and His timing. That isn't necessarily an easy thing right now, as I wanted that baby so badly and couldn't understand why I wasn't given the opportunity to meet my baby. I laid my head on Jeff's shoulder and let my tears flow through the meeting. I did end up going to Sunday School and Relief Society, mostly because I didn't know if I could stand to be alone for two hours until the rest of the family got home. The mom of one of my Sunbeams sat next to me and asked if I was taking a Sabbatical from Sunbeams, so I told her why I was there. That afternoon, she had her daughter bring me a couple flowers they'd picked in their garden, some cookies, and a picture she'd drawn for me.

I was able to take a nap after church, and that helped to clear my mind. I needed that so much, especially since I hadn't slept much all week long. I felt a little better after I woke up. Jeff and I kept Jackson downstairs with us that evening and played with him. It was nice to be able to talk and communicate. We watched a movie as a family, which had a few spots that made me tear up, but it was nice to spend the time together. As he was playing, Jackson dug into his toy bucket and pulled out one of his baby teethers and brought it to us, grinning. He loved chewing on those little butterfly teethers when his teeth were coming in.That set me off. All of his baby toys would have been cleaned for our new baby. Of course Jackson didn't understand. He was just showing us one of his favorite toys he'd found. Jeff just held me as I cried.

During the night on Sunday, I woke up with horrible cramps. I had been sleeping, and woke up crying out in pain. I couldn't even move. Jeff got out of bed and got my ibuprofen and some crackers and water, then held me until the pain had dissipated enough for me to be able to move, then he laid and rubbed my back helping me relax to be able to fall back asleep. I am so grateful for him. That incident was the worst my physical pain has been.

Yesterday was a good day. I'm pretty well just taking it easy, because I know if I do too much I start to hurt, so I've let Jackson have way too much TV time, but I need to allow myself to fully recover so I can be a good Mommy again. I did a lot of indexing. The needed projects right now are obituaries, and I was able to handle that just fine. I can't do much, but that is one way that I can serve right now. I received another flower delivery yesterday, some beautiful purple roses and a yellow daisy. The card was unsigned, other than my favorite quite from President Hinckley, "Don't get discouraged. Things will work out." I had that quote written inside the front cover of my scriptures that I had on my mission. It was a reminder that I needed. Things will work out. It's hard right now. But it will all be okay.

I'm taking this week off work, to allow myself time to physically recover, but start healing emotionally as well. Granted, now that I would have had one of my days of work finished already I really don't think I would have had physical energy to go today. Yesterday I was exhausted after simply taking a shower. Today I made it as far as taking a walk and helping get dinner in the crock-pot before I crashed. But I crashed hard this afternoon. If I'd been in my bed instead of on the couch I would have probably slept for a few hours. I'll just go to bed early tonight. And I am still in physical pain as well. I can control it with ibuprofen and it is very manageable. It is a hard reminder for me, however, of the sweet baby that I lost.

I'm working through the grieving process. The Gospel is helping me and bringing me strength. I can't imagine going through this loss without the knowledge that I will be able to hold my sweet baby someday. And, as I have given it lots of thought over the past days, I have realized that I am so blessed that Heavenly Father chose me to bring that sweet spirit to earth. All that sweet baby needed was a body. They didn't actually need to live on the earth. My sweet baby was a choice spirit. Heavenly Father has an important work for them to do on the other side. I know that I have been inspired to be more faithful. I've always known that I wanted to return to the Celestial Kingdom after I pass from this life, but now... I have to. My baby is there, and I know they are, because they lived a perfect life. And they are so blessed. My baby will never know pain. Never know sorrow. Never know anger, or hate, or any of the tragedies that come along with life. My baby will only know happiness and love, because that is all I felt as I carried my sweet baby for those few weeks that I knew I was. My baby sent to teach me faith, and perseverance, and I'm sure many other lessons that I have yet to learn.

 I will get through this. Last week was hell. There is no other way to put it. Knowing that I was carrying a dead baby...I've never felt anything worse. I've never felt lower, or weaker. The peace I felt on Friday was relieving. That was short lived as I broke down again on Saturday and Sunday. But yesterday and today have been good days. I realize that I will probably still have bad days as well. There will be things that touch a tender string in my heart and set me off again. This morning I was watching a show and a commercial put me in tears.

I have a wonderful husband by my side, and a handsome little boy who is always so happy. Jackson doesn't understand why Mommy is sad, but someday this will help us better teach our children about the Plan of Salvation. Jeff has been wonderful for me. He has been patient and understanding and supportive. He's held me as I've cried. He's rubbed my back and my feet to help me relax. He's given me numerous blessings. I am so grateful for my parents as well for the help they've given us this past week. My mom has tended to Jackson's needs much more than I have this week. Though I'm starting to feel more human now, I still need to heal and still need help, and I'm grateful that I have constant help. I have also felt prayers offered up by many people. That has brought a lot of strength as well.


More time has passed. It has now been four weeks since I got the devastating news that I had miscarried. I am physically healing. My pain now is gone. There is nothing to physically indicate that I was even pregnant. Immediately after surgery I was able to wear my regular pants again. The bleeding has stopped. Most people I know will never know about my sweet baby. That does break my heart, but I will never forget. I have been able to get down on the floor and play with Jackson again and take him for walks which he loves. My energy is back and I am able to do everything I need to.

More importantly, however, is the fact that I am emotionally healing. Finding out that I had lost a baby was hands down the hardest thing that I have ever gone through in my life. It took me quite a while to find myself again. I was simply existing, methodically going through each day. I would get out of bed when Jackson woke up, and take care of him all day, as much as I could from the couch anyway. When Jeff got home, I would turn responsibility of Jackson back over to him. Most days I would take a nap, because I just didn't have energy to make it through the day otherwise. Knowing that I have struggled with depression in the past, usually when emotionally difficult things have come my way, I was worried. Really worried. I didn't want to go down that road again, because I know how hard it is to come back. But now, I can honestly say that I don't think I'm at risk of going there. I credit a loving husband and lots of prayer. I have had a very good support system, and that has helped me a lot. Of course there have still been times when I have felt so alone. I've had some really rough days. But I've started having some good days as well.

I can honestly say that I have felt joy again. At first, I didn't know it would be possible. It seemed my world had ended. But last Saturday, spending the day with my little family at the zoo, I felt joy. Jeff and Jackson are my life. They are what truly bring me joy. I laughed for the first time in two weeks that day, and it felt good.

My faith has been tested and tried through this, and it has been strengthened. I know it has. I am so grateful for a temple marriage that gives me that assurance that as I live my life in accordance with the Gospel, I will be able to return Home again and be able to hold my little baby in my arms. I am grateful for personal revelation that has allowed me to know without a doubt that my baby is okay.

I have learned a lot about myself the past few weeks. And I am grateful for what I have learned. The way in which I had to learn these things have been hard. I wish it could have been learned in a different way. But it couldn't. Right now I don't understand why, but someday I will. I have a loving Heavenly Father who can see the big picture of things, and He knows why everything fits into our lives in the way that it does.

I have still had bad days. Some days, I just need to let myself cry. I am trying to be strong, and I'm trying to put on a happy face, but there are days that are hard. Mother's Day was really hard for me, because I should have been far enough along to be able to announce that I was going to be a Mommy again, and that really hurt.  I snapped as we were on our way out the door to church, and had a rough time through the whole block of meetings. I came home and wrote out my feelings in my journal and took a nap and felt better. I have found that expressing all of my feelings really helps me. I can't keep things bottled up inside. It is hard for Jeff to see me still hurting, but I am so grateful for the patience he has shown me through all of this.

Physically, I am fine. I feel like I am back to my normal self. However, it will take me time to completely heal emotionally. I have had some special experiences that have brought me a lot of peace and comfort. The past week has been really good. The last time I needed to cry was on Mother's Day. Instead of putting on a happy face, I have felt happier. I know I'm not 100% healed yet, because I do still feel some sadness when I think about losing my baby, and I don't know if I ever will. But what I do know is that I can live with it, and that I am stronger because of it.

Jeff and I are went to the temple on Friday. That brought a lot of very needed peace. We hadn't been to the temple since before we found out I was expecting because the Idaho Falls Temple is closed for some remodeling, so it had been about two months, which is way too long. I left feeling rejuvenated. On Saturday we went to the Second Chance Prom and I was able to really let down my guard and just have fun. That was liberating.

As I sat in church yesterday, I knew that I was ready to finish this post and put it out there. The closing hymn was "More Holiness Give Me."

  1. 1. More holiness give me,
    More strivings within,
    More patience in suff'ring,
    More sorrow for sin,
    More faith in my Savior,
    More sense of his care,
    More joy in his service,
    More purpose in prayer.
  2. 2. More gratitude give me,
    More trust in the Lord,
    More pride in his glory,
    More hope in his word,
    More tears for his sorrows,
    More pain at his grief,
    More meekness in trial,
    More praise for relief.
  3. 3. More purity give me,
    More strength to o'ercome,
    More freedom from earth-stains,
    More longing for home.
    More fit for the kingdom,
    More used would I be,
    More blessed and holy--
    More, Savior, like thee.
These lyrics spoke to me right now. I've realized that this trial was given to me to help me be more like the Savior. I do feel stronger than I did four weeks ago. I've learned things about myself that I couldn't have learned any other way.  And I am grateful for that. My Savior has suffered for me so that I am able to overcome this.

The Gospel is true. Without it, I would be so lost right now. This experience has strengthened my faith in my Savior and my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Without a doubt, I know it is true. One day, when my time on earth is finished (and I hope it won't be for many, many years) I will be able to take my baby into my arms and hold them. My choice is to, instead of longing for what could have been, focus on the many blessings I have been given, because there are so many. In Heavenly Father's due time I will be able to add to my family. But for right now, I have a wonderful little boy and amazing husband who love me and who I love more than life itself. We are an eternal family, with one child here and one sweet Angel looking down on us from above.