I have been going back and forth about sharing my story about the loss of what would have been our fourth baby. Writing helps me process my feelings and I pray that through my blogs I am able to give insight and hope to others.
I feel more and more people are coming out and sharing those really hard, desperate, dark abyss times that we wander through. They happen. They are real. Life is not perfect. We heal; in time. Here is my story. *disclosure, some information may be graphic*
I have often pondered to myself, “What if it happened to me. What if this time we “lost” the baby.” How would I feel? Would it matter? Would I care? I think, a lot. A little too much at times. I never really did end up with an answer to these questions until November 2014 and it hurt more than I ever could imagine.
We have had our children fairly close together. Some people may have not agreed with our choices but they were ours and although some pregnancies came as a surprise, we never not wanted more children. We were never really the type to not announce early on. We felt that if we did end up having a miscarriage then we would have the support and love that we would need. It has never been a second thought. When we found out that we were to be expecting our fourth come June 2015 I was beyond eager to announce it in a unique way. Enter this (still to me) awesome announcement.
Our photo went viral between family and friends. My husband and I were elated.
We would be completing our family with 4 babies. Our original plan was to wait until the summer to get pregnant. I wanted to try and have one more summer where we did not have an infant to care for. But God had different plans and I was OK with that and started eagerly anticipating the birth of our baby.
A week after the picture went viral I started feeling that something was not right with this pregnancy. For me being pregnant = hovered over the toilet numerous times a day, tired to the point of Kraft Dinner for dinner every night; pretty much feeling like a large sack of garbage. Although I may have been nauseous a few times I had not thrown up once.I would express my concerns to many people and almost everyone said, “Oh don’t worry every pregnancy is different.” With my reply, “Ya your right, I’m just being paranoid. Maybe God is being gracious to me this time.” In my heart, however, I still felt uneasy.
I entered into quite a busy period for my photography business. I felt God leading me to go non-profit and once I came out with the announcement I ended up being booked up till past Christmas including what would have been 2 weddings. I felt blessed and was excited to be able to bless others with these opportunities. *Let me just state that I know that this was not the cause of our loss. Even if I stayed in bed every day the outcome most likely would have been the same.*
I powered through all my sessions but about a few weeks before I would have been having a little bit of a gap between Christmas I noticed that I was cramping, a lot. Cramping can be completely normal because of numerous things but it was making my uneasiness all the more relevant. A few days before my last two sessions before my break I saw that I was spotting a tiny bit. I have also spotted in past pregnancies after intercourse so I was not too alarmed but when it didn’t go away after a day I started to get even more anxious.
The day of my last two sessions arrived. One was an hour family session and right after I would be heading to shoot a 1-year-old’s first birthday party for about four hours. When I came home from the family session to refuel a bit before heading back out I knew, I knew something was terribly amiss. My back was in a lot of pain and the cramping was a little bit more intense. I distinctly remember walking up our stairs and trying to give myself a pep talk, “Just one more Shannon. Just 4 more hours, you can do it. Nothing is wrong. Just one more, than you are done for awhile.” I put on a pad just in case I started spotting even more and headed out to the session.
When I got home the first thing I did was go straight to the bathroom. The blood that I saw made my heart sink and those salty tears finally pushed their way out. The realization that I had lost the baby started to seep into my heart. My husband trying to be supportive as possible told me to relax and everything was most likely OK and to call the midwives.
The call to the midwife was long and frustrating. She didn’t think that anything was wrong. That I was to take a shower and relax and lay down. But I knew it wasn’t right. I headed to the ER on my own to make the 3-hour wait to only be asked to come back the next day for a better ultrasound.
The ultrasound at emergency was inconclusive. There was a “fetus” but it was small and did not match what should have been 10 weeks. I left tired and defeated but with a little glimmer of hope that maybe everything would be OK. When I walked through the door after the hospital Jon was sitting on the bottom steps. Our eyes met and I broke down once again. That is when he knew. He realized that we had lost our baby. I went to bed with prayers on my lips and my hands to my uterus trying to believe it into being that everything would be alright. God does miracles, right?
However, sometimes His answer is no. We do not know why the answer is yes to some and no to others. But I know that God is good. All the time God is good. No matter what we are going through. There are so many things that we can not see. We do not know how events in our life will either grow us in character or grow someone else.
I awoke to more intense cramps and more bleeding with large clots, I couldn’t really call it spotting anymore. I then once again went to the hospital to receive my second ultrasound. My bladder was full and my appointment time came and past. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t need this ultrasound. I knew. All I wanted to do was go home and grieve the loss of my baby. Didn’t these people know how hard it is to be sitting awaiting the news that your baby is dead? I could no longer handle the pain of my full bladder, my appointment was now 30 mins past! Finally, I went up with tears saying I just can not sit here any longer. Then, of course, I could finally get in.
I walked into the dark stale room and it took everything in me not to shatter to pieces right there. I undressed and lay there praying. I was asked if I would consent to do a vaginal ultrasound. “It would give the doctors more information” she stated. I wish I hadn’t said yes. I don’t think I have ever felt more violated. I know that that was not the intent. I was in the midst of loosing my baby and to have to lay there with a probe up my vagina, on my own, was devastating. After all of that, I was to wait back in the emergency waiting room until my results were available. 2 hours later I was sent to a hole in the wall to sit and wait once again.
When a doctor finally came and saw me he didn’t have much to say. There seemed to be a fetus but it was definitely not 10 weeks. What most likely had happened was the baby stopped growing at some point and it took till now for my body to discard it. I was to continue to go for blood work for my HCG every 48 hours to confirm that it was a miscarriage.
I never knew how much of a drawn-out process this was going to be. Why couldn’t this just be over with?
That night I had my “labor.” The pains hurt but not as much as every time I went to the washroom. Each time the bleeding seemed to get heavier with larger clots and it felt like I was flushing my baby down the toilet. Because I was. While the water flushed away our baby and a part of me I would whisper, “Bye baby.”
Over the next week, all I did was lay in bed, watch Netflix, have baths and pray. I do not regret it one bit. I wanted time. Time to grieve my child that I would never meet in this life. Never feel. Never smell their newborn smell. Never touch. Never nurse through the night and into the sunrise. And never know if it was a boy or girl.
That was the hardest week of my life and for the first while, I was carrying it alone. Not in the way of support from our family and friends because I could not have asked for more of the support that they gave to us. I am so grateful to everyone who gave us meals, encouraging words, flowers and Jon’s work that allowed him to have that week off so I could heal. But I hadn’t given my grief to God. I hadn’t given my questions, burden, pain, and sorrow to Him. A dear, dear friend of mine suggested to me a CD. It was The Undoing by Steffany Gretzinger. I ran a bath, turned off the lights, lit some candles and played the CD. That was the night that I cried out to God. I asked, “Why Lord, WHY?! Why is my baby dead!?” I let my prayers, tears, and music heal my soul and pain. I let myself be raw. Larissa Murphy author of “Eight twenty eight” said it best, “that emotions are gifts. Life would be stale and unmoving and robotic without them. It was okay to not have it altogether.”
It’s OK to ask God the hard questions. To not be OK with what is happening in that moment. He knows our pain. Although I will never know why our baby went to heaven before us, that night and every day since I trust that He does.
I still have hard days. Days when I long to have met my baby. When I see a newborn baby, hear of a pregnancy or hear my sister say she felt her baby kick for the first time. I remember, and my heart aches. But these are also the things that give me hope and love. Because these are good things. I rejoice with them and share in their joy because it is so so so good. God is good. All the time God is good.
“And as the dawn breaks, and the clouds clear, in an open space, together we will run.”
Eden Grace Grochowski ~2014