April 28, 2016

Forever in Our Hearts

I have been questioning whether I should share this experience or not. It is a little scary for me to share my most intimate feelings. However, I think that there is something that can be gained from others’ trials–a compassion that we all feel for one another, even when we don’t know them. I also hope that maybe I can help someone who is going through, has gone through, or will go through something similar. Everyone experiences pain and grief differently, but I think that the mixture of emotions (anger, denial, sadness, hope) are all experienced by someone at some point in their lives. We are all so much stronger than we think. I know many of my friends and family are struggling with things that I can’t even comprehend. Heavenly Father can bless us with strength to endure even the most challenging of life’s circumstances.

Writing is a way for me to express my emotions. It helps me process and understand difficult things. I debated whether or not I wanted to share this experience. I didn’t realize how hard late miscarriages were until now, and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who may not understand. And that’s okay. This is a very personal trial for me and my family. I have been writing everything that I have been feeling for the past few days. It has been less than a week since I found out about our baby’s passing, so it is still a very open wound. This is me being real and very vulnerable.

 

Tuesday, April 19th: I questioned whether I really needed to go to the doctor all day. All afternoon I kept thinking: I’m sure everything is fine and they will just send me home…Although I never saw this with my other two pregnancies, I’ve heard it’s perfectly normal to see a tiny bit of blood at any point in your pregnancy from your uterus stretching too quickly etc…It’s only a teenie tiny bit of blood, I’m sure it’s nothing… My doctor told me to come in and do an ultrasound anyways-just in case.

I rescheduled my appointment for later in the afternoon to better accommodate my kids’ nap schedules. Mike had been working in St. George for over a month. I didn’t want to worry him that something was wrong, so I didn’t tell him about the tiny bit of blood until right before my appointment. I told him it was nothing to worry about. I didn’t bother getting a babysitter because I didn’t think the appointment was going to be a big deal.

I walked into the ultrasound room and was talking with the ultrasound technician. “How far along are you?” She asked.

“I will be 16 weeks on Thursday.”

“You don’t want to find out what you’re having, right?” She asked.

I responded, “No, we want it to be a surprise. It kind of kills me that I am far enough along to find out though!” My other two children look so similar; I was excited to see if a baby of the same gender would look like a twin to one of my other children.

The ultrasound technician turned on the screen and found the baby. He wasn’t moving. I figured he was just sleeping. She continued to look at the baby from different angles and I began to worry slightly. “Jaisha, I think something’s wrong.” She said. I can’t remember exactly what she said. Something about his lymphatic system not developing correctly; something about Down syndrome; something about cysts. Tears came to eyes. I wasn’t sure if her statements meant that he was going to be disabled or that I had lost him.  “I’m so sorry, Jaisha. I’m going to go get the doctor.” I heard the sincerity in her voice. Lucas and Ari both looked at me as I lay crying.

The doctor came in with the ultrasound technician behind. She showed him the images. Our baby had a large cyst on the back of his neck. He still wasn’t moving. “I also can’t find a fetal heartbeat.” The tech said with sadness in her eyes. “There is no blood moving through his body.”

The doctor said, “I’m so sorry. It is rare to lose a baby at this stage in pregnancy. After the first trimester you can usually assume that you are in the clear, but sometimes things just happen and we don’t know why. This is so difficult, but if you would have made it full term he may not have survived much longer past birth. I am so sorry.” They both wrapped their arms around me and told me how sorry they were. The doctor said that it would be better for me to do_______ instead of a D&C. I didn’t know what word he said.

“You are going to have to deliver your baby.” The tech said. I just nodded my head and cried. “Do you have someone to watch your kids for you?” I responded that I did. “Do you want to go to labor and delivery now, or can Mike come home to be with you and we can schedule it for you in a day or two?” I definitely wanted Mike there. “I’m so sorry that you are here alone. Would you like me to call Mike and tell him for you?” she asked.

“No, I will call and tell him.”

They took me into another room where there were toys for Lucas and Ari to play with. I called Mike. He was at work and on the other line. I called 3 more times and he finally answered.

“Are you okay?” He asked. I was crying and it was difficult for me to talk. “Jaisha!” He was scared.

“No. The baby doesn’t have a heartbeat,” I replied.

“No, Jaisha, no.” I told him what the doctor said. We both just cried. He said to schedule the appointment for Thursday morning so that he could be there with me. I’m so glad he could come home. I had no idea what I was in for and can’t imagine doing it without him now.

My doctor, the ultrasound technician, and the office managers were so loving. I am so grateful for the relationship I have with each of them. I truly felt that they cared about me. They all gave me a hug and asked how they could help. “Do you want me to give you a ride home? Are you going to be okay to drive? Do you have someone to watch your kids? Do you have any questions?”

“Will I get to hold my baby?” This was the only question I had.

She nodded her head.

I thanked each of them and said I would be fine to drive home. I called Mike again. It killed him that he was so far away. He just wanted to be with us. He asked if I wanted someone to come over to the house with me. I told him no.

I called my mom and told her. She cried with me and told me how sorry she was.

I wish so badly that I never would have complained about being pregnant. I hope our baby knows how much we love him.

I got home, still on the phone with my mom, and took my kids up to the playroom so that they could play. I heard someone in my house; it was my mother in law. Mike had called her and told her what happened and she immediately came over to be with me. Even though my first thought was that I wanted to be alone, I am so glad she came over. She watched my kids for me and just talked to me and hugged me. She told me to go take a bath and get in some comfortable clothes while she got my kids dinner and put them in the tub.

I was just trying to process everything. I tried to pray. “Dear Heavenly Father… Dear Heavenly Father…” That’s all I could say. I didn’t try to pray again.

My father-in-law and his dad came over to give me a blessing. I felt a little better after the blessing. My mother-in-law left after I thanked her and told her I would be fine alone. I just wanted to think.

I called and told all of my close family members what had happened. It was difficult to talk about, and I spent most of the night crying.

After my kids went to sleep, I tried to sleep. I couldn’t. I just lay in my bed and replayed over and over what happened at the doctor’s office. I had so many questions.

The next morning was a blur. I tried to play with my kids and continue my day as usual, but I couldn’t get my mind off of what was happening. I had so many loving family and friends call and text me. We have so many people who love and care for us. I truly didn’t feel like talking about it because every time anyone messaged me or called me I would just cry, but I am so glad that all of these wonderful friends and family called or messaged me. I realize now that it was good for me to talk about and get some of my tears out.

Mike was on his way home from St. George. I couldn’t wait for him to get home. It was so hard to be away from each other.

I tried to take a nap while my kids were sleeping that afternoon. Once again I lay in my bed and cried.

When Mike got home we just held each other.

I had started to have stomach cramps shortly before he got there. As the night continued I realized I was having contractions. A sweet lady from my relief society brought dinner for us that night. After dinner I started to pack my kids’ bags just in case we had to go to the hospital that night. Mike and I tried to play with the kids, but it was hard to be happy when we were so sad and scared for the next morning. After we got Ari out of the tub I lay in bed with Lucas while he was watching a movie. My contractions continued to get stronger and I was in a lot of pain. I asked Mike to give me a blessing with his dad before I went to the hospital. We called Mike’s mom and told her to come stay at the house with the kids so that we could go.

I was so scared as we drove to the hospital. I had no idea what to expect.

We got to the hospital and the nurses weren’t sure what they were supposed to do since I wasn’t scheduled to come in until the next morning. They finally told me that my doctor said to go ahead with the delivery. They gave me some medication to soften my cervix to speed up the labor. One of the nurses helped me so much that night. She told me that this was going to be very painful, but it would be over soon, and I needed to tell myself that all night.  After they gave me the medication, my contractions continued to get stronger and stronger.

Mike went out to the car to grab a few things. While he was gone I felt like I was in constant pain; my contractions never let up. He got back to the room and I asked him to get the nurse for me so that I could have some pain medication.

I hated that I had to go through this. I hated that I had to be in so much pain. I was angry that I had to do all of this for nothing.

The nurse came in and gave me some pain medicine through my IV. I swear she put sugar water in my IV. I didn’t feel any kind of pain relief at all. My contractions were 30 seconds apart and so sharp. She told me how to breathe through my contractions and how to have Mike help me. She said that through each contraction I needed to be like a rag doll and just imagine all of the pain melting onto the bed. This was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do (clench the bed rail as tightly as possible.) But once I did what she recommended it helped.

Mike would rub my back and my hair through each of my contractions and tell me to breathe all of the pain out. “It’s almost over… it’s almost over…” he repeated for hours. I love him so much. I am so glad he was there with me. I felt so close to him. Every time we have a baby it brings us closer, and this baby was no exception.

At one point the nurse had to quickly run out of our room to help a woman deliver her baby. I heard the baby cry as he/she was born. Once again tears flooded my eyes.

I turned on some piano music to help me relax. We had a few hymns on our piano playlist, and I immediately started crying as I thought of my savior, Jesus Christ. All of this pain I was going through was nothing compared to what he went through for each of us. I felt that He was there with me and He could help me through this. There is something very spiritual about pain. Looking back now I am so grateful that I was able to go through that to have a better understanding of the atonement and a greater appreciation for my Heavenly Father.

I was able to deliver our baby around 2:30 the next morning. The nurse wrapped him in a tiny blanket and put a tiny hat on him that barely fit his head. She was so careful with his sweet little body. This experience was much different than I expected it to be. I was expecting it to be a beautiful moment that gave me closure and peace. But it was a really somber moment. It is a very different experience to hold a baby whose spirit is no longer with him. It was sad to see his eyes, his nose, his mouth, and his tiny ears. His hands were perfectly formed.

I don’t know how these things work. I don’t know if our little baby will have a chance again at a later time. I don’t know if he will just go straight to the celestial kingdom to be with our Father in Heaven. I don’t know if Mike and I will be his parents in this life or the next.  I would imagine that this is a difficult time for him though, too. He is probably mourning that he wasn’t able to come to earth right now. That he has to wait to meet his earthly parents and his brother and sister. I hope he is happy and knows how loved he truly is and how excited we were to have him in our family.

After I delivered him, the placenta needed to come out. The nurse said we would wait a few hours to see if it would come out. I continued to have contractions as my body tried so hard to get it out. By around 5:30 the nurse came in and said that we were probably going to have to do a D&C to get it out. I didn’t know exactly what this surgery consisted of, so I was nervous. I was extremely relieved to hear that I would be put to sleep. I really did not want any more pain. She said that it would be a quick surgery, that I wouldn’t feel a thing, and that when I woke up I would only have mild cramping.

I was wheeled back to the operating room. The OR team was very sweet and kept me calm. I don’t even remember them putting me to sleep. When I woke up I felt such immense relief. Finally, no more pain. I didn’t even have cramping. My body finally felt relieved.

They continued to watch my vitals and make sure I was okay to go home. I just wanted to be home and in my bed so that I could sleep.

We went home and my mother in law was there with Arianne and Lucas. She continued to watch them so that Mike and I could sleep.

I was able to sleep for a few hours. My mom and sister came later that day to help with my kids and to be with me. I was so glad that my mom came. There are many times in your life that you just simply need your mom.

The days after his delivery have been a mixture of emotions. There are times when I am okay, and there are times when I am sad. I will be fine, and then something will remind me that I’m not pregnant anymore. I lie in my bed, and my first thought is to make sure that I don’t lie on my stomach, and then I realize it doesn’t matter anymore. I wake up in the morning thinking that I needed to eat quickly so that I don’t feel sick, and then I remember I’m not pregnant anymore. I’m reminded every time I look in the mirror. I felt him move for the first time 4 weeks ago; I no longer feel his soft little kicks.

Finding out we were pregnant was a struggle for me in the beginning. Not because I didn’t want a baby, but because of our situation. Mike was living away from us, we were trying to sell our house, and at first I felt like I couldn’t handle three young children. I quickly got over this worry. I imagined what it would be like to have three sweet little children in my home and how close they would be to each other. I wish so badly that I never would have complained about being pregnant. I know it is okay that I felt that way at first, but looking back now, all of the things I worried about were so insignificant.

Friday night, Mike and I knelt by the side of our bed to pray, as we do every night. I said a sincere prayer for the first time since we found out. I was overwhelmed with the spirit as I felt His love for me. My thoughts changed to gratitude, and I realized how grateful I am that I was able to be this little boy’s earthly mother for the short time that I was.

On Saturday morning, we had a burial service for our son. Mike dedicated the grave and we said a prayer. I am glad that we were able to bury him so that we can visit him. I think I will spend a lot of time at that cemetery. The weather wasn’t very accommodating as it was windy and our children were crying, so we decided to come back on Sunday morning and bring him flowers. When we came back on Sunday the sun was shining. Lucas gave his little brother one of his toy tractors. We all said our goodbyes. I said a prayer by his grave. I told him that I loved him.

Mike had to go back to St. George on Sunday. I came to stay with my mom so that I don’t have to be alone. I am not ready to go back to normal life yet. The only thing I can listen to right now is piano music and talks from conference. I listened to a talk from the October 2015 LDS General Conferences on my way to my mom’s. The talk titled, “Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks made me realize even more how much I love my Savior. “He knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us-to give us the strength to bear it all.” Each of us have unique challenging trials in life: chronic illness, death of family and loved ones, financial burdens, the feeling of failure and rejection, disabilities, addictions, and many more. After listening to this talk, I began thinking about all of the struggles and trials that people go through. People are so much stronger than they think. I think about the struggles people I know are going through right now, and I can’t possibly imagine being in their shoes. However, I know that God is there for us. He makes us strong. And we can make it through trials that we never thought we were strong enough for. “His Atonement…provides the opportunity to call upon Him who has experienced all of our mortal infirmities to give us the strength to bear the burdens of mortality. He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us.”

I am letting myself experience all of my thoughts and emotions fully through all of this. I have no expectations for myself. I continue to have sad moments. Every night I lie in bed and imagine our little baby snuggling next to me. I think about him all day. He has been the only thing consuming my thoughts for the past week. And I’m sure it will take time for me to heal completely.

We have spent the past few days just relaxing and spending time with family.  Over the past few days, I have realized how important family is. How fragile life is. How grateful I am for my children. How I just want them to know that they are loved.  I truly am so blessed. Ari and Lucas have kept me going through all of this. Sometimes I look at them and think of what our little boy could have been. I think of what he would have liked, what his personality would have been, and who we would have grown up to be. He had the potential to become just like them, but his body wasn’t ready. However, I know that there was a reason he came into our lives.

Throughout my pregnancy, I felt that this baby was going to bring our family together. After we lost him I was so confused and lost. But I have realized something: He did bring our family closer together.

 

 

We have had so many people bring us food, gifts, prayers, phone calls and messages, and words of comfort. We are forever grateful to each of you and love you all so much. I didn’t realize how much I needed you. It is so comforting to know that if we are ever struggling, we will have an army of friends, family, and ward members to be there for us. Another thing I have learned from this experience, is that you don’t have to have gone through the same experience as someone to comfort them. You don’t have the magic words to make someone feel better; you don’t have to fix their problems and make the pain go away; you just have to let them know that they are loved and cared for. Each of you did this for us; thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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