October 24, 2017 27 Comments Family, Health

October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month…I’m all too aware

Hey guys.

I tend to ghost in this space and on my instagram when life gets rocky…and 2017 has definitely been a bumpy ride for us.

Going to get really personal here, and if that makes you uncomfortable feel free to exit and wait for a fun shopping post…but I’ve found {through Beau} that sharing can do a lot of good even when it’s not fun subject matter, but the hard stuff. Just hoping that someone out there that comes across this can take away something from it that can help them in some way.

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I never “pregnant” well…I don’t glow or have a cute tiny bump. I tend to balloon, never sleep, get cranky and have major back problems. It’s not a pretty sight.

I also generally don’t attach myself to the baby until he or she gets here…I don’t know…just how I am. Now, once they arrive I pretty much become obsessed and want to eat their faces off {especially when they are sleeping} every day for the rest of their lives.

So I think that’s why when I miscarried this summer, I was so shocked by the level of extreme sadness I felt.

Like extremely sad. About a baby that still didn’t seem real to me…but when I lost it, it did. Does that make sense?

I think I was very much still in emotional recovery mode when we got pregnant again. surprisingly. Yes I know how this happens, but I am telling you this was an act of God {Chad referred to it as immaculate conception for awhile} because logistically I don’t think it should have…I was shocked.

We learned I was pregnant 2 months after losing the baby, and only took a pregnancy test because I was so extremely bloated and thought it was an antibiotic I was on.

Nope. God surprised us with another baby.

And unlike my spring pregnancy where I was thrilled…I was scared out of my mind. I was sad and worried and filled with anxiety. I thought of all the ways it would likely go wrong…I was in a terrible head space.

Thank God for husbands tho. Chad was optimistic and excited, but also respected how I was feeling and we talked very little about the baby.

{already showing in Hawaii…maybe why I posted very few photos of myself…also because I felt like poo}

We got to see the little one at 7 weeks {all good…praise hands}, 11 weeks {all good…praise hands} and had testing done that came back all positive {praise hands majorly}!

Chad was dying to tell the kids…so when we got the all clear and the “you have less than a 5% chance of something happening to the baby” and congratulatory hug at our 11 week doctor appointment, I was willing to give.

We still waited until 12 1/2 weeks…this is how the kids felt.

And there is just no medicine for the soul like that. Their joy and excitement started to turn the tide of my fear.

A week later we started slowly telling friends…and I felt the anxiety lifting even more and excitement taking it’s place. I began feeling like we were now standing on solid ground.

Truthfully I had been afraid to say out loud that we were having a baby. So fearful that as soon as I did, it would crumble again. But as my belly grew, so did my confidence.

Stella constatly talked about the baby. Hoping it was a “sister” but being ok if it was a brother. As long as she could hold him or her first and be my main helper. She was going to move bedrooms to be closer to the babies room and gave names suggestions constantly.

The boys were excited too. Grant drew pictures of our new family on the drive way and was quick to tell his teacher and classmates.

Word was out now, especially thanks to Stella who told just about every person we saw…like I’m talking the guy at the check out at Walmart, Sonic workers, anyone who would listen to her.

So I booked our family pictures for Monday October 23rd to take an “announcement pic”. I would be 15 1/2 weeks. I finally felt confident and believed this baby would join our family come April.

We started talking about names..

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Let me back up, with our last baby, I started bleeding at home and had some major stomach pain, just shy of 11 weeks…which is what led us to the doctor and the terrible ultrasound.

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So this past Thursday, when I rolled in for my 15 week check up feeling great, I brought the littles with me, anxious for them to finally hear the baby…and felt totally calm.

Until the doctor couldn’t locate a heartbeat.

I thought ‘you have to be kidding me. There is just no way.’

After a quick ultrasound, and some unclear images…the doctor confirmed no heartbeat, and told us to come back Monday {to her main office} for another ultrasound and to discuss our next steps.

Crushed and heartbroken in new ways, walking out of that appointment. And so angry at myself for bringing the kids…which thankfully were nabbed halfway through by an urgent call to my mother in law.

But as the weekend went on, I really started to believe that maybe she wasn’t sure. That maybe thats why we needed a follow up and I have heard of miracle stories where ultrasounds are bad but then when they go back things are fine. And I prayed and held onto that all weekend.

So on Monday, was another blow to learn that the doctor had been right. We had lost the baby. You’d think I would have been prepared this go around. To not feel like a rug was pulled out from under us. But I now realize that you aren’t ever really ready for news like that.

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With our last pregnancy, the baby measured at 8 1/2 weeks, so the doctor was able to perform a D&C that same day.

This time, the baby measured 14 1/2 weeks…meaning I literally had just missed a beating heart at my appointment…and that the baby was now too big to safely perform a D&C on.

My options were to induce labor and deliver with my doctor or go to Barnes Jewish in St Louis and have a D&E done there.

All 3 of my babies were born via c-setion, so I can’t imagine {emotionally} delivering a baby I would never take home.

We opted for a D&E in St. Louis…but I wasn’t ready for all the questions they would ask…

Barnes Jewish is an amazing hospital with amazing doctors, and we were treated so well, but I must have had 3 different doctors ask what I would like to do with my babies remains: cremation, burial and print outs of local funeral homes, or donate to the hospital…felt like a whole different thing that the last miscarriage. This time it hit much harder that we were losing a person.

I’m not downplaying at all my earlier miscarriage. I think it hurts whether you are pregnant for 24 hours or 24 weeks…but the fact this baby looked like a baby in the ultrasound, just affected me differently.

And most of all, this time, we are going to have to tell the kids. To tell Stella.

Yesterday we said goodbye to another baby…one that we will never hear cry, or hold, or curl up with on the rocker.

It was hard, and horrible. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

But as sad as I am, and as much as this sadness will linger and yo yo for…well I don’t know…forever? I do know that time is a powerful healer. And that there is no greater medicine that surrounding yourself with small people you love. I spent today at home with Beau who ice-skated around the kitchen in a new pair of socks {seriously we never wear socks} laughing and crashing into everything…and I am feeling stronger and happier than yesterday. It’s a start.

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To answer some questions: {because this shiz is never talked about}

-We do know the sex {or the doctor does…and has since week 11, but as of now I still don’t want to know…but I may ask one day. I yoyo on that}.

-We don’t know what happened the first time, our doctor told us miscarriages in the first trimester are shockingly common. This go around, we had some blood testing and an autoposy done in hopes of maybe some answers since a second trimester miscarriage is much rarer. We did not opt to send off for genetic testing because..

-We will not be having any more children. They say you shouldn’t make a decision like this when the hurt is still fresh, but it’s been such a hard year with difficult pregnancies and then too much heartbreak. Plus I am only getting older….and the fact Beau had a birth defect and then we lost 2, is not a strong track record. So I told Chad early in this pregnancy that no matter the outcome, this would be our last go around. He is supportive of that.

-If you are like me, you have no idea what a D&C is or a D&E. Click here to read about what a D&C is, or here to learn about a D&E. Recovery is similar, though the D&E in St. Louis felt like a much bigger procedure than a D&C. The hardest part was being asked about the body, and having to meet with councilors and such.

-How will we tell the kids? That I’m not totally sure of yet…but will try to keep it simple and as light as we can. I want them to know its ok to feel sad but I don’t want them to stay bogged down in that place for very long…I also don’t want them to be scared or worried about how we are doing.

-What can you do to help someone who this happens to? Pray for them. Then say another prayer. Offer to take one of their kids to play or on a fun outting. Can seriously a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru…I personally like to have my kids around when I am down. It keeps me happy and outta the sad place, but nothing makes me happier than my kids happy, so a quick play date at someones house or to the park gives me a minute to take a breath and to KNOW my kids are having a big ole dose of happy that I may not be able to give them in that moment. Oh, and food. Or anything that can help in the “mothering” department…because at least for me, losing a baby has made me feel like a crummy mom. Like I am failing everyone. So at our house, food is already low man on the totem pole, but when things go south, it’s the first to go. So I am beyond thankful for my girlfriends who showed up with dinner, Dr. Pepper’s , and play date offers without being asked if they could. You too are likely part of a village…but to be reminded of your village when you feel very alone is pretty powerful medicine.

-How are you doing? It’s my most asked question by my friends…I am majorly yo-yoing… one minute looking up Halloween pizza costumes and talking party games through my car window, and the next wanting to cry and fall on the floor…Part of me wants to be totally left alone, and the other part wants to go out for margaritas with the girls. I want and crave normal…but also know I need {need} time to feel the heaviness of this. Give yourself both. Make plans. But break them if you need to. Your friends {if they are keepers} will be ok with that.

-Why am I sharing all of this? I am sharing because writing and sharing is my own kind of therapy…and because not a lot of people talk about this {which is TOTALLY OK, I’m just a get-it-off-my-chest type girl}. And life has taught me that if you are willing to be open and vulnerable and share the shit, it can help others as much as it helps yourself…When we miscarried the first time, I can’t tell you how much the texts and messages and comments meant to get. I had no idea so many people I knew had miscarried and been in the same boat…It was so helpful to know they knew how I felt, and that they had moved on into a happy space. I share because I think it’s important to.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you. To anyone that has taken the time to read this…I’m not exactly sure what this post was meant to be. Chad and I talked in the hospital as I was googling and questioning each doctor that came in what could have caused us to lose the baby this time? Genetics? Was I sick? Did I do something? Chad then asked if I had ever asked any of my friends that had gone through this what caused theirs and I realized I hadn’t….they likely don’t know, or if they do, it’s an awkward thing to bring up…so I just wanted to share our story as openly and honestly as I could. To answer questions you may be hesitant to ask or share an experience you maybe can relate to.

Whoever said “Mom-ing ain’t easy” was right.

But it’s worth it. Even on the cloudiest of cloudy days.

And while I know this emotional yoyo will be with our crew for years to come, we are now ready for some sunshine in the Gill Household.

So the plan?? I am going to throw myself as hard as I can into the things that make me happy. To my kids, my husband, my health, my blog and closet {materialistic, but brings me joy}, and to putting positive energy out in whatever ways I can in whatever the days bring.

So here’s to leaning in hard to the things that hold us up. And to knowing that my kiddos have an extra set of wings looking over them.

Thank you again for the love, support and prayers.

xoxo


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