Some Children come into our lives and go quickly,
Some Children come into our lives and stay awhile,
All our children come into our lives and leave footprints
some, oh so small,
some, a little larger,
some, larger still.
But all have left their footprints on our lives, in our hearts.
And we will never, never be the same.
– Doreen Sexton
Hi my name is Hayley. My husband Zach and I have been fortunate enough to bring 4 healthy and wonderful children into the world in the past 8 years with no complications; other than that they were all slightly preterm but perfectly healthy. We began this journey in parenthood a lot younger than either of us ever imagined. At 17 and 18 I gave birth to our first daughter. Our precious Grace! She changed our lives for the better and we were married only a month after she was born. Adelynn, Jonah, and Marilynn followed in the next few years and we decided our family was complete! We knew we wanted a large family but never really had a set number. We decided how ever many children we had by the time we were 25 and 26 would be our number. Start young finish young! ;)
Much to our surprise, we found out we were expecting our surprise baby number 5 in early June. I would be lying if I said that at that time it was a joyful surprise. I was honestly shocked and afraid. These feelings will probably continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. How I wish I could turn back time and truly celebrate this babies life from the second I found out. Though my husband tried to reassure me everything would be fine I cried for weeks to my mother in law and sister in laws. This wasn't the plan and I already felt stretched so thin. It had been a hard enough year so far.. I was homeschooling our children and we just moved from
Alaska to Washington. We weren't quite settled into our new normal yet and I was fiercely missing my best friends back in Alaska. Since my menstrual cycle has never been normal and I was still breast feeding Marilynn we truly had no idea how far along I could potentially be. When I went in for a dating ultrasound and saw a perfect 6 week baby with a fluttering little heart beat I fell in love. Baby's heart was beating at 106bpm and I was told it had JUST started beating. Though still nervous for the future I was so looking forward to meeting this sweet baby, and watching our little Marlie be a big sister. We told the kids and their reaction was truly heart warming. They were so thrilled and it rubbed off on me! We saw our baby again at 8.5 weeks, again with a fast little heart rate and squirming all around. Everyday I carried this baby I fell more and more in love with the idea of being a mama to FIVE! We announced our pregnancy to our friends and were overwhelmed with support!
Monday August 1st I packed up my 4 kiddos and we went to the birth center for my 13 week appointment. I was so excited to HEAR our babies heartbeat because I knew our midwife would be able to do it with the Doppler now and at the past two ultrasounds they only showed me the heartbeat but never turned the volume up for me to hear. I settled in on the bed and gathered my babies around and got them excited to hear their little brother or sister's heart beating. When nothing but my heart could be found I wasn't nervous. I knew I could just have a anterior placenta making it a little more difficult to find baby when they are still so little. She turned on the ultrasound machine put the wand to my belly and I knew the instant I saw my sweet baby not moving with no little heart flutters to be seen. The room was silent and tears filled my eyes. She didn't have to say anything I knew my baby was gone and I had to try as hard as I could to keep it together in front of the kids. My midwife confirmed she could not see a heart beat but was not allowed to confirm it and made me an appointment the following day for a second ultrasound at an imaging place to confirm. I walked through the waiting room with my kids in tow where two expecting mamas sat waiting to hear their healthy babies hearts and I lost it. I barely got the kids in van then stepped out to call my husband. "The baby has no heartbeat." I sobbed. He dropped everything and met us at home. The whole way home the kids were asking me what was wrong and I just said I was ok and tried to keep it together. Zach arrived home before we did and when they walked in and saw him kneeling by our bed in tears they lost it. Grace cried, "what's happening!?" We explained to them what had happened and sat together in our bed and cried with our children over the loss of their baby brother or sister.
There are truly no adequate words to describe what you go through after a loss like this. I will never forget laying in bed in a fog, my husband trying to keep it together for the kids but every few minutes coming back into our room laying next to me and sobbing. Later that evening my mother in law came to pick up the kids to give Zach and I some time. She held me and cried with me as I let all of my feelings out. "I feel like I willed it away." I felt so much guilt for not celebrating this baby from the start, so much guilt for ever having an ounce of frustration over the thought of another baby. I complained about not being able to have a glass of wine! How horrendous! I would have given anything to bring that baby back. I wanted a do over!
The morning of August 2nd the day after we found out we lost the baby and our 8 year wedding anniversary We had to go to the imaging place for another ultrasound to confirm what we already knew. How awful. I didn't want to do this again. I didn't want to see and hear those words all over again. I prayed the whole way there, "please give us a miracle. Bring our baby back. Giver of life please let there be a healthy beating heart." I couldn't believe how cold and matter of fact the midwife and dr were when they said those words. This time I think I ran out of the office. My husband grabbed me in the parking lot and we sobbed some more.
I hate the word miscarriage. It doesn't even remotely describe what has happened. Our baby died. I had what they call a "missed miscarriage". Our baby died shorty after my ultrasound at 8.5 weeks and we didn't find out until I was 13 weeks. My body continued to grow the placenta and sac and did not catch on that it was time to let the baby go. I had no spotting, no cramping and honestly after 4 healthy babies a miscarriage was no where on our radar. I was given the choice of a D&C or a natural miscarriage but was warned the natural route, with a late miscarriage was very painful and very bloody. I could not stand the thought of my baby being surgically removed and tossed aside as medical waste. Instead we chose to try and let the miscarriage happen naturally at home but after close to a week of waiting I couldn't take it any longer. I needed some closure. So that Friday my in laws took the kids for the night and the midwife prescribed a medication that would help bring on the labor to deliver the baby. My sweet husband stocked up on everything we would need and shorty after taking the medication, contractions and bleeding started. The next few hours were exactly like my previous labors. Contractions and intense back pain. We sat in our dark bedroom with candles lit and my husband rubbing my back. Shortly after midnight with my husband by my side I delivered our tiny baby still in its sac. It was over, and honestly for the first time I felt some peace. I was so grateful to honor our baby and deliver naturally the same way we delivered our other children. I felt some closure.
The next two days the bleeding was very light but by Monday it picked back up and it was so heavy and I was passing large clots. My husband took me to the ER where they removed more large clots during a pelvic exam and I had an emergency D&C after the bleeding did not slow down and an ultrasound revealed more clots and placenta still in my uterus. After the surgery we were informed that it was a really good thing we didn't wait and that I was close to needing a blood transfusion.
Nobody can possibly prepare you for the emptiness and void you feel after losing a baby. It's now been over a month and my heart still aches. It has been a process to accept what has happened and that it was not my fault. There has been many days and sleepless nights where I went over every detail of the pregnancy and analyzing my every move. Did I miss a day of prenatals? Should I have rested more? Did I drink too much coffee? On top of that there was so much regret for not spending the $100 dollars to find out the babies gender early on. Although I will be filled with a lifetime of wonder, I am confident that when I get to heaven I will be able to meet the baby who went straight from my womb to the arms of Jesus. For that I am thankful.
Lord, My arms ache to hold my precious child. Will I always be so sad? Meet me where I am today and encourage me with your truth. It's comforting to imagine that you are holding my child in your arms. Wrap yours arms of peace around me, and rock away my fears. Amen.