On September 15th, 2018 we found out that we were expecting baby number four! We were so thrilled and told the kids a few days later after getting some solid lines on those little sticks. Brinley then told some gym childcare workers so we figured we better tell our family members since those sweet ladies at the gym know ha!
I told Travis by letting him (slowly) recognize this change in our decor…
My pregnancy was pretty similar to my previous ones. Typical exhaustion, nausea, food cravings, tightening pants, etc. We had no reason to assume anything was awry. We even took a selfie in our doctor’s office excitedly awaiting our first appointment to hear that beautiful heartbeat! Now that all feels naive but I guess we were very blessed in our naivety.
We found out on November 7th at our 11 week appointment that our baby did not have a heartbeat. Her heart stopped beating at 9 weeks. Shock. Both Travis and I kept making comments in those first minutes about just how incredibly thankful we were that we had not heard those words before…”there’s no heartbeat”. Our Doctor is such an amazing man, so kind and gentle. His voice is reassuring to me. 1 in 5, he said. I told him, “Wow, I’m so sorry you have to give this news so much.” 1 in 5.
Grief is something that I have not had much experience with in my short 30 years of life. I deleted the video of Travis finding out at some point over the three weeks of carrying that angel baby, waiting for her to say goodbye. That’s what I’m thinking denial is. I wanted you so badly but I can’t have you so I’ll pretend I can just delete you. The stages of grief: shock/denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But they are mixed up and screwed up and come and go.
We had dentist appointments for the kids about an hour after finding out. We walked in, sunglasses staying on the whole time, and gritted our teeth through what felt like a hellish hour. How does life just go on? To make matters worse, the lady at the counter asked me if we were going to have more babies. I cried and told her we just found out that we lost a baby. She was well-intentioned and sweet but I never want to ask anyone that question ever again!
Brinley was very upset when we told her but she followed up her tears and hugs with “It’s okay mommy, you still have three babies.”. That is something I have clung to so hard. I have clung hard to the amazing truth that we have had three healthy pregnancies, deliveries, newborns. It doesn’t take away from the grief but it surely brings joy. My heart aches for women going through this tragedy without a child to kiss.
Brody was so calm, so sweet. Travis asked Brody if he had any questions because he was pretty reserved and quiet. Brody said no but as we walked out of the bedroom he chimed in with, “Actually yeah, Dad. Why does this happen?”. Oh, my sweet boy. Travis explained to him that we do not know why these things happen but what we do know is that God is good and we can trust Him.
The anger part is also something new to me, at least, this type of anger. The evening we found out, we put the kids to bed and I went to take a shower. After my shower I went to our closet and that’s where I saw it. I bought a hospital gown for labor and a beautiful robe to wear after giving birth to this baby. I hadn’t ever bought a special hospital outfit but I wanted this special item. I fell to the floor and wept hard. Why did this happen? In that moment, it all didn’t feel fair. I know myself enough to know that I can accept these feelings and be okay expressing them. No one can tell me that I can’t feel these feelings. I can now look at these items and smile, prayerful that I might one day wear them.
The day after we found out about our baby, the Camp fire hit our neighboring town of Paradise in what came to be the most destructive fire in California’s history. The following weeks were filled with chaos. We left town for a few days but returned to the worst air quality in the world. The destruction of this fire, what it had done to the lives of so many friends of ours, put a sort of halt to our own personal tragedy. I was okay with that. I didn’t realize that I used that as a distraction, something else to talk about and focus on while I waited for my body to realize that something wasn’t right and it had a job to do.
Three weeks passed and with many, many friends and family praying with us, I was finally able to say goodbye. Through each contraction, I was praying “I know You’re with me, I can do this.”. My doctor had warned me that it was going to be labor. Yes, it definitely was. Although my Doctor had told me this, I was surprised with how intense this labor was. Especially being that this little baby was so small. With too much blood loss for our comfort, we headed to the hospital to get a blood count and get checked on. That quickly escalated when they couldn’t get my blood pressure reading and I passed out in the triage room. I came to with a big surgery light above my head and Travis rubbing my shoulders saying “You’re ok, babe. You’re ok, babe.”
I can laugh about it now and it actually brings a smile to my face. It is so dramatic! Really, Danielle? You passed out in the triage room?? Travis said to me “Hey, babe. Good job getting us back there so quickly. They rushed you to the trauma room way ahead of the other patients!” The reality is that it was just too much on my body–the stress, blood loss, etc. The nurse pointed out the amount of blood on my bed and the Doctor came in and was able to remove everything without surgery. I felt an immediate relief, both physically and emotionally. I hadn’t realized how much this miscarriage was affecting me. I hadn’t been myself for weeks. My mind was somewhere else, my body belonged to this little baby still.
In those moments after I delivered the baby, I started to see all of the ways that God had His hand on that day. We had friends take our kids for the whole day so the kids were not with us. We got to the hospital 5 minutes before I passed out, after kind of being stubborn at home for an hour or so. That was His prompting, without a doubt. I had texted a few friends while still at home that I was concerned with my bleeding. Those friends are prayer warriors. They’re also the friends who came to our home while we were in the hospital and cleaned up blood, cleaned sheets, did laundry, scrubbed toilets, dropped off dinner, flowers, cards and chocolate. The blessing of our community is not normal. I am so thankful, humbled, and undeserving.
I want to remember this baby’s story just like I write my other baby’s stories. I’ll celebrate this baby’s due date on May 27th every year just like my other babies. I never thought I’d be researching bible truth on babies in heaven, but that is where I am now. And I know, without a doubt, that Heaven will be much sweeter than before.