Friday, October 25, 2013


I'm going to go ahead and apologize for this post... I've been fighting a pregnancy cold of epic proportions this week and while I feel much less like the walking dead today than I did on Sunday or even Monday, I still have a wicked cough and can't breath through my nose.

My blog is ever a work in progress and I want you to notice that I did add a new tab entitled "Resources" this week. I hope you'll check it out. I'll be adding to it often as I document the resources that helped me through my miscarriage in addition to the resources that have helped me through my current pregnancy. PLEASE, please, dear reader, contact me if you have any good resources that have helped you through your journey! I want to know who or what helped you. I so want this blog to be a light to others who are suffering the same hardships.

In the meantime, here is a picture of my beautiful Sweet Pea....

I love this picture. After we lost Sweet Pea, I deleted it from my phone as I couldn't bear to look at... 

After the D&C, I packed up everything associated with Sweet Pea - the cards, counseling packets from the hospital, paperwork, ultrasound pictures, everything - put it in a manilla envelope and stuck it underneath the bed in our guest bedroom. I never told my husband where I put it... But I couldn't bear to have it all out. I couldn't bear to see it all everyday.

In a freak turn of events, that envelope somehow became the only thing in that room (and our whole apartment for that matter) that got destroyed by water. We aren't entirely sure how the water got there. Our best guess is that the apartment complex paid to have our carpets cleaned at the beginning of August and while we were told the cleaners would not clean under furniture perhaps they cleaned under the guest bed and soaked the envelope. We don't know for sure as nothing else was wet. We, of course, didn't find anything until about a month and a half later when we were moving furniture in the guest bedroom in preparation for turning it into a nursery for our current soon-to-be-baby. 

When I saw the saturated envelope, I lost it. I sat at the kitchen table and cried, heaving sobs until I couldn't cry anymore. The thought that the only picture I had of my Sweet Pea was ruined was more than I could bear... And quite honestly, I think seeing everything in that envelope just brought it all back...

But I remembered, I had texted my mother a picture of Sweet Pea and by the grace of God she kept the picture on her phone. Sweet Pea was the first grand-baby for all the grand-parents between me and my husband (we have 3 sets as my parents are both divorced and remarried).  My mother told me once, a few months after we lost Sweet Pea, that she wanted to print the picture and have it framed because Sweet Pea was her first grand-baby. I am so thankful that she kept the picture... I am so thankful that I can still look at my Sweet Pea and know that baby was real. 

Grief is a funny thing. Loss is a funny thing. It can totally hit you out of nowhere when you least expect it. I truly believe that it never goes away, you just learn how to live with it. You learn how to function with it. And eventually you learn how to laugh and smile and find joy again even in the midst of all you've gone through, but that doesn't mean you forget. I think too the intensity fades a little as you find acceptance and you look back and see some of the beauty. Sweet Pea was beautiful. The beginning was beautiful. The crazy amount of love I felt for a little being that I hadn't met, hadn't even felt move, was absolutely beautiful. Look for the beauty, dear reader. It's there, sometimes you just have to dig deep to find it. 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Worst Part

I'm seriously overwhelmed with the amount of support I've received since the "official" reveal of this blog on Tuesday, October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day... I wish I could even begin to tell you the number of texts, comments, messages, precious cards, and notes I received and how touched I was that people were so affirming and loving. I'm not gonna lie to you, dear reader, I was incredibly nervous to reveal this blog. I went back and forth for awhile trying to decide if I was ready for our little corner of the world wide web to be made known to the general public (aside from those who had accidentally stumbled upon it). In the end, it was my hubby's encouragement that settled my reluctance. Our conversation came down to the simple fact that we always wanted our story to be shared in order to encourage other families with similar stories... How will anyone ever find our story if we don't let them know it's here? And so there you have it... Thanks to the many who were so supportive. YOU have encouraged me greatly!

Here is the next part of Sweet Pea's story...

We want back to doctor for what we thought was to be our 8 week appointment on January 25th, 2013. I was a bundle of nerves, but in a way also relieved because I kept thinking one way or another we will have an answer as to what is going on... And we did in fact get an answer...

The receptionist excitedly greeted us and let us know we would get a picture of our little baby today. We smiled half-heartedly at her. Sitting in the waiting room was miserable. We finally got called back to the ultrasound room. As the technician began completing the ultrasound, we knew IMMEDIATELY something was wrong. She didn't say a word to us... Not one peep... This was completely different from our previous experience with the ultrasound where the technician talked to us the whole time and described everything on the screen... We didn't have the heart to ask the much dreaded question... She printed off a bunch of pictures, but didn't give them to us and showed us to an examination room.

Kevin and I sat in silence for a moment. Eventually we both kept asking the question "do you think it was bad?" .... This next part still boils my blood when I think about it... The audacity of the nurse to do what she did was unacceptable on so many levels. She waltzed in to the room, congratulated us on our pregnancy, handed us the obligatory 'congratulations you're going to be parents' bag of goodies, and proceeded to talk shop with us about what to expect in the months to come. She ended with giving us the ultrasound pictures... She actually gave us the ultrasound pictures of a dying baby... I still have them... The pictures of my dying Sweet Pea.

After she left, we were so relieved. We thought this is phenomenal! It was just our imagination and everything is great! Our Sweet Pea is developing exactly as he/she should be...  Nothing to worry about it... And then the doctor came in...

She began the conversation with "your midwife is delivering at the hospital so I'll be working with you today." She then informed us that she actually no longer practices obstetrics - only gynecology. We thought... awesome... Because we are in fact here for a gynecological visit... Oh wait... No we aren't... She then proceeded to tell us that the baby is not measuring as far along as expected and that the ultrasound technician had trouble finding a heartbeat. She informed us that she wanted to have a look herself and a second opinion so we were to go immediately to the maternal fetal specialists next door.

Numb... That was all I could feel at that point... Why would the nurse come in and give us the bag of goodies? Why would she tell us everything was fine and give us pictures? Why would she do this if my baby had no life left?

We were ushered to another waiting room where we sat numbly holding our goodie bag... We didn't speak... We couldn't. When we finally got called back for ultrasound #2 of the day, the worst was confirmed. The technician confirmed the baby had not been growing and she had extreme trouble finding a heartbeat. She found what she thought might have been a tiny, frail blip, but she wasn't entirely sure. Our world crashed around us. It was in that moment that I lost hold of the tiny bit of control that I had. I sobbed. I didn't even know what to ask, what our options were, what do we do next. Kevin held me and I sobbed. The pain was unlike anything I had ever known. I couldn't breath. I couldn't think. It felt like a tidal wave crashing over me and all I could do was sink - there was no fighting it. At least not at that moment.

Eventually they told us that we could either allow the miscarriage to occur naturally, we could take a medicine to speed up the process, or if my body refused to let go of the pregnancy as was the current case I would need to have a D&C. Of course we saw them on a Friday, so they told us to take the weekend to think about it, but to not wait too long...

We decided to move forward with a D&C.

As I was thinking through and writing about our journey and Sweet Pea's story, it's almost funny how many times I would think "that was the worst part". As I wrote 2 weeks in Limbo, I thought that was definitely the worst part. As I prepared myself to write this portion, I thought no when that nurse came in and told us everything was fine, that was the worst part. And then again I thought no when they couldn't find a heartbeat and the tidal wave crashed over me that was definitely the worst part. Even now I'm not entirely sure what was the worst part. I suppose they were all the worst part. Nothing about this journey was easy. Nothing.

I don't know what words to say to help you, sweet reader, get through the worst parts. I wish I did. All I can say is that if I were with you I would hold you and we could sob together, much like my amazing husband did for me. And I can promise that stories and journeys cannot entirely be made up of worst parts. Much like limbo, they have a place, but they too must come to an end.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Top 3 Songs That Got Me Through My Loss

The next part of Sweet Pea's story will inevitably be the hardest for me to recount to you. Even now, almost 10 months later, I will probably weep uncontrollably as I tell it... With that in mind, I want to take a break from Sweet Pea's story to tell you ways that I coped with this devastating loss...

I am a music therapist by trait (and for any music therapists who may stumble across my blog, I am indeed board certified) so I suppose it was natural for me to gravitate towards music to find healing. And gravitate I surely did... My poor husband had to listen to the same album on repeat for weeks on end because it was the only way I could process my loss. The following are the top 3 songs that got me through the weeks and months after we lost Sweet Pea.

I Have to Believe - Rita Springer

This song was a Godly gift from a friend at exactly the moment that I needed it. She texted me and said "Listen to Rita Springer 'I Have to Believe.' I felt like I needed to share that with you. Just know I'm here! If you need anything!". I listened to the song on repeat for days after we found out that we would never meet our Sweet Pea. The first verse spoke to me the most during the first few days after our doctors appointment: "I have to believe that He sees my darkness. I have to believe that He knows my pain." He does know, He truly does and He is faithful. My dear friend spoke so many encouraging words over me during those dark days as well as constantly lifting me up in prayer and letting me know that she was lifting me up. Words of encouragement were probably the most touching thing my friends could do for me during that time.... And prayer - knowing that I had prayer warriors behind me when I didn't know how to pray myself was phenomenal. 
Jennifer - thank you for speaking truth, encouragement, and life into me and my family during our darkest hour. Thank you for reminding me that He is forever faithful.

Never Once - Matt Redman

I couldn't actually listen to sing for awhile without hysterically crying. I knew that I was in the midst of the battle, but the most comforting and healing part of this song was the reminder that I was never alone. I used to change the words as I would sing along to the song to say "Never once did I ever walk alone. Never once did you leave ME on MY own." It made the song seem very real and very personal and I needed that. It's important to remember to apply the lyrics in these worship choruses to yourself and your relationship with God. Changing the words to reflect upon myself helped me to really connect to God on a deeper, more intimate, more personal level - especially during a time when I wasn't sure how to even find Him.

Unfortunately, there isn't a video link for this one. HOWEVER, this song was absolutely PARAMOUNT to my coping and healing process. Although, truth be told, the whole album really was paramount to my coping and healing process, this song in particular became almost an anthem for me. I grew up listening to music by Dennis Jernigan and actually listened to this album significantly as a teenager. But I will tell you, I never truly understood the songs until now. The album itself is called Help Me to Remember, with an incredibly fitting subtitle of "Songs from the Father to Help You Find Comfort in Sorrow." I listened to the whole album on repeat for WEEKS. I would listen to it at work while I was doing paperwork. I would listen to it before I went to bed at night, with my iPhone sitting right beside my face on my pillow. I would listen to it in the car - absolutely constantly. When I would pray, I would find myself praying the lyrics to the songs in this album because quite frankly I didn't know how to pray or what words to even to say after our loss. "Rest In Me" helped me to indeed rest during a time when rest seemed impossible. 

There were some many other things and people that carried me as I struggled my way through that season of life. I will be forever indebted to those things and people. I hope that by sharing the music that spoke to me, others may also find comfort in sorrow.


2 Weeks in Limbo

The next 2 weeks were probably the worst of my life... I just knew something was wrong, but I couldn't seem to get any of the medical staff to do anything about it. I continued to bleed throughout the entire 2 weeks. I felt constantly in a state of limbo, which in a way can be a million times worse than actually knowing the outcome. At least when you know the outcome, you can begin to heal and move forward. I was stuck in a state of fervently praying and believing everything was okay and knowing that the symptoms indicated otherwise.

I went back to the doctor on Friday, January 18th - a week after our first appointment. I felt like I was having some other 'issues' downstairs and wanted to be looked at... But quite frankly, I think that me going to the doctor again was another cry for help, a someone please tell me what is going because everything I know about pregnancy says that you aren't supposed to bleed for a week and a half. Our midwife was not available to see me so I was seen by another midwife and her student.

Side note: I'm never opposed to students coming in to check me out with the doctor. Being a supervisor of students myself, I'm always grateful when the families with whom I work allow my students to be a part of the process. BUT can we all just say how completely UNCOMFORTABLE it is to have a student at your lady doctor. And then low and behold the lady doctor has to leave the room for some unknown reason and you are stuck making small talk with the student who just looked at your who-ha. It's totally awkward. And is just me or does it always seems that those students have the worst social skills in the history of man... They inevitable either say something really weird to you like "Wow... I've never seen a cervix do that before" or they can't seem to make eye contact with you at all, never mind the fact that they just had their eyes all over your who-ha... Awkward... End side note.

The midwife proceeded to check me out and insisted that she do a pap smear and a culture. She informed me that the pap smear would probably make me bleed. I informed her that I had been bleeding for a week and a half already, to which she responded that it was probably just implantation bleeding and it would stop soon. If I had known then what I know now, I would have declined the pap smear altogether. But I didn't. She thought that I probably had a bacterial infection and put me on a medication to treat it, but said that we wouldn't know for sure until the culture came back. She instructed me to begin using the medication immediately.

When I went to pick up the medication, the pharmacist seemed concerned that they would put me on this medication when I was only in my first trimester. She called the doctor to confirm that it was correct and they said of course it was fine. That did nothing to settle my already more than frazzled nerves...

I began taking the medication, only to find out a few days later that the culture had come back negative and I was to cease taking the medication immediately... I felt incredibly deflated and defeated at this point.

I was scheduled to go back to the doctor for my 8 week prenatal exam the following Friday, January 25th. That day we found out we would never get to meet our Sweet Pea... And as dark as it was that day and over the weeks and months to come, I think that being in limbo was still its own complete force with which to be reckoned. Looking back, I don't know how we made it through those 2 weeks. I suppose it truly was by the grace of God.

If you are stuck in limbo right now, know that I have walked with you and cried with you through every step of the unknown. And just remember, my dear sweet reader, even limbo has to and will eventually come to end... It won't go on forever... And from there healing can begin.