The following is a birth story written and shared with me by a mother who experienced pregnancy loss. It is my hope that by sharing these stories, we will bring pregnancy loss into the conversation and acknowledge that even in the loss of a child, there is still remains a story worth telling. The story of a baby. A birth story.
When Jenna (of Call Her Happy) had Sam, we were all eagerly awaiting her story...how Sam came to be. I loved birth stories, but was a mom on a different side of the line. I wrote about the magical experience of taking your first breath and taking the place God created for you. See, as one mom commented, I hadn't experienced the other birth story. I was happy go lucky in life. I was the mom things went right for. Well, I am back. I still love birth stories, but I have grown a little.
This past June, my husband and I were floored when we found out we were pregnant for the second time. We hadn't really been trying. Our daughter was approaching 2 and a half. We were in the middle of trying to find a new place to live. I was in the middle of interviewing for my dream job. And something was wrong. I couldn't explain it, but something was wrong. We were pregnant, but I didn't feel right. My fears were confirmed when I started bleeding two weeks later. I spent a week on the couch. The day we closed on our house, I passed the final tissue at 7 weeks. I bawled. I apologized to my husband. I didn't understand. My daughter and I spent the next three weeks making a weekly trek to the doctors office to watch my hormone levels go down. She loved it. She would watch with wide eyes and excitement. I was ok. As my doctor said, at least I knew I could get pregnant.
So imagine our surprise when we found out we were pregnant again 4 weeks later. I didn't even get my period! What! Two no tries and we were blessed again. This time, I felt the pregnancy was right. I could tell I was. I was vomiting in the middle of the night. My boobs...hurt. Woo hoo! There were a few snags. Because I didn't have a period, my doctors wanted early ultra sounds to determine the size of the baby. I couldn't make the first appointments because school was starting. The downfall of teaching, you don't get any day to just go places. I had to push my ultrasound to almost the 11th week. However, in we went. Baby did flips. We were so excited. I had to return the following week to get an accurate growth measurement. Baby did wonderfully. Because I am a teacher, I have very limited days. I asked if we could push the next appointment until the day before Thanksgiving. Before than, there is nothing the doctors do other than listen and measure. If something were wrong, it would happen and I would know and call. The doctor agreed we we in a good place to do that. Our next appointment would be at the 19 week mark, where we would get to see baby bean do flips again!
Enter Wednesday before Thanksgiving, here we go. Ultrasound, tech, family. We were so ready to see baby! The tech came in, turned on the screen, did one measurement, and told us she didn't have good news. Baby bean did not have a heartbeat, and was measuring 3 weeks behind. We we devastated. We were taken to see the doctor. We were given options. The whole thing was a blur. I remember we ate Chinese food that night and started praying that they were wrong. We called everyone we knew. We begged for prayers. Begged everyone. We scheduled a second ultrasound for the following Wednesday...sure in our hearts this had to be a mistake.
Saturday I pulled out all of our Christmas decorations. I was going to paint the house happy. Except, our daughter wasn't. She had developed a weird low grade fever. Which is SO not like her. A little Tylenol, she was running around and eating. Back to happy. Until she sat down and almost fell over. Her fever had spiked to 104. After a call to the doctor, we packed up and headed to the after hours clinic at our hospital. All tests were done, and nothing was determined. So strange....until we were checking out. I began bleeding, and then I started to see why the mysterious fever spiked. I was not going to have to wait to make a decision on what to do. God was helping making it for us. I checked into the hospital Saturday night, and waited for labor to start. I spent all day Sunday getting things in order for my leave. Again, the joys of teaching. Not only do you get to figure out how to leave work, but there are 26 little beings that need to understand. Life just got more awesome. By Sunday night, I hadn't started so I decided to induce labor. I took the first round of meds at 7:30. At 11:30, the second round of meds came. I declined medication. I wanted to feel the contractions. I wanted to feel the pain. It may sound crazy, but I don't know if I will ever be blessed enough to be in this position again, so I wanted to feel for as long as I could. At 1:30 I had piggy back contractions and couldn't take it. I went off to happy land for a little while. At 5, I needed assistance to use the bathroom, and on the way back to bed felt baby drop. I delivered our son, Andrew Gregory, at 5:30am. I held him. Talked to him. Spent as many moments as I could with him. I had amazing staff at the hospital. They all gave me the support I needed to keep going.
Since Monday, we have planned our sons funeral. We have cried. My husband and I have grown closer. We have had so very many people reach out to us. We will bury our son Saturday. And I am eternally grateful to Andrew. I am beyond hurting, but his story, our story, is now forever in our hearts. I love his story. I love that one day I may learn that our daughters fever was a gift from my son and God so that I didn't have to wait or decide on my own...both of which were eating me alive. I love every single contraction I had I love both of the two pushes it took to deliver him. And I am grateful for every moment I held the perfect little man in my arms. This is our story...and although I feel like curling up in a ball at times, I honestly also feel that I couldn't feel more alive. This pain connects me to my God. A God I don't understand at the moment, but I pray that like Job, greater joy will come. I am still so thankful for birth stories....it is truly the way to experience life.