Friday, October 10, 2014

Mother of Two

I've been putting off writing this. I guess because it's painful and makes it all real. But I know it will be cathartic, too, so I need to do this. And I feel like I owe it to all of you who have been following our story, loving and supporting us. I can never adequately express the gratitude we feel. And I hope you forgive me for not personally getting back to each and every one of you. Please know how incredibly grateful I am for the dinners that were brought, the cards sent, care packages received, prayers offered, and kind words spoken.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Matt and I went to my OB appointment. We went right into the exam room after checking in as per the doctor's instructions so that we wouldn't have to sit around those excitedly expecting. She felt it would be less harrowing for us to not be placed in that position and I agreed. I didn't begrudge any of those other expectant mothers with healthy babies, but it was a stinging reminder of what I had lost.

As we were waiting in the exam room, my mind was consumed with fear. I had had some spotting over the previous week and had been cramping since the night before. I had this overwhelming feeling that it was the beginning of the end. An end that would make things "easier," but an end I wasn't prepared for. The nurse came in to get my stats and to use the doppler to find Rose's heartbeat. There is nothing in life that can prepare you for the horror of that non-silent silence. We were then shuffled to ultrasound through the back way. Our OB met us there in that darkened room lit by screens that usually reveal joy and anticipation. After several minutes of probing and searching, they determined that there was definitely no heartbeat. But to me it meant something very different. Rose hadn't been able to fight anymore and had been called Home. We arranged that I would be induced on that Friday. My mom had surprised us earlier in the week by telling us that she had bought a plane ticket to come out to see us and help out. Clearly she was inspired in that decision.

We went home and I finished getting dinner ready. As we were eating I was in excruciating pain. These weren't normal cramps that I had been having: I was in labor. We called the after hours number and they told me to go to the hospital. Then we were in a frenzy trying to get packed and ready to go to the hospital while trying to make plans for making sure Will was being taken care of. Luckily, we have been blessed with many dear friends who dropped everything and came right over.

We went to the hospital and got checked in. We were put in the very same labor room that Will had been born in. Somehow it seemed right being in the same room where we experienced so much joy and hope, almost like a reminder that life continues and we can't know the sweet without the bitter.

The doctor who was on that night, Dr. Hirata, came in to check on me and to let me know she had spoken with my OB. I was already dilated to 6 cm. but the intense labor pains that I had been having were settling down. Then it became a waiting game. I was hooked up to an IV in case I wanted an epidural (I didn't since the worst of the labor pain was over), got settled in with a book (Scarlet by Marissa Meyer), and later was hooked up with an M&M McFlurry.

A few hours later I was ready to try and get some sleep. I went to use the restroom and delivered Rose by accident - the sack completely intact. I was pretty hysterical- this was not how I had expected the delivery of my baby to go. I called for Matt, sobbing, to tell him what had happened. He called for the nurses who rushed in and helped get me back to bed before going back into the bathroom and getting Rose carefully out of the toilet. Honestly, I'm horrified and embarrassed to even admit that's how it happened. Looking back, I'm so glad that she was in the sack otherwise I don't know how her fragile body wouldn't have been destroyed. Matt and I sat on the hospital bed together in grief. I had always wanted a September baby. I had just envisioned it somewhat differently.

The nurses brought her out and took her to remove her from the sack and wrap her in a blanket so that we could have some time with her. She was incredibly small and so fragile looking that I was afraid to hold her. Her head looked especially frail, I'm sure that the Triploidy contributed to that. In a way I felt so disconnected from this tiny person that Matt was holding in his hands. This couldn't be my Rose. My mind had always conjured a picture of the most perfect baby to match her perfect spirit. The ease of her delivery, in my mind, testified of her perfect love and compassion - not wanting to make my body hurt like my heart did. So when I saw her, so imperfectly perfect, it was hard for my mind to wrap around the fact that she was who I had been carrying. I'm sure many of you think I'm callous for thinking or feeling this way, but you have to understand that the body that her spirit resided in for a time is not in the perfected form that it will become after Christ comes again and she is resurrected. And knowing that made it hard for me to see how weak the flesh really is and how incomparable it is to the radiance of the unencumbered spirit. In my mind, Rose is the embodiment of beauty and love and all that is good. Maybe that's fanciful, but I don't care because I have meeting her in the flesh to look forward to and I know I won't feel disappointed.

I'm pretty sure the weight was actually 1 lb some odd ounces

The next morning after tossing and turning all night, our nurses brought in a box full of momentos for us; something that they give to all parents in circumstances like ours.

Matt also went home to bring our first miracle back to the hospital to see me. And bring me edible food. We were able to make arrangements for a burial (I'll go into that more in a future post). And then I was free to go home.

It's a very strange thing to come home with empty arms (aside from an overnight bag and a couple of hospital water jugs) after delivering a baby. And to have a body soft from pregnancy and childbirth with no newborn to nestle in that softness. You just walk in the door as if everything should be like it was the last time you came inside only everything has changed. The only physical evidence of the huge difference being the extra pounds from pregnancy which now mock you cruelly. Part of me thought, "I should be able to go on like before because I have nothing to show for what we have been through." Nobody can see the gaping hole in my heart, there's nothing that illustrates the yearning that I feel for a baby to hold and take care of, there's not outward sign that there's a child that I won't get to watch grow, learn, and discover. At least not in this life.

I'm reminded again of the story of Job. As you may recall, at the end of the story all of Job's possessions and wealth were restored to him two-fold. And he had seven more children. Some people may think, "well, if everything else was doubled, why didn't he have fourteen children?" The answer? He did. His first seven children were still his children. Death doesn't change the eternal nature of family. The number of children he had was doubled, the first half were just beyond his reach for a little while.

That night the number of my posterity was doubled. I just have to wait to meet the other half.