"No chance hath brought this ill to me; 'Tis God's own hand, so let it be, He seeth what I cannot see. There is a need-be for each pain, And He one day will make it plain that earthly loss is heavenly gain."
This was the first devotional I read after receiving our devastating news thirteen days ago. Our sweetie, the beautiful third baby neither one of us knew we wanted so badly, had gone to heaven two weeks prior.
After having a nice, upbeat conversation with my new doctor about how uneventful my last two pregnancies were, I laid on back ready for doppler-time. We couldn't hear anything, which didn't worry me until I looked at Dr. Borrowdale's scrunched face. After I sat up, he really wasn't looking me in the eye and his shoulders were slouched. He told me that this was normal and that sometimes women aren't as far along as they thought, so I may just be a few weeks shy of what is necessary to hear over the doppler. I asked him if he was worried, and without looking at me, he said no, but then immediately swung open the office door and semi-yelled toward the nurses, "where can I send her for an ultrasound? Take a look at her insurance." I told him that I don't care where this third party ultrasound place was, I could make it happen that day, now in a semi-desperate state. He let me know that my HMO had to approve the ultrasound, so it wouldn't be for a few days. WHAT?
I took the ultrasound papers with the phone numbers to call and went out to my car. I immediately called the place and told them that I will drive there right now or any time they have available, I just was not going to wait a few days - I would rather have paid for it out of pocket than worry over the weekend (this was on a Wednesday but apparently it was going to take 3-5 days for approval). They said they couldn't do it and to call back on Monday. After getting off the phone, I immediately text messaged my sister. I didn't want to tell anyone what was going on except for Chad, but I absolutely had to go to some ultrasound tech somewhere in the Southern California region of the world. After 10 seconds of her not responding, I texted my two other friends, again not wanting to say anything, but the need to find a non-diagnostic "clinic" type place was far more important to me. I knew they knew of at least one place where one could just pay for an ultrasound. At this point I had apparently lost any control of emotion - I unwillingly was crying but didn't want to be crying because nothing was confirmed. Thankfully my sister and two friends got back to me at the exact same time, all of them pointing me in the direction of a 4D place which also did regular gender reveals in Lake Forest. I called the place and booked an appointment for 45 minutes, then jammed down there, crying the entire way. A part of me was thinking that I should have my mom meet me there, but I just couldn't fathom actually speaking the words, "something may possibly be wrong." I couldn't handle it. Her presence would also make me so much more emotional than I already was.
During the drive down I would think, "there's no reason to worry. There's just no way there's need for concern. There's no way." And then I would think, "this is it. This is going to be our loss. This is going to be the first truly hard time we've ever had. We've come to it." Both thoughts were devastating.
The tech, who warned me that she couldn't officially confirmed anything because she wasn't an MD, was mad that no one had shown me an ultrasound after such a disturbing doppler experience. She was mad and I was crying. Something about the combination made me feel slightly better. After laying down, I covered my eyes and, by peeking through my fingers, saw the saddest sight I've ever seen. It was obvious that there was no "cardiac activity." She said I'm so sorry, then told me that the baby was measuring 9 weeks and 2 days, and that it looked like I was actually more like 11 weeks pregnant, not 13 (something I sort of already knew). Through an insane amount of tears, I texted Chad that he needed to "call me right now." He called immediately, extremely nervous after my previous text messages leaving the doctor's. He was about to walk in on a sales call in San Diego, and while I was hysterical, he was his amazing, calm, "don't worry babe, we are going to get more confirmation beyond this and just remember to pray," self. It was a small moment of good.
Next I called my doctor at the suggestion of the tech - she was concerned that I needed to undergo further treatment before the weekend. They told me to come in the next day, the urgency of which was another devastating blow. After that, I called my mom to let her know that I was going to come over for the entire day - I could not go home to see the kids. She had been at my sister's house when I had originally texted Gina, so knew by my "Hi Mom" that all was not okay. Next I texted my mother-in-law who was with the kids. I didn't want to deliver such information over text, but at this point I was hyper-aware of the well-being of Carter and Dakota. I could not handle her possibly getting emotional in front of them and then Mom not coming home for several more hours. She was her strong, awesome self over text, telling me to breathe and to wait at the place for Chad to come get me and to not drive. I was already safely at my parents' house when I got her text, and literally sat on their big comfy white couches and did not speak for what must have been hours. Before leaving the ultrasound place though, the amazing tech who had hugged me for a straight five minutes before I walked out the door, told me that she had printed out a picture so that I could show my doctor. She had slipped it in my clutch. I was horrified. If it hadn't been for the medical reason of showing Dr. Borrowdale the next day, I would have gotten rid of it. Knowing the gravity of what that picture carried? I could hardly look at my clutch for the rest of the day with that black and white edge poking out.
I told Chad that I wanted him to get home first, then to have his mom go home, then I'll come home closer to the kids' bedtime. He told me that his mom had offered to take the kids back home with her so that way I could come home and we could attend tomorrow's appointment without feeling like we had to hide any emotion while in front of the babes. After asking him several times if he thought Carter and Kota would be okay doing that, I gave the go ahead. They ended up staying with her Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night while we attended endless appointments.
We went to Thursday's appointment, then had a super emotional lunch at the beach, a place that always makes me feel better but didn't this time. Friday we went to 3 different ultrasounds and then on Friday afternoon officially went through with the procedure. I had a permanent headache from crying so much. Nothing made us feel better. Everything was very, very sad. Some people were trying to distract us, but since we had lost the ability to laugh, made me want to cry more. Chad and I would be talking about something unrelated, then I would start crying. That weekend we were supposed to leave for Vegas for my cousin's wedding, but quite obviously didn't go. Friday evening I became very inundated with my devotionals and strengthened my what was now continuous prayer since Wednesday. Literally the only reprieve during those three days was a sense that our faith was growing. Never, never had I been more sure that God is with us and knows. It was a weird sensation - we were very sad but happy that our faith was rising.
The first time we were with the kids again was when we met Cheryl at Carter's hockey class on Saturday. I was very nervous of how I would be in front of them - was I going to be more sad after the loss of their little brother or sister or happy to see these two healthy little ones? It turns out I was happier.
I am now so thankful for the picture of the baby the tech had given me. That is the only picture we have. It now lives in my devotionals during the month of May. When I catch a glimpse, I feel happy that he or she existed.
I was advised to get testing done on the baby. I genuinely wanted to do this, but literally every time we were in the presence of a healthcare professional I would completely forget to ask about it. Even leaving the d&c I looked over at Chad and told him that we had forgotten to ask to have it done. I actually am okay with this, though. Whatever the reason for Shay not staying with us, I am okay with it. The week that "it happened," was a week and a half after I had returned from my trip to Nashville. During that time, I was taking it very easy. Laying on the couch most days. Not coming close to overdoing it. Whether it was something chromosomal with the baby or if it had to do with my body, I am at peace.
The power of my friendships has astounded me over the last almost two weeks. Truly my best friends are my family. They cried with me, sent me daily text messages of their own devotionals, and were just there. One of my best friends got married this last weekend in Phoenix. I was very nervous driving in. I even cried. Once we were there though, in the middle of such a happy time in their own lives, we were embraced in such an overpowering amount of love and support for our heartache. We gave ourselves the "okay" to enjoy our time while there. It didn't mean we were moving on, it just meant that we were celebrating the happiness of people so near and dear to our hearts. This sounds so silly, but I was highly concerned with whether I was going to have a drink or not over the weekend. I knew that champagne would be present and that my friends would be relaxing with beers. For the first 24 hours of being there, I didn't sip anything and felt shaky about every little thing. Once I decided that I didn't want to be ruled by fear or any negative emotion, I had a beer and making that decision made me feel better. Not wanting our good time to transform into some emotional moment, I kept it very minimal, but am thankful for that reprieve. Chad and I drove back to California feeling stronger.
Carter, Dakota and Shay. We love them so much and that will never change.
"He placed me in a little cage, Away from gardens fair; But I must sing the sweetest songs because He placed me there. Not beat my wings against the cage if it's my Maker's will, But raise my voice to heaven's gate and sing the louder still!"