(This was originally shared on my blog on February 2016, before God took me on a journey to heal my heart of everything, not just my grief. I wanted to share some of what my heart looked like before this process. This story is about my second daughter. )
Remember that I said I wanted to take care of myself so I could take care of my family better? That was only partly true. You see, I wanted another baby. Badly. But I knew it wasn't a good idea to get pregnant on top of the anemia and near constant stomachaches that had only gotten worse since my first pregnancy. Nothing seemed to help until I did a liver detox. For a week I felt great - I had so much energy I actually wanted to get out of bed in the mornings! Then a different kind of tiredness hit, and I realized I was pregnant with baby #2! I was so excited. My skin was glowing after the detox and my anemia was gone. I was sure this pregnancy was going to be smooth sailing!
Well, I was wrong. Morning sickness was worse, much worse than before. So I figured I was having a boy. There was some random bleeding and we went in for our first ultrasound at 11 weeks, giving a sigh of relief to see our tiny little peanut kicking up a storm in there and sucking his/her thumb. Finally, I stopped my frequent visits to the white throne and even felt good for a few weeks until some rather strange symptoms popped up. It seemed there was an explanation for all of them, yet something didn't feel right to me.
My "feelings" were confirmed with my last prenatal visit at 28 weeks when our midwife advised us to get another ultrasound. From there our baby was given a fatal diagnosis: fetal hydrops caused by fetal brachycardia. Just some fancy words that meant, "your baby has swelling everywhere and we think it's caused by a low heart rate caused by some antibodies . . . which you didn't even know you had, and usually don't cause any problems." Oh, and by the way, "your baby is too little for a pacemaker, even if we got her out now, we wouldn't do anything to help her and would just let you hold her."
We spent the next couple of weeks begging, pleading, with God to save our little one. She lived longer than the doctors said she would. We even thought she was going to pull through. Then one night after communion on October 24th, she moved more than she'd moved in a while. Her daddy got to feel her move too. I thought she was just excited about the grape juice, but truth is, she was probably saying goodbye. She didn't move at all the next day. That week the ultrasound showed no heartbeat, but I didn't give up h/Hope (literally and figuratively!) until the next ultrasound when we finally found out she was a girl. God was gracious to me, allowing me to deliver her naturally, despite the doctor's assurances that I "would never go into labor" on my own. We also got to see a normal looking baby, since the swelling had gone down considerably by that point. Hope Iris was stillborn on November 3, after 7 1/2 hours of smooth labor. Physically I recovered quickly, but emotionally is a different story. My heart has been shattered to a million pieces.
Ever had life hit you out of nowhere and suddenly you can barely breathe? You begin to question everything you've ever done or believed? That's how I feel after Hope went to heaven. If you've been through a tragedy like this, you know that nothing will ever be the same again. Just so you know, I do still believe those things I said in the beginning. However, getting there ... to that place of health and joy, is coming from a brokenness I never thought I'd have to experience. If you're still with me, and you want to reach that life of fullness, I'm truly humbled and honored that you're here as I limp along. I have nothing to offer you except what my Savior shows me along the way. Bless you, sweet friend.
(Today, I’m so happy that God has healed my heart! Stay tuned and I’ll share some of this journey with you!)