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


Mary said...

Oh my dear,

I found your site through my friend Brooke's ( I don't know when or even if you will find this comment, coming so long after the original post, but I have to write.

Perhaps I have nothing much to say--I am unmarried, without children or even an intense longing for them at this point--but I genuinely care. Going through Brooke and Adam's infertility and pregnancy loss as their friend has been a huge eye-opener for me. Going through clinical depression myself has perhaps given me an extra ability to understand suffering and grief (perhaps). Anyway, I wanted to say that it's not only those who are experiencing the kinds of things you have (and are) who can really care. This isn't making the kind of sense I want (maybe because I'm still crying over Elyana's story)...

I know that one of the hardest things for my friend is the feeling that no one she knows where they live really understands what she's going through, that her closest friends here just don't get it. It's made me try harder and harder to work at that, to really listen and empathize with what she tells me, and then to share with her my own feelings as her friend (rather than trying to offer advice or whatever). I think it's working, at least a little, at making me more able to be a support for her. And it's definitely made me much more aware of and sensitive to the struggles of other women like her.

That said, and to make a very long and rambling message a little longer, I want to offer my love. For what it's worth, this stranger (coincidentally named Mary) is genuinely sorry for what you've gone through. I have a brother in the Marine Corps, who did two tours recently in the Middle East and Iraq, and as I read your words I kept imagining base life and things from the stories he told. I can only imagine how terrifying if must have been--for both of you--to have gone through that loss while separated from each other by an ocean and then some. Thank God for sisters, and for "Marys."

If hugs can travel through cyberspace, you have a huge one from me.

Sharee said...

Mary ... thank you for such a heartwarming and thoughtful response. It means more than you will ever know! It does seem like many can't quite grasp how important it is to just listen and love! While immersed in grief, many of us just want people to understand. It is hard for the bereaved parent to accept that most just can't, won't (or are afraid to try) ... I like that you are willing to reach for the impossible. I hope you never "understand" (that would mean a personal experience) but that you continue doing what you have been doing. After all, love transends race, culture, gender and yes, even grief.

I'll be praying for your brother. I'll be certain to let everyone know when my hubby returns home, too. Please visit the site again.

Hugs and Heart Rubs!

P.S. Brooke may want to try attending a local support group meeting. She may find understanding there.

123erica said...

OH My dear! I am crying just reading your story! What an experience! I must say, it almost feels good to know that I am not alone in my pain, even though I would not want anyone to experience it. I definitely feel a comraderie with you on your experience. I truly feel that God will turn your misery into ministry. And He already has.

Louise said...


My heart breaks for you reading what you have gone through. This shouldn't have to happen. Thank you for sharing your story with us.