Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where it all began...Kind of!

Joel and I always knew we wanted a family. It was one of the first things we discussed when we met, almost 9 years ago. God was faithful, and shortly before our 2 year wedding anniversary, we were blessed with the birth of Tyler! Pregnancy was relatively text book, with the exception of pre-term labor at 24 weeks. Praise God they were able to stop contractions, and I was able to carry Tyler to full term. Delivery however, was NOT textbook! Many complications during and after delivery made recovery very difficult, but not a moment went by that we werent so grateful to God for our blessing. Life as we knew it was definitely going to change, but sooooo much for the better! And we are still thankful to this day for God allowing us the opportunity to raise and love Tyler.

Backing up just a bit, I had struggled for years with endometriosis, which is supposed to make it much more difficult to get pregnant. Yet another reason to give God all the praise for Tyler! I had surgery, and we had taken care of the problem, but it was only a temporary fix. Approximately 18 months after we had Tyler, the dr. said that the endometriosis I had struggled with, would come back, and when it came back, it would come back worse and more painful, so if we wanted more children, we should get on the ball. Joel and I discussed it, and although we knew we wanted more children, we werent sure we were ready for them this soon! Oh well, we took the drs news as Gods way of telling us that it doesnt matter if we are ready or not, we better get pregnant while we could. Notice, I never said we prayed about it. Never really sought God's face and His will for our life. So, we got pregnant. Immediately I started spotting. I was scared out of my mind, as was Joel. Instantly the joy and excitement of seeing a positive pregnancy test was completly overridden with fear and worry. The spotting started and stopped several times in those first few weeks. After many calls to the dr. we scheduled an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that I was indeed pregnant, but there was a surprise. We were pregnant with twins! But the joy that should have completely covered this moment was not there. One of the twins had not survived, and therefore on the ultrasound screen we saw a healthy beating heart of one baby, and an empty sac, where the other baby had been. Two words can only describe what we felt...devastation and joy. Devastation that we would never get to meet one of our little angels, but joy that we would get to see the other one! This joy was short lived. The spotting soon returned, along with the fear, and a trip to the ultrasound office again. What we saw on the screen, that image, will NEVER leave my mind. It is burned there forever. We saw the baby, but no heartbeat. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your baby on the screen, and not seeing the one vital thing that assures you all is well. The dr. did some measurements, and the baby had passed away approximately 2 weeks earlier, but my body didnt know. On top of this news, the day we had this ultrasound was the Saturday before Father's Day.

Because my body didnt know, and was still functioning like a normal pregnancy, we had a D&C. The procedure where the dr. goes in and removes the baby. This procedure is typically associated with an abortion, or unwanted pregnancy. However, this was definitely not the case with us. We wanted the baby, both babies, but it wasn't in God's plan.

The last thing I remember before undergoing the surgery, was crying. Uncontrollable, unstoppable crying. I was hearbroken. Heartbroken for the cries I would never console, the giggles I would never hear, the babies I would never hold. After the anesthesia was wearing off, and I was coming to, I remember nothing but crying. I couldnt stop. The surgery took place on Tuesday. Saturday morning I woke up hemorrhaging. Bleeding so heavy and so much it was dangerous. So we called the dr on the way to the ER. After experiencing all we had gone through the last week, the last thing I wanted to do was to sit in the emergency room for 10 hours, but that is exactly what we did. (No, I wont go back to that ER!) People with strep throat were being taken care of while I was bleeding out. The bleeding finally stopped, and we were allowed to go home.

What I have intentionally left out up to this point, is that Joel was not present with me for the D&C or the hemorrhaging in the ER. At first I was angry with him. I am his wife after all. Shouldnt I be his priority?! Shouldnt he be here suffereing with me, experiencing this loss with me?! I do thank God my parents were available to be with me during these times, but some part of me wanted my husband. I was sad he wasnt there. I was angry he wasnt there. How dare he not be with me. How dare he not be my support. I didnt understand. I didnt understand that he COULDNT be there. It wasnt that he didnt WANT to be there, he COULDNT be there. We were still somewhat early on in our marriage, and I hadnt fully understood that men deal with tragedy differently than women. He couldnt see me go through what I was going through. He didnt know how to handle it.

I dont want you to judge him. Dont worry about if you agree or disagree with his decision to be at work during these times. It's not up to you to agree or disagree. This is our life, and I'm just sharing it with you. I pray you can understand, but if not, thats ok.

After some time, I grew to understand his reasons, and not only understood them, but respected them. He was right not to be there. He handled it the best way he knew how, which turned out to be the best way for us both.

But my anger didnt stop there. It continued. Anger was only one of the many emotions I was feeling. The strongest emotions were anger, guilt, and sadness. Sadness obviously because we had just suffered a loss of two precious, innocent babies. Guilt because they were inside me. My body. So something I did, or didnt do, had to have caused this double-tragedy. There was no other way. It was my fault. (I know, I can already hear you telling me that's not true, just wait...I'm not done!)

But by far, the emotion I felt strongest was anger. And here's the scary part...I was angry at God. The God of the universe. The God who spoke the world into existence. The God who holds the world in the palm of His hand. I was angry at Him. Why? How could He let this happen? If He's such a loving God, then why did He have to take away something so dear and precious to us? We're good people. We go to church. Why? These questions resounded in my head over and over and over. I actually remember going to church shortly after everything had happened, and being up on the platform helping with Praise & Worship. We sang a song called 'In Moments Like These'. A few lines from the song go something like this...'In moments like these I lift up my hands"..."In moments like these I sing out a song". I could sing those lines. I could sing lines like that during this song, but then the chorus started. The chorus goes 'Singing I love You Lord. Singing I love You Lord. Singing I love You Lord. I love You.' Simple words really. Basically 'I love you' just repeated over and over. But I couldnt do it. I couldnt stand up on the platform and sing a song, leading others in worship, with a song I didnt even believe. I couldnt say 'I love You Lord' because I didnt. Yep, I said it right. I didnt love God at that moment. So I sure wasnt going to pretend. I was mad. I was mad and I wanted God to know it. I know thats dangerous ground to be walking on, but I walked on it!

People kept saying 'Dont be angry at God'. 'Be careful what you say.' 'You dont mean it.' and on and on. but I did mean it, and people telling me not to be angry didnt do anything to change my mind. They didnt understand. Not many people could understand. To me, this wasnt just a miscarriage. I actually saw my baby (the one that was still alive) with a strong healthy heartbeat, then just a few weeks later, saw that same baby, lifeless. This wasnt your 'typical miscarraige'. Not many people actually see the life living and growing inside them, then see it 'gone'. If you have suffered a miscarriage, My thoughts and prayers are with you, and this is in no way to make your experience seem less tragic. I'm just writing from my perspective.

So after a while of being angry at God, my hurt started to heal. My loss and empty part of my heart will never go away completely, but my hurt started to heal just a little. My anger toward God started to decrease, just a little. And I started to realize something vitally important...You have to deal with the emotions as they come. You can't skip them, or pretend they're not there. You have to handle them as they come at you. For me, I had to realize its OK to be angry. God already knows what you're thinking, so why try and hide it. During my prayer times, I would flat out tell God 'I'm mad at you! You didnt have to allow me to get pregnant at all if it was going to end so tragically. You had the power to make everything perfect, and you didnt. You could have stopped the hurt, and you didnt. I'm mad at you.' It was when I started talking to God and telling Him exactly what I was feeling, that the anger started going away. I dealt with the anger, then I was able to move on to the guilt.

I had to deal with the guilt. It didnt just go away. Dealing with the guilt was a little more 'logical'. There are sooooo many reasons why miscarriages occur, and there is virtually NO WAY to determine what caused ours. After reading so much information, and having more than one dr. tell me from a medical/scientific standpoint, I began to understand, nothing I could have done could have caused it, and nothing I could have done could have stopped it. It just happened. Its an unanswered question. It is something I may never know this side of heaven, and on that side of heaven, I'm not sure it will even matter. But after time, the guilt went away.

The sadness was the last emotion to leave. And if I'm honest with you, it never fully left. There is still an empty section of my heart, and there always will be. I will never forget those two sweet precious babies. And I long to see them when I get to heaven. But over time, the sadness became lighter. It didnt completely weigh me down and consume all my thoughts any more. Day by day, with prayer, it became easier and easier to breathe. Yes, we are still sad sometimes, but we have the hope that we'll be reunited with our twins someday.

Next...Where do we go from here?!

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