Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tiffani's Story

My husband and I have been married for 13 years. We married young and had our first child, Noah, at 20 years old. We were so overjoyed and excited to have him! I grew up in a small family, and my husband grew up in a larger family. After our first child, I was torn about having any more children. I had a tough upbringing and parenting scared me. To top it off, I spent the first 2 years of my little Noah's life alone. My husband, Bryan, is in the military and was deployed for 6 months along with many other underway periods in a very short amount of time. After much prayer and discussions, we decided to try again for another child. It took a few months to conceive and unfortunately, my husband deployed again before he could be told of our positive test results. As joyful of an occasion as this was, I was terrified because I would be spending most of the pregnancy alone, and if this pregnancy was anything like the last, I was in for a battle with my body. I have fibromyalgia and pregnancy makes it much worse. My first pregnancy had no other complications outside of the muscle pain, so I did not expect to do anything different from the last.

With my husband gone, my mom and I decided to do some baby shopping and enjoy the excitement of a new child even if I couldn't share it with my husband. We had a favorite second-hand baby store we loved to visit and a few weeks after my positive test results, found ourselves in the store. They had a gorgeous ebony crib and dresser set that was virtually brand new. What a score! My mom was so excited for her second grandchild that she decided to buy the set and we headed to the register. While we were in the store, I had been experiencing some mild cramping and discomfort but I wasn't too afraid. I headed for a quick restroom break while my mom finished up the purchase and I was astonished to find that I was spotting, and more than a little at that. I panicked and went immediately to my mom. The store agreed to hold the furniture while she swept me off to the ER. It was here that I found out that my baby no longer had a heart beat. Being in ER, they couldn't really say I was miscarrying. They encouraged me to go home, rest for the remainder of the weekend and seek a follow up appointment with my doctor on Monday. I set the earliest appointment I could get for Monday and headed off to the doctor. No husband. No mom. Just me and a friend.

The doctor confirmed my fear. My baby, now at 13 weeks had no heart beat. In fact, the baby had stopped growing at 6-7 weeks. I was devastated. The doctor was very nice, but very factual as well. She had delivered my first child, so we had some history, but she didn't beat around the bush. She told me that miscarriage is one of the most common and most un-talked about medical events. There are more miscarriages than live births among women of the world, including the United States. So many women miscarry that they often don't even know they were pregnant. They experience a heavier period after a missed or late month, but had never taken a test to know that this was a miscarriage. Although her facts were new to me, I did not take them with grace that day. I was mad, I was hurt, I was devastated. How could she compare my lost child to another lady's missed period? It wasn't until a few days later that I decided to test that theory.

At the time, I had 2 pregnant sister-in-laws and a few pregnant friends. It was so hard to be around them. So I began talking to them and to everyone that would hear me. I spoke about my pain, my loss, and my inability to cope with it. With this open and complete abandon approach to dealing with my emotions, I found that the doctor was right. So many of my friends and acquaintance had lost children. Some had lost even more than one. Some had lost 9, 10, 11 or more...but kept on trying. I was not alone.

I cried out to God. I got angry at God. I had lost a child after finally deciding that 2 children was what I wanted. My husband was gone and unable to support me or share with me in this pain. I was broken. I remember the pain of having to tell my husband about losing our child. I remember the utter silence on the other end of the phone from the far reaches of the world. He was floating in the Persian Gulf. He was alone. He was broken. We were blessed that as I actively contracted in labor and lost our child, sitting at home, husband was on the other line for a small part of it. He wanted to be with me and help me; He wanted to make it all go away. We only had about 20 minutes together on the phone that share in the loss of our child. Then I labored alone. In the dark. Crying out to God.

My husband later told me that he crumbled. He didn't know what to do. He reached out to his chaplain on board the ship but found no comfort or solace as he was encouraged to go back to work because these things happen and he can't change it. His shop heard of his loss and unbeknownst to him, sent me a beautiful flower arrangement. I was touched. I cried for hours. They had seen the special need I had for someone to acknowledge the pain and loss I was suffering. I remember sitting there, with the flowers sitting before me, my husband thousands of miles away, and my heart crying out to God and finding a moment of healing. A small glimpse of all the moments it would take to heal (never completely) from the loss of my baby. I pulled out my notebook and I wrote. I wrote a love song, a poem, a cry to my unborn child. I poured out my heart. When I was done, I closed the notebook, put it away and started to pick up the pieces. It didn't happen right away, but over time, I was able to find healing and to move forward with the life that God had called me to. I started to see God's bigger picture. My husband's deployment was stretched from 6 months to 9 months. He would have missed the birth of our special little one. There were quite a few major events that happened in the next year that tore my soul into pieces and nearly broke not only me, but our marriage. God's timing is perfect. Even when I cry out against him. After the loss of our angel baby, I thought I would never try again to have a child. I have 3 children now. Two rainbow babies.

I have told my children of their special sibling in heaven. My oldest doesn't talk about it much. But my middle one, the one born after our angel baby, talks of his sibling in heaven all the time. He is 8 now, but has been talking about his baby sibling since he was about 4 or so. He says he knows she must have been a beautiful girl. He talks about how God made our family perfect with 2 boys and 2 girls, one in heaven. I did not ever find out the gender of our baby. But he has dreamed of her. He is sure that he has a sister in heaven and will know who she is when he gets to heaven. I am touched that God allowed my sweet little boy to have such a heart for the sibling he will never know until he gets to heaven.

I think it is really important for mothers who have lost to talk about their lost children. To keep their memory alive. To find solace in the arms of other mothers who have also lost. You are not alone. We share in your pain. We too seek to hold you and support you in this time of loss. May God bless you and hold you as you are in this tunnel. There is light on the other side. Healing does come.

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