“You are all alone.”
“No one wants to hear about what is going on with you any longer.”
“You are an inconvenience to those around you.”
“You need to move on because everyone else has.”
These were the lies that swirled around in my head for weeks. I had begun to isolate myself from my husband, my family and my friends.
I am blessed with a husband that calls me out. He challenged the lies in my head. He helped me to understand that was I was thinking was not truth.
These lies are not common to just me. Miscarriage and pregnancy loss is not discussed in public. Many women and families suffer in silence.
If 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, it is likely that someone you know has suffered or is suffering from losing a baby.
I will not be silent about the loss of my baby girl, Mary Catherine. Her life mattered as do lives of all the babies that have been lost too soon. I want to create an environment where families feel comfortable sharing about their children that are no longer on earth.
Here is the story of my little girl, Mary Catherine.
I found out I was pregnant in August. We were being open to God’s plan for our family and he chose to bless us with another baby. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell everyone! It was a Monday. Within days I had told anyone who would listen to me: We are having a baby!!
My pregnancy was normal for me. I was extremely sick with nausea like all my other ones. I was being monitored for my health issues. I was making plans for my baby that would be due in April, 10 days after my birthday.
I had my normal prenatal appointments month after month. Then, my life was rocked to the core.
It was just another normal Monday. I went into the office faced with a busy afternoon of FertilityCare™ clients. I was also scheduled to have my 16 week obstetrics appointment that day.
I can remember that entire afternoon as if it was yesterday. I remember what I was wearing and what I was thinking on the way to the office in the car. I was thinking, “I wonder if he will tell me my baby has no heartbeat today.” Morbid thought, isn’t it? I had those types of thoughts since the moment I found out I was pregnant. I am not sure why. Everyone kept telling me I was paranoid and I even began to think I was crazy.
After seeing a couple of clients, I went into the exam room for my appointment. Everything was fine until the nurse tried to find the heartbeat. She could not find it. I knew then something was wrong but was still holding out hope. She tried to play it off by saying the baby must be hiding.
Dr. Jones came in and measured me. I was measuring 15 weeks, not 16 weeks and 3 days like I should have been. I told him how my nausea had been improving. That was good news, he said. I had hope still in my heart. He tried to find the heartbeat. He tried with all his might but nothing. I knew my baby was gone but for some reason had a small glimmer of hope that it was just a nightmare.
We went to the sonogram room. My baby was there, perfect. I saw the head, spine, belly, nose, hands and feet. But, no movement. I knew then my baby was gone. He moved the baby around with the sonogram wand and told me the baby had no heartbeat. I asked if my baby was a boy or a girl. My baby was a girl. He showed me her heart that had stopped beating.
I broke down and became hysterical. WHY???? How did this happen??? I wanted this baby so badly!! I had plans for her and dreams for her and our family. I could not breathe. I was amid a nightmare I could not wake up from.
I was all alone except for me and my doctor. I wasn’t supposed to get an ultrasound that day. It was just supposed to be a routine follow-up. My husband was on an airplane for a business trip.
My ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby was supposed to be at week 20. My husband had an idea to make it a surprise to all of us by having the doctor put it in an envelope and make it a gift for our family to open on Christmas morning.
Instead, I lay there staring at the screen with my dead baby girl. A part of me died in that room at that moment. I walked out a different woman, a changed woman. Isn’t that what happens when we lose a loved one, let alone a child?
I did not know where to go. My husband was on an airplane and I certainly couldn’t go home to my children in my condition. I called one of my best friends and through my tears told her what had happened. I asked to come over and so I made my way to her home.
I had to text my husband to call me immediately once he got off the airplane. I had to tell him it was an emergency. He called soon after I arrived at my friend’s house. He tried to calm me down and said he would get on the next plane home.
The next 2 days were a living hell. I had to go into the hospital to deliver my baby. My doctor described the process to me and told me it was the safest way for me. I was in shock and disbelief. I did not want to do it but my other option was to wait to go into labor on my own. I could not bear that. Little did I know that the decision my doctor made for me would be the kindest, most compassionate decision.
Amidst the hell, my 3 closest friends did not leave my side. Unfortunately, they have also experienced loss like mine. My parents went above and beyond. My husband was and continues to be my rock in this storm of pain and grief. My husband's parents were so amazingly kind and loving offering their support. My sister and huband's family were also so amazing. So many people we know stepped up to let us know how much they loved us and cared for us. It was a small sliver of light amidst the heavy darkness.
I will never forget the moment I stepped onto the labor and delivery floor at Baylor Medical Center in McKinney, Texas. I had to pass the baby and mom store with all the beautiful baby clothes. I covered my belly with my pillow. I broke down the first 2 steps into the L&D area. I just stared at the floor.
The nurses at this hospital were angels sent by God. They prepared a room for me away from the other L&D rooms.
But, first I had to wait. I sat in a little room and listened to a baby lullaby play twice on the hospital intercom. It was a way to announce the birth of a baby. Twice in 10 minutes I heard it! I felt like I was in a torture chamber.
I was finally moved to my room. The first thing I saw was the bassinet for after delivery. I broke down. They removed it. I had 2 nurses during my 16 hour hospital stay. I cannot say enough about them.
My first nurse gave me a hug as soon as she walked in. She was constantly checking on me to make sure I was okay. She gave me a little lamb to hold. They put a sign on the door to let people know to be respectful around my room.
My husband was amazing and so strong during this time. He has a way of making me laugh and he worked hard to do that. Looking back, I realize how strong he really was during that time. He was grieving too and watching his wife go through all of it. But, he never showed anything but strength and love and compassion. I am so very blessed to have him as my husband.
I never felt God’s presence the entire time I was in the hospital. I felt so alone and distant from God. All I wanted was to feel His presence. I prayed and prayed. Nothing. I began to grow angry. How could He take my baby from me? He had my baby and I wanted her. How could He leave me all alone during this suffering? I realize now His presence was shown through the nurses, my husband and all of those praying for me. But during labor, I could not see past my anger and through the cloud of darkness.
After close to 12 hours, she was delivered at 2:45am. She was born with her arms crossed over her chest. She was perfect, beautiful and sleeping. She was with Jesus now.
The nurse put her in a special cradle and handed her to me. It was peaceful. They left us to be with our little girl, Mary Catherine. We had 3 hours with our little saint. It was surreal.
The other times I had been in an L&D room, we enjoyed holding our babies all big and chubby and cuddly. These times were moments of pure joy.
I did not feel that now. I felt peace being able to see my little girl and holding her and touching her little body. It was not joy. It was sadness, grief and peace all wrapped into one.
I am so grateful for the time we had with our Mary Catherine. The nurse took special pictures of her wrapped in a white gown made form a wedding dress. She made little feet and hand prints in small shells. She measured and weighed our baby so we would have a birth record.
Her life mattered and the nurses and hospital showed it. When the funeral home came to take her body, I fell into a deep sleep. I believe my daughter, Mary Catherine, helped me to finally sleep. Unfortunately, it was short lived.
The bustle of life on the L&D floor quickly started and I needed to get out of there. I did not want to spend another minute in the place where life is meant to begin and not end. I was so angry with God. I was in darkness and filled with such pain I could hardly breathe. How was it that I would leave the L&D floor and not be going to the postpartum wing but instead home? My arms were only filled with a memory box of my little baby girl. I was empty inside. I was lost.
I was given a special box filled with grief essentials. It is from an amazing organization called Hope Mommies. It included a bible study for pregnancy loss. They have support groups and a Facebook group. This organization has been so important to my healing. I cannot recommend them enough. If you know someone who has lost a baby too soon, you can send them a gift box from Hope Mommies. Their website is www.hopemommies.org.