Monday, July 31, 2006

Our Third Baby

I promised to tell the story of our third loss today ... I must admit, I'm not excited about reliving it, but if our experience will help you in some way ... I will.

I was 6 months pregnant with our miracle baby. Although we had lost two infants previously, we KNEW Elyana would be different. So, we gave her a name which, in Hebrew, means my God has answered. We were right, Elyana was different and God did answer.

The week leading up to the doctor's appointment, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn't get Elyana to move. Every now and then she would oblige my constant poking and prodding with a lazy flutter, but that was it. Then one night she gave one frenzied flip, and then she was still. Later, I wondered, was that her last moment? I'll never know.

The next day, at my regularly scheduled appointment, the doctor searched and searched, but couldn't find life in my womb. If he would have listened a little longer, he would have discovered my heart stopped beating, too.

I sat there frozen and stupid. How would I tell my beloved husband? He was in Iraq and had looked forward to our family finally having a new addition. Every day, my man would defy sleep so that he could see my swollen belly and marvel at the miracle inside. He would devote letters to his precious daughter. Sigh. I knew he'd be waiting for an update after our appointment. You see, this couldn't be happening because we had prayed, we had cleaned up our spiritual lives, and we wanted this more than anything! I could not deal with a third loss! No! No! NO!

The doctor tried to tell me important details about our next steps ... NO!
All I wanted to know was what do I tell my husband? Did he have a script for that? NO!
I remained calm ... one of those scary calms. It made the doctor wonder if I'd try to "take myself out" NO!
I actually managed to drive myself home, walk to my neighbor's house and borrow her Doppler. I wanted to listen for myself. I cried and prayed - on my face - begging God to turn this around. He whispered that He would never leave me nor forsake me. Oh, but I felt so forsaken. We were in a new house, new state and I only knew my neighbor - who was pregnant and on bed rest. Then there was my husband. Waiting for an update.

I logged on ... there he was. Waiting. "How was your appointment?" He asked. I wrote back that he should call me. It wasn't good. He called me in like 3 minutes. I told him that Elyana had no heartbeat and the doctor said I would have to endure labor and could not have a C-section. (NO!) My honey was quiet and calm. He prayed with me and told me to contact the doctor and schedule the delivery. Done. Red Cross message to husband: Done. He'd be home ASAP.

There I was feeling forsaken in a place where I knew no one. I called the family readiness leader (It's an Army thang) but she was going out of town and couldn't pick me up from the hospital. The doctor said the labor would be about 6-8 hours then I could go home. I could only cry. I would have to deliver my baby - my dead baby - alone and I wouldn't even have a ride from the hospital. NO!

A woman called me, said she heard about what was going on (through the lady I called earlier) ... she asked if I wanted her to be there with me. What I was enduring was so personal, so scary, so horrible ... but I told her yes. This is where God showed me His loving kindness although I felt abandoned. This woman (we'll call her Mary) held my hand through it all. Those 6-8 hours of labor, morphed into 33 HOURS but she stuck with me. She listened, cried and distracted me with her own heartache. She coordinated my miserable life from that hospital room and made sure the doctor's and nurses were on top of their game. Although she didn’t know me, Mary showed me God’s love. And it’s changed my life.

My sister also went into debt - huge debt - to get to my side the very next day. Sad to say, she went from airport to my hospital room where we both witnessed the most tragic nightmare come to life. I won't relive it blow by blow, but the blood, suffering and agony were more than any of us wanted to endure. Throughout all of this, I prayed and cried ... for I know that anything that is allowed to happen to a child of God, work out for their good.

How can my baby's death turn into something good? I’ve found that God’s plan for my life is bigger than my own plans for my life. What I’m going through, have gone through and will go through aren’t about me. This trial has strengthened me and caused me to reach out to others and share Jesus with them. I’m able to accept my lot because I’m intent on submitting to the authority of the Most High God. Peace is slowly filtering into my life … I’m strengthened by joy and motivated by love. But it really is a massive struggle. Nothing has come quickly or easily, but I have hope.

The longest, most complex, most often asked question in the world is WHY? I’ve finally learned that there are some mysteries that will be revealed only when we reach Heaven.

Tomorrow, I’ll fill you in on some simple steps for staying sane through your most heart wrenching trial! I’ll also tell you about my labor of love … STOLEN ANGELS

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Life after 3 Losses

If you just lost a baby, boy have you come to the right place. It's been about 8 months since my husband and I lost our third baby, so you could say I'm a kind of "expert" when it comes to this type of grief. In the coming days, I'll tell you how to find the motivation to kick back those grief-weighted covers in the morning (they weigh about a ton!), how to respond to those ignorant (although well-intentioned) comments by others and how to finally smile again. Our story is kinda sad, so I'll tell you what went down in bite-sized chunks ... I don't want to scare anyone away ...

Anywho. Check back tomorrow ... I'll have posted Elyana's story (and told you a wee bit more about me).