"There is no greater tragedy than the loss of a child. Unfortunately, because our babies live only within our wombs or they live outside the womb for a short period of time, an uneducated society often minimizes the importance of their short lives and, in turn, our grief is trivialized."
I know the pain of having my much anticipated child taken from me much too soon. Sadly, I've experienced it twice over. The ironic thing is...had it not been for Sophie's loss, I would not have lost Mikey either. Here's my story.
On February 26, 2008 I had a routine early pregnancy (8 weeks) sonogram. Everything was "normal" for me. There was a clot around the placenta, but I'd had that with my past 3 pregnancies and the 2 since. It always dissolved so I wasn't the least bit concerned. DH and I were very excited to receive an October 15 due date. Okay...I wasn't excited about being largely pregnant during the hot summer months, but I was excited about the baby. I went about life as usual. DH's birthday was the next day and after taking a surprise treat to him around lunch time, I discovered I was spotting. I figured I had just over done it a bit, and took things easy for the next day. The spotting persisted, so I called my OB and he told me to take things easy. He also wanted to see me for another sonogram the following Monday. Monday came. I was still spotting and the clot had grown. I was put on bed-rest. Of course, DH's stress level has now gone through the roof as we tried to arrange help with our 4 small children ages 4, 3, 2, and 9.5 months. He also felt the need to do all the housework in the evening to his own white glove standard that I to this day have not been able to achieve. To make a long story short, a week and a half later, we lost our baby on March 5. Exactly 10 years after DH had lost his beloved Grandfather.
I was absolutely DEVASTATED to have lost my baby. How could my body betray me in such a manner. I had delivered 4 healthy children from "boring" uncomplicated pregnancies, yet it had happened. I never once believed I would lose the baby when I was spotting. It just couldn't happen. I was going to do everything in my power to keep it from happening, yet it did. I had failed at my primary job of being a good mother and protecting my child. My body had failed me. Worst of all, I felt that no one understood our pain. They kept telling us, and DH echoed it, "At least you have 4 healthy children." or "There must've been something wrong with the baby that God was protecting you from." I didn't care all I wanted was my baby back.
Then things got worse. DH had, from all the stress we'd been through, developed kidney stones, and something else was wrong that no-one could seem to figure out. After countless trips to the local Emergency Room, his doctor,many prescriptions for "infections" that never showed on tests, and multiple CT scans and MRIs, we were continually told "It must be another kidney stone" or even worse "It must be in your head. I can't find anything wrong with you." We ended up going for a second opinion with his old Urologist to do tests for cancer. After him telling DH, that he was cancer free and everything looked good, except for this swollen area of his bowels, which probably was an infection, we were finally headed in the right direction. We left with a prescription for Flagyl, and instructions to follow up with our general practitioner in this direction. After a brief hospital stay on DH's behalf, and a referral to the local gastroenterologist, DH was finally on his way back to good health. The official/final diagnosis...he had no good bacteria in his stomach. It had been killed off by the radiation and multiple prescriptions that well meaning, but misguided doctors had given us. It took him upwards of 6 months to get back to normal. The whole time this was going on, I lived in a paralyzing fear that I was going to lose my husband and be widowed at 26 because the doctors just didn't care to look past what the surface and see the real problem with his health.
How does that tangent tie Sophie's loss to Mikey? Well, I knew that I wanted another baby even though I had just lost one. I needed to feel the preciousness of my own newborn in my arms, to experience the joy of nursing them, smell the wonderful baby smell, and yes, I even wanted to experience labor all over one more time. I was advised by my OB to wait 2 cycles before trying to conceive again. We decided to take into consideration everything that DH had been through and decided that the fall looked like a good time to start trying for another baby. However, we found out in June that after a moment of "temporary insanity", we were indeed pregnant again. I, ever the optimist, knew things were going to be great and we would have our baby this time. Our first sonogram showed what appeared to be a shadow behind the baby. Dr. B theorized that it was a twin that had not fully developed and would be reabsorbed without any problems. Of course, I was willing to accept that explanation. Fast forward to our 14 week visit, another sonogram to check on baby and the "shadow" showed that it was not a shadow, but a growth on the base of Baby Mikey's spine. At this time I'd made it past the first trimester, and shared with the kids we were expecting baby Mikey to join us right around Daddy's birthday. One night I had a dream that I lost the baby. I was terrified and didn't say anything to DH or anyone about it. If I didn't say anything it would not happen. We were scheduled to come back for another sonogram to check on the growth and Mikey's size...he was measuring a week smaller than he should've, a week later. It just happened to be Bug's first day of Kindergarten. What a crazy day it was. As things would have it, I could not find a babysitter to watch the 4 older kids, so I had them in tow. They were excited about seeing baby Mikey. In fact, Bug's first words upon seeing him on the screen were "Awe he's so cute!" and there were a few "Look! It's baby Mikey!". Silence from the doctor...and then he told us there was no heartbeat. I don't know what was harder....finding out we'd lost him after thinking we were "safe", or finding out in front of the kids. It had happened again. I didn't know what to think other than I was done. Obviously, there was something wrong with me that my body would keep betraying me in such a manner, I was not going to have any more children of my own. I was too afraid and didn't trust God to see me through another pregnancy. Not after he'd abandoned me during my last 2. I had a D&C at the end of the week...on Bug's 5th birthday. I cherished those extra 4 days I had with Mikey even though I let myself deny that he was really gone. I knew he was...I could no longer feel his movement, but I still didn't want to let go of my precious boy.
I carried my grief with me like a cloak for several months to myself...never letting anyone know how deep my hurts really went or how close I came to walking away from God. Until I realized that I was only hurting myself, and the kids I did have. They deserved a real mother who would focus on them and the bright futures they did have. But oh how my arms ached to hold my babies. I was blessed with a chance to "hold" Mikey through my friend's son Ish who is a few weeks older than Mikey would've been.
So, in closing I would like to share this video with you, and ask you join me in remembering those who have suffered the terrible loss of their babies and to remember their babies by lighting a candle at 7:00 PM, your local time for one hour in remembrance of these precious little ones who are etched in their parents and our hearts. If you would like more information please visit http://www.october15th.com/ Thank You.
In Loving Memory of Sophie 3*5*08 and Mikey 8*25*08