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Thursday, May 7, 2015

baby #4 :: pregnancy & loss

On February 19th, I got my first positive pregnancy test.  I say, 'my first'…because I took several.  And just like the 4 times before that I saw that second pink line…a wave rushes over me and I immediately think, "Oh my goodness.  How did this happen?"  Haha!  Well- yes I do know how it happens.  And yes- we were trying to have baby #4.  We were overjoyed…and again…thankful for yet another blessing.

The following week...we got quite a bit of snow.  And we built our snowman family-to-be.  
A family of 6. (but I have never shared this picture until now)

My first doctors appointment for this pregnancy was on March 10th.  At that time... because of dates and such…I thought I should have been 7 and a half weeks pregnant.  In the sono room…we were able to visualize the sac, the baby, and a heartbeat…but due to the positioning and such…we weren't able to get good measurements.  The doctor was not worried AT ALL.  He said the problem was probably him and user error…so to come back the next week and have the sono tech do another sono.  This was my first red flag…because I just thought the baby should be big enough to see and measure well…and was worried if the baby was in a wrong position or just anything could be wrong.  But like I said...the doctor was not worried…and since worrying can not add an hour to our life…I tried not to let it bother me.  In addition…I was still feeling AWFUL.  Supposedly good signs of a growing baby.

So one week later turned into 2 weeks later due to sickness that has seemed to plague our family this year.  ;)

So 2 weeks later…on April 1…we saw our baby again…looking great…measuring at 8 weeks, 3 days…and moving all round with a heartbeat of 166 beats per minute.  The doctor said it made sense why he couldn't get good measurements the 2 weeks before… because the baby was so small then at 6 weeks.  I was a little shocked at first about the dates…because I just 'knew' I was 9 weeks 2 days.  But since everything looked great…I just decided to go with it.

The next week, on April 6th…I was 10 weeks along…and I did go into the doctor for my pregnancy blood work…and also this new noninvasive test where they draw my blood….and in my blood…they can see fragments of the baby's DNA floating around….and they can test for several chromosomal disorders and also find out the gender.  (I would have been Advanced Maternal Age, after all…when the baby was to be born!)

The next week…we found out that baby #4 was a…..

We made this video and then sent it out to our family,
IMG 6329 from Marla on Vimeo.


Next appointment….Wednesday, April 29.  I went alone since Geoff was watching the little 2.  It was going to be a quick appointment to check for a heartbeat.  I had a good 5 minute conversation with the doctor about what day would be best for our family and the c-section date…and when he would be on call…and blablabla…something that I had never really done before with the others.  I've always just gone with the flow and just done whatever they said.  Well this time…I was trying to be a little more selective on the date just because of school and such.  I know it'd all work out whatever day the baby came…but thought why not ask and see…and then if the baby came on its own, then so be it.  That'd be fun, too, since I've never actually gone into labor.

I had told my sister before I went to my appointment that I was sort of hoping that the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat on the doppler…ONLY so I could see my baby again on the sonogram.  With Nolan…this same thing had happened.  The doctor couldn't find heartbeat on the doppler at 12 weeks…and so we did a quick sono…and there was the baby moving all around and with a strong heartbeat.

Well….this time….the doctor could not find the baby's heartbeat on the doppler.  Just like last time.  He tried to find it for a looong time...and I noticed as the time heart began beating faster.  I was nervous…but also confident that we'd soon go into the sono room and I'd get to see my baby again and everything would be just fine.

So he finally gave up with the doppler, and we headed to the sono room.

And so this time….I did see my baby up on the screen again.

But this time…there was no heartbeat.

I laid there and couldn't take my eyes off the big screen tv monitor….there she was…and I was searching for that little heartbeat.  Willing her little body to move.  Willing her little heart to beat.  The doctor kept looking and looking for what seemed like forever.  And then I finally just had to say it.  I had to point out the elephant in the room.  "There's no heartbeat."

"No…no I'm so sorry…there's not."

Tears just began to stream down my face.  It was so surreal just looking at my baby…not a blob…but what actually resembles a baby.  My baby.  Lifeless.  In such an odd and inexplainable way…I just wanted to reach up to the screen and hold my baby and comfort her.  The baby I never met…but, thankfully, have the faith and assurance that I know I will see her and hold her one day in heaven.

The baby measured 9 weeks 2 days.  I should have been 12 weeks and 3 days.  My doctor was really great and supportive…and it's already all a little fuzzy to me.  He had to ask the nursing assistant to go get another doctor in the practice so that another doctor could also do a sono and confirm and verify what we were seeing.  And, of course, she did.  I held it mostly together as my doctor talked to me a little more about 'where to go from here' and I think he was getting a little choked up right before he walked out.  He was genuinely upset for me.  And while, yes, one would assume doctors should be this way….it's not always what I see.  Before he could even get the door shut…I lost it.  I gave myself a few minutes to compose myself before walking out.

Then I got to my car.  And cried.  Called Geoff.  And cried.  And began quickly texting my family to tell them the news.  I sat and cried and texted and cried in the parking lot for 20 minutes before leaving to come home.

The rest of the afternoon I'd be fine one minute and then not the next.  We skipped church that night because I just couldn't.  But it wasn't until I went to bed that night…as I laid in bed…the tears started streaming from my face again….and I finally just let it go. That loud, sobbing, weeping, cry.  Geoff was already asleep…and my crying and shaking woke him up.  It was a good cry.  I needed that cry.

Telling the kids.  This was our first time having to do this since with our last miscarriage the girls were both so young.  The act of telling the girls went very well.  The girls cried a little and had a few questions….but then went about their day.  But it's been over the past 5 days…that like myself …they've been processing it.  They bring it up at different times.  Grace just openly talks about it and blatantly makes comments about how mommy's baby is dead or how she died and she's in my belly still.  She doesn't act overly sad…and I know she doesn't mean to be so nonchalant…but it's definitely her age…and I know she's trying to process and make sense of it all, too.

Parker, on the other hand, has been taking it a little harder.  And while she doesn't understand it all..she definitely has a greater understanding.  She's come up to my belly and pushed on it a little and said, "Wake up, baby!  Wake up!"  She asked if when I went to do the doctor if they were going to throw the baby in the trash.  She also asked if when I went to the doctor if I could ask him to put the baby in a jar for me to bring home so we could see it.  This girl!  Her thoughts just never ever stop, bless her heart!

And we've also  been able to have some really great teachable moments.  We talk about how God is so good.  And how he knows EVERYTHING.  He knows how every single day of our life will be.  And so we have to trust Him.  It's definitely ok for us to be sad…because it is sad.  But we have comfort because we know that this is God's will, that He is good, and that He loves us.

We talked about some of the scripture she's learned this year that are now hidden in her heart…and I LOVED that we were able to do this.  Really so important for these verses to be hidden in our children's heart (AND my own heart!)….because they will just always have them and just know.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me, and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

We also told her how we had lost a baby before we had Nolan.  She was shocked and sad at first…but it ended up really helping her deal with it.  We told her the same things again that we had already told her…and that also…we had Nolan after that…and that we would not have had Nolan had we not lost the other baby.  (And not that we would choose which babies would live or die…but we are thankful for Nolan and we know the Lord wanted him here with us.)  That God had His hand in it all and a plan.

That same night, she came out of her room after Grace was already asleep…and through tears, said she just couldn't sleep because she was so sad about the baby.  We just held her and talked to her some more.  It was really late so we didn't want her to stay out of her room long…but knew she wasn't ready to go back to her room.  So I told her to draw me a picture telling me how she felt.
"We have what we have."  (and the big H stands for 'have')

This picture and these words just tell and say so very much.  And I think she really got it.  We have what we have…. and it's a lot.  More than we deserve.  And we are so thankful for it.

I had my D&C Monday morning.  5 days after we found out this sad news.  In some ways I feel like the wait was good…we've been spending all of our time together as a family and it has been so good for the soul.  A well-visit for Nolan, splash pad, Farmer's Market, and sno-cones before dinner one night because…why not?

In other ways…I feel like it was just dragging out the process of recovery.  But I'm taking it all in and trying to learn anything and all that I can from this experience.  And growing.

I have to say…the actual D&C procedure was not has bad as I thought.  I was reeeeeeally really dreading it and just felt like it would be so awful.  And while I would definitely not like to ever do that again…I'm so thankful for the smooth procedure.  Friends and family have encouraged and prayed for me and my family…and just the love we have been shown…well it always just brings me to my knees.  So thankful and undeserving….but ever so grateful.

The days following the D&C have turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated.  Physically…I am recovering well, I believe.  But emotionally…I feel like I am at a crossroads.  A part of me is ready to get out of bed and participate in life again.  I know it's something that has to happen.  That I want to happen.  But at the same time…I just want to stay curled up in my bed binge watching Friends on Netflix.  I love my kids and looking at them…I am so grateful.  And I know having them is going to help with my healing.  But at the same's been hard for me to care for them and their needs because I feel like I'm just trying to meet my own.  Thankfully, Geoff's been home and doing most everything.  On Tuesday, I tried to get up and do more…and I think it was too much…and part of the reason Wednesday ended up being so hard for me.

So I've decided to try and take it easy another day…and maybe try to do a little more before Geoff goes back to work and I'm flying solo again.

The Lord has comforted me and provided me with a peace that I know can only come from Him.  This miscarriage has been so completely and totally different than my last.  In some ways…I am still processing it.  For 2 and a half months I've 'known' I was going to have 4 kids.  And it was going to happen in November.  And I was going to have a maternity swim suit this summer.  And I was going to have a couple of months after school started where I'd get 2 days a week with just Nolan and how I'd treasure those days.  We made room changing plans in our head.  We saved up vacation time for Geoff to use after her birth.  We'd celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of 6.

And so from time to time…I'll have those fleeting thoughts that had become so natural to me..and then I quickly redirect myself back to reality.  I know that I still have some time to grieve…but we are going to move forward.  And these 3…..they're pretty great.


When I originally started this post…it was about 7 weeks ago…and it's title was baby #4:: the first trimester.  And I just couldn't bring myself to erase the following.  These are just little notes I was making a long the way.
@ 5 weeks pregnant :: march 9, 2015
-If I'm correct on my dates…the exact day that I turned 6 weeks I started having definite nausea.  From about 4 weeks pregnant to now…the only symptoms I've really experienced are fatigue…and since about 5 weeks…I would occasional nausea (usually right after eating) or food aversion…or right in the middle of eating I quickly realize 'I'm done' and that I do not want another bite.  But over the past 2 days….nausea and fatigue…and complete de-motivation to do ANYTHING productive has happened. Thankfully- I've been able to explain it some to the girls and they've been pretty nice about it.  Their needs are being met, but definitely not mother-of-the-year.  I remind myself it is a short, short season (prayerfully!)… and we will get back to business soon enough.  Thankfully- the mornings I am usually ok.  My roughest time, so far, seems to be right after lunch until right after dinner/at bedtime.  When I lay really really still and don't talk I feel the best.  Haha!

So thankful for this baby growing inside of me.  I think with each baby I have not become de-sensitized  to the miracle of life, but rather…just become more in awe of it.  Such a beautiful thing and I really do not have words to describe it.  Still just wrapping my brain around the fact that this little baby, about the size of a pea, will become a person.  I know it's the truth and that it happens every single day…but ohmygoodness….the miracle of it all.

Funny thing….Parker wanted to tell my mom that we were having a baby.  My mom already knew, but when Parker was riding with my mom in her car a few days ago…Parker proudly bursts out, "Do you want to hear about a miracle?" And while it's so true…I honestly do not remember using those words with them when we told them…but maybe we did.  Anyways….a miracle, indeed.

weeks 5-8 i was in complete surival mode because of all day nausea and exhaustion

by the beginning of the 9th week…i would have parts in my day that I felt SO much better!  it made me realize just how sick i had felt the weeks before.  Usually by 3pm I'd start to have my nauseas again…but I was just thankful for the relief I received in the early part of the day.

my belly has definitely already grown and i cannot wear my regular pants any longer.


Courtney said...

Oh Marla. My heart just breaks. I love how you had P draw a picture of what she was feeling- and that picture was just my absolute undoing reading this post. I'm just so very sorry.

Viv said...

Sweet girl! Love you so and so sorry that y'all are having to go through this again. I am in total agreement of the scripture but as you said I know this is harder this time for sweet little Parker, Big Sis has such a big little heart. We love you all and you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Lisa Williams said...

Oh Marla! My heart just breaks for you. I am so glad you were able to share this, and sweet Parker has such a big heart. Her picture did me in.

Unknown said...

Oh Marla! This post is so captivating and really touches my heart. I remember talking at awanas two years ago about the other miscarriage. I am so sorry that you are going through this again... I love the way you are explaining everything to the kids and discussing the Lord's provision in and through this situation. We will be praying for you and your family as you continue walking through this. Love you so much!


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