Mommy's heart for Baby Jacob

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six Days of Grace - Remembering Lily Grace on Her One Year Angelversary

I wish I could say that I've figured out how to grieve for my tiny daughter.  I wish I could say that I've felt a stronger connection to her in the past year.  I wish I could say that a year has made all the difference in healing from her loss.

But I can't.

In some ways I feel like not much has changed from last year.  I feel like I'm at the same point where I was when we lost our baby girl.  Am I a mess?  Am I lost and confused?  No, none of those things. I just don't feel how I wish I felt, if that makes sense.

Let me take you back to just one year ago...our fertility treatments had stopped.  Stopping wasn't planned or intentional, it just sort of happened.  I had a cyst one month, another month Alex was out of town, another month we didn't have the money for the IUI.  Eventually, enough time passed that we just never went back.  One of my doctors had pretty much given me the verbal "heave ho" anyway--his comments, "We've been pushing the envelope here for months..." summed up my lack of success in their eyes and it didn't seem like he wanted to spend any more time on me. I always felt like he felt I was a lost cause. I was too old, better to save his time and effort find solutions for women with a chance.  For the first month ever, the Femara hadn't worked.  My follicles just didn't grow.  I remember being so frustrated because every other month at least one or two had grown to the right size.  But not that month.  And then the next month, I had a cyst so they couldn't give me the Femara, obviously. So that was that.

For awhile, we were diligent in our own efforts at trying.  I'd anxiously await the smiley faced ovulation test each month and would be thrilled with the happy little face greeted me on the bathroom counter.  I mean, I was ovulating.  WHOO HOO!  Not bad for perimenopause woman.  I took every little success and celebrated it with thanks.

Well, last March 24, 2013 we had just returned home from my mom's house where we had been for the weekend.  Turns out a late blizzard had hit the area and we drove home under rather scary conditions.  Alex and the boys had gone to bed and for some reason, I walked straight into the bathroom and decided to test. Didn't give it a thought of any kind. Just did it.

This is what's weird.  No, I had not had a period and was technically late.  But I never once considered that I could be pregnant.  Not once.  I dismissed it.  Had I felt more tired?  Yes.  But I am up late a lot so figured that was the cause.  Boobs?  Ironically, yes they were a bit sore which I admit was strange but I figured I had pulled a muscle or that I laid on them funny.  Sounds silly to even say that but that's how quickly I dismissed the pregnancy symptoms I had been feeling.  I remember one of my friends even saying I could be pregnant and that I should test, but I laughed it off.  No, not me. This must be how menopause starts, right?   Your period stops.  That's what I thought.  Plain and simple.

That night after returning home in the snow though I had a sudden urge to test. I hadn't thought about it, hadn't been planning to, I just did.  And surprisingly I had a pregnancy test in the cupboard.  To this day I believe it was God's little urging that pushed me to pull that stick out that night.

And then it happened.  I hadn't even been looking at the test for awhile and when I glanced over, I about died.  Two pink lines. Two of the prettiest lines I never, ever thought I'd see again in person. Those two pink lines that for each of my previous pregnancies I had taken for granted.  Every woman who wants to have a baby does, only some had problems.  Talk about naive and stupid.  I didn't know much, never feared getting pregnant and never had a problem with it until now.  And now, here were those beautiful pink lines I had been longing to see once more. Sitting there as plain as day. No blurred lines, no question about fading, they were vibrant, pink and there.

I remember my heart pounding and I thought, "Okay, you don't need to have a heart attack over this. Calm down!"  I tried to resume breathing as I walked through the dark hallway to our bedroom.  Alex was still awake reading and I didn't have time to come up with a cutesy way of telling him so I just walked in and handed him the test.  I will never forget the smile on his face.  He was more shocked than I was!  Ever since we got  my initial test results back showing how abysmal my numbers were (AMH, FSH), he seriously had doubts that we would ever conceive again, let alone on our own.  I always said it was in God's hands, that anything was possible and that's where we left it. We went through the motions, we tried, but we went into it knowing the odds were stacked against us due to my age.

I almost missed it, being pregnant, that is.  I thank God that I didn't though.

You see, things weren't right. I knew that they weren't. I had some strange pain/ache and knew I didn't have that with either Sammy or Benny, even Jacob's pregnancy was uneventful.  So in my heart I think I already knew that things were going wrong with this miracle pregnancy so I was trying to prepare my heart as much as possible.

A miracle pregnancy.  I choose to see it as that. Was it "successful"? Well, it depends on how you define success. Did we conceive?  Yes. Did we do it on our own without any medical intervention?  Yes. Did we beat the odds we were given?  Yes.  Doctors had told us we had a less than 2% chance of ever conceiving on our own again.  And yet we did.  So, it was a miracle.  It came to us when we least expected it.  When we had all but given up hope that we just wouldn't walk this path of pregnancy ever again. But that night we found our footsteps on that sweet path of joy, anticipation and hope.

It's so said that that path didn't last long.  Our miracle was short-lived to say the least. Six days.  That's all we had.  I tested on Sunday, March 24, 2013. I went to the OB and had my pregnancy confirmed on March 26.  I had more blood work done on March 27 which came back strong and looking good.  But then it all crashed on March 28 when more blood work confirmed a drop in Hcg, the ultrasound showed an empty sac and that the miscarriage was starting.  And on March 29, the final day, we said good-bye to our tiny baby that we never even saw. I had a D&C on Good Friday.  Six horribly short days to celebrate, worry, hope and mourn.

I'm calling this week of celebration, remembrance and love for my Lily Grace, "Six Days of Grace:  Remembering Lily Grace on Her One-Year Angelversary".  Grace.  How much this means to me in so many ways...God's grace. I truly believe that He had a mighty hand in so much of what happened last year.  I wonder what would have happened had I never tested that snowy night.  The miscarriage would have ramped up surely and the pain would have increased. I would have either lost Lily at home, at my mom's for spring break or I would have ended up in the ER wondering what was going on.  And then there would have been no time to rejoice, to be excited, to dream, to hope...

I believe God wanted me to have those few days...just a few...so that I could be happy, so that I could acknowledge my tiny baby even if for a short time as alive.  I had always said that if we ever got pregnant again, I'd shout it from the rooftops. Well I did just that. I shouted it from the rooftops of Facebook, anyway, and that was close enough.  I wanted people to know that a miracle had happened. I wanted people to know that we were rejoicing in the tiny life that I was carrying, I wanted people to know how very, very much we loved that little baby...even though we feared the worst.

I can't tell you how much every one's support meant to me when we did make the announcement. I had so many friends tell me they were literally crying tears of joy for me...I knew so many people were praying too.  It's indescribable to say what that kind of love and support means and does for you during something like what we went through those six days.  I never knew I had so many people pulling for me. So many of my sweet baby loss friends had gone on to have successful "rainbow" pregnancies--a rainbow baby is that baby that comes after the "storm" of loss.. They know had their precious rainbow babies in their arms and wanted so much for me to have that joy too.

I thought I'd share what I wrote one year ago on March 26, 2013:

It is with great joy that I announce that I am a mommy to 4 children. Yes, you read that right.  Late Sunday night, I had the shock of a lifetime--I found out that I was pregnant. Most of you know that we lost our precious Jacob back in October 2010. We have been trying to conceive ever since then and even went through fertility treatments for a short time. Recently, we hadn't paid much attention to things and accepted that due to my 'perimenopause' state (heading towards menopause), our chances were not good. Doctors gave us a 1-2% chance of conceiving again on our own (w/o fertility). And yet, miraculously, we did. I always knew that anything was possible with God, and indeed we and He proved our doctors wrong. I almost passed out when I saw the two lines...my heart flip-flopped and I thought, "let's not have a heart attack now!". Alex was likewise shocked. The boys are beyond excited. I can only guess that I may be approaching 8 weeks at this point, but again, because our efforts and my tracking were rather haphazard, I cannot confirm exactly how far along I am. 

I went to the doctor this evening and while there were several good things, my heart is heavy because one thing stands out as potentially a sign of trouble. Just today I started spotting, not heavy and not "red" but the doctor saw it and said it was "enough to raise an eyebrow." She did confirm that some women spot/bleed and cramp throughout the entire pregnancy and all is just fine. The good things are that my cervix is still closed, there are no blood clots, my cervix is big (meaning it didn't stop growing early on) and it is more than likely not an ectopic pregnancy. I rejoice so much in the good news. 

I had blood work done and we will know tomorrow my pregnancy hormone and progesterone levels. These are just one piece of the puzzle. We go back TH morning for my ultrasound and more blood work. Each piece of the puzzle will show us what we are facing. It is possible the baby has passed already, may be soon on it's way to passing, or may be just fine. At this point the doctor wants confirm the viability of the pregnancy.

I always said that if I ever conceived again I would shout it from the rooftops. I would celebrate this miraculous little life with absolute joy and love. We have proved the doctors wrong. We have beat the odds we were given. We know this journey may be short as far as the amount of time our precious baby spends with us here on earth, but then again it may be long. It is in God's hands. 

So hear me now, I am shouting with joy, I AM PREGNANT!!! Please join with our family in joy and happiness that there is a tiny life being added to our family. I am a mommy who loves all 4 of her children deeply.

Oh, and on a light note...Benny told me earlier that I was "...looking a little fat.”

Four babies. Who would have thought that I'd have four children?  I don't think I ever would have considered it if you would have asked me years ago.  Of course I never would have thought that two of them would live in Heaven either.  

Like I said when I started this post, in many ways I still feel like I'm back where I was one year ago--bouncing around somewhere between joy and frustration trying to figure out how you grieve a baby like Lily Grace. I think that's truly what has weighed on me the most through this past year...I'll write more on that tomorrow.  

For now, let me just thank those of you who are reading this and sharing in my journey for the first time, as well as those of you who were here one year ago.  Grace.  God's gift when we don't deserve it.  I didn't deserve another pregnancy, my heart was full of doubt and fear even to the point that I had missed pregnancy symptoms for weeks, but yet one year ago I was blessed with the chance to know the joy of new motherhood again, even if for just a few days.  What a priceless gift.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey as I remember my baby girl...my sweet Lily Grace. <3


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