Sunday, March 19, 2017

miscarriage: Sarah Love

Within 10 years we had 6 kids. Because of their age gaps, it's roughly two years between each child. My husband and I try to live our lives with an openness to life, but we have also prayerfully felt for a while that there are many good reasons we should avoid having another baby (as a side note, while we are not both Catholic, neither one of us feel like changing our biology or using other forms of contraception is fully living in God's plan). And with two years per child, we were approaching a mile marker in our lives - we were getting ready to celebrate our youngest child's 2nd birthday at the end of December, and this time we didn't have another pregnancy to announce at the 2nd birthday party. 

Or so we thought. My very regular 28-day cycle was super out of whack in December, and I was not prepared to read my fertility signs properly for a rebel cycle (I was still working on getting properly educated in NFP). Our doctor showed us a chart that calculated our conception date either on or right around our youngest's 2nd birthday.  

I wish I could say I was happy about the positive pregnancy test...that I was instantly excited that God had blessed us with another family member despite our feelings that we shouldn't have any more babies. But I'm human. And I'm self-centered. And I was looking forward to getting rid of weekly babysitter bills and diapers...of maybe having some extra cash for fun trips or a newer, more technically savvy car. I was looking forward to never going back to the toddler stage where they get into EVERYTHING. We had sold our crib two months earlier. I had been losing weight and wasn't happy about putting that on hold or even going backwards in my goals. I was ready for life to "settle down" as much as a family of 8 can settle down. We were dealing with some very tough issues in other areas of our lives, and a baby was certain to make things more difficult. I wasn't sure how much more I could handle.  

But God. When I tremble with fear, God reminds me that I'm not alone. He reminds me how many other times I had been afraid of the new life that was growing in me, and every single time my heart became smitten with the soft skin and the vulnerable eyes that greeted mine the second my babies were born. He reminds me that His plans are ALWAYS infinitely better than I could have ever imagined. And so I held onto that hope that God was in control this time, too. 

My husband was so excited about another baby that he couldn't keep the good news from our kids. They were the first to know. And since they had been asking for a new baby, they were very excited. Their excitement helped to ease my fears, to remind me that this news was good. My daughter, who is 4 years old, is surrounded by a family of only brothers. She would tell us, "I'm SO excited to have a baby sister!" We would remind her that we don't know if it's a girl or a boy. We prepared her that it could be a baby boy. She would never accept our warnings. She only held on to her excitement and joy that a baby sister was on the way. Even our boys eagerly hoped for another girl in the family. 

Then the call came. With early DNA testing that is available now, we were able to find out that our baby had no chromosome issues. And it was a GIRL! I knew everyone would be excited to hear Zoë was going to get the sister she never had and earnestly desired. I knew our boys would be excited to have another sister as well. And I knew their joy would help change my self-centered heart and open it up to the joy of new life that would be coming.

We never really had room for another baby in our lives, but we were ready to make room. Because that's what loves does.  

At 13 weeks, my belly was becoming more and more obvious. We had already told a few people in our closest circles about the baby girl who was growing in me. We had had two ultrasounds that showed our baby girl was growing properly. I was ready to tell everyone else about our baby girl. I work outside the home preparing taxes, and I decided to wait until after March 15th (a big deadline for us) to tell my co-workers and the rest of the world. 

I don't understand everything that happens in life. At 4am on the morning of the 15th, I woke up and felt strange. I got up to go to the bathroom, and was faced with a nightmare that I couldn't make go away. I was having a miscarriage. It happened very suddenly, and I was shocked and confused and heartbroken. My body had betrayed our baby girl. Our baby girl. Oh, how I realized in that moment how much I had truly wanted our baby girl.

It's been 5 days since the initial loss. I don't know if heartbreak fully explains what we are going through. I've combed through Facebook support groups and advice on the internet for ways to process the emotions and sadness and loss I'm feeling. We decided to name our baby girl because as a unique individual, she will always be a part of our hearts and our lives. I look forward to being able to hold her one day in heaven. We named her Sarah Love. It is true that we do not grieve for Sarah. She is with our heavenly Father. She has no pain, no sorrow - only the peace, love and joy that all of us on Earth desire. We grieve for ourselves. We are the ones who have the loss. I'm sad that she was only here a short time with us. I'm sad that I won't get to see each day how much her brothers love Sarah, how she would have brought out the tenderness in them. I'm sad that Zoë won't have the sister she longs for. I'm sad I won't get to kiss her sweet, soft face or hear her giggles. 

We waited until Friday evening to tell the kids so they wouldn't have to go to school with sadness in their hearts and the loss of Sarah on their minds. They are heartbroken as well, but I know they will eventually recover from this quicker than my husband or me. Zoë is only 4, so she is still trying to process everything. She still tells us every day that she wants to hold baby Sarah. We've tried to make a point to talk the last couple of days about Sarah and ask the kids to talk about what they are feeling. To let them know it's ok to be sad. To remind them that none of us have any guarantees about what each day in life will hold, and why that makes it very important that we treat others - especially each of us in our immediate family - with love. With love, we look for ways to turn something horrible into something beautiful. 


Amy Ortega said...

My heart hurts for you... I have no words... there is nothing that can be said that will take away the pain and the longing. Hold tight to what He has promised, and to what He was given. Your children are beautiful and blessed... all of them.

Donna said...

My prayers for you and your family!

Leila@LittleCatholicBubble said...

I am so sorry. My prayers go out to you!! The heavenly reunion will be so beautiful!

Ari Mack said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage in February of this year, and I was also combing the internet for anything that might help. We have no other children. Bless you and your family.