Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
We went to an early morning ultrasound follow up appointment with a specialist my OBGYN referred us to the week before. I was 24 weeks pregnant and somehow losing amniotic fluid. I was compliant with drinking the 100 oz. of water daily my OB recommended the week before. They just didn’t know what was going on. The extra tests run by the specialist the week before weren’t much help. She mentioned terminating the pregnancy the week before and we were totally caught off guard. That’s never an option for us. Never. We tried telling her, but she kept offering after reading the test results, which might as well have been Greek, as all the numbers and information made no sense to us. Anyway, it was a non-issue after they couldn’t find the heartbeat. First it was the girl who performed the ultrasound who told us she couldn’t find it. She went to get the doctor. I asked Will if he heard what she said because he was doing something on his phone at the time. I reiterated that she said there is no heartbeat. He said okay. Then the specialist came in and said “I’m sorry.” She told us we didn’t have to check out or anything and she would inform our OB. We were in shock.
On the way out of the hospital (that’s where both my OB and the specialist are located), Will called our pastor to inform him. He asked us if we wanted to come over. We agreed, but told him we wanted to go to Bible College as planned. So after class, we went to my pastor’s to sit down with him and his wife. Both had suffered the loss of a miscarriage in the past. It was helpful and encouraging to have their support and wisdom. They asked if we wanted to go to lunch with them, but we declined to continue taking care of everything.
We contacted the OB as we hadn’t heard back from her office yet. They had an open appointment if we could come at the moment, so off we went. They preformed another ultrasound for me and confirmed the silence. It wasn’t until we began discussing scheduling the date for the induced delivery that I started crying (at least at that office, I had cried already during the day). They left me alone with Will for a few minutes to cry and gather my composure. We agreed on Thursday, even though it wouldn’t be with my regular OB. It just seemed like the next day was too soon and Friday was too far.
As we were on our way home, I called my supervisor to let her know I wouldn’t be in the office at least the next 2 days. I really began crying when I had to say the words out loud to her, “we lost the baby.” She was so compassionate and understanding and told me to not even think about work. The OB’s office called me and gave some reason I can’t remember, but Thursday wasn’t going to work so they scheduled me for Friday. The nurse felt more comfortable with it being on Friday anyway (and I did too, actually) as I would have my regular OB completing the delivery. So I texted my supervisor again, letting her know I won’t be in the office on Thursday and delivery would be Friday. The same response came, “don’t worry about work right now”. I also told her she could tell the team. I didn’t want it to be weird going back to work and everyone treating me as if I were pregnant and I wasn’t. So she informed everyone for me, which was nice.
Anyway, we went to my mom’s house next. We asked her to sit down at the same table where we told her she would be a grandmother. I talked and told her the baby has no heartbeat. She shook her head in disbelief and shared tears of grief and compassion. Her biggest hurt to this day is that she can’t heal the pain of her baby… me.
I forget what we ate, but I remember we ate something somewhere for dinner. We contacted Will’s parents and they were at his brother’s house, so that was our last stop of the day. We of course had gone home at some points during the day, but I don’t remember when. I just remember all the places we went. Anyway, we went to his brother’s and they were making dinner. We asked them to send their son upstairs so we could have a grown up conversation. They could all tell by the looks on our faces that something was serious. We sat down at the table and Will began to talk. That’s when he broke down and choked on the words. As he finished, we were met with more shared tears of grief and compassion.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Will was scheduled to teach at Bible College this day. He felt like he needed to follow through, so we went to Bible College. Will taught. It was amazing. People didn’t know what had happened yet because we asked no one to share it. We wanted time to grieve alone without the rest of the world offering condolences yet. Of course, word got around to a couple people. But I remember a couple people asking if I just took the day off work because I’m usually not available to go to morning classes. I just said yes and I had a few days off that week.
At some point that day, I texted a few of my closest and dearest friends in a group text to inform them. I also posted on facebook, “Just a little life lesson/nugget of wisdom: You can always trust God’s heart when you don’t understand His ways. Everything He does is from a loving, merciful, just, and right heart. Jesus is so precious.” (I had to look that up). Family who I informed in a private group, friends who knew, and co-workers who knew at this point made sweet comments of how they love us and were praying for us.
I remember my friend Kristen texting me, asking me what was going on because she knew something was up, but didn’t know what. I actually had planned on contacting her that day because I know she understands my path from a place of walking through it herself. I just hadn’t gotten to it before she texted me. So, I told her what happened and she’s so compassionate (I know I’ve used that word several times already, but it’s the best I can come up with to describe the response I felt). The funny thing she couldn’t believe was I was actually getting a pedicure at the time she texted me. Haha – she was in complete disbelief that that’s what I was doing. My thought was that I was going to be in the hospital with who knows how many people seeing my feet and they were in bad shape – in much need of attention. I wasn’t working, so seemed appropriate to me at the time. Plus, I was enjoying the alone time.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
I don’t remember. The only thing I recall is being anxious and nervous about the delivery. Would everything go smoothly? I knew the baby wouldn’t be harmed. I was secretly hoping maybe his heartbeat would be there. Would it hurt? I just had a lot going through my mind. I have no idea what we did that day though. I do know Will was with me the entire week. He’s self-employed, so he gave himself the time off. 🙂
Friday, February 19, 2016
We arrived early at the hospital. I checked in and got settled while Will parked the car in the parking garage. I don’t recall either of my nurse’s names. The first one though had a thick accent and I have no idea where she was from. She was nice, but difficult to understand. I felt bad for having her repeat everything. I had to change into the gown and complete tons of paperwork. We had them do one last ultrasound to quadruple check there was no heartbeat. Still none. Y’all probably don’t want the details, but basically they had to dilate me which involved a pill that I didn’t take orally. I had an IV and a monitor around my waist to measure contractions.
They kept offering a chaplain to come see me or a grief counselor or both. We kept declining. They kept offering. We kept declining. Will and I were in perfect peace. All the anxiety I had from the previous day was gone. It was like we were in a cocoon of grace. Plus, we have a pastor who is there for us and walks with us through the ups and downs of life. Will is an angel too. He was so completely attentive, except for once, but that’s in another paragraph…
Our visitors at the hospital (not all at once, but throughout the day) included my mom and brother, Will’s sister, and his parents and grandfather who happened to be in town. He’s been a missionary all his life, so I was grateful he came in the room and prayed with us. At shift change, I was so grateful for my next nurse. She was such a sweetheart and so attentive. The other nurse was nice, but this sweet girl was just amazing. She informed me of the pain meds I would probably want. I felt okay at the moment and was trying to put off taking the pain meds, for no other reason than I have a tendency to be stubborn and want to prove a point that I can deal with pain. Eventually, I did ask for the pain meds because I knew I really didn’t want to feel the pain. I also had an epidural. That was one of my biggest concerns as I have scoliosis which looks like a corkscrew and I was paranoid about being paralyzed by it. It took the guy a minute and he had to do it a bit higher than usual, but it worked out fine.
So at one point, when the pain meds had kicked in and I was incredibly drowsy, I recall my mom, brother, and sister-in-law discussing where they wanted to go eat dinner before church and they couldn’t decide. I was so frustrated. I wanted everyone to leave. The meds made me super irritable and on edge. I kept looking at Will trying to get his attention telepathically, but he was involved with a friend of his who needed help with car parts. I love my husband. He’s such an amazing person, helping his friend figure out his car trouble while we’re delivering a stillborn. It’s bittersweet though, because I wanted him to look at me so I could give him the evil-eye to ask people to leave. He’s better at that than me. I’m not sure if it’s my dad’s unassuming personality trait or the Southern hospitality I get from my mother, but I can’t imagine ever asking someone to leave, unless of course they’re doing something horrible – something much worse than just getting on my nerves. Will eventually finished up the phone call and did ask everyone to let me rest.
Poor thing. I remember biting his head off because when I changed into the gown in the morning, I didn’t consider that I’d have an IV and all these contraptions attached to me and I left my bra on because I knew we’d have visitors. So, he was trying to help me get it off while I’m doped up and irritable. I couldn’t speak as quickly as my brain was working or maybe my brain wasn’t functioning as quickly as I thought it was. I was trying to give him instruction on what I wanted him to do and he was doing what he thought was the best way to maneuver all the lines and cords. I don’t remember what I said, but it wasn’t in a very nice tone at all. He was quiet and patient with me though. He’s a saint, I tell ya!
My OB had come in to check on me. It was almost time. I remember us laughing as she said, “I just have to run and do a C-section real quick and I’ll be back” like she was going to order lunch or make a phone call. Maybe you had to be there, but we absolutely love her. But she didn’t make it back in time and the sweet nurse and charge nurse were actually the ones in the room when I delivered. I already wrote the other blog about what happened with holding him, etc.
They did give us a box with pictures and keepsakes which was sweet. We had already discussed names. We of course had names picked out for the baby, whether it be a boy or girl (Isaac Benjamin or Calah Rebecca and as a backup boy name in case there’s another one – Johannon Jude), but we decided we want to save those names for babies we actually have the opportunity of raising. That may sound horrible, but it is what it is. So over the last 2-3 days we had been discussing names we wanted to use instead. Will said I could use a girl name I love, which he vetoed for a daughter we raise, which is Jaymes-Anne. I’ve always wanted a boy name (I know Dana can go both ways) and Anne is after my beloved friend, Anne of Green Gables. So that would be the name if it was a girl. We chose Judah Gabriel if it was a boy. I’ve always wanted a son named Gabriel and to call him Gabe, but you can’t call a kid Gabe Bridges without him being picked on at school. Just say it out loud. So Judah Gabriel it was – or so we thought. My mom returned to the hospital after church. We asked what the Word was on and she told us, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10). I exclaimed to Will, “what about Shiloh? Judah Shiloh? He agreed. It was perfect and perfectly fitting.
They asked if I wanted the baby to stay in the room with us. We declined. See previous post for more info on why. My brother came back to the hospital too and wanted to hold Judah, so of course they accommodated him, which I’m grateful for. They asked if I wanted to stay in the labor and delivery ward or be moved to med/surg. I chose to be moved. When babies are born, they play a sweet lullaby song over the intercom. You can hear happy family members in the halls. Every once in a while, a baby cries. Yeah, I wanted to be moved.
Saturday, February 20th, 2016
I was home from the hospital by lunchtime. We missed a wedding we were planning on going to, but they graciously forgave our absence. I slept. I cried. Slept and cried. Pretty much sums up that day. I recall gathering the handful of baby things we had already, mostly gifts for the baby from our moms at Christmas. I put them in a paper bag and asked Will to give them to my mom for safe-keeping, but I didn’t want them in the house to remind me. The last thing I needed was reminders.
Sunday, February 21st, 2016
We announced our loss to our church family. We posted the news on facebook.
As the week went on . . .
We (Will) began taking care of arrangements. He went to the funeral home to meet with them about cremation. I found a little baby urn I liked online and ordered it.
I got my hair cut Monday or Tuesday which was a nice distraction from people commenting on the loss when I went back to work. My schedule at the time was working four, 10 hour shifts Wed-Sat. I returned to work that Wednesday. Will went back to work so I didn’t want to sit at home by myself all day. I think I made it through half my shift and came home. I didn’t go in Thursday. Friday and Saturday, I think I may have made it through staying the whole day, but only due to having offices and bathrooms to hide and cry in.
And now one year later,
I’m still at peace. I still give all glory to God and am grateful for the time I had with little Judah growing in my belly. I know he’s safe and happy. I’m actually somewhat jealous of where he is. I know I’ll see him again. My grief has shifted from grieving the specific loss of my baby to the possibility of having no children. But Will is a great encouragement and reminder to keep the faith, believe God is a God of miracles and promises. We both still trust we will have children. We know they are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord. I know the things I’ve had to wait for the longest are the things I appreciate the most, like Will. I believe God will give me a little Isaac in His perfect timing the way He did for Abraham and Sarah. Isaac is representative of the promise of God. I’m still believing to see the fulfillment of that promise come forth in my life.