Sunday, June 26, 2011

Talking and learning

There it was. In August of 2004, we lost baby #2. I was sad. I was disappointed. I had not yet felt like I had gotten over the first loss. But suddenly, now, I could talk about it. Maybe because I had been through it before. Maybe because people knew this time. Whatever the reason, it helped. Suddenly a bunch of people came out of the woodwork who had been through this. Some of my dear friends and even a cousin reached out to me as they had experienced miscarriage. I learned that there was something to having a support system. And now that I could talk about it, I learned from others. I learned that there could be reasons behind these losses. Medical reasons. I learned that there were fertility specialists and medications. There were tests that could determine why pregnancy loss occurs.

I talked to my doctor about it. I was floored to learn that a patient isn't referred for any of this kind of testing until after three miscarriages. Since I could get pregnant, I wasn't considered infertile, so I couldn't just go see a fertility specialist, insurance would never pay for it. Insurance also wouldn't pay for any testing for the miscarriages because I hadn't had three.

To this day I don't understand that. Why would a medical professional wish another miscarriage upon a person in order to do testing? It also makes no sense that insurance companies would want to wait. I looked at the medical bills of a subsequent miscarriage and the hospital bill alone was over $10,000. I paid $100 of that. If the insurance company had paid for testing prior to that and discovered that all I needed was a pill, they would have saved $9,900. But wait, they won't cover the cost of that pill anyway.

To clarify, I didn't only just need a pill, I am stating that hypothetically because in many instances and for many women that is the solution. For me, it wasn't, and I will continue to document my story and details in further posts. But it frustrated me how short sighted the insurance companies were. I was extra ticked off just knowing that I may have to go through another miscarriage just to get some answers. I didn't feel like I could do that.

Two weeks later

It was a strange two weeks that passed after hearing the news. I had to tell people that I was pregnant, but not really. This was necessary in some instances such as work so that I could explain why I may need to suddenly call in sick for a few days, or in telling my Bishop and counselors so that they would know what to expect.

Then there was that irrational part of me that when each day passed without miscarrying, a part of me still hoped the doctors got it wrong. I was now 10 weeks pregnant with an empty gestational sac that measured only 6 weeks.

Finally my body caught on. I had the miscarriage at home with my husband and mom by my side. I knew it was coming, and I'd been through it before, but it was still awful. I guess you can never be fully prepared for the pain, both physically and emotionally.

About a week after this miscarriage I went back to work. I began having severe cramping and bleeding that felt like I was miscarrying all over again. As it turns out, it was some retained placenta. This would occur again in a later miscarriage and also after Audrey was born.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The ultrasound

At eight weeks pregnant I went in for an ultrasound. I remember the tech doing the measurements. She measured the sac and said it was measuring at six weeks. I knew she was wrong. I was 8 weeks along, no question. That's all she said and sent me down to talk to the doctor. Aaron was with me and I don't know if he was feeling the same way as I was, but I could tell things weren't right. The measurement was off and she said nothing about the baby.

With great apprehension we met with the doctor. She pulled out the ultrasound pictures and started talking about them. She said there was a yolk sac visible and the gestational sac measured at 6 weeks, but that it was empty. There was no baby. Feelings of sadness and confusion swept over me. She went on to explain that what happened was that I had been pregnant, conception had occurred. But that somewhere very early on in the pregnancy the fetus died and was absorbed into the gestational sac. However, my body had not yet clued in to this fact and continued on with this pregnancy, growing a gestational sac, etc. I was given the option to have a D&C, to go home with medication that would terminate the pregnancy, or to just let it go and have my body expel the pregnancy eventually.

I couldn't fathom taking an abortion medication, even though I knew there wasn't a living baby there, and I didn't want to do a D&C. I think a part of me hoped that this was all some mistake and there truly was a baby in there, so I opted to just let things play out naturally. The doctor sent me home with some pain medication for when it happened. I waited for two weeks. Each day of those two weeks I wondered if there was a mistake, because I still wasn't miscarrying. I know now that I was delusional, but I wanted a baby so badly that I thought just maybe there was still one in there, after all, I was still pregnant.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trying Again

When is a good time to try again? My OB wanted me to wait for a couple of months. I couldn't stand the thought of having to wait that long. In my mind, we were supposed to be having a baby on January 3rd. So having to wait another few months to even try again, and then another full 9 months of pregnancy just seemed like such a long time. We decided not to postpone it as it had taken us several months to get pregnant in the first place.

I soon found out that I was pregnant again. I apologize that I can't remember all of the dates now as it has been about six years ago, but I want to say it was about six weeks after having the miscarriage. I was elated, and I think Aaron was too. I know this was some time in July because I remember being at my parents house over my birthday and trying to float the nonexistent Virgin River. I was sick and tired and not "out of the closet" yet. But we were excited. This due date was set for March of 2005. It seemed forever away in my mind. But there it was, we were pregnant and this time we were going to have a baby!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"I will Carry You"

This song just describes everything that I feel about my unborn babies. The band is Selah, and I give credit to Angie Smith for introducing me to it. This was written either by her or for her, I can't remember which, and her husband's band is who sings it. It is on the playlist for this blog, so you may have heard it. If not, I recommend looking at the playlist and clicking on that particular song. Your eyes will not be dry afterwards, I promise.

Here are the lyrics:

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you


Depression: a state of mind producing serious, long-term lowering of enjoyment of life or inability to visualize a happy future.

I was sad. I later on came to realize how bad it really was. Weeks had gone by and I still couldn't speak of what had happened. Many what ifs entered my head. What if I didn't take enough folic acid? What if I lifted too heavy of a tray at work (I was a server). What if I was under too much stress? What if I caused this?

My brother and his wife were expecting. Their due date? January 3rd. I will always look at Afton, who was born on my due date, and think of the child that would have been her age.

I was in a dark place but didn't really realize it at that time. I knew I was sad and I knew that I couldn't talk to anyone about it. No one understood and everyone said such hurtful things. The few people who may have understood because of prior experiences probably would have been happy to talk to me about it. But I couldn't speak of it still. It was too raw.

I can't remember at which point I had the thought that I might actually be going through some sort of postpartum depression compounded by the loss of the baby. I still think that this is completely plausible. A long while later my husband admitted to me that he had been very worried about me during this time and that had it gone on for much longer he would have sought help for me. I asked if it was really that bad, to which he said it definitely was.

Fetal Development and the LDS perspective

Perhaps one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with is the LDS perspective on the unborn child. Unless a child is born and takes a breath, it is not considered a child of record and doesn't go on the church records. The reasoning behind this is that supposedly the spirit has not entered the body yet. The reason this is so bothersome to me, is that so many people of my faith see this as a reason to dismiss a miscarriage. You see, it wasn't a real spirit and therefore not a child. Therefore I have no right to mourn the loss of my non-child. Well I did mourn. And very deeply. So much so that I spent a lot of time soul searching this notion of my faith. I have to say that I completely disagree with it for a number of reasons.

There is much debate in the LDS world as to when the spirit enters the body. Is it at conception? Is it at birth when a breath is taken? Is it at quickening? One of the latter-day prophets had said it was at quickening because that is when the baby first moved.

Well, modern technology has proved that to be completely false. Not to mention the words of the Lord himself as spoken to the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 1:5 states, "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee."

I had an ultrasound done at 8 weeks on my most recent pregnancy. Guess what, that little baby was dancing around and waving. It was incredible. Just because the mother can't feel it (quickening), doesn't mean it isn't happening. You see, the inside of the uterus has no feeling, so none of this can be felt until the baby weighs enough for other organs to feel it. When a person dies, the spirit leaves the body. Brain activity stops. The heart stops. Movement stops. It requires either a spirit or life support machinery to create those functions of the body. Why would a fetus be any different? Brain activity in a fetus begins at six weeks after conception. The heart begins to beat at 18 days, when the mother is only four days late for her menstrual cycle.

P.E. Rockwell, M.D., Director of Anesthesiology related an experience that he had. This article is used time and again for pro-life arguments, so you may have heard it before. Here it is, ""Eleven years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months), I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen. The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny (one-third inch) human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers.

"The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second with a natural swimmers stroke. This tiny human did not look at all like the photos and drawings of ‘embryos’ which I have seen, nor did it look like the few embryos I have been able to observe since then, obviously because this one was alive. "When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost its life and took on the appearance of what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at this stage (blunt extremities, etc.)."

I find it so hypocritical of my religion who is extremely anti-abortion to turn around and not acknowledge a life that was in a womb. If there is no spirit there and it isn't a real baby, then why the argument against abortion? Obviously I have strong feelings on this subject!

I found great condolence in an experience that a LDS friend of mine in England related to me years before my experiences. She and her family had been converted to the LDS religion and had gone to the temple to be sealed together. During a sealing, the parents and children kneel around an altar and the children are placed in birth order. A sealer performs a ceremony that is much like a marriage where the family is blessed to be together for this life and the next. When my friend's family knelt around the altar, the sealer kept shifting the children around. He spaced out the children. Some had three spaces in between, and another had two. He finally felt that he had it right and asked my friend if she had lost some children. She said that she had in miscarriages and the number of spacing was the exact number of miscarriages and in the correct order. The sealer told her that those children were there that day and would also be sealed to their family.

I have clung to her experience to know that one day I will see my babies again. The facts of the development of the fetus, paired with the promises of the Lord are too much to ignore. The only change that occurs at birth is a change in the external life support system of the baby. The baby is no different before birth than after, except that he has changed his method of feeding and obtaining oxygen.