A little after midnight on the morning of Friday July 17, 2009, I decided to take a pregnancy test. My monthly cycle was already eight days late (though I have been as many as ten days late), but I didn't really think I was pregnant. In fact, I had myself convinced that it would be negative... so why was I feeling so nervous as I waited? Three minutes pass and... two pink lines! What?!? I'm pregnant??? I just couldn't believe it. I went to bed. I think I even slept. When I got up around 8am, I decided to use the second test in the 2-pack. Again, three minutes. Again, two pink lines! I was shocked. I don't know why - we weren't doing anything to prevent it from happening - but still I was surprised.
The first person I told was John, of course. He was also surprised, but we were both very happy. We had been planning to wait until Alexa turned three in February before we started trying for another baby, but apparently God had other plans! Our reason for wanting to wait is simply because our 10th wedding anniversary is June 10, 2010 and we really wanted to get away for a week with no kids. Hmm... change of plans! THAT'S not going to happen now!
I called my OB-GYN's office that same day and scheduled my first prenatal appointment for August 10th. Though we knew it would be hard, we decided that we wouldn't tell anyone until after that doctor's appointment.
On Monday August 10th, I went to see Dr. Ampey at Capital OB-GYN Associates. By my calculation, I was 8 weeks and 5 days pregnant. They calculated the same. My due date was estimated to be March 17, 2010. The only thing she did that day was check my cervix and do a pap smear. She said everything looked great. We discussed prenatal vitamins and future appointments and I scheduled my second prenatal visit for September 9th.
It was such a relief to finally be able to tell family and friends. It had been so hard to keep it a secret! Michael, Briana and Alexa were very excited about the prospect of having a baby brother or sister. They all wanted a brother. Okay, Michael and Briana wanted a brother and Alexa just went along with it! That's a two year old for you!
A few days after my first appointment, I scheduled my first trimester screening with Maryland Perinatal Associates for September 3rd. I couldn't wait for that day because we would finally be able to hear the baby's heartbeat and have an ultrasound done. I was SOOOO excited.
On Tuesday September 1st, I noticed a tiny bit of blood on the toilet paper early that evening. It didn't happen again before I went to bed, so I shrugged it off. Wednesday September 2nd was the first day of my 12th week and it was also Briana's 6th birthday! She was so excited that morning as she got ready for school. She got to open some of her gifts and she was very happy that I was bringing cupcakes for her class later in the day. We had a Hello Kitty party planned for her that night with her friends at church. She was super-excited about that! Especially her Hello Kitty pinata!
After dropping the kids off at school, I had some errands to run. When I got home and went to the bathroom, I noticed more blood. Not a lot - just a tiny bit - but I began finding it every time I went to the bathroom. I was becoming a little concerned.
The kids get out of school at noon on Wednesdays, so I had the cupcakes there around 11:30am. (I'm sure the other parents loved me for that!) When school got out at noon, we went home for lunch and naps. I didn't want a cranky birthday girl! John was already at home sleeping after working all night.
By early afternoon, I was experiencing some mild cramping along with the bleeding. Now I was VERY concerned. I called the doctor's office. Dr. Ampey wasn't there, but another doctor, Dr. Goodman, was there and would call me back. I was pretty scared and worried at this point. I called my cousin Sherry who had had a miscarriage not too long ago and was pregnant again. Dr. Goodman is her doctor. She tried to reassure me, but my nagging fear wouldn't go away. Finally, Dr. Goodman called. I explained what was going on and he told me to come in so he could check things out. It was about 3pm.
Once at the office, Dr. Goodman checked my cervix and then lead me down the hall for an ultrasound. I watched the screen as he searched around my belly. I'm no expert by any means, but I wasn't seeing anything and Dr. Goodman wasn't saying anything. Finally, he told me that he was going to send me downstairs for another ultrasound because he couldn't find anything. He said that it was a higher resolution machine that might be able to pick up what he was missing. He was trying hard to keep me hopeful, but it wasn't working. My heart was already sinking fast and I was dreading what would happen next. In the elevator on the way to the basement
I prayed, "Please God, don't take my baby."
After getting signed in downstairs, I was lead to the ultrasound room by the technician. The screen was turned in a way that I couldn't see it very well, so I just stared at the ceiling, praying that she would have some good news for me. After several minutes of silence, I looked at the technician's face. Her grim expression never changed and I caught a very slight shaking of her head a few times. Deep in my heart I had known when I was upstairs with Dr. Goodman, but it was in those several minutes of silence downstairs that I lost it.
When the tech noticed that I was crying, she asked if I was okay, but then answered her own question by saying, "No. You're not okay." She told me that she was going to try the trans-vaginal ultrasound. After another several minutes of silence, she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry". That was the absolute, most horrible moment in my life. I mean, I knew it already, but those two words were like the nail in the coffin. I was devastated. I was heartbroken. I was alone. I woke John up before I left to tell him where I was going and why, but he was at home with the kids and no one was with me but a stranger. All I could do was cry. When I was able to speak, I asked the tech if she had seen ANYTHING. She said that there was a sac that only measured five weeks and five days. She handed me a box of tissues and left the room for a while. I don't know how long I sat in that room, but it seemed like forever. All my hopes and dreams for this pregnancy and birth were gone. My baby was gone. I didn't know what to do.
After getting dressed and composing myself somewhat, the tech offered to walk back to Dr. Goodman's office with me since I was by myself. I was very grateful because I really didn't want to have to think about where to go. My thoughts were completely lost on my baby. We got back upstairs and she waited with me until Dr. Goodman called me into his office. I felt dazed and confused. He hugged me and said he was sorry. I couldn't even look at him. I stared at a spot on his desk most of the time he was talking to me. I decided to have a D&C (dilatation and curettage) and scheduled it for the next day - September 3rd. The day that I had been looking forward to was now the day that my dead baby would be removed from my womb. I was so sad and so numb, and my daughter's birthday party was only a few hours away.
I left the doctor's office and managed to make it to the truck before the tears came raging again. My hands shook as I got on my cell phone and called John. When he answered he asked, "So what did the doctor say?" I couldn't speak right away. I cried some more before I could get the words out. Then all I could say was, "It's not good" before I started crying again. I was finally able to tell him and then I drove home. I didn't want to spoil Briana's birthday, so I put on a good face and went inside the house.
We still had the birthday party that night after we did a balloon release to honor the memory of a young man from my church, Daniel Byrd. His birthday was also September 2nd, and he would have been 19. He passed away in December 2008 at the age of 18. This was the first birthday without him. Daniel's mom, Lois, read a card that Daniel's little sister, Grace, had made. Our youth pastor, Doug Moorman, read a poem. We sang Happy Birthday and then Daniel's family and some friends released 19 red balloons, each attached with Daniel's picture, story and plan of salvation. Red was Daniel's favorite color. It was a beautiful scene.
The birthday party was a huge success and I am thankful that I was able to throw myself into it. It gave my mind and my hands something to do. Briana had a wonderful time.
Thursday September 3rd was not a good day for me. It should have been a very happy day for John and I - the day that we heard our baby's heartbeat and got the first pictures of our little bean... but it wasn't to be. My D&C was scheduled for 6:15pm. Early in the day, the bleeding started to increase and the formerly mild cramping was beginning to get worse. By about noon, I was passing blood clots every 15 minutes. I called the doctor and was told to come in for an evaluation. This time John came with me. I am so glad he did. At the office, I was told that I was already actively miscarrying and that they were going to do the D&C immediately. We went over to the hospital and I was prepped for surgery. When I woke up in recovery, it was hard for me to face reality. I didn't want to believe that it was over; that my womb was empty. I couldn't even cry anymore. At least not then.
It was extremely difficult for John and I to say goodbye to our 4th child. After three pregnancies with healthy children, I guess I felt like a miscarriage could never happen to me... but it has. I never realized how devastating it is to lose a child in this way. It is very tough to say the least. Many people seem to think that a Christian should just grin and bear it because God is in control and He never does anything without a reason. Already I've had well meaning people say to me, "It wasn't God's will." "It wasn't meant to be." "Be strong." Well, let me just put my feelings out there: I believe with all my heart that God is in control and that there is a specific reason to all He allows in our lives. I have already figured out (all by myself may I remind you) that it obviously wasn't God's will for this child to live. I don't need to be reminded of that. It doesn't make losing a child any easier. I am NOT strong and I don't need to be right now. God said that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and let me tell you how weak and vulnerable I am right now: VERY MUCH SO! This is the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life. This is the hardest thing that John has ever been through. Many people tend to forget that there is a daddy who is grieving right alongside the mommy. Please don't forget John. He took three days off of work so he could be right beside me, praying with me and doing all he can for me while at the same time trying to work through his own grief. We really appreciate all of you who have been a help to us. Most importantly, we appreciate everyone's prayers. We will be able to get through this because of the prayers of our family and friends. Sometimes, prayer is the only thing you can do to help someone through their grief. We sincerely thank all of you who are praying. We have a long road of healing ahead of us, but God will see us through.
Does my heart ache for the child I lost? Yes. Am I angry at God? No. Do I feel like a part of me is missing? Yes. Am I bitter? No. Is God always in control? Yes. Do I always understand His ways? No. But I don't have to because He gives me the peace that passes all understanding. God chose to take my baby instead of allowing him or her to fully develop inside my womb. I have no idea why. I don't understand. But I have two choices: I can question my Heavenly Father - the Ultimate Creator of life, or I can trust Him that He has better plans for my child than I could ever dream. Have I questioned God? Yes. It's only natural. But now I choose to trust because, though I have failed Him many times, He has never - AND WILL NEVER - fail me. My baby will never have to experience the evil in this sinful world. My precious little angel is in Heaven... and outside of my arms or John's, there is no better place for our baby to be.
Estimated due date: March 17, 2010
J.L.C.'s graduation to Heaven: September 3, 2009
We didn't know if we were going to have a boy or a girl, so I chose 2 names:
Girl - Jaedyn Leann
Boy - Jaden Lemuel
Jaedyn Leann is the name we had picked out for a girl. After the baby went to Heaven, I wanted to have a name picked out for either a boy or girl. We decided to keep our girl's name and since the first name can go either way, I changed the spelling for a boy and had to choose a middle name. I wanted to keep the same initials. When I discovered that Lemuel means "dedicated to God", I knew I had found the right name.
"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." - Psalm 61:1-2
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7